Austin Utility + HDT VK Wagon + Volvo 145 - Gotaways 408

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Austin ute, Brock HDT VK wagon, Volvo 145 and Chrysler Valiant R - just some of the cars we look back on from the Unique Cars archives

Austin 1800 Utility - Advertised October 2000

Memories from years ago of attempting to urge an 1800 ute laden with sand up a steep driveway confirm that some cars really should not be turned into utilities. The 1800 rode nicely and had a comfy cabin but unless you were delivering large cartons of fresh air, it did struggle as a load-carrier. This one with an asking price about twice the amount being paid for excellent 1800s would have struggled too. Someone in the UK might have wanted it but freight and customs costs would have deterred all but the most philanthropic.

Then: $15,000. Now: $12-15,000 (maybe)

Brock HDT VK Wagon - Advertised June 1987

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This looks so much like a stock VK Wagon with some HDT wheels and panels added that people passing by might dismiss it as a fake. But no. Various credible sources including an official HDT brochure confirm that HDT was geared to work its magic on a pretty much any kind of VK V8 wagon that a customer might send their way. On-line comments (which should always be viewed with scepticism) claim anywhere from 3 to 30 VK wagons were built before arrival of the VL took production to more prolific levels. Do you own this scarce VK?

Then: $18,450. Now: $40-45,000

Volvo 145 Express - Advertised May 1992


We did take a look some years back at these rare Volvos but the pictures we used back then weren’t great and readers might not have appreciated the special features of the Express or found reason to preserve one should it cross their path. Overseas, the Express with its stepped roof and fenced-off luggage platform could be bought with two, five or seven seats, window glass to the rear or plain sides as shown. The estimate of six being brought to Australia seems low, especially as sources document more than that number still in existence. Where is this one now?

Then: $5000. Now: $10-15,000


Chrysler Valiant R Series - Advertised July 1995

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1008 is a very significant number for Chrysler enthusiasts because that is the official production figure for Australia’s first Valiant. The compact Chryslers were actually a US-designed Plymouth and arrived here in a multitude of crates for assembly at Chrysler’s South Australian factory. The Valiant was modern, fast and spacious and the ‘R Series’ as it was known sold out in days. Buyers who missed out then had to wait weeks for the ‘S Series’ to be available. Possibly 100 or so of the ‘R’ survive, this looks to be one of the better examples and its value will have soared since 1995.

Then: $12,500. Now: $30-35,000


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