UNCLE PHIL’S PICKS

UNCLE PHIL HAS TWO PROBLEMS AT THE MOMENT: 1. A HALF-FULL GARAGE; 2. A VERY FULL WALLET. THAT MEANS HE’S CASHED-UP AND DANGEROUS. HERE’S WHAT GOT HIS ATTENTION THIS MONTH.

PHIL WALKER

FIND ’EM ALL on tradeuniquecars.com.au, or go straight to the car by SCANNING THE QR CODES

1974 CHRYSLER CHARGER POLICE PACK

$42,000

WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE PROBLEM, OFFICER?

SINCE WE’RE RUNNING a cop theme this issue, I couldn’t go past this local rarity, a 1974 VJ Charger with the K10 coding for the Police Pack. The seller has tossed in a long list of police-car features, most noticeably the giant radio transmitter sitting under the dash. I may be a V8 nut, but if you’re going to have a six, the big Chrysler 265 is as good as they get for local sixes of this era, and you’ve got to like the fact there’s a floor-shift four-speed in the package. This is set up very much as a country cruiser throwback, with the front visor, the spotlights and protective mesh across the grille . It’s pretty hard to go wrong with a good Charger, and something like this with a bit of a story has to be worth a look.

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2005 MASERATI SPYDER $55,000

IT’S NOT THE ideal time of year to drive a convertible – well, for southerners – but it’s a great time to buy one. Winter’s rolling in and punters want something with a solid roof. So this Maserati could be an opportunity, if you’re thinking ahead to next summer. Some of you will have already worked out that I’m a sucker for a V8 – this year model scored one, the updated 4.3 litre aluminium, four-valve-head unit, with a healthy 287kW (385hp) and in this case a six-speed auto trans. This generation has heated seats, so you’ll survive Winter… SCANNING THE QR CODE

1979 DE TOMASO LONGCHAMP $78,000

HERE’S ONE TO make you stand out from the crowd. Just 409 were built between 1972 and 1989. So apparently they were slow but steady sellers. Or they forgot to stop building them.

And they wouldn’t have been cheap. Now while Euro-exotics might scare some of you, bear in mind these things run well-proven American mechanicals – namely a 351 Cleveland V8 with C6 auto. There were a handful of manuals, but good luck finding one. So, it will probably guzzle fuel, but it will be quick (they were good for 240km/h) and should be reliable. What’s not to like?

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1953 JAGUAR C-TYPE TRIBUTE $129,950

I’VE HAD SOFT-TOPS over the years, but never a race replica. Maybe it’s time that changed.

This C-type replica looks the goods. It runs triple Webers like the 1953 factory cars. They produced 220 horses – this one a little less perhaps in the interests of longevity. In any case, it’s an iconic shape and they can make a great road car on a sunny day. While it’s pricey, you need to remember that replicas are hand built. Plus, a D-type tribute just recently sold for over $140k.

Oh and a real C-type is worth several mil, so I can forget that as an option. This would do.

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1978 FORD CORTINA SIX $4000

RECKON YOU CAN’T find an affordable big-hearted Aussie car? Have a look at this TE Cortina from the final model run here. The TE scored the biggest engines ever screwed into the series. The Boss was the 250ci (4.1lt) Falcon six.

There was no question these things produced ample power (150kW or close to 200hp), but the extra weight in the nose combined with the steering geometry won them labels like ‘Lead-tipped arrow’. Still, modern rubber and fresh bushes all round will tame it a bit. It’s a lot of bang for the buck.

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1968 VOLVO P1800 S $48,000

WITH THE EXCEPTION of a few hopefuls, for years there weren’t many takers for a Volvo P1800. That’s because any time you mentioned the name (I’ve known people who would spell rather than say it – a bit like Voldemort in Harry Potter…), it brought up images of giant boxes with a wheel on each corner. It only took them a few decades, but they did eventually work out how to make boxes kinda sexy. Anyway, this comes from the factory’s pre-box styling period and, in its day, was a fairly exotic thing. The 1800cc four had by this time been upgraded to 85kW (112hp), good for a top speed of well over the old ton – not bad. Now the world market has rediscovered them and the prices are on the march.

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1972 FORD FALCON XA V8 $19,200

HERE’S MY TOP buying tip for the month: meet the seller. You don’t have to like them, but a conversation – preferably face-to-face – will tell you a whole lot of things about how the car has been looked after over the years. This humble Falcon had me scratching around for the readies when I read this: “My dad treasured this car. He was an old Greek guy who drove very little.” That tells me he may not have been a car expert, but he valued his machine and would have made damn sure it was looked after. It would have lived in a dry garage and you can bet your first-born that it was religiously taken in for servicing, whether it needed it or not. This thing will never be worth what the glam cars like the GTs and RPOs of this world are, but as a good solid V8 in a very seventies colour with auto it will do just fine.

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1976 HOLDEN HJ KINGSWOOD $13,500

SINCE WE’RE ON the topic of family-spec cars, cop this: a 1976 Kingswood with the almost compulsory 202 red motor and Trimatic. I’m not about to kick out my toys and fill the shed with old Aussie tackle, but I reckon cars like this are a great option for someone starting out as a collector.

They’re close to bulletproof, and can actually pay their way as family transport. Anyone who bought one a decade ago will be shocked at the price – but you don’t get a whole lot these days for under 10 large, unless you’re willing to get handy with the spanners. Mechanical parts are cheap, they’re simple to work on, though they understeer like a bastard. This was before Holden got serious and came out with its new ‘radial tuned suspension’ handling package.

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UNCLE PHIL’S PICKS

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