Shannons Melbourne Late Summer Auction, February 17
Classic American muscle dominated Shannons’ latest Melbourne auction, with a variety of imported performance vehicles from the early 1930s to the late 1970s all selling well, some way above their estimates.
But what we were interested in was the local product, in particular a Holden HT Monaro GTS 350 ‘Bathurst Special’ in Daytona Bronze.
Estimates were in the $75,000 to $90,000 range and the winning bid of $84,000 was an impressive result in recent times.
Shannons’ estimate is that some 700 GTS 350s were made, but very few remain. This one is believed to have a racing history. According to the vendor, it was modified by Harry Firth for an independent race team, possibly in New Zealand.
It was later transformed into a street machine by another owner, who installed a stroked 400-cid V8 and a Turbo 400 automatic transmission.
Then, when it was identified as a highlydesirable ‘81837’ body code it was restored back to more authentic configuration and repainted in its original colours. A set of period 14” Torque Thrust alloy wheels was also sourced.
It’s been a while since a Monaro has sold for this price at auction. It makes you wonder if GM’s decision to stop local manufacture has encouraged collectors to pick up significant pieces of Holden history.
Lot 24 was also of interest to Australian muscle fans.This red 1970 model Bolwell Nagari., fitted with the 302 Cleveland and 4-speed manual, was one of only 127 coupes made and the only one built in LHD. It was ordered by a customer in California but never exported. The Bolwell brothers then used it as a demonstrator.
It was displayed at the 1973 Melbourne Motor Show, then raced by Chris Clearihan and several others over the next few decades. Eventually it was converted to RHD and used as a road car. It sold for $55,000. A possible bargain was the Falcon XW Fairmont V8 which went for $15,500, well above estimates of $8,000 to $12,000.
Standing out among the Americana was the outrageous eight-wheel 1977 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Coupe fitted with a central spa bath and a slide-out under-bonnet gas BBQ.
This Australian-customised Caddy measures 7.3 metres in length, weighs around 2.5 tonnes and is powered by an 8.2-litre V8 engine with six exhaust pipes.
It was sold to an overseas phone bidder for a modest $39,000.
Just about everything fitted with a V8 was sold. $177,500 was paid for a 1968 Shelby Mustang GT 350 Convertible, one of only 404 made in that year. A 1966 Shelby ‘Hertz Replica’ brought $41,500, just $500 more than an ‘SS Tribute’ 1969 Chevrolet Camaro convertible.
While an early customised 1934 Ford ‘Hot Rod’ fitted with Holden V8 running gear reached $44,000 at the fall of the hammer.
Shannons Sydney Autumn Classic Auction, March 3
Twenty- three numberplates – and the right to display them – dominated proceedings at Shannons’ Sydney sale on the first Monday in March. Twenty of the plates were released for sale by NSW Roads and Maritime Services and, as usual, the results were astonishing.
$97,000 was paid for NSW 233, while NSW 266, 290 and 235 also fetched around the $95,000 mark.
As it turned out, those prices were only just topped by the best-selling muscle car. A VH Valiant Charger E38 with the Big Tank option sold for $98,000, a very good result for these increasingly popular cars. That’s $14,000 more than the GTS 350 Monaro fetched at the Melbourne sale.
The other good result was $34,000 paid for an LC Holden Torana GTR, a surprise for a Torana without the XU-1 option.
An LH Torana SL/R 5000 – clearly identified as a replica – only just topped it, selling for $40,000.
Other Australian product included a Holden HT Brougham (sold for $20,000), Holden EJ Standard Sedan ($7500) and a Ford XP Falcon ($8250), all solid results.
There is now quite a strong demand for these previously unwanted classics, provided they’re in good original condition.