Ford Skyliner + Tatra T603 + Holden LC Torana + Lancia Prisma - Ones That Got Away 426

By: Cliff Chambers

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Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds


Ford Skyliner retractable - Advertised December 1999

Six electric motors, ten telescopic rams. 200 metres of wiring and more possibilities for electro-mechanical disaster than in a dozen conventional convertibles. Yet lots of people did and still do want to pay big money for Galaxie Skyliners (aka Retractables).. These weren’t sold new in Australia and most arrived quite late in their lives. They remain popular in the USA and a decent proportion of the 12,915 cars made in 1959 have survived. Top money seen recently was US$89,000 for a restored car that, like this one, came with the keenly sought ‘Continental’ spare wheel.

Then: $49,000. Now: $115,000-$130,000


Tatra T603 - Advertised May 1985


These do not grow on trees but the local population of T603 Tatras is at least double what it was in 1985.This was confirmed a few weeks ago when a similar car to this one but in black and with standard wheels made big money during the Gosford Motor Museum sell-up. Tatras in the European market and the USA where interest has swelled are bringing increasing amounts of money, although not quite the $134,000 achieved at auction in 2018 by a ‘shark fin’ T87 model.  Given scarcity and a growing following, the T603 certainly seems headed in that direction.

Then: $15,000. Now: $30,000-$35,000


Lancia Prisma - Advertised March 1996


Lancia abandoned the Australian market in 1985, unwilling to spend the money needed to equip its cars for our 91 Octane Unleaded fuel.  Instead, Australia got the Fiat Regata and the less said about those the better. The Prisma may look like a Regata in a better-quality suit but they reportedly were a far more interesting drive and even spawned an Integrale version. Someone contributing to an on-line forum has discovered a RHD survivor which very possibly is this car. Certainly no more than a couple were imported for ‘evaluation’ so they remain an extreme rarity in Australia.

Then: $10,000. Now: $12,000-$15,000


Holden LC Torana - Advertised August 2000


How times have changed. 20 years ago a Torana SL in Turd Brown with three auto ratios on the tree and drum brakes as well wouldn’t have a snowflake’s chance of selling for $6000. Today you could put a 2 in front of that asking price and the buyers would still be lined up for a look. At fault of course is surging demand for cars that can be ‘cloned’ into GTR/XU-1 versions or have their body shell grafted onto ID plates removed from one of the more valuable versions. Given its exceptional condition we hope this one might have survived unmolested.

Then: $6000. Now: $22,000-$26,000


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