Phil's Picks: Mini Cooper S + 1981 Caprice + 1956 Thunderbird + more

By: Phil Walker

Presented by

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Spring is springing, which revs up Uncle Phil's quest to uncover a cornucopia of motoring pleasures to fit all budgets



The most fun you could have sitting down with a wheel in your hands

The Mini Cooper S was the must have performance car of the mid-60s. Small, fast and agile which is why the cops had them as pursuit cars. The Cooper S also dominated Bathurst in 1966 adding to their appeal. And this BMC Special Production SP41 car has been confirmed as one of those annoying, at the time, ex-pursuit units with just over 25,000 miles on the odo. It’s in the original Kelp Beige (what a name!) colour and black trim but has been modernised with an alarm, quick shift gear lever and an AM/FM/CD Player. It comes with a workshop manual and spares. The 1277cc engine has a minor leak and there is some minor body rust to attend to but overall an interesting example.

- See the listing here.




Here’s one you can drive and restore at the same time. Although it has done over 400,000kms it appears to be cared for. The velour trim and entire cabin, boot as well as under the bonnet look to be in good form, so may be able to minimise the to-do list. This is the top dog Caprice with the 308, which was a robust powerplant. The body needs some work and the aircon compressor and central locking have snuffed it. The basics seem to be all there making the resto or tidy up and hopefully not a dollar drainer.

- See the listing here.




You won’t trip over one of these every day. A mid 60s S-class Benz with just 57,000 miles showing on the clock and, according to the ad, most of them racked up in the country by the original owner of 51 years. These old Benzes love a good gallop and were designed to schlep up and down the autobahns at a fair clip. The current and second owner says it’s not quite concours but close. I can’t really argue the toss. The Tobacco Brown with tan trim is offered with logbooks, the original purchase warranty and two sets of original keys.

- See the listing here.




When Tom Walkinshaw established the HSV operation, he wanted more than just Commodores to sell. Around the start of the 21st century utes became a status symbol. So creating one was a no brainer and the Maloo turned into a nice earner for the canny Scot. This Quicksilver VY Series 2 R8 gets you anywhere in a hurry with 285Kw and a manual gearbox to play with. And it certainly has road presence. It has travelled 119,000kms and looks to be neat and tidy, even in the cargo bay. Topping it off is build number 005.

- See the listing here.




Fun, fun, Fun till Daddy took the T’Bird Away, sang the Beach Boys, with Ford aiming the Thunderbird and the post-war youth market. I confess to having a soft spot for the baby Bird. Prices have dropped in recent times with many examples hitting our shores, making them great value for an American icon. Especially a more desirable red with white convertible, dripping in chrome and finished off with whitewalls, a V8 and auto. Something for a Summer drive to the coast.

- See the listing here.


From Unique Cars 459, Nov 2021

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