Chrysler Panelvan + Triumph GT6 + HJ Monaro GTS - Ones That Got Away 428

By: Cliff Chambers

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chrysler drifter van chrysler drifter van

Cliff Chambers looks back through the Unique Cars classifieds

CHRYSLER DRIFTER VAN - Advertised June 2000

It took Chrysler several years to produce a contender in the lucrative ‘sin bin’ market, however the oddly-named Drifter would never match the sales achieved by Holden’s Sandman. The Chrysler van was taller and wider than its Holden and Ford rivals which would have made it attractive to people who used these vehicles for purposes other than delivering televisions. However even the elaborate striping package didn’t make the same visual impression as a Sandman’ with its half-metre high lettering. Being scarce though, Drifters especially with V8 engines, are worth a bit today.

Was: $8000. Now: $30,000-35,000


TRIUMPH GT6 - Advertised January 1986


The phrase ‘poor man’s E-Type’ was likely coined to describe this car and a quick look shows why.  Long nose, sloping rear with hatchback, six-cylinder engine under tilting front panels, disc brakes and an independent rear end. Had Triumph found a way to get some air into the cabin they would have sold a lot more GT6s in Australia and even in the UK where owners frequently fit roll-back sunroofs to let the heat escape. More practical and faster than a Spitfire, surviving GT6s are no more expensive to buy than the open-top car.

Was: $5200. Now: $14,000-18,000


HOLDEN HJ MONARO GTS COUPE - Advertised February 1999


Fewer than 1000 HJ GTS Monaro two-doors were built and there cannot be many survivors. Certainly if you own this car it would stand out from the rest due to the unusual colour and wheels that resemble the ‘honeycomb’ alloys fitted to final-series HX LE coupes. Holden buyers fell out of love with two-door Monaros shortly after the HQ version began being offered as a sedan and that is sad. The pillarless HQ-HX shape is one of the most exceptional designs to emerge from an Australian factory and values have gone close to showing tenfold gains during the past 20 years.

Was: $11,500. Now: $95,000-100,000


LIGHTBURN ZETA - Advertised December 1991


Australians tried for decades to build economical cars but gave up in disgust upon seeing the Zeta and realising this was as good as it was ever going to get. Lightburn Industries built some of the best cement mixers and washing machines in the world. It had the money and personnel to create a really good, affordable car but came up with this. Only 363 Zetas were sold from 1963-65 and served as Australia’s leading automotive joke until supplanted by the P76. People who own them love them (apparently) because very few appear for sale and prices haven’t moved far at all. 

Was: $7000. Now: $8,000-11,000


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