HOW MUCH?

GUIDO GETS TO GRIPS WITH LOGIC AND THE IRONY OF THE AUSSIE CLAS­SIC AUC­TION SCENE

Unique Cars - - CONTENTS -

THERE ARE DAYS when you won­der if the hu­man race – or at least the car-nut sec­tion of it – is, well, oiff its col­lec­tive rocker. No of­fence in­tended, but re­ally some morn­ings I reckon we’re all out of our cot­ton-pick­ing minds.

How else do you ex­plain how a pretty ba­sic two-door To­rana with a pushrod V8 in the snout is worth about dou­ble the equiv­a­lent Fer­rari, say a 365 GT4 2+2? Now don’t get me wrong – I have ab­so­lutely noth­ing against A9X To­ranas. Some of my best friends may have been con­ceived in them.

But have a look at two pages of this is­sue: on 23 we re­port on a Holden A9X that went off at a Shan­nons auc­tion, to the tune of $275,000. On page 36, there’s a very nicely-kept Fer­rari 365 GT4 2+2 for sale for $135,000 – or about half.

Much de­pends on your per­spec­tive, I sup­pose. To an en­thu­si­ast in Europe, you might first have to ex­plain what a Holden was, and why an A9X was spe­cial. Oh, and along the way talk them through Peter Brock – not the leg­endary car-head Brock in Las Vegas, but ‘our’ Peter. And then, why an A9X is worth dou­ble the Fer­rari. Good luck with that.

For a dyed-in-the-wool lo­cal, that would be a much shorter con­ver­sa­tion. They might un­der­stand the his­tory and the sen­ti­ment be­hind the whole Holden/Brock/Bathurst phe­nom­e­non. Whether they see the value in to­day’s lofty deals would be an­other mat­ter. Again, that could be an is­sue of per­spec­tive.

To a col­lec­tor or in­vestor, the num­bers on Aussie hero cars make per­fect sense. To some­one who bought one when they were new, not so much.

My favourite ex­am­ple is that of long-term A9X owner Jan, who with a fam­ily to raise and a nurs­ery to run, re­calls her hatch be­ing damned use­ful for fer­ry­ing pot plants to and from work. Even­tu­ally she re­tired the car to an old shed on her prop­erty and there it sat un­der a tarp un­til, a few years ago, one of her kids sug­gested they pull it out and do it up. (You can see the stor y on­line at trade­u­nique­cars.com.au. Go to News & Re­views and search for A9X Jan.)

I’m sure that to this day she’ll be amused and a lit­tle baff led at how her old pot plant car­rier ended up be­ing worth more than a Fer­rari.

By way of con­trast, just last week I was of­fered a 2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK240 with 120,000km and in per­fect nick for $14,000. Like the other two, it’s a two-door four seater. In this case it’s a 2.8lt V6 and not the quick­est car on the planet, but has more fea­tures than the other two com­bined and would cir­cum­nav­i­gate the coun­try in ut­ter com­fort. We’re talk­ing of some­thing that cost around $95,000 when it was new. Where’s the jus­tice?

If noth­ing else, this whole phe­nom­e­non is pro­vid­ing plenty of late-night en­ter­tain­ment. Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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