ONES THAT GOT AWAY

Apr ’05 – Ford XY Falcon GS351 Utility

CLIFF CHAMBERS

The cars we should have bought or ar e just glad we didn’t...

Apr ’05 – Ford XY Falcon GS351 Utility

Freddie Gibson’s ‘shop ute’ is one of the best-known commercial vehicles in Australia and would inevitably crop up for sale at some point in Unique Cars. Sometimes we speculate on the whereabouts and condition of Gotaways subjects but with this one we can report the news as all good. The distinctive XY ute is currently back in the market; still looking stunning but now plastered with logos and decals in the styles it would have carried when under Gibson ownership. The only major alteration is to the price which is around three times its 2005 level.

Then $27,000 Now $65-75,000

Apr ’89 – XE Falcon Dick Johnson Turbo

When Dick Johnson discovered there would be no more factorymade performance Falcons, the Queenslander simply tried to build his own. With Scheel seats, a Garrett-boosted 4.1-litre six, flares and Tru Blu paint, Johnson’s XEs would reach 100km/h from re st in 7.1 seconds. That compared with a stodgy 8.4 from the XE 5.8 ESP.

Only 30 of the turbo Fords were made and they have never excited collectors to a huge degree. Most that appear in the market are well kept and should bring slightly more than the $28,000 being sought in 1989 by an ambitious vendor.

Then $27,999 Now $28-35,000

Apr ’02 – HK Monaro GTS 186S

Fifteen years isn’t a long time in the context of automotive history but long enough for response to this Monaro’s price tag to switch from ‘They’re joking’ to ‘Grab it!’. Looking at this magnificent Warwick Yellow HK with everything in showroom-perfect condition you can understand the seller’s desire for maximum cabbage. However, $20K was more than most people were paying at the time for GTS 327s and this was just a 186S. Currently a car of this model and quality will have eager buyers queued around the corner and $80k is not out of the question.

Then $19,750 Now $70-80,000

Mar ’89 – Holden Torana A9X Lightweight Ma To ana

Bearing in mind that 1989 was right in the midst of Australia’s first performance car ‘boom’, this significant A9X was ridiculously cheap. At the time ‘normal’ A9X Hatches were nudging $30,000 and people were talking about Phase 3 Falcons reaching $100,000 so one of two lightweight A9Xs at this price was a bargain. When spotted by Unique Cars at a ‘Tribute To Torana’ event in 2004 it was unregistered due to compliance plate issues. However we doubt the ability to drive it to the shops will affect the desirability of this particular muscle car.

Then $37,000 Now $250,000+

Oct ’07 – Ford XR GT Gallaher Special O t F d

So, it’s 1967, you are a car nut, your employer sells Irish cigarettes and is sponsoring a major motor race. As a sales rep you get a company vehicle and what they give you to help promote the brand is a Falcon identical (almost) to the race winner but painted in the company colours. I mean seriously, you wouldn’t even ask what the salary was. Just eight XR GT Gallaher Specials were produced and a couple of verifiable cars survive in outstanding condition. This one was offered in 2007 at huge – but at the time reasonable – money and still appears at Ford events.

Then $425,000 Now $250,000+

Mar ’86 – CDT Gemini Turbo

Holden’s baby desperately needed a performance version but the manufacturer was starngely reticent. Eventually the gap was filled by Gemini racer James Faneco who put together a deal with rural Holden dealers to form the Country Dealer Team and offered participating dealers a range of dress-up and performance kits to pay the bills. For homologation purposes, 500 cars were supposedly built but that total is questionable. Turbocharged Stage 3 cars are very scarce and still not exorbitantly expensive.

Then $12,500 Now $16-20,000

Nov ’98 – Bolwell Nagari Roadster

If this car had been built with an exotic badge and sold into Europe and the USA, asking prices would by now have cracked the $1 million barrier and any available car fought over by panting collectors. Just 12 open-topped Bolwell Nagaris were built – plus perhaps a few converted coupes – and values in the only country where anyone even knows what they are haven’t yet reached $100,000. This car at almost $40,000 in 1998 was just dearer than our Value Guide Condition 1 price at the time but whoever bought it is likely to still be grinning.

Then $39,950 Now $85-100,000

Mar ’90 – Chrysler Charger E38

Despite scarcity and a Series Production heritage, this Charger was by 1990 just another cheap and clapped-out old performance car.

The asking price at the time would have bought a decent Toyota Corona and while an E38 in similar condition would today be gleefully seized upon for restoration, 25 years ago it was most likely seen as a source of spare parts to help keep a better one running.

Hopefully it didn’t meet that fate because only 316 E38 Chargers were built and excellent survivors are now vastly more valuable than was a banged up example with patchwork-quilt paint.

Then $6900 Now $100-110,000 (restored)

Sept ’95 – Chrysler VC V8 Wagon

In 1965 Chrysler slotted a V8 into its Valiant Regal and radically altered the Australian car market. A year later the handsome VC series appeared and brought with it the first Australian-built ‘family’ V8 wagon. The sedan remained more popular though and locating a wagon is a real challenge. We’re hoping this one survives and remains in similar condition to when it was decorating Michael Finnis’ South Australian sales yard. At a tough time for car sellers the 1995 money was fair and would have climbed considerably due to recent heightened interest in 1960s Valiants.

Then $6990 Now $20-25,000