ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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

CLIFF CHAMBERS

Lost or lucky?

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 DATSUN 1600 We use to see a stunning kermit green 1600 floating around in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne wearing the rego “alldat”. I remember looking at it as the owner wanted to sell but I never comitted to the sale, darn!

TOM VLAKA - DONCASTER, VIC

JUNE 1993 1963 FORD GALAXIE CONVERTIBLE

Galaxies that in North America served as everyday family car fodder were portrayed in Australia as apparently desirable and luxurious. The cost of fees, taxes and conversion to right-hand drive made American cars so expensive here that buyers were encouraged to ignore the plain interiors and lack of performance while staring at the massive price-tag. Association with celebrities like the touring Beatles in 1964 helped sell quite a few open top Galaxies and keep the money rolling in for importers.

Gal values during the past 25 years haven’t done much more than keep pace with inflation but they haven’t burned owners’ money either.

NOW $18,500 $30-35,000

DECEMBER 1986 MASERATI MERAK SS

New in 1980 this Maser would cost around $55,000 and each of the kilometres it travelled were worth 50 cents in depreciation alone. Maser owners did however enjoy the benefits of exclusivity – just 975 SS Meraks were made – and that gorgeous shape.

Had the original owner held onto this car for long enough they would by now have clawed back most of the purchase and ownership costs and be on the road to making some money. RHD cars aren’t common and prices being paid internationally have doubled during the past five years.

NOW $ 36,500 80- 85,000 $8

MARCH 1996 CHRYSLER CHARGER E49

Hard to believe but the sum of $30,000 was considered in 1996 to be pretty hefty money for an E49 Charger . Paraphrasing my own analysis from the 1996 Unique Cars Value Guide; “Authentic E38 cars cost between $13,000 and $16,000.....and top examples of the E49 are worth their $20,000 plus price tags.” Had someone dug deep enough to buy this car at 50 per cent above the average and then doted on it for a couple of decades, they would have basked in a gain of around $200,000. ‘Nice little earner’, as that old geezer on the telly used to say.

NOW $ 29,990 $200- 220,000

OCTOBER 2000 SKODA L120

Skodas are again familiar sights on Australian roads but how many L120s have hung around to greet the newcomers? Skoda switched in 1964 to a rearengine design and several hundred of the reshaped 1000MB/Sabre model went to Aussie fans of the brand. Restyles during the 1970s brought in the pretty if underpowered L120 which also sold here but in minimal quantities. An internet estimate of 20 survivors is very likely optimistic. The car we should have received and which is regarded in Europe as ‘desirable’ is the 135 Rapid which enjoyed considerable rally success during the 1980s.

NOW $ 2,900 4500-5500 $4

JANUARY 1990 HOLDEN HT MONARO

More than a few boy racers who lined up alongside this bland-looking HT would have been left with a suspicion that those ‘186’ emblems on the front guards might not be telling the whole truth. We’ve never seen a base-model Monaro that was factory fitted with a ‘350’, so more than likely the V8 and super-sized rubber were later additions. The thing that makes this car such a weapon though is the gacky green paint. It must have sparked numerous comments of the unflattering kind; uttered just before the detractors were choked by rubber smoke. Is it still around?

NOW $10,000 80-100,000 1 $80

NOVEMBER 2001 PLYMOUTH VALIANT SIGNET

Sad that so many Valiant hardtops were chopped amateurishly into convertibles when an alternative in the shape of the factory-made Plymouth Signet was available. At $16,000 this good-looking soft-top wasn’t going to cost much more than the price of a hatchet job on a local VF two-door but looked a lot neater. Australia wasn’t home to an awful lot of open-topped Plymouths but if you did acquire one, AP5/AP6 Valiant bits would have kept it running. If you want one, cars of similar quality to this remain available overseas priced from around US$15,000.

NOW $16,000 $30-35,000

DECEMBER 2006 MITSUBISHI PAJERO EVO

Not often do you see a full-blown desert racer popping up in the classifieds, especially one as celebrated as this short-wheelbase Pajero Evolution. It seems from available information that only two of these Mivec-engined rockets were imported, the other (an automatic) being offered in 2007 at $40,000. By 2013 they both seem to have found their way into the hands of the same gent who was selling the pair for a very reasonable $33,000. After that the trail goes cold so if you own an Evo with big wheels and matching attitude please get in touch.

NOW $39,450 $25-30,000