Nissan GTR R34 + Fiat Dino + Corvette C1 + Dodge Challenger R/T - Ones That Got Away 447

By: Cliff Chambers

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Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Nissan GTR R34 NUR - Advertised December 2007

‘Nur’ is Godzilla-speak for Nurburgring and in 1999 a Skyline very like this one howled around the famous German track in 7 min 52sec – faster than any road-legal production car. In 2002, with R34 GTR production ending, Nissan celebrated its feat with a run of 1003 Tribute cars. Just 285 (not 250) were built to ‘M’ specification with larger turbochargers and other goodies. Had you paid the $175k being asked at Christmas-time 2007, this Nur would be a gift that continued to give. Early in October 2020 an M Spec showing 6800km was sent auction in Japan and set a world record price for the model of A$437,500.

Was: $175,000. Now: $400,000-450,000


Fiat Dino coupe - Advertised March 1993


What a rare car, what a beautiful car, what a cheap car. Well cheap when compared with the model that provided most of its mechanical parts. Helping Ferrari qualify its 2.0-litre V6 as a competition engine saw Fiat build its own variations on the Dino 206 in coupe and convertible (Spider) form. The coupe was designed by Bertone, the Spider by Pininfarina and more than 6000 of the fixed-roof cars were built. A lot over the years have been butchered for their engines, however sufficient survive to maintain a following and send prices for excellent cars perilously close to $100,000.

Was: $45,000. Now: $80,000-95,000


1954 Chevrolet Corvette - Advertised November 1990


If looks were all that mattered in the motoring world, General Motors’ original Corvette would have blown the sales charts wide open. Sadly, the early ’Vette’s level of ‘go’ didn’t match its ‘show’ and sales were abysmal. The problem centred on Chevrolet’s ancient six-cylinder engine, compounded by compulsory automatic transmission. Seven decades later, new car negativity is forgotten and heated bidding duels have pushed sale prices past US$100,000. Taking account of exchange rates and import costs, cars still in Australia must be worth almost double the value of US counterparts.

Was: $69,900. Now: $165,000-180,000


Dodge Challenger R/T - Advertised September 2006


Challengers were among the last models to arrive at the North American ‘pony car’ party and offered abundant performance for minimal money. Problem was, an oil crisis would arrive hot on the tail of the Challenger and send lots like this R/T clone to the crusher. This one somehow managed to not only survive but also find a home in a region of the USA that was very unfriendly to rust. By 1973, Challenger buyers couldn’t access the big 440 cubic inch engine even as an option, however this one with its 7.2-litre transplant looks the part and would deliver lots of fun.

Was: $55,000. Now: $65,000-75,000


From Unique Cars #447, December 2020

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