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 SUNBIRD My auntie drove a canary yellow Sunbird in the 80s, we laughed at it and called it the “fake” Torana at the time. She eventually traded it in on a VC Commodore for next to peanuts after nobody in the family wanted it. I regret that the Sunbird is not in the family.

THOMAS MCDONALD - BYFORD, WA

RENAULT 10

APRIL 1999

Who in the world would want to race a Renault 10? Also has anyone seen a similar one in the 20 years since this purposefully modified 10 was offered? A tidy and pretty much stock example sold recently at less than $10,000 so a car with Webers, a cage and flash wheels must be worth a bit more. Hopefully the vendor, buyer or current owner will be able to confirm that this very rare Renault has managed to survive and if it is still competing. Looking overseas for comparable cars in Europe and other places didn’t reveal hordes of available 10s so this one might rank with the best.

BMW 2002Tii

MARCH 1996

The 2002 was regarded in its day as the world’s best compact sports sedan. The carburettor cars did well in German domestic motor sport but even fuelinjected versions were outgunned in local touring car events. Enthusiast owners weren’t deterred and have pounced on any Tii that appeared in the market. Last year when tabulating the Value Charts for our British & European Value Guide we suggested a Tii of excellent quality would be worth $34,000. Looking at cars recently on offer in Europe it’s likely that number should continue to climb.

SUNBEAM ALPINE

APRIL 2004

The British-based Rootes Group may not have built very exciting cars but they sure could aim them at an appreciative market. The Alpine hit US showrooms in 1959 with a roomy cabin, carpet and wind-up windows to sell against BMC’s better handling but barren MGA. America didn’t care; clamouring to buy Alpines and continuing to do so even when the more civilised MGB arrived. Things were different in Australia where total sales of all Alpine models probably didn’t exceed 1000 cars and value movement today remains sluggish. This does look to be one of the better survivors.

NISSAN 240RS

AUGUST 2000

Here is one you might still be able to buy and for no more money than its NZ owner was asking 20 years ago. We believe this to be the same car that was campaigned over several years in Historic Rally events here and in New Zealand and which has recently been advertised in Australia, still at only $45,000. The 240RS was rear-wheel drive in an era of all-wheel drive Group B rally monsters but durability made it a natural for tough events like the African Safari. Considering the money being sought now for Group B Audis and Lancias, the big Nissan at $45K seems a bit of a bargain.

MG TF

APRIL 1986

Would have been handy to have this month’s featured DeLorean available so we could head back to 1986 to collect a few $15,000 MGs. A couple of years after this car was advertised the world went mad for T Series and especially the 1.5-litre TF Surveyed values during the late 1980s saw TF averages soar from $15,500 to more than $33,000 by 1989. There and above they have stayed, avoiding influence from forces that affect more exotic sports models. Harder to kill than a crocodile in a blast bunker we suspect this TF would still be alive and providing pleasure somewhere.

DMC DELOREAN

MAY 2001

No capacitor, flux or otherwise, to be seen and if this one did ever manage to reach 88mph you get the feeling there would be bits flying into the future well before you did. Never mind, it was a project for somebody. During its brief existence, DeLorean managed to find buyers for over 8000 cars; more than half of which are believed to survive. Should you not want to be messing with an old Irish-built version the current owners of the DMC brand will supply a new one for around US$100,000. Almost every Aussie car show includes a DeLorean so we imagine this car has survived.

ALFA ROMEO MONTREAL

DECEMBER 1999

Designed to showcase Italian excellence at the 1967 World Expo, Bertone’s Montreal spawned a road-going model that failed to do the business Alfa expected. Production began in 1970 and ended in 1977 and in between only 3925 of the stylish V8 were made. Of those, 180 were RHD cars and a lot less than that number came to Australia so they are rare and prices have been climbing. Recent local money has gone beyond $150,000 – understandable with 105 Series selling at $80K – and European results for LHD cars suggest that to be fair money for a RHD with good history.