ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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

CLIFF CHAMBERS

Lost or lucky?

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

HOLDEN CALIBRA 4X4 TURBO Growing up in the 90s I always admired the shape of the Opel Calibra and I’m sad to say that you just don’t see them anymore. A few years back I stumbled on an original low kilometre and un-modified Holden 4x4 turbo version for $7500! I hesitated and it was sold. What was I thinking? I so want one.

ALEX MARTINEZ - NORWOOD, SA

MAY 1995 STEYR PUCH 650

‘You Steyr, I’ll Puch’ or so the old joke about Austria’s most prolific car-maker used to go. In addition to building trucks and the quirky Haflinger off-road buggy, Steyr also assembled Fiats under licence, improving on the original design where possible. This very serious looking rework of a 500 Nuova came with a 660cc version of the Fiat twin, which in Steyr guise developed DOUBLE the power of Fiat’s version. With 30kW and a potential top speed of 140km/h a TR II version won the European Rally Championship in 1966. How this one got here who knows, but hope it stayed.

$ $30-35,000

NOW

$10,500

NOVEMBER 1999 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL

Unless the absent Roadworthy Certificate was due to terminal rust or some other dastardly flaw, this Lincoln had to be the bargain buy of 1999. The market by then had recovered from recession and prices across the older car world were climbing. Fuel costs were stable too and there was every reason to slap down $7500 or maybe a bit less on a massive sedan with always-interesting ‘suicide’ doors. Today there still exists a reasonable supply of 1960s Lincolns and prices, while up appreciably, haven’t climbed to levels that might have been expected of a model so iconic.

$25-30,000 $2

NOW

$7500

SEPTEMBER 1989 HSV ASTRA

Back when HSV were struggling to shift unwanted stocks of VL Group As and cash-flow was essential, any GM-H product could be co-opted to help keep the doors at Notting Hill open. HSV gave its specialist treatment to only 65 Astras and of those just 30 were sedans so this is an extremely rare car. There do exist recent videos featuring SV1800s so we know that at least a couple survive. The pricing is a guess because we found none offered in the market for over a decade. So, would owners of biggerengined HSVs want one as a runabout?

$12-18,000

NOW

$21,750

JUNE 2009 MERCURY COUGAR ELIMINATOR

Mercury got the idea of selling a car with links to drag-racing culture after ‘Dyno’ Don Nicholson took his Cougar to quarter-mile immortality in 1968. Mercury offered its limited-edition Eliminator in four colours and with three engine options. They included the ‘Boss 302’ made famous in Mustangs but which also made the Cougar eligible for Trans Am racing. This one uses the more common ‘Boss 351’ with four-speed transmission and performance to match our XY Falcon GT. But look at the price. Owning a scarce Cougar even in today’s market will cost half the price of a good XY.

$70-80,000 $70

NOW

$55,000 $

MAY 1988 TRIDEN

Yet another good-looking, one-off Aussie racing special has found its way onto these pages. Detail accompanying a recent sale recalled that the Triden was built in 1956, using a Holden motor and Triumph Renown chassis. It raced sporadically until the 1980s before being rebuilt and offered on a specialist motor-sport website in new blue livery at a healthy asking price of $30,000. Whether that figure was achieved is unknown but the car is listed as ‘sold’ so keep an eye out at Historic events. Looks like it would offer the new owner considerable enjoyment.

$ $25-30,000

NOW

$9500

SEPTEMBER 1997 FORD XD ESP

The fourth leg of this month’s Ford V8 quadrella is this XD ESP 351. Back in 1997 the XD’s price was around a third the cost of a new XR8 but times have changed. ESPs have become the most coveted 1980s Falcons and while XEs tend to be cost more they are also more common than XDs. This car in silver grey looks very similar to a GL-based 5.8 shown in a Register of ESP Falcons. If so then it is an early-production car and one of fewer than 300 (estimated) that were built. Like all performance Falcons, money being sought for ESP has soared during the past 18 months.

$65-80,000 $65

NOW

$13,000 $

AUGUST 2008 FORD MUSTANG COBRA-JET

The 2006-08 boom in muscle-car values had little effect on prices for locally-owned Mustangs. It was therefore possible to buy a decent lump of US performance for the price of a fairly sad XA Falcon GT and this Cobra-Jet Mustang was a great choice. Ford’s ‘street-spec’ 7.0-litre engine delivered just 250kW (against 400+ said to be available from a Boss 429) but it was still a rapid way of moving a Mustang that by 1970 had packed on a bit of beef. The car looks to remain LHD and viable therefore on the world market where 1970 CJs often exceed US$80,000.

$115-130,000

NOW

$74,500