Holden FJ + Chrysler 360 + Renault Caravelle - Ones That Got Away 456

By: Cliff Chambers

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holden fj holden fj

Looking back through the Unique Cars classifieds...


Holden FJ Bobcat Custom - Advertised March 1992

This car in its day rated as one of Australia’s most radical and awarded customs. As cover car for the June 1968 edition of Hot-Rodding Review, the Bobcat (back then SA registered RRY594) was said to sit on a wheelbase around 25cm shorter than a stock FJ, with metal removed from a whole range of places and supercharger buried down beside the uprated ‘grey’ motor. Last mention we found was in a forum post from 2013 but the car looked in fine fettle and there is no reason to suspect it isn’t still around. What it might be worth today is a matter of conjecture, depending on who wants it.

Then: $19,990 Now: $50,000-70,000


Chrysler 360 - Advertised February 2003


With access to the US-designed, Canadian supplied Plymouth Fury (aka Dodge Phoenix) denied after 1972, Chrysler needed to pump and stretch its Valiant Regal into a model that could take on the ‘limo’ role in its range. Pretentiously badged Chrysler by Chrysler, these monsters sat on a 2921mm wheelbase, weighed around 1600kg and needed the power of their optional 5.9-litre V8. Not a lot were sold (around 2500 probably) and many were scrapped due to turret rust and rising fuel prices. Survivors are now keenly sought and prices have quadrupled since this tidy example was advertised.

Then: $7500 Now: $27,000-32,000


Renault Caravelle - Advertised April 1986


These pretty Renaults did sell new in Australia, originally badged as Florides in coupe form or with a removeable top. Today even in Europe they are rare, with rust and low values the reasons. Survivors are beginning to press for recognition as Renault’s first attempt at a sports car and simply in recognition of their general quirkiness in a bland world. The last good one seen on public sale here was knocked down at a Shannons’ auction in 2018 for $16k but there may have been others sold privately. UK searches turned up a couple in nice condition; priced at up to A$35,000.

Then: $5000 Now: $25,000-30,000


Ford Mustang California Special - Advertised December 1996


Every car maker gets a bit desperate at times and Ford was no different. By 1968 the Mustang was dragging its heels waiting for a new model and dealers were keen for something to get boots onto the showroom floor. Enter the California Special. Sold only through dealers in SoCal, this ‘Mustang With More’ was sold as a six or V8, with Shelby-inspired embellishments, twist locks in the bonnet (hood) fog-lights and distinctive stripes. Few if any would have come here when new and it’s a shame that this one had its value hampered by a RHD steering conversion.

Then: $24,500 Now: $55,000-60,000


From Unique Cars #456, August 2021

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