Dave Morley's top buys for Aussie classics

By: Dave Morley

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holden vn calais holden vn calais

Morley chooses his top three home grown classics

Holden VN Calais
1988 – 1991

Okay, so you’ve got to get a five-litre V8 example and they’re starting to get a bit pricey. And, yes, I know they’re not a steel bumper car. But is it just me, or is the VN shape really coming into its own a full three decades after it was first seen? And while they’re not new cars by any means, these old VNs with the injected bent-eight and the four-speed auto actually drive like a much more modern car. The two other cars I’ve nominated here require some patience on the driver’s part… not the VN Calais. Torrens has one of these and I’ve ridden in it lots. It’s beaut.

Ford XM Falcon wagon
1964 – 1965

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Long before the curse that is the SUV came along, Aussie families rode around in sedan-based station-wagons. They rode as well as a sedan, went just as hard, handled much the same and, in the case of the XM Falcon version, they also looked cooler than a polar bear’s bum. From the rear three-quarter, that glasshouse and round tail-lights thing still rocks and I’ll take mine in 60s bathroom green with a white roof. Ta. The only catch is that the six-banger is a bit hard to fiddle with its cast-in-one head and inlet manifold, but who cares. If ever a car said ‘kick back and cruise’ this is it.

Valiant Regal CM GLX
1978 – 1981

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I know this is bordering on local muscle, but the GLX was a less of a hard-nut than the VH Pacer yet still managed to look tough while offering genuine practicality. The factory code for the GLX option was A16 (I think) and as well as a chance to option up the 318 (in auto only) my pick in the day would have been the 265 Hemi and a four-speed with a floor-shift. These things went hard back then and will still feel pretty good even now. And the electronic ignition advance and clever carburettor (ELB) meant that, driven sanely, these could get down to around 10 litres per 100km on the highway.

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