OUR PICKS

DETERMINED TO WEAR THE BUMPS OFF OUR CREDIT CARDS THIS IS THE STUFF WE LUST AFTER

2002 HOLDEN MONARO CV8

As the proud owner of a rather tidy 2002 Holden Monaro CV8, it is an obvious choice for me. Why this model? Well I wanted either the first or the last of the series and I prefer the look of the first anyway, with its slim line 5-spoke alloy wheels, nostril-free bonnet and the VT dash in piano black. Mine doesn’t have the accessory rear wing that I think detracts from its looks. It isn’t especially fast or loud, the bulletproof LS-1 only pumps out 225 killer watts. But I love every moment behind the wheel. Like a Monet, they don’t make ‘em anymore and you can still pick one up for as little as $25k… but not for much longer.

1969 FORD MUSTANG BOSS 302

To me the ’69Mustang is the high watermark and it’s no coincidence that Ford used a lot of its styling cues when creating the current pony car. The 69 Mustang also reminds me of my all-time favourite race car, Allan Moffat’s TransAm. Although the Boss 302 has enough grunt to get your attention, the suspension and brakes are, shall we say, average. But the flowing lines of the fastback, its wide hunkered down stance and that exhaust burble get me whenever I see one. I spotted an absolute turn-key, driveaway gem for $125,000 recently.

2017 HOLDEN SS-V REDLINE UTE

With the price of Aussie muscle cars getting beyond the reach of mere mortals, it got me thinking. I still want two-doors and comfort and versatility and plenty of performance and most importantly, I don’t want to mortgage my house. So a sports ute from the red or blue church ticks all the boxes. For me it’s the VF Series II SS-V Redline that is the best of the best. More than fast enough, the SS-V Redlne stops, handles and rides more than respectably, is very comfy inside with all the mod cons and has a good level of safety kit. Right now you can still grab one for around 60-grand but they will increase in value over time

FORD XB GT HARDTOP

‘The Great Australian Road Car’ is my top pick of any muscle car. Also a bit of a fantasy as any two-door hardtop example of the XA-XC generation has asking prices through the roof. But in my eyes, they’re the most gorgeous iteration of the Falcon’s most gorgeous generation.

To me, ‘the last GT’ defines 70s muscle, with loud colours and even louder 351s. Just 949 XB GT coupes had been produced by the time the plug was pulled in June 1976, and a lot less are probably still out there. Guido says there’s no budget for this one, so take this as one of my (many) ‘when-I-winTattslotto’ picks.

CHEVROLET CORVETTE C3 CONVERTIBLE

Confession: I’m a bit of a NASA nerd even though the Space Race took place decades before my time. Mostly spurred on by my other fascination of watchmaking – and the Omega Speedmaster ‘moonwatch’ in particular (which was actually originally a racing watch, not destined for space exploration, but I digress…).

Equally as synonymous with NASA’s Apollo program as the Omega chronograph, is the Chevrolet C3 Corvette, which were given to astronauts by GM.

They’re stupidly cheap compared to anything Australian, so give me an early-year model with chrome bumpers, a big block 427 and in convertible guise for those sunny days. And a Speedmaster.

CHEVROLET IMPALA SS HARDTOP

1965-1966 Impala Hardtops represent amazing value, and are wildly underappreciated here in Australia. They’re an imposing looking thing, with a long stretched out wheelbase, and horrific overhangs at each end. Big blocks weren’t as prevalent for those years, so if you wanted Chevrolet’s fabled 427 V8, you were likely talking to the salesman about an Impala. They’re rare finds here in Australia, but we’ve seen some neat examples with very attractive asking prices. Hundred-spokes and hydraulics are optional…

VALIANT VF PACER

For years the VG was the go-to thing but the round headlights and the “underdog” collector status of the VF always drew my attention. I think Pacers are a handsome thing in their vibrant colour schemes and go-fast stripes. My favourite feature of the VF Pacer is the dash mounted horizontal tach. I would love one in Cosmic Blue, hopefully I strike gold and find that untouched survivor VF Pacer that everyone forgot about.

