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!

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

1979 SKODA 110R My uncle drove a 70’s Skoda Target back in Europe for many years but had a ‘79 110R stashed on his rural property in the early 1990s. He offered it to me for free but shipping to Australia was out of the question then as a poor student. The Skoda is now long gone.

TONY JASMU - CHESTER HILL, NSW

JULY 2001 HOLDEN HK MONARO EX NORM BEECHEY

NOW $25,000 $100,000+ (UNRESTORED)

Here’s a challenge for all the sleuths and Secret Squirrels; where did this very famous Australian touring car go? We know it was bought from Beechey and raced by collector Peter Briggs in the 1970s.

There is a report that it was offered in the early 1990s, as a wreck, to Briggs who believed the car he was to shown to be genuine but beyond salvation so he passed on the deal. A decade or so later a car purporting to be the Beechey HK resurfaces but again there is apparently no sale and the car is still deemed ‘lost’. Do you own it or know where it is?

DECEMBER 1989 STANDARD VANGUARD STATION SEDAN

NOW $850 15,000+ (RESTORED) 85 $15,0 RESTO

The advertisement says ‘ rare unit’ but perhaps the vendor didn’t realise just how rare or the price might have been set somewhat higher. Visits to places with information on very early Vanguards suggest that there are very few Phase 1 wagons in existence and perhaps only one (located in the UK) still in anything approaching ‘show’ condition. One was discovered dumped and derelict in Canada but there seem to be no others in Australia. We do fervently hope that this car’s significance encouraged the buyer to invest some time and dollars into its preservation.

DECEMBER 1999 PORSCHE 924 TURBO

NOW $ 13,000 $25- 30,000 3

Porsche’s attempts to undermine the 911 by launching a succession of successors were all doomed to failure. The 924 was designed not as a Porsche but a sporty Volkswagen, so shortcomings were forgivable. But why then try to turn it into a performance car? The turbo version didn’t sell especially well (13,616 in five years) with half going to the USA. One source claimed in 2009 that fewer than 10 RHD 924Ts survived (seems unlikely given we found three for sale recently in Australia ) but this is still a very rare car. Also a bargain for the first-time Porsche buyer.

SEPTEMBER 1986 LEYLAND MOKE CALIFORNIAN

NOW $3500 $18-22,000

You can understand this Moke with its natty little tray, curtains and Sunraysia wheels being sold off relatively cheaply. The last Moke utes were sold new in 1983 and cost around $5000. Three years later this one was still viewed as a used car and subject to depreciation. Today the story is very different with Mokes in hot demand and 1275-engined versions especially popular. A lot of the four-seat Californians have been snapped up by tourist resorts but the ute market perhaps isn’t as strong. Still likely to manage $20K though.

MAY 2001 FORD XB FALCON GT

NOW $14,900 $60-65,000

Those looking for a way to afford an XB GT sedan before values hit $100,000 can only look at the price of this car and sigh. Not only did this well-equipped four-speed come with brand new Globe wheels, it came in a scarce colour as well. XBs with engines stifled by emission equipment have lagged behind other GTs in value but this car at $15,000 was good buying. Unless a nasty fate has befallen it, this GT should still be in fine health and earning $ hand over fist for its owner. We would love to see how it shapes up after another 16 years.

JULY 1986 DODGE CHARGER 440

NOW $10,500 $65-70,000

For reasons best known to people who for decades ignored big-engined Dodges, Australians in 1986 could still buy a car like this Charger for $10,000.

Some might say ‘Oh but it’s Left-hand drive, that’s why it’s cheap’. No so. Peering closely through the windscreen it is possible to make out a steering wheel on the right side of the cabin. 440 engine not original? Maybe, but it’s still all 440 with all the effortless torque that engine delivers. Rust?

Perhaps but not obvious. Needs a tidy? Maybe, but still masses of car for the money. Hope you bought it, enjoyed it and made some money over the years.

OCTOBER 2000 FORD GALAXIE COUNTRY SQUIRE

NOW $19,000 $40-45,000

Just how much clichéd US culture do you want in one big blue station wagon? OK, so it goes by a prissy name but in 1964 the Galaxie was the widest, most imposing US-made car you could buy. The huge bench seats would accommodate four average-sized adults and there were the great slabs of plasti-wood down the sides, echoing Henry Ford’s original station wagons with their REAL timber sides. If that’s not enough, then just look at the original owners. You could fit a lot of barrels of Beam in the back of that big ol Henry.