Honda N600 + Plymouth Sport Fury + Mini Moke Utility - Ones That Got Away

By: Cliff Chambers

The cars we should have bought or are delighted we didn't...

HONDA N600 (Advertised August 2000)


BMC’s Mini was so dominant in the economy car market, brands like Fiat and Goggomobil chose to withdraw their offerings. In 1967, Honda had a go with its N360 Scamp and then with the more feasible 600cc model. N600 Scamps had 27kW and four-speed transmission that would later be joined by a two-speed automatic, but these were appalling to drive and equally unreliable. Not so the manual, which finished the 1970 Ampol Trial and provided the people who bought them with transport that was economical and fun. Nearly all gone now.

Then: $1500, Now: $5500-8000


FALCON GT-HO PHASE II (Advertised December 1993)


If the people who meticulously maintain a Register of GT-HO Falcons are correct, then this Phase II in Surfer Orange, is one of four produced. More than that, we cannot tell, but a book you might still be able to buy lists every known GT-HO Falcon and should include this one. Back in 1993, accompanied by a shelf full of recently won trophies, it was being offered at biggish money. That was nowhere near the prices being paid during the late 1980s, when the first ‘boom’ in local performance-car values wave was alive and thriving.

Then: $45,000, Now: $350,000-450,000


PLYMOUTH SPORT FURY (Advertised August 1996)


Back in the mad, bad days of 1960s Nascar, Plymouths like this raced high on the banked ovals and pushed hard with the rest of the field. Okay, the race engine would have been a Hemi and the signwriting would have included names like Richard Petty and Lee Roy Yarborough, but the look was the same. In Australia in the 1990s, cars like this two-door Sport Fury would have cost around the same as a locally-assembled Dodge Phoenix sedan, but demand has grown. Today, in a USA where donors for replica Nascars are hot property, expect to pay around US$30,000.

Then: $12,500, Now: $45,000-50,000


BMW E36 M3-R (Advertised November 2006)

BMW E36 M3-R - NOV 06.jpg

The BMW M3-R, as its suffix suggests, is a competition car produced to contest GT Production races. However, only four of the 15 completed in Frank Gardner’s workshop were earmarked for the track, and even then they didn’t see success, with events dominated by Porsche. When new and delivered to their select band of owners, the M3-R was $164,990 and values plummeted once depreciation took hold. The last M3-R we saw for sale was in 2022; offered at $150,000 which was still short of the original price and ambitious against current estimates.

Then: $49,800, Now: $100,000-120,000


MINI MOKE UTILITY (Advertised September 1986)


This well-organised Moke ute was obviously a factory effort, but finding another was challenging. We think we did, but it was in the sold bin at a Queensland Hyundai dealership, with no reference to price or when the deal was done. Another has since popped up, but with a different tray style and a roll cage, so if anyone knows which is correct, please write. In  a market where 1275cc Californian Mokes are making $40,000, one in excellent condition with all the factory extras but a tray in place of the back seat, must still be worth $30,000 or more.

Then: $3500, Now: $30,000-35,000


RENAULT 5 TURBO 2 (Advertised March 2001)


We met Renault’s wildest 5 some time ago, while prepping a feature and thought it unlikely another to pop up for sale in Australia, but here one is. Built LHD and a problem to effectively convert, the 5 Turbo is an uncommon car outside of Europe and rarely seen in right-hand drive form. Auction monitoring site Glenmarch lists just four R5 Turbos sold since mid-2021, with the best of them early in 2023 reaching 167,000 Euros (A$285,000). Converted cars will be less enticing, however one like this should still top $200,000.

Then: $42,500, Now: $190,000-220,000


HOLDEN A9X TORANA HATCH (Advertised June 2005)

A9X JANSON - JUN 05.jpg

A9X Toranas don’t come much more desirable or with greater provenance than this one. ‘Captain’ Peter Janson was a man with outstanding skills in the field of public relations and an accomplished driver as well. Switching from rallying to circuit racing during the 1970s, Janson acquired one of two lightweight A9X bodies that had been supplied to Bob Forbes for his abandoned Le Mans 24 Hour campaign. This car, driven by Janson and Larry Perkins, went on to finish second at Bathurst in 1979, six laps behind Peter Brock/Jim Richards, and was sold again during 2021 for a reported $900,000.

Then: $245,000, Now: $850,000-950,000

From Unique Cars #484, Oct 2023

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