Datsun 240Z + Mercedes-Benz 190SL + Triumph TR3A - Ones That Got Away 453 2

By: Cliff Chambers

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datsun 240z datsun 240z

Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Datsun 240Z - Advertised November 1997

Scowl if you want, but anyone who was buying cars in the tough, late-1990s market knows that $13,500 was exceptional money for a 240Z. Even one this good. At the time of offering this car was almost 25 years old, although in its favour were the
2000 kilometres travelled during each of those years. In addition, the colour was rare and it came with daggy but original domed wheel covers. Shift focus to the present and $13,500 won’t buy a rusted wreck, instead, a 240Z of this quality would be headed to auction with a six-figure reserve and a vendor confident of topping that target.

Then: $13,500. Now: $100,000-120,000


Mercedes-Benz 190SL - Advertised December 2002


During the 1960s it was possible to own a 190SL for just ten bob (about $20 in today’s money) because they were pretty hard to sell and being given away as lottery prizes. Times change though, with prices paid for the similarly shaped 300SL routinely exceeding US$1 Million and the 190 version firmly attached to its coat-tails. Don’t expect performance or scarcity for your $300K, however. The carburettor-fed, four-cylinder version managed just 78kW, with almost 26,000 made during a production run that spanned eight years.

Then: 49,200. Now: $300,000-330,000


Triumph TR3A - Advertised August 1994


For many years, the TR3A and MGA have fought for supremacy in the market for mainstream 1950s-60s sports cars. The USA was their prime battle ground; however, Australia saw plenty of both models when new and a lot survive. While the MG was down on power against the 2.0-litre Triumph (if we ignore the troublesome MGA Twin-Cam) it nudged ahead when looks and handling were considered. This TR at almost $18K would have taken some time to sell in a difficult 1990s market but today should be worth a tad more than the typical Mark 1 MGA.

Then: $17,990. Now: $40,000-45,000


Reader's One That Got Away:

Holden Calibra 4x4 Turbo
Tim Jenson - via email


When the Holden Calibra was released in the 90s I instantly fell in love with the modern shape as a teenager. For years I hunted for a turbo 4x4 edition but most had suffered from terrible modifications blamed on the autosalon scene from 20 years ago.

I turned to a WRX but I still would love to find an un-modified version of this rare Holden.


From Unique Cars #453, May 2021

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