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

1995 VOLVO 850 T5 R My old LOTE teacher had a stunning red 850 R wagon from new. He always boasted about it and seriously loved that car. One day he came to school disappointed telling us that the Volvo was at the wrecking yard as he was in bingle and all the airbags had activated but he walked out without a scratch. The damage was minimal and would have been worth saving, try to find one now!

EDDIE SUAREZ - COROWA, NSW

MAY 1995 ASTON MARTIN DB4

$750-850k NOW $89,500

Given the excitement that manifests whenever an Aston from the David Brown era comes up for sale, cars like this could soon be worth ten times their 1995 value. DB-prefix Astons have for quite some time been ranked among the most productive investments known to mankind and yes there is a James Bond influence. But seriously, just look at the shape of the thing. Designed more than 60 years ago by Italian style house Touring, there are few automotive shapes that carry their age better than a 1960s Aston. Hope it’s still here and pops out occasionally.

NOVEMBER 1999 PORSCHE 912

$60-70,000 NOW $23,975

Twenty years ago if you had an imperfect fourcylinder Porsche priced at $24,000 it would very likely have been sitting in that street, forlorn and unsold for quite some time. The 912 was one of those ‘good idea at the time’ cars that was meant to deliver the experience of 911 ownership to people who couldn’t afford a 911. Unlike the six-cylinder models, 912s had a relatively brief existence only sold around $30,000. No information on how many came to Australia but probably fewer than 100. They don’t often appear for sale and values haven’t as yet grown to 911 levels.

APRIL 1988 JENSEN GT

$35-40,000 NOW $15,000

By 1975 Jensen was a shadow of its former self and the hatchback GT was the last new model to come from its West Bromwich factory. Only 473 were made and very few would have been sold outside the UK. Looking at the UK market revealed none on offer but one enthusiast was willing to swap two JensenHealey Roadsters for a GT. One was advertised in the USA, complete with garish paisley print seat trim, at US$25,000. Looking back at the 1988 price and considering the cars’ relative anonymity, that US price is probably pretty close to the mark.

MAY 2002 LANCIA FLAMINIA SPIDER

$240-280K NOW $78,000

As one of Italy’s smaller styling houses, Touring of Milan produced disproportionate numbers of utterly beautiful cars. Elsewhere is an example of Touring’s handsome Aston-Martin DB4 and here we have one of the most elegant convertibles of its era. The Spider shares a 2.8-litre V6 and not much else with the fearsomely ugly Flaminia Zagato coupe and during the course of recent years has attracted a following and lots of money. Finding a buyer in the vicinity of $80,000 might in 2002 have proved difficult but today getting much change from $300,000 is unlikely.

JULY 2001 BMW 2002 Tii

$28-35,000 NOW $8500

The chunky two-door that brought BMW international attention in 1968 was not this one. Early 2002s had carburettors and round tail-lights and sold to enthusiastic drivers who overlooked their sparse cabin and absence of sound-deadening. The Tii arrived in 1971 ahead of a minor restyle in 1973 and seemed to sell reasonably well in Australia. Only 7400 were built including rare Cabriolets that today seem less valuable than the coupe. At $8500 in 2001 this tidylooking car would have represented good buying and whoever has it now should be happy.

JULY 1997 JAGUAR XK150

$190-215K NOW $80,000

The internet and my own bookshelves creak with detail on classic XK Jaguars yet nowhere is it (apparently) listed just how many XK150 Dropheads were built with automatic transmission. ‘Not a lot’ would be as accurate an estimate as any. Fixed-roof 150 autos are fairly common but going in search of similar cars being offered for sale in the USA where most would have been sent when new proved fruitless. So where is this exceptionally rare XK and what enjoyment has it bought during the past 21 years to whoever gave it a home?

APRIL 1993 MINI COOPER S MkII

$40-45,000 NOW $15,000

Back in the 1960s when it took one to catch one, loads of burly NSW coppers did their backs and knees trying to fold themselves into Cooper S Minis of this kind. They were normally painted drab colours and came with metal sunvisors which the speeders could pick from a couple of miles away. A lot of these cars when retired were taken straight from the government auction for a make-over including brighter paint, a radio and flashy wheels before lining up at one of the ‘performance’ car yards that existed back then. Well worth having now.