ONES THAT GOT AWAY

THE CARS WE SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT OR ARE JUST GLAD WE DIDN’T...

Tell us in 60 words the car you should have bought, or were lucky enough to buy! Send your tale to uniquecars@bauertrader.com.au with ‘Gotaways’ in the title

1958 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE Back in ‘98 I got wind of a farm clearout sale in Shepparton. This property was littered with US classics including a black RHD 1958 Plymouth Sedan, it was $4,500 and a runner with known history as an embassy car. Where did it go? JAMES GLENDO - TYABB, VIC

CLIFF CHAMBERS

JUNE 1987 DAIMLER 15HP SPORTS SEDAN

The Great Depression wiped out countless car brands and forced survivors into places they had never been before. One in this position was British Daimler, which made its name building grand Regal limousines then in 1932 added a 1.8-litre ‘economy’ model to help keep the name alive. Around 6100 of the 15hp were built in two Series with bodies supplied by various coachbuilders who would have also been grateful for the work. Not many Fifteens would have been brought to Australia and we wonder if this car stayed here or returned to Britain.

$28-35,000 NOW $12,500

MAY 2004 RR SILVER SHADOW H J MULLINER

Every site we consulted when establishing a current value for these classic two-door Shadows popped up with celebrity connections to eclipse even the late Lord Mountbatten and the Bhagwan. Just 780 of the Series 1 were produced by Royal coachbuilders H J Mulliner Park Ward and they were supplied new or bought later by film, TV and pop stars, political figures and sports people. Even struggling journalists like former Top Gear presenter James May had one. They appear for sale occasionally in Australia but the easiest way if you want a two-door Shadow is heading to the UK.

$75-85,000 NOW $55,000

AUGUST 1989 CHEVROLET IMPALA 2-DOOR HARDTOP

Midway through 1989, the market for classic, Aussiebuilt V8s was going slightly nuts. If you had $6500 to spend, the target might have been a trashed and very rusty HK Monaro or this smart and apparently rust-free Chevrolet. The catch was that most places in Australia would want a car like this converted to right-hand drive before being registered. However, in South Australia a 25 year-old import didn’t require such drastic modification. Hopefully it is still with us, providing entertainment for a subsequent owner, or perhaps the same one who leapt on this bargain almost 30 years ago.

$25-30,000 NOW $6500

NOVEMBER 1990 MG Y TOURER

Only 877 of the MG Y Type Tourers were built and a lot found their way to Australia under Britain’s post-WW2 ‘Export or Perish’ programme. Survivors in excellent condition, as this car appears to be, once appeared regularly but pickings in recent years have grown slim. The International MG Y Register lists 765 cars that at some point were housed in Australia, including around 200 Tourers. Values in the UK and USA where Y Tourers are scarce can reach the equivalent of A$70,000, however if sold locally one like this would likely cost less than $50,000.

$40-48,000 NOW $25,000

DECEMBER 2001 HONDA S600

If in 1965 you couldn’t afford an E-Type coupe then Honda had an alternative; cleverly following Jaguar’s design in a bargain-priced 600cc Fastback. The ‘90 per cent original, 10 per cent improvements’ probably mean the original high-revving Honda engine and chain-drive transmission have gone; replaced by something conventional that would hurt long-term value. Swapping the classic Honda mechanicals for a Datsun motor and ‘box was common back then but cars modified in this way are now considerably cheaper than intact originals.

$27-32,000 NOW $9500

JANUARY 2001 DATSUN 1200 COUPE

Back in 2001, a Datsun 1200 at $11,500 might have deterred some people, but not those with experience of these feisty little cars or a grasp of Datsun competition history. Enthusiasts would doubtless recall the 1200 Datto coupe that with a five-speed gearbox won its class at the first Bathurst enduro to cover 1000 kilometres. This car with its 1.5-litre transplant engine, five-speed gearbox and chunky rubber would have been considerably quicker than even the one raced in 1973 and today should be untroubled in justifying $20,000+

$20-22,000 NOW $11,500

APRIL 2003 HDT CALAIS SPORT

Peter Brock’s final range of enhanced Holdens was controversial but also more varied than any that had gone before. The Calais Sport was available as a V8 or turbocharged 3.0-litre but sold fewer than it might have if not for the’ Polariser’ debacle. Sport’s in common with the equally competent Magnum are largely ignored by HDT buyers in their clamour to acquire VL Group A cars that have headed recently for $150,000. A Sport in similar condition to this one will cost half the price or maybe less for a Permanent Red car.

$65-70,000 NOW $16,000