Might need stretch the budget ever slightly you’re master negotiator) iconic Japanese hero nigh $30,000 mark you’re willing some elbow grease clean the infinitely more affordable, really want. There’s little better sound carburetted L-series engine, mixed with 240z’s superior and you’re winner!



with E21 traditionally wayside amongst esteemed siblings succeeded E30, have heard actually prefer the and they’re affordably priced you compare anything Australian and collectible equal vintage. There’s couple sale, anywhere between $5000 $15,000. fussed about engine handsome cruiser, give manual whatever



I’ve shouldn’t dive first with 60s?! With classic three proportions dorky quad headlight end, somewhat reminiscent squished Corvair, incredibly charming humble little sedan. There’s lovely restored example classifieds just $13,000, and been retrofitted with larger 1800cc motor! Sign



During those impressionable teen years I was seduced by the flow of California Dreamin’ culture from music, magazines, TV and movies. While my palate has broadened a bit since then the fondness for The Beach Boys, little deuce coupes, and Harley bobbers lingers. A couple of Californian Bruces reached out to me for their particular contributions – Bruce Brown for On Any Sunday, and Bruce Meyers for the Meyers Manx buggy. A VW, Sir? – Yes please. I’ll take mine as a Meyers Manx. Make it one that’s only ever been driven by a little old lady to the beach on Sunday. And I get that I’ll need $20,000-plus.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $30K


Wet behind the ears and in my first proper job at GMH, the most exciting car I’d sampled was an X2-186 HR ute. Pretty good, but it had limited grip at the rear when you gave it the berries away from the lights. The magic ‘ton’ was unusually and pleasingly accessible though, for a Holden. At that stage Japanese cars were more or less invisible to me. That is until a mate turned up in his Prince 2000GT… Wow. Long bonnet. Short boot. Purposeful stance. Four speeder. And that sweet six sucking sonorously through triple 40DCOEs. Reliving that dream could cost me $30,000 or more.

PRICE RANGE: $25 to $30K+


Just as I applaud Subaru for bucking conformity with its boxer-motor, and Mazda back in the day for being out there and rotary-powered, I love it that GM avoided the conventional choices Ford and Chrysler adopted for their new (US market) compacts in 1960. Who knew the stuffy old ‘General’ could do radicalism? Fresh styling. Four-wheel independentsuspension. Rear engine. It’s a flat six. And air-cooled… That was the Corvair, a lovely poor-man’s Porsche. Then it was damned for its swing-axle rear-suspension set-up, a feature it shared with Renault, Mercedes-Benz, VW and Porsche, among others. A coupe or a soft-top for me, hopefully for around $25,000.

PRICE RANGE: $18 to $25K


I’ve loved the 504 ever since I drove a mate’s over a cliff (long story) many, many years ago. It was an early example with the trapezoidal headlights and the arguably sweeter 1800cc engine. And aside from the slow steering (and its propensity to hurl itself off the nearest parapet) I couldn’t find anything to dislike. Okay, the tree-fell-on-it bootline is a bit weird, but those armchair front seats, slick gearshift and ability to hammer along in comfort over truly indifferent surfaces was a revelation for a kid like me, raised on old Holdens and early LandCruisers. Gimme, gimme.

PRICE RANGE: $6 to $16K


I horrified my mates at Motorclassica recently by coming over all gooey at the sight of an early Toyota Crown. But since this is my shot at fame, they can all go to buggery, because I love these old Ginza Mafia staff-cars. My pick is the MS65 which got the colour-coded, wrap-around bumpers and the extra grille on top of the standard one you got for free with any car. A lot were manuals (nice) and I’ll take mine in shiny jet black with those crazy, white-lace doilies on the seat-backs, straight from a Tokyo taxi. Which, by the way, is still the most fun way to get a ride in a Crown. It just won’t be an MS65 these days.

PRICE RANGE: $4 to $9K


How’s this for an equation: Tremendous driving car, Bathurst heritage and lots of appreciation potential. And club-permit qualifications. We’re talking the AE82 and AE93 models here and while everybody wants a hatchback, these days, you wouldn’t pass up a Seca liftback version either. Which ever way you go, you’ll get that ripping little 4A-GE 16-valve screamer with its 7600rpm redline and more personality than a Davy Reynolds family reunion. You need to watch out for examples that are stuffed, and for that reason, I’d go for the stronger-bodied AE93. Hell, I actually prefer the Seca.

