Reliant Scimitar + Maserati Mistral + Jeepster - The cars that got away

By: Cliff Chambers

The cars we should have bought or are just glad we didn’t...


Reliant Scimitar - January 1996

Reliant built an amazing range of cars, from tri-wheel horrors to these quick and practical load-carriers. The engines were Ford V6 and even with hefty fibreglass bodywork there was enough performance to get HRH Princess Anne – who owned a couple of Scimitar GTEs – lumbered by UK motorway patrol cars. There seems to have been no official attempt to bring Scimitars to Australia but several made their way here anyway and still pop up occasionally for sale. Scarcity and import costs mean local values are double those of comparable UK cars.

Then - $11,250, Now - $15-18,000


Maserati Mistral  - October 1986

Maserati struggled financially during the 1960s yet still managed to produce some of the most beautiful cars in the world. The Mistral was one of Maserati’s more successful products with more than 900 of all types built. The shape, by coachbuilder Frua, was also adapted to clothe a short-lived coupe based on the AC Cobra. Australia would not have seen many new Mistrals but one was featured as a Modern Motor magazine cover car and others have been sighted here over the years. 4.0lt versions like this are very scarce and the cost of acquiring one is now huge.

Then - $30,000, Now - $350-400,000


Jeepster  - June 2003

If Willys had just flung a few more bucks at the Jeepster and made it an all-wheel drive, the market appeal of an ‘off-road sports car’ could have been immense. As it was the rear-wheel driven roadster was ugly, overweight and underpowered. It couldn’t get any traction (literally or figuratively) in the market and it survived only from 1948 until 1950. A few might have come to Australia for evaluation but it is feasible that by 2003 this car was the only one existing here. In the USA, Jeepsters do enjoy a decent collector following and some have been seen at US$40,000+.

Then - $25,000, Now - $45-50,000

(Unique Cars #397)

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