Torana LX hatch + Chrysler Charger E49 + Isuzu Bellett GT - Ones That Got Away 450

By: Cliff Chambers

Presented by

holden torana lx hatchback holden torana lx hatchback

Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Holden Torana LX V8 hatch - Advertised December 1996

If you were smart enough back in 1996 to spend a fairly outrageous $8000 on a Hatch like this one, that grin as you read this will be difficult to erase. Unless of course you felt the need to make it look like an A9X and destroyed what has become a scarce variation. ‘Nanna spec’ Hatchbacks, as they might now be known, have become exceptionally rare, with that scarcity now extreme for cars built with a V8 engine. Finding one for a price comparison has become difficult but working backwards from some recently advertised examples of the 5.0-litre SS brings an impressive estimate.

Was: $8000. Now: $65,000-70,000


Isuzu Bellet GT - Advertised January 1993


Isuzu is today renowned as a maker of trucks but 50+ years ago they were making some seriously interesting passenger cars. The Bellet sedan sold well in a market dominated by Toyota and Datsun but there were few takers for the fast and attractive two-door GT. Finding a GT in today’s market, even in Japan, seemed impossible and we did wonder if any of these luscious 1.6-litre two-doors had managed to survive. However, a shop in Texas USA called JDM Legends turned up a rare GT-R version with big wheels and a blacked-out bonnet for an enticing US$34,500.

Was: $10,000. Now: $42,000-48,000


Chrysler Charger E49 - Advertised March 1992


The pinnacle of Aussie six-cylinder excitement has always been a hard car to track down, although not particularly expensive. In 1992, this apparently outstanding E49 was priced at half the money a depressed market was asking for Phase 3 Falcons. Today the gap is even wider. Not sure if this is one of the ‘big tank’ Track Packs, of which only 14 are said to survive and have been pushed by keen collectors to more than $300,000. Assuming it is one of the E49s with some boot space available, this is still a desirable car and worth around ten times the money being asked 29 years ago.

Was $25,000. Now: $240,000-270,000


Reader's One That Got Away:

Ford XB Fairmont - Sarah Hutchins


My old boyfriend owned a pepper red XB in the 1980s. We drove the wheels off that car and it was always reliable until the rusted areas started to join up! He ended up sending it to the scrap heap in 1990 for $150. I kept the 8-track collection from it though which I still own today. In hindsight the car probably was worth saving!


From Unique Cars #450, March 2021

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