Austin Mini Traveller, Porsche 356, Lotus Cortina - The Ones That Got Away

By: Cliff Chambers

Mini vans, Lotus Cortina and Porsche 356 - just some of the bargains we missed out on from years gone by

From our 'Ones that got away' section in issue 394, Oct 2016

Mini -traveller

Austin Mini Traveller

Advertised February '04

BMC and Leyland in Australia built Mini Vans by the thousands but for some reason we never got the Traveller with its side windows and extra seat slung across the load area. Not officially anyway. Cars that Australians couldn’t buy when new were frequently brought in by British immigrants or even visitors, kept for a year and then sold to curious or gullible locals. This version includes the decorative timber trim that made BMC’s station wagons look just a little less drab than their rivals. Survivors, even in the UK, are scarce and prices have soared.

Austin Mini Traveller
Then: $4,950
Now: $25-30,000


Lotus -cortina

Lotus Cortina

Advertised September '93

Once upon a time you could buy a basically stock model like this Lotus-engined Ford and line up on a grid containing half a dozen F1 drivers and the occasional World Champion. Back when F1 drivers weren’t paid megabucks they would, on weekends off, contest UK Touring Car events, ensuring on-going demand for Lotus Cortinas as Historic race contenders. Several were raced in Australia and this car was among the best; built with no compromises for retired Touring Car racer Ron Hodgson who met a tragic end in 1990. Did it stay in Australia?

Read more on the Lotus Cortina here

Lotus Cortina
Then: $32,000
Now: $80-90,000


Porsche -356

Porsche 356 Cabriolet

Advertised June '90

At the height of the first classic vehicle value ‘boom’ Porsche Cabriolets were among the models worst afflicted by surging and then rapidly-plunging prices. However, had you back in 1990 invested $85,000 in a soft-top 356 then held your nerve when the downturn came, its value today would generate tears of joy and not despair. Cars of this age and type appear for sale occasionally in Australia but aren’t especially hard to find overseas. Quality has a big effect on value and any that fell victim to ‘quickie’ 1990s restorations will pay the penalty now.

Porsche 356 Cabriolet
Then: $85,000
Now: $185-220,000


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