VH Commodore SL/E + Buick Roadmaster + Holden FC Special - Ones That Got Away 422

By: Cliff Chambers

Presented by

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Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...


Holden VH Commodore SL/E - Advertised April 2004

It wasn’t long ago that $7000 would buy a very tidy, sensibly upgraded SL/E. So where did all of the affordable early Commodores get to? Surveying for the Unique Cars Value Guides every year turns up a huge range of cars but SL/Es have been a lot harder to find since 2016 than they were a decade ago. The values of these cars took a long time to gain momentum and the $6900 being asked for this car was pretty typical money in the market of 15 years ago.

Theft was a big threat to SL/E survival as were rust and big accidents. If this one survived all of those perils it will be worth considerably more than in 2004.

Then: $6900. Now: $20-24,000


1951 Buick Roadmaster - Advertised June 2000


Look in the mirror as one of these monsters looms up and all that would be missing from an apocalyptic scene is the ‘Jaws’ music.  The Roadmaster was the biggest and most powerful of 1950s Buicks with an engine 30 per cent bigger than the standard cars and over 200kW. They were too expensive to be seen here in any quantity however this car could be RHD and an original import. Buick built 12,900 Roadmaster coupes in 1951 but our US auction tracker showed just two cars sold since 2012 so they are very scarce. Where did this one go?

Then: $48,000. Now: $75-85,000


NSU Ro 80 - Advertised June 1993


The grand-pappy of every slippery automotive shape since the 1980s was an absolute disaster when released and eventually sent brave little NSU broke.

Felix Wankel’s rotary engine was a marvellous idea just very hard to get working properly, especially if you were a car-maker with minimal money. Like most Ro 80s, this one has had its original engine  replaced by a 12A Mazda motor and no harm in that if a transplant keeps a rare car running. Unique Cars a couple of years back offered a running Ro 80 with its correct mechanicals in place for just $12,500, so preserving history seemingly isn’t going to make you money.

Then: $5500. Now: $10-12,000


Holden FC Special - Advertised January 1996


Twenty three years ago this tidy and unusual FC could have been yours for around the money people now pay for a rusty wreck. The market since the 1990s has moved so far that cars once ranked as basic fare are now in demand. This one would appeal more than most thanks to those little splashes of colour down its flanks. They were known when popular many years ago as ‘Flashlines’ and normally found on FB and later model Holdens. How they came to be on the sides of an FC is a mystery. Perhaps someone simply found a set in a shed.

Then: $6000. Now: $22-25,000





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