XC Cobra 5.8 + Alfa Sud + Buick GS455 - Ones That Got Away 455

By: Cliff Chambers

Presented by

falcon xc cobra falcon xc cobra

Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...

Ford XC Cobra 5.8 - Advertised March 1999

In keeping with the nature of the current market we today present a model that hasn’t simply soared to 10 or even 20 times its 1990s price. No, this scarce XC will on a good day and with multiple bidders have a decent shot at registering a hammer price that is thirty times the amount being sought 22 years ago. With so few XC Cobras produced, details of each variation and even individual cars were carefully documented so we know that this is one of 38 built as a 5.8 manual with power windows and steering and its ‘provenance’ is easy to establish.

Then: $11,000. Now: $300,000-330,000


Alfa Sud 1.5 - Advertised December 1996


As the man on the microphone at the car auctions might say when trying to cajole an extra bid; ‘Find me another one’. Alfa Suds were lovely but among the most rust-afflicted cars ever built and hardly any of the original four-doors will have found their way to 2021. Sometimes you might spot a two-door Ti but cars like this sedan have all but departed. If this one is still rust-free and running, international Alfa collectors will be hammering on the vendor’s door with fists full of Lire if ever it is advertised again.

Then: $4500. Now: $12,000-15,000


Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman - Advertised January 2005


Rolls Royce for many years claimed to build the best luxury car in the world, to which the folk at Mercedes-Benz would smile and reply ‘But we have the biggest’. A basic 600 limousine in 1963 measured 5.5 metres and weighed 2.4 tonnes which was surely enough for most people. However, if you were Idi Amin, Ferdinand Marcos or the late Bob Jane (who had a rare open-top Landaulette version), it had to be a long wheelbase Pullman. These, surprisingly, are not too difficult to locate, with several available from European sources. Prices are surging and A$1 million surely beckons.

Then: $90,000. Now: $600,000-700,000


Buick GS455 - Advertised May 1994


As one of General Motor’s prestige brands, Buick’s role as a source of brutally powerful muscle cars might have surprised traditional owners. Or maybe not. Big-engined Buicks dated back decades and its chrome-laden monsters from the 1950s would top 100mph (161km/h). By the 1970s, Buick had developed a 7.4-litre engine which, with the benefit of high-compression heads and a huge carburettor, delivered a genuine 270kW. GS-spec Skylarks like this aren’t common in Australia but US values aren’t ridiculous and you could land a nice one here for under A$60,000.

Then: $37,500. Now: 60,000-65,000


From Unique Cars #455, July 2021

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