PRICE RANGE: $3 to $10K


A mate of my dad’s had the Prime Minister, although his was supplied new. All-leather trim with an interior the size of the Menzies (him again) Ballroom and not a seat-belt or air-bag in sight. Under the side-lift bonnet an engine to make other eight-cylinder power units cringe – at least until Chrysler unleashed its Hemi V8. The straight-eight in the Roadmaster wasn’t huge – a tad larger than five litres – but it produced extraordinary torque. That will cut you no slack though when the bill for eight-pot rego arrives. Buick clubs around the country can help find one for less than the $30K budget limit.

PRICE RANGE: $25 to $30K


Most would have seen photos the famous ex-Allan Moffat ‘banana back’ F-Truck with his TransAm Mustang or a GTHO Falcon on board. Well I want one just like it as a practical way of taking two vehicles to a show or dropping your other cars off for service. Donor F350s are easy to find, albeit a bit underpowered with the stock 4.1-litre engine but swapping to a 5.8-litre V8 (or perhaps even the later 7.3-litre diesel?) is permitted under historic rego rules. You and two beefy mates will easily fit across the massive front bench and while long-distance travel won’t be quiet or comfortable in one of these it will be entertaining.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $30K

Yes, another and among smallest mass-produced eight cylinders you find. mix Jaguar’s timeless Mark 2 styling, the traditions of timber and leather and a lovely growl from the exhaust and this hybrid does turn heads. Downsides include a propensity for the complex Jag body to rust from under you and need for constant maintenance, however most parts remain available. Personal preference is for the later 1967-69 cars with slimmer bumpers. When buying, ensure the trim is intact and the alloy-head V8 isn’t overheating.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $25K


These locally assembled cars were once a common sight but have now vanished from the road. You couldn’t find a better cruiser with pure wow factor and feel good vibes with a unique tie to Aussie car manufacturing and American ancestry.

The large dinner plate taillights illuminate the night sky and they had more than enough room for the family and the boot space for an entire BBQ. Find one with a solid body and a great two-tone paint combo and preserve a local tank.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $30K


The EA was unloved compared to the EB, but if you want to strike a conversation driving your “Collector car” the Brock EA is sure to do it. Over the years I have seen these cars sitting on the market at the $12-25K range. Rust and neglect would be the enemy and trying to replace distinct enhancements such as the wheels and body kit might be challenging, nevertheless a worthwhile candidate on your shopping list.



We all are witnessing the massive price hike in 80s Commodores. I have always loved the VH and have never paid attention to the VB & VC due to my preference of the VH grille and taillights. Trawling the market it’s nice to see that you can still pick up a tidy VH SL/E 253 under $25K. These are great looking cars and the SLE is well equipped with all the luxury options of the era and some great styling features the lower models lacks Get your hands on a stock car in a nice shadow tone combo before they are totally un-affordable. Restore it and enjoy the journey.



Holden selected the 3-litre RB30 Nissan engine to stick in their VL Commodore when unleaded fuel was introduced, as their 202 couldn’t hack the new nectar. And what a motor, turbine smooth and quiet, until you nailed the throttle then it had a nice bark and a good deal of urge. I like the distinctive look of the Calais that differed from the Commodores with its semi concealed headlights, alloy wheels etc. The interior was plush and its spec was about as good as you could get back in the day. They still look pretty good today but finding a decent one might take some hunting.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to 30K


Believe thirty grand. mooted as a replacement for the 911 until the schnapps was banned from board meetings and common sense returned. But the first V8 front engine, rear drive Porsche is a damn good thing with plenty of grunt, even from the smaller 4.5-litre engine in the early models. It also had a near perfect 50-50 weight balance helping it get around corners far better than any other luxo GT cars of the time. The pick of the pride is the last model made, the 928 GTS but that will set you back well north of $30k.

