ONES THAT GOT AWAY

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

1987 VL COMMODORE TURBO BERLINA My brother owned a factory manual turbo Berlina, in a light blue metallic with silver bumpers. It was a stunning car with a set of ZR6 ROH wheels, JPC built motor with a distinct painted orange head. He sold it and I let it getaway in the early 2000s. Did it survive?

BRUNO VERITIC - BURLEIGH HEADS, QLD

$ $22-25,000 NOW $9500

MAY 1997 ALFA ROMEO GIULIA SUPER

Alfa in 2016 revived this model name but didn’t recapture the essence of its original Giulia sedans. Alfa’s chunky Ti and Super four-doors were seen in all manner of roles including fronting the camera as police cars in innumerable spy thrillers and winning the first Sandown Six Hour race held in 1964. They came with 1.3 or 1.6-itre engines, disc brakes all round and a five speed gearbox. However, they were a bit pricey to sell well in Australia. This survivor seems excellent and based on the money being generated by Giulias worldwide would have doubled its value in 21 years.

$3 $30-35,000 NOW $21,500

SEPTEMBER 1985 MARMON MODEL 68

Massive money to ask in 1985 for what was a well-built and well-regarded example of the 1920s middle class American automobile. Even before the Great Depression belted it into oblivion, Marmon had suffered some setbacks and decided in 1927 to supplement its prestige model range with a cheaper ‘ Little Marmon’. Renamed Model 68 for 1928, the straight-eight’s sales more than doubled to 29,000 during the following year. They aren’t common in Australia and recent sales suggest the buyer and subsequent owners would be fighting a losing battle against inflation.

$60,000+ NOW $15,000

SEPTEMBER 2000 CHRYSLER CHARGER VK 770

A step up from the XL featured in our Best Aussie Sixes spread a few issues ago, this six-cylinder four-speed 770 is a very rare beast indeed. And look at the price. The vendors were well aware too of what they had; pricing their car at almost double the value of a typical V8-engined automatic 770. A search of popular Charger sites failed to detail the number of VKs built to this specification but it was very likely fewer than 50. Years spent in Tasmania would have helped stave off rust so if you own this significant Charger please send a photo and some details of where it’s been.

$135-15 150,000 NOW $5 $55,000

AUGUST 1989 CHEVROLET STINGRAY 427

1989 saw the world engulfed by the first ‘boom’ in collector car values and this Corvette being offered at half the money might it have realised in the USA. One guide was at the time valuing big-block C2s in ‘Fine’ condition at US$55-70,000; pricing that at the time translated as A$100-120,000. The advertised car in common with most early imports had its steering wheel relocated to the right-hand side; a change that would ultimately impact values. Looking today at North America where most of the remaining C2 Corvettes are found, similar cars are still making US$145-165,000.

$95-115,000 $9 NOW $70,000 $

AUGUST 2008 HONDA NSX

NSX Hondas were never major participants in the local market for luxury sports cars, selling 22 in the tough market of 1991 then tumbling to just 12 during 1996. Where surviving Aussie-spec cars have been hiding is hard to determine because they are hardly ever offered for sale. Local values during the past decade have moved steadily but excellent cars are still looking at the underside of $150,000. That’s in line with reports from Japanese auctions of US$45-55,000 but not encouraging for sellers. Perhaps this car in its scarce colour might make a bit more than a typical red one.

$55-60,000 $5 NOW $9500

JUNE 1987 VW KARMANN CABRIOLET

Australia didn’t match the USA’s demand for soft-top Beetles and they came here only as special orders or personal imports. During the 1980s and later there developed a market for LHD Superbug- shaped cars and there was also a mania for slicing the tops off standard Beetles. Genuine, early-shape Karmann Beetles are very scarce and that $9500 asking price from 30 years ago represented fair value for an excellent car. Today in common with a lot of older VWs the values have surged and show no signs of retreating due to lack of buyers.

$135-155,000 NOW $84,950

MAY 2004 LANCIA DELTA INTEGRALE EVO 2

Around 40,000 of the all-wheel drive, turboengined Integrales were made, but only 220 of them were the staggeringly quick EVO 2 version in Fly (Giallo) Yellow. The asking price for this car was well above world levels at the time but given extreme scarcity in our market the question was to spend $85K here or $60K for an offshore example then add 40 percent in taxes, import costs and GST. Local availability remains unchanged with any Integrale scarce and rarely offered. Cars from Europe and SE Asia are more common, usually left-hand drive and becoming pricey.