Hardtops are hard to top as hot auction items right now. Most significantly, two Group C-era racing coupes from the Harris collection went under the hammer at Lloyds Auctions on the Gold Coast in late July and found a new home.
Former V8 privateer Neil Schembri picked up the pair for his growing Sydney collection. Schembri, head of Bettergrow fertilisers, was the winning bidder of the ex-Bryan Byrt Ford Racing #32 hardtop campaigned by Warwick Brown and John French at Bathurst ’78. This car, formerly Jim Richards’ white Melford XB, was bought for $430,000 plus buyer’s premium. Schembri also purchased the orange ex-Bill O’Brien Everlast coupe, originally built by Allan Moffat’s team, for $400,000. The Moffat connection proved the lure for Schembri. “As a kid [Moffat] was my idol – and still is,” Schembri told us. “It was a one-off chance to secure this fantastic car.”
While the cars will be displayed and demonstrated at the Muscle Car Masters over the weekend of October 28-29, Schembri would not be drawn on whether he will eventually race one or both in the Heritage Touring Cars class.
“[I’m] working on a project that will include about eight cars, but, sorry, at this stage I can’t divulge any details, but will be able to later this year or early next year.”
One car that is set to return to racing, in HTC, is the ex-Bob Morris/Bill O’Brien Breville Falcon XD from Bathurst 1980. It sold for $205,000 to former TCM competitor Don Dimitriadis, while the King George Tavern XE Falcon raced by Joe Moore sold for $190,000. Meantime, the driver’s door of the famous #17 Greens-Tuf Falcon XE that Dick Johnson crashed into the trees during the 1983 Hardies Heroes shootout went for an incredible $25,500. Yes, $25K for a door! Weeks earlier the #17 XC sold for $340K. Another Group C Falcon hardtop is back onto the market, the XB John Goss first raced at Bathurst in 1975, through Ecurie Bowden.
It’s not just Falcon hardtop racecars that are setting dazzling prices. A 1976 Yellow Blaze XB GT coupe with a vinyl roof sold at Shannon’s Melbourne Winter Classic Auction for an impressive $134,000.
Meantime, Lloyds Melbourne auctioned the first HDT Monaro on August 19, the Kevin Bartlett/Spencer Martin HT GTS 350 that experienced brake failure on debut at Sandown in 1969 and suffered a fiery crash. The fully restored HT sold for $500,000.
Mossgreen sold up a storm in SA, with Clem Smith’s Charger Sports Sedan selling for $65,800, while his E38 roadies went for $141,000.