UNCLE PHILíS PICKS

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PHIL WALKER

CLASSIC CAR GURU UNCLE PHIL HAS BEEN CASTING HIS EYE OVER THE UNIQUE CARS CLASSIFIEDS. IF YOUíRE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR A SUMMER ROAD TRIP, HEREíS THE CREAM OF THIS MONTHíS CROP

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1977 CHRYSLER $18,000 VALIANT DRIFTER

If the vanís a-rockingÖ I ACTUALLY feel a bit shamefaced that Iíve never owned a Valiant Drifter.

Almost by stealth itís become an integral piece of Aussie car culture, and while I can still remember what I was doing back in 1977, it would certainly have been aided and abetted by a wagon like this. These days, Iím not so sure that this would fit into my lifestyle, and Iíd probably have the cops pulling me over looking for baling twine and ether in the back, but the idea of driving a car that looks as if it has just leapt off a Hot Wheels card doesnít really get old and besides, my Shelby is pretty much useless for hauling spare wheels about for track days. This one comes with a set of the original orange wheels as well as the Sankey Benson mags fitted. The Impact Orange paint still retains its pop and this oneís fitted with options A53 (Sport Pack), C16 (Auto console shift), E33 (265ci hemi donk), G15 (Laminated/tinted graduated screen) and R82 (radio). It looks good buying at just $18,000, needing just a bit of tidying to make it a real minter.

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1970 LOTUS EUROPA S2 $19,000

NOW HEREíS a bit of a left-fielder, ideal for the reader with a garage and a bit of time on their hands. If you like the challenge of sourcing rare parts, bringing neglected paint back to life and owning one of the most individual sports car shapes of the last half century, this 1970 Lotus Europa has your name all over it. Itís been in dry storage for the last thirty years, has a very tidy interior and no crash damage, but the 1565cc Renault engine of this left-hook US import is in need of recommissioning. Known as the Type 65, this Yankee version got the 80hp Renault lump which replaced the 1474cc 78hp unit.Showing 63,263 miles, it even comes with the original factory workshop manual. Norfolk Ďn good.

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HSV CLUBSPORT TOURER $42,500

FOR ABOUT the same price as a new mid-spec Mondeo diesel wagon you could have this 6.2-litre 317kW slug of black on black ballistics. Itís got 20-inch W427 wheels, an amped-up Alpine stereo, an XBOX with twin fold down DVD screens in the rear and full iPod connectivity. It appears well looked after, with RWC and a fully stamped-up service record. After you unlock every achievement in Forza Motorsport, youíll never tire of that LS3 small block, at least thatís what the work experience kid reckons. At this price, youíll be hard pressed to better this combo of practicality and performance. Low-vis never looked so good.

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1998 TOYOTA CENTURY VG40 $15,000

I LOVE these oddball-spec Japanese sedans.

This Toyota Century looks like something thatís just driven straight off the lot of You Only Live Twice. With authentic Tokyo cabbie-style headrest doilies, itís got that perfect old-school 1970s chrome bumper look but underneath is late- í80s tech with just 23,600 kilometres on the odo.

Thereís a Japanese service history that we canít read and some funky gear like electric heated and massaging seats, a rear fridge, eight electric windows, a ten-stack CD, two car phones and fully functional TEMS electrically-controlled shocks.

Inept henchmen not included.

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1995 MG RV8 $30,000

I HEARD fellow journo Andy Enright talking up the MG RV8 the other week and I realised it was a car that had flown under my radar a bit. At the Geelong Revival I had the opportunity to take a good look at one and I can see why Enright thinks these are undervalued. The 3.9-litre Buick V8s sound fantastic and I like the way that MG has kept the classic feel in the cabin with some lovely burr elm veneers, keep-fit windows and soft leather.

They drive in a retro way with a taper-leaf rear end but the torque-sensing diff is a welcome fitment.

The handling will keep you on your toes, but theyíll still step to 100km/h in just 6.1s. Now whereís my flat cap and whippet?

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