Sunbeam Rapier + Toyota Corona + Mercedes-Benz 220SE - Ones That Got Away 435

By: Cliff Chambers

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sunbeam rapier sunbeam rapier

Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Sunbeam Rapier Coupe - Advertised February 1990

If you had wanted a 1960s Plymouth Barracuda but all you could afford was a Hillman Hunter then this could have been the car for you. Okay, almost $7K was way above the 1990s asking price for a Hunter but the fastback Rapier was rare in Australia and bound to make its buyer feel a bit special. Around 46,000 were built from 1969-76 and most sold in the UK where they rusted almost totally to death. Trying to find one for sale in Britain today is a challenge, however our own pages revealed one advertised a couple of years back for $18,950. We can’t see this car making any more.


Toyota Corona Coupe - Advertised May 1997


Nobody would call the shovel-nosed Corona a ‘pretty’ car, right? Well look at this one and describe it otherwise. Very few two-door Coronas came to Australia and most that did arrived post-1970. These RT50 versions were very scarce when new and are rarely seen for sale now. The 9R engine with its Yamaha twin-cam head is rare as well, with just 2229 reportedly made. Allowing for some engines being kept back as spares that number suggests only 2000 or so of the 1600GT, to which the 9R, was fitted were ever built. This car if it exists would have queues of eager buyers in Japan.


Mercedes-Benz 220SE - Advertised May 1999


Back before the finned Benz took flight and values soared beyond $20,000 you could buy a good car like this 220SE sedan for less than $5000. These models sold well in Australia and were even assembled here for a few years by Australian Motor Industries.  Worldwide, more than half a million were made, meaning a plentiful parts supply and lots of survivors. Having a recognisable shape also maintained buyer interest and supported values even as the 220 celebrates its 60th birthday.  Factory air-con was unusual for a Benz of this age and hopefully helped this ‘Finny’ to survive.


Reader's One That Got Away: HSV VN SV5000


I remember it well, one of the local chaps at my local supermarket had a green SV5000. It was simply a cheap runabout with a 5.0 litre that most youngsters desired to own in the late 90s. I remember it sitting on the market for months at $10K. I should have made him an offer he could not have refused!

Steven SMITH - Kangaroo ground, VIC



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