ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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

CLIFF CHAMBERS

Tell us in 60 words the one you should have bought. Or were clever enough to snap up.

Send your tale to uniquecars@bauertrader.com.au with ‘Gotaways’ in the title

GARY KIMBLE - PORT AUGUSTA, BLE STA, SA

2000 PORSCHE 911 GT3 Last year I had the opportunity to buy a tidy GT3 for the sum of $98,000. That was a serious amount for me, but the way prices were rising, I thought I might be able to own my dream car without it losing me any money. Before I could sort the finance, it sold.

I’ve just seen the same car on sale for $160k. You snooze, you lose, eh? 20 GT wa wit

NOVEMBER 1998 FORD XD PHASE 5

Nothing in the world improves the look of an XD like a set of monster wheels and Group C guard flares. When ex-Ford designer Wayne Draper revived the revered ‘HO’ suffix there was perhaps some hope that the factory would take his hint and again build Falcons with some muscle and mumbo. But it didn’t happen. Someone will know just how many of these very macho XDs were made but could be fewer than 50.

One drowned in the 2011 Brisbane floods but hopefully this striking car survives.

SEPTEMBER 2004 FERRARI TESTAROSSA

Big, imposing 12-cylinder cars had been Ferrari’s headline act since the 1960s and not even the odd fuel crisis was going to stop devotees from buying them. The Testarossa (as opposed to the 1950s Testa Rossa TR250 that sells for mega-money) followed in the tyre trails of the Boxer but sold in prolific numbers. For a Ferrari anyway. More than 7000 were built from 1984-91 but only 438 of those were factory RHD, so there’s a helping hand for this low-mileage car. UK sources put high-end Testarossas at close to £120,000 so this one should have also gained a bit.

SEPTEMBER 1986 VANDEN PLAS 1100

If it wasn’t rust 30 years ago that was threatening to wipe out virtually every BMC 1100 it was terminal suspension failure. The ADO16 was an advanced car for its time but complexity was also the design’s downfall.

Higher-spec versions like the Vanden Plas survive in relatively high numbers, due in part to Japanese collectors who spent vast amounts on full restorations including new leather and timber interiors. Around 20 were brought to Australia for sale through BMC dealers, however they are rarely seen now on local roads. Values haven’t kept pace with inflation.

OCTOBER 1997 POSTAL JEEP

What earthly good is a Jeep that only drives through one set of wheels and has a steering wheel where the passenger is meant to sit?

In the USA a two-wheel drive, RHD Jeep only has one purpose and that is to clear deliver mail and clear roadside posting boxes. ‘Postal’ Jeeps date from 1956, with DJ-5 versions like this continuing until 1984. Plenty survive from a production run of about 9000 but most in US ‘for sale’ ads are tatty. Even in excellent order, a DJ-5 won’t cost a lot, so finding, freighting and registering one should cost less than A$10,000,

MAY 2004 CITROEN TRACTION AVANT

Front-wheel drive Citroens from the 1930s weren’t as radical as the DS that succeeded them but were still very advanced cars for their era. Running on Michelin radials so narrow they could double as bread-slicers, Light 15s sat low and could be hurled around at indecent speeds. Most of our cars are post-WW2 sedans, whereas the Roadster was pulled from production in 1940 and is extremely rare – so rare that replicas are being made. Cars for sale are scarce too and it came as no surprise to see one offered in the USA at A$225,000.

DECEMBER 1997 PEUGEOT 203 & 403 CABRIOLETS

“There’s just one thing that’s been bothering me, sir...” Just how did a Columbo-style Peugeot 403 Cabriolet and its less common 203 sibling wind up nestled in the leafy environs of the Australian Capital Territory?

Diplomatic cast-offs seems the most likely explanation so we will assume that someone attached to an embassy was at some point cruising Mugga Way in a drop-top Pug.

They look to be in salvageable condition so hopefully a Francophile negotiated a price and took them away.

SEPTEMBER 1995 JAGUAR MARK 2 3.8 MANUAL

For every boom there is a bust and cars that flew high during the 1980s were, by 1995, very often shot ducks. A recession that wouldn’t go away and nervous buyers meant that even Jags like this Opalescent Blue beauty were going to struggle. Values for top-quality manual Mark 2s had at times gone beyond $50,000 but just couldn’t stay there, even with Great Train Robber and Touring Car affiliations. E Type prices have recently begun to go ballistic and Mark 2s are likely to follow, ensuring hot demand for cars like this.