PRICE RANGE: $25 to 30K


A slight change of pace here and I confess to a deep love of the adorable 2CV And before you laugh, it has loads of cred, having starred in James Bond’s For Yours Eyes Only. I’ve never owned one but love the simplicity and cleverness, like the full-length canvas sunroof and removable seats. There are literally millions around having been made from 1947 to the mid 1980s. A slightly tweaked mobility cart will hose it at the lights and you need to be friendly with your passenger as changing gear often results a a bit of knee fondling such is the odd placement of the gear lever. And don’t even try to get up even the slightest gradients… it won’t. But if I could just have one car under 30 grand and over 30 years old it’s this. You can pick them up anywhere between

PRICE RANGE: $15 to $25K


I reckon, ultimately, all it takes for this to work is the right car at the right time. Really, it could be a Benz, a Nissan, a Ford, even a Jag… it doesn’t matter. All you need is an interesting car with a bit of age and you’re off on an adventure. So, following my own buying habits, I have to say E24 BMW, don’t I? Maybe, but let’s look at the alternatives. There’s one glaring piece of unfinished business on my shopping list, and that’s an MGB. Light, simple, ragtop, and a well set-up one handles very well and can be surprisingly quick on a tight road. You’d have to find the right one, because despite their simplicity they have the potential to be a money pit. That means buying one that someone has lavished attention on. Even so, a very good one will cost $20k, while something truly exceptional might climb to $30k. In any case, I reckon they’re one of the remaining classic car bargains.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $30K.


Next on my list – and, yes, I admit to being a glutton for punishment – is an XJS Jag, a V12. In fact, I may have just bought one by mistake. Complex, prone to rust, patchy build quality, what’s not to like? Seriously, I reckon these things can’t stay cheap forever, particularly when you see how far north prices of their predecessors, the E-type, have gone. I reckon it’s one of those cars that requires courage and patience to own, but the rewards are potentially very high. I have this vision of sitting behind a snout long enough to have its own postcode, with the V12 purring away, and generally feeling pretty damned pleased with life. A decent one is still under $20k, which is ridiculously low when you consider what they cost new.

PRICE RANGE: $12 to $30K


Next, something that’s a total contrast, a VJ Valiant wagon. I think our neighbour had one when I was a kid and my lasting impression was of sheer acreage. Really, the idea of something big enough to live in (you never know…), with a giant simple six in its snout has huge appeal. It’s going to roll around like a drunken sailor if you push it in turns, and in pretty much every way it has a serious case of the seventies. But that’s okay. I reckon there’s still some magic in having a battleship cruiser that you could pack for a month away and not have to worry about once you’d topped up the oil. There’s one on our website (TradeUniqueCars.com.au) for $16k and I’m a bit tempted…

PRICE RANGE: $16 to $30K


Launched In 1988 – And Now 30 Years old – the VN’s fast but frugal optional fuel-injected V8 (from mid ’89) was a game-changer, available in every model and pouring the foundation for Holden Special Vehicles’ first decade. Mine is a two-owner (father, then son) Phoenix Red 1989 Calais V8 auto. If you want one, move quick as NSW car nuts are joining the H-plate party and grabbing the last remaining good ones that weren’t destroyed by P-platers last decade or hoovered-up by Victorian enthusiasts since H-plate eligibility five years ago. For now, $30K will get you three minty Executive/ Berlina V8s (grab a wagon for extra cool) two Calais or one SS – with some change.

PRICE RANGE: $20 to $30K


Built in their millions from t he mid-1940s until 2003, the little Beetle is the world’s most recognised car. Popularity – plus almost unbelievable reliability and durability – means that plenty survive and when it comes to spare/reproduction parts, the Bug is one of the world’s best-supported cars. Most Aussie Bugs were manufactured here; production and sales ended in 1976. Most people can’t tell the difference but the Super Beetle (from 1971) had much better body and suspension. Karmann-built Beetle Cabriolet was not officially sold here but is the top of the tree for many Bug nuts. Private imports – especially from USA where EFI and precise rack-and-pinion steering became standard in 1976 – mean there is always something for sale for

PRICE RANGE: $25 to $30K

MAZDA MX-5 (NA) 1989-1997

Everything Old becomes new again – and so it was for the Mazda MX-5 in 1989. Mazda looked to the past – to cars such as the MGB, Sprite, Lotus Elan and various other small, drop-top European sporties – for inspiration for its no-nonsense drop-top roadster that recreated a forgotten category of car. Somehow, the MX-5 managed to combine drop-top heritage with a design and style that was futuristic and timeless at the same time. Amazing! A ‘proper’ sports chassis with double A-arm suspension both ends, revvy and willing injected DOHC 1600 motor (adapted from the 323 hatch) and snickety-snick five-speed manual created one of the world’ great drivers’ cars… and it remains so. These are three for $30K, but not for much longer, I don’t think…

PRICE RANGE: $12 to $30K