ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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

Cliff Chambers

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

1955 PACKARD CLIPPER I would visit Melbourne frequently for business and eveytime I would catch a taxi through the CBD I would see a shiny black and white Clipper sitting in a dealer lot! The sparkling chrome and stainless would always catch my eye, I still wish I had stopped to have a look at the Packard. The dealer and the Clipper are long gone making way for another drive through coffee shop. Where did my dream car go?

STEVEN DREWS - UNDERWOOD, QLD

ASTON-MARTIN VOLANTE

APRIL 2004

Not saying the owner was wrong in dating this car as 1987 but with early-style wheels and lacking the later versions’ array of driving lights it does look more like a 1980-82 model. Whatever its DOB, this is a very scarce car on Australian shores and the money being asked, assuming it wasn’t a UK refugee and horribly afflicted by rust, looked enticing. Volantes for sale across the world now typically bring around double the money being asked 15 years ago, so did this tidy example manage to stay in this country or succumb to an offer from a larger, more active Aston market?

BMW 2000CS

JUNE 1993

A 1960s shape that was still evident in BMWs built 20 years later can’t have been all that bad. However, the perfectly-proportioned BMW 2000C (and later CS) suffered from ‘great body, shame about the face’ syndrome and that hurt sales. BMW’s desire to incorporate unwieldy lighting units and its ‘double kidney’ emblem into the design left the front panel looking like it belonged on a totally different car. That would change with the arrival in 1971 of the handsome 2800CS but the harm was done and hardly any of the 2000CS made their way to Australia.

FERRARI 308GT LIGHTWEIGHT

JANUARY 1996

A Ferrari with its body made from fibreglass? Surely not? Well for a few months during the late 1970s you could indeed buy brand new a 308GT ‘Vetroresina’, however only 700 or so people did before bodybuilder Scaglietti switched to steel and the 308 gained 135kg. Some arrived in Australia as new cars and more have been brought in by enthusiasts; often sourced from SE Asia or the UK. Rust still afflicted areas of the structure still made from steel which hurt longevity and values took ages to move, with buyers taking a sceptical view of the ‘plastic Fantastic’.

FORD MUSTANG II COBRA

JUNE 2000

Australians almost completely lost their desire to own a Mustang once the restyled and underpowered Mustang II was launched. Never mind that in the USA the ‘eco-Stang’ easily outsold the previous design, it looked frumpy and to Australian eyes wasn’t desirable at all. A few of these Cobra models did come in via adventurous dealers during the 1970s but they didn’t excite collectors very much. Not even the arrival via Ford Australia in 2001 of ‘official’ Cobra Mustangs could bolster prices being achieved by early ones and $12,500 had quite likely been a struggle.

CHEVROLET IMPALA HARDTOP

OCTOBER 1999

Basic criteria apply when identifying a viable collector car and this Aussie-built 1960s Chev fulfils the important ones. It looks to be absolutely as it left the factory, including correct wheels and rego plates. The majority of its life was spent with the original owner and presumably there would be paperwork to document its earlier days. Finally – and in Australia this is an important attribute – it came with an airconditioner. The price was typical of money being achieved at the time for a decent Impala and we are sure subsequent owners would be happy with the way values have grown.

HSV VN CLUBSPORT

APRIL 2000

We suspect that unless it had covered only a few kilometres during its first decade of existence, this VN Clubbie at $18,500 would have taken some time to sell. When new these cars had been listed at $33,320 and dealers would have been very unlikely by 2000 to be offering more than $12,000 as a trade-in Only 410 of the VN version were sold yet scarcity had little influence on value. Even today, almost 30 years after introduction, these early Clubsports need to be in outstanding condition to consistently make more than their original price.

1970 DODGE CORONET SUPER BEE

FEBRUARY 2007

The Super Bee is not a model to be very often found fluttering across the Australian landscape and cars like this well-preserved 1970 model remain scarce. The situation eases a bit should you have the opportunity to do your Mopar shopping in the Land Where Dodge Was Born but quality cars are still on the scarce side. Should you find a dealer or auction house with an excellent 383 auto Super Bee in stock it will be unlikely to leave unless at least US$40,000 changes hands. Stumble on one in the local market and a numbers-matching car will be 50 per cent higher than that.