ONES THAT GOT AWAY

CLIFF CHAMBERS

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

Tell us in 60 words the car you should have bought, or were lucky enough to buy!

JOHN WILLIAMS - LAUNCESTON, TAS

1967 TOYOTA CROWN “I was tempted by this one. It was in the local paper for a whole $700 about 10 years ago and it seemed in pretty straight condition. Wasn’t perfect, but it was all there and seemd to run okay. Seemed like a lot of money at the time, now I’d love to have it!”

DECEMBER 1989 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL

NOW $80,000 $250- 300,000

Help needed here from the Bentley fanciers.

This car appears to be the well-documented and unique Hooper-bodied Continental S2 which was sold recently in the UK. The main structure, coach-lines and window design are identical but there are significant changes to the design of the front end which may have been made later in life. When sold by Coys in 2015 the car was said to have spent time in Japan, but no mention of 20 years in Australia. Is this the same car or are there in fact two S2 Hooper Continental Sports Sedans kicking around?

SEPTEMBER 2007 FORD TL50

NOW $ 23,000 $15-18,500 1

Tickford’s attempt to inject excitement into the AU Falcon failed abjectly and that’s a shame because the cars it built were remarkably good.

The Fairlane-based TL50 cost more than the market would accept and sold in very small numbers. However if you have one you probably enjoy the experience. Rarest of the TL version are 5.6-litre T3s, of which only three apparently exist. The 5.0-litre T1 and T2 are more common but don’t expect a car like this to appear in the for sale section every month. Values during the past decade have drifted downwards, so not a bad bargain if you find one.

MARCH 1986 AC ACE

NOW $45,000 $450-500,000

The car that donated its shape if not its heart to create the Shelby Cobra also enjoys a very decent collector following. AC started building 2.0-litre Ace roadster in 1953, later adding Bristol and 2.6-litre Ford engines. Early, smallengined versions are less valuable but that isn’t to say that you’re in line for a bargain if you go for a pre-Bristol version. At the time of writing an Ace that could be this car (now supercharged with a five-speed transmission) was being advertised at $450,000. Similar values have been achieved in the USA and UK.

DECEMBER 1991 ARMSTRONG-SIDDELEY SAPPHIRE

$16,500 $19,500- 22,000

If during the 1950s you were mayor of a minor population centre or a social-climbing business owner you might well have been chauffeured in one of these impressive saloons. It was no accident that Armstrong- Siddeley’s Sapphire was shaped to resemble a Rolls-Royce or ‘Empress Line’ Daimler or that they were viewed as a ‘poor man’s Rolls’.

Sapphires were quite familiar sights on Australian roads until the 1980s when age and lack of spares caught up with all but a few. The 1991 asking price for this car was high but not far off the money in today’s sluggish market.

AUGUST 1988 LANCIA FLAMINIA 3C SUPER SPORT

$ 35,500 $270- 300,000 3

Ask Manuel from Fawlty Towers his opinion on classic Lancia pricing and the response will be familiar and predictable. “He go crazy”. Not long back you could buy a standard Flaminia coupe for $30-40,000 and get into a Spider for under $100K. But then something happened and almost every car built prior to 1975 by the neardefunct Italian maker has become immensely desirable. Only 150 Super Sports Flaminias similar to this one were made and survivors are very scarce, leading Northern Hemisphere values for excellent cars to reach A$300,000.

NOVEMBER 1989 CADILLAC ELDORADO BIARRITZ

$150,000 $270- 300,000

Australia’s most famous 1959 Cadillac has been through a lot since shipped to these shores 56 years ago. In the hands of its current owner, Australia’s only ’59 Biarritz underwent a further complete restoration and colour change from garish red to its original Persian Sand (an elegant shade of pink) with matching interior. The RHD conversion that strips value from many high-end US models was also reversed.

This car also popped up for sale in January 2008 for $900k+. Similar vehicles have been recently offered at US$180,000, so all that expense and effort is being recouped.

NOVEMBER 2007 HOLDEN EH PREMIER -

$22,000 $34-38,000

Look back a decade and any EH Premier priced above $20,000 was likely to be an exceptional car. Despite a boom in musclecar values at the time, the money available for earlier models remained depressingly low and vendors needed some show history or other incentives to get their phones ringing.

Today’s market still demands quality and distinguishing features like the EH’s pleated leather trim are essential when attempting to secure top money. That said, an EH in similar condition to this one will go close to doubling its 2007 value.