The great V8 debate
When it comes to muscle car value and ranking, a Bathurst victory is a critical factor
CHOOSING the greatest Aussie V8 is likely to spark a debate that will rage long after the flag has fallen on the Great Race.
Based on bang-for-buck impact, as well as classic muscle appeal, Shannons Insurance says it has to be the Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III that ruled at Bathurst in the 1970s and was then the world’s fastest fourdoor sedan.
A silver Phase III was passed in at the Brisbane Motor Show auction in 2008 at about $750,000.
‘‘ You wouldn’t get those prices now as the bubble burst on the Aussie V8 muscle car market over 12 months ago and we haven’t seen those numbers back ... yet,’’ Shannons spokesman Phil Ross says.
But Dan Bowden, whose Sunshine Coast family museum has one of the greatest collections of Aussie muscle cars, reckons the top prize goes to the Falcon XR GT, which won Bathurst in 1967 and which he calls the first of the ‘‘ real Aussie V8s’’. Bathurst victory seems to be the common thread here. But what about Holdens?
Ross says the next most valuable cars are Bathurstwinning Holdens— the 1978-79 A9X Torana hatchback and the 1968 HKMonaro 327 V8 ‘‘ or possibly the 1970 HT 350 V8 Monaro’’.
‘‘ Shannons Auctions sold a HK 327 Monaro for $220,000 at one of our auctions at the height of the muscle car price wars,’’ he says.
Earlier this year an A9X was passed in at a Shannons auction in Melbourne at more than $270,000. ‘‘ They only made 100 of these,’’ Ross says,
‘‘ so the Holden fans will argue it’s the No. 1 Aussie V8 of all time and the most collectable.’’
Road cars are one thing, but race cars attract even higher price tags.
Bowden’s museum has Peter Brock’s 1979 A9X, in which he won Bathurst by six laps, setting a record on the last lap while waving at the fans. It’s insured for $1 million-plus.
Bowden says the car recently won an Auto Action poll as the most significant race car in Australia’s history and won a Facebook poll among Bowden followers.
Despite all that, he reckons the HK327 GTS Monaro is
‘‘ one of the most beautiful and a real contender’’, winning Bathurst in 1968.
Others to consider are:
■ Holden L34 Torana, with Hi-Po option Our only allAussie-made engine.
■ HDT Group A Brock VL Commodore Another homologation special. ‘‘ The polariser plus pack version adds to the story,’’ says Bowden.
■ Falcon XC Cobra, One of the first 30, the Bathurst special versions.
■ Falcon XA GT RPO-83 A lot of the Phase IV gear went on these special cars.
Ross says the buying public awarded hero status to the cars that conquered Bathurst.
‘‘ I don’t think this kind of hero status for Aussie V8s will be as big with the later model cars but time may prove me wrong,’’ he says.
‘‘ There is a bit of a cult following starting with younger guys and the humble XD Falcon at shows.
‘‘ I always thought it looked more like a taxi but after looking at the Dick Johnson Tru Blu Falcon Group C race car at Bowden’s museum I have changed my mind.’’
Neither Ross nor Bowden mentioned any Chryslers.
‘‘ Sadly, Chrysler didn’t have
any good V8s,’’ Bowden says.
The ones with any real sporting pedigree were the sixcylinder versions.
In the end they built the V8s in the Charger, the VJ E55 versions, but they were very toned down, marketed against the big luxury Ford Fairmont and LS Monaros, not as a sporting car.’’
Ross says a fully restored sixcylinder E49 RT Charger in the popular Vitamin C (orange) six-pack Big Tank’’ (extra fuel for Bathurst) can be worth $170,000-$200,000.
I once asked Leo Geogeghan if he thought a Charger could win Bathurst and he said not without a V8,’’ Ross says.
He couldn’t beat the V8 GT Falcons up the mountain. There was a 770 Charger released with a V8 but it never ran at Bathurst. If they had
Mountain of history: One of the greatest Aussie muscle car collections
Charmer: The Falcon XC Cobra as driven by John Goss
Falcon phalanx: Four phases of the GT-HO, from right, Phase I, II, III and IV