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 car you should have bought, or were lucky enough to buy!

Send your tale to uniquecars@bauertrader.com.au with ‘Gotaways’ in the title CLASSIC CAR AUCTIONS FIND YOUR NEXT CLASSIC CAR AT: MAZDA RX2 COUPE I remember looking at a Series I coupe for sale in 1998 running a 13B bridgeport, it was metallic blue with a set of Globes. Mum & Dad said it was too old and expensive at $5K. Did it survive those modifiers?

CON JONES - FOREST HILL, VIC

SEPTEMBER 1986 1946 FORD V8

NOW $6000 $35-40,000

Look down any suburban street in 1960s Australia and lurking somewhere would be a side-valve V8 Ford. In pre-seat-belt days they provided perfect transport for bigger families with abundant space for mum, dad and about six kids and they would tow the family caravan without a worry. Nobody really loved the old side-bangers though and most went for scrap once the rust took hold. This one was lucky; still looking good after 40 years and selling for sensible mid-1980s money. With luck it found a sympathetic owner and survives today.

JANUARY 1990 RENAULT R6

NOW $4000 $4000+

Australia during the 1970s was a good market for Renault cars but we didn’t see many of this odd-shaped model. The R6 was seemingly a private import and being abandoned by its owner who was returning home, however we have no idea when it acquired that ‘R12 type’ motor. The R6 was based on the earlier R4’s chassis and mechanicals and most used Renault’s longserving 845cc motor. Some scouring of local Renault pages revealed nothing to suggest that the little green R6 has survived, but perhaps you know differently.

JUNE 1993 HOLDEN EH 179

NOW $9999 $25-30,000

For decades – or so it seemed – Holden devotees would thump the bar and declare that the EH they bought new in 1964 was not only the best car they ever owned but the best car GMH had ever built. If you look back at Value Charts from years gone by that assertion could indeed be right because the EH invariably brought better money on the collector market than cars that came before or followed it. The money being asked for this aqua example with the popular ‘179’ engine was huge and possibly not likely in cash-strapped 1993. Today the tale would be very different.

NOVEMBER 1991 FERRARI 308GT4

NOW $ 38,500 $135- 150,000

Today you can still own a Ferrari like this for the price of a Commodore, however the Aussie car would come with 435kW and leave the Italian coupe in a fog of rubber smoke. Never mind, it’s still a Ferrari. The 308 GT4 combined practicality with a brilliant V8 but ordinary looks. For a long time they lagged behind the later, two-seat V8 cars in value, but times change. Had you bought this car for $38,000 and ensured the rust bug didn’t come crunching, your Modenese Prancer would now be worth around $100,000 more than it was 25 years ago.

JUNE 1987 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX 1967

NOW $11,990 35,000 1 $30-

Cars that served as family transport in the USA would, after being shipped, taxed and RHD converted in Australia, cost so much that only someone of considerable wealth could afford one.

But the allure faded quickly. Twenty years on, when the once-adored Pontiac had been replaced by a Benz or V12 Jag, it could well be seen backing down a boat ramp or towing the owner’s speedway car on a Friday night. This one being sold by specialist USvehicle dealer Frank Tonitto looks more fortunate and well-kept than some, so hopefully a collector gave it a home.

FEBRUARY 1990 CHRYSLER CHARGER UTILITY

NOW $10,000 $40,000+

Looking at this Charger you realise that turning one into a load-carrier probably isn’t a difficult task at all and we wonder why there aren’t more running around the show-car circuit. Trawling pages of Charger-related news and photos it was disappointing to find no mention, let alone the expected pages of happy snaps devoted to this chopped up Charger. It may have inspired a few try-hards to attempt their own conversions, but none of the other ute-treated coupes found on-line displayed the same attention to detail as this one.

Hopefully it survived and is just in hiding.

OCTOBER 2000 HOLDEN LC TORANA GTR

NOW $4500 $20-25,000 (unrestored)

If we knew then what we know now, no GTR Torana would be allowed to fall into this degree of disrepair. Look back 20 years though and of the cars that did survive, trashed and mistreated Toranas outnumbered those that had been lovingly restored. Then came the mid-Noughties price boom and cars way worse than this were dragged from their barns and into reborn lives. Helping this LC’s chances at preservation was that list of original equipment and set of quite-likely genuine Sprintmaster wheels.