1960/61 FORD STARLINER

I’m a sucker for big finned Fomoco products and have dreamt of owning a Starliner for years. These coupes have ties to Nascar and came with a variety of engine options including a 352FE backed with a manual 3-speed transmission. These unseen muscle cars would guarantee a crowd at any car show and give you a permanent grin.

VL TURBO COMMODORE

I cant go past the VL Turbo as my last pick. Ever since my brother owned a manual Berlina turbo I have had a soft spot for one and its actually nice to see people’s efforts in restoring these cars back to factory spec after years of neglect and modifications. The only issue I see is that their values have soared in recent years and NOS parts have reached insane prices making a future authentic restoration a costly one. Nevertheless I still desire to own a genuine absynth yellow BT-1. The long range tank, some venetians and dump tip exhaust – VL heaven!

PONTIAC FIREBIRD 1970–1975

By now you lot must know I’m a Charger freak and a big fan of the Torana Hatchback. But the prices! Believe it or not, I reckon there’s better value to be had in Yankee stuff, starting with the Pontiac Firebird. An early second-gen is my choice, and I’ll have it in metallic bronze so I can live out my Rockford Files fantasies. Doesn’t even need to be a Trans Am; an Esprit would do. I reckon one of these would swallow an LS1 no trouble at which point you’d have a ripper of a thing. This is how the HQ coupe rear window should have looked.

BUICK REGAL GRAND NATIONAL 1984–1987

The fastest accelerating car you could buy in the US at the time, the Grand National was such a change of direction for stodgy old Buick, decent working folk didn’t know what to make of it. But I know what I’d make of it. The 3.8-litre V6 copped a turbocharger for lots and lots of accessible performance and, in Australia, there’s a wealth of knowledge on making essentially the same motor from a Commodore go hard. Maybe the Grand National is a bit rare to mod? Okay, just give me a povvo-pack Regal and an L67 out of a supercharged VT and I’ll take care of the rest. Nobody said we had to agree on this stuff.

HOLDEN LX TORANA SL/R 5000 1976–1978

Okay, so I had to bung an Aussie hero in here somewhere. And, yes, I know the SL/R Trarna is a bit cliché, but only for the very best reasons. I’d love an A9X Hatch, but they’re bringing drug money, so a non-A9X sedan is probably the way to go. Even with four doors, those spoilers, wheel arch flares and one of the coolest black-out jobs ever conceived give the 5000 some dead-set punch. I’ve driven these things and they’re a big step up from the full-sized Holden hotties that went before them. You can probably thank the steering rack for that. Whatever – they work for me.

1967 HARDTOP FAIRLANE, NE, MERCURY OR GALAXIE

I’m not being too fussy here, as s any any one one of of those three options looks pretty y good, good, in in my view. It would have to be the he 390 390 V8, or larger and I reckon an auto would would be be just fine. The combination of the loooong swept-back roof, and the giant snout with the vertically-stacked headlights really does it for me. Done right, it’s as much muscle car as cruiser, which would be a good thing to play with on a sunny Sunday. I reckon mid to high 30s would pull in a decent one.

HOLDEN COMMODORE SS-V REDLINE

Okay, so I’m heading into the very late model territory here, but they’re not building them any more. Frankly I’d be a little tempted to get a wagon for its comparative rarity, but in any case I’d probably go for a manual sedan. A VF Series II would be my choice, in screaming red or that lairy green. And, most importantly, unmolested. They worked really well from the factory, and that’s how I’d like it delivered. Low forties would snare a good one.

CHEVROLET CORVETTE C4

I can’t resist a bargain and this generation Corvette qualifies. The minute you walk away from the chrome bumper era, the prices drop and the value soars – or so it would seem. Let’s look at an example. As I write this tradeuniquecaras.com.au has (through Prestige Motor Gallery in Sydney) a 1986 Targa top with the L98 5.7lt injected V8 and an auto. It’s decked out in leather, has power everything, air, and a nice set of 17-inch Aero wheels that I reckon suit it well. How much? $33k. To my way of thinking, that’s a lot of bang for the buck and I reckon these things are pretty easy on the eye.