You’re not going to get him a bottle of whisky (if you are, try the 1991 Glenmorangie Grand Vintage 26 Year Old Single Malt $1200 a bottle, but he’ll be disappointed with less than a case – $14k); a pair of socks (try Pantherella Men’s Waddington Rib Luxury Cashmeres at $90 for two – socks ie left and right); slippers (try Brilliant Basics Men’s Classic Scuff Slippers – Charcoal – $3.50 from Big W) and you’d never think of Fluffy Dice (Black With White Dots Or White With Black Dots – $9.99 from Supercheap Auto) or a Hawaiian Hula Dashboard Person – Tall (a good one is $30).
No, ungrateful sons, daughters and others, you’re going to take out a home-equity loan and show Dad you really care and are not the ungrateful losers he thinks you are. Buy him the car of his or – if you’re really tricky – your dreams.
To make this easy (and take note the four of mine, only one of whom, the eldest, reads this column and is hence back in the will and has his photo in the hall), we’ve asked two of the world’s greatest experts on the global classic car market to secretly and exclusively tell you what five cars to buy now.
Seriously, I don’t know why we don’t charge more for this paper and online platform. Of course, we are the only newspaper in Australia that delivers to every corner of the nation, from the Top End (shout-out to our Kia Sorento road tester Baru Jack up in Timber Creek on Ngaliwurru and Nungali land), Tasmania and every town in between. We don’t do this often, but today, in time for Father’s Day, you can get the real paper delivered to your door and you can read it online for $1 a day (I’d strongly suggest you read the fine print).
OK our first expert is our old friend, Dave Kinney. Dave is the publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide, a post-war price guide for classic and collectable automobiles that powers the free online Hagerty Valuation Tools. He is also the founder of US Appraisal, a classic and collectable automotive, truck and motorcycle appraisal company. He is a senior member of the American Society of Appraisers. Dave is a Concours judge at numerous prestigious events around the US and UK and has made lots of money out of Studebakers.
Dave’s cars to buy now are:
1. Any unmodified (or just lightly modified) manual Subaru WRX STI from the early 2000s through to 2010. Average kilometres is 190,000km-350,000km but you can buy one with under 160,000 for the mid $30k. There are a few with well under 100,000km, but you’ll pay mid $60k – or what they cost new! As with all the cars today, check they haven’t been to the speedo cafe for a bit of a rewind.
2. Buy a Mazda RX-7 or a Mazda RX-8 and you not only buy a car, you get a hobby and join the RPC (Rotary Power Cult). I raced a RX-7 so I’m on Dave’s side here. RX-7 prices are already running past $100k but you can still buy a good one for about $50k. RX-8s are cheaper. I’d pay from the mid-twenties. Remember buy on condition and then on the kilometre.
3. Any Series 1 Land Rover. Personally, despite one of my best friends owning one, I don’t get these cars like I don’t get why my 20-year Land Cruiser is worth more than I paid for it. But these have started to lift. From $5k to a fully restored one at $70k.
4. Ford, Chevy or Dodge full-sized American pick-ups from the 1970s or 1980s. Dave says they are “fun, plus you can haul stuff”. Already running. Expect to pay mid- twenties but a couple of really nice ones are up above $70k. Another option here are Ford and Holden V8 manual pick-ups (utes). You’ll pay mid-twenties for a nice Ford XR-8 and towards $30K for a Holden SSV.
James Nicholls is an international expert on classic motor cars and boats. He works with major auction houses; he also provides advice on collecting, authenticity and purchase via private treaty. More importantly, he is the founder and curator of the AXA Sydney Harbour Concours d’Elegance.
James’s cars to buy now are:
1. The 1962-1980 MGB roadster. The perennial starter classic is a fun, reliable and up until now great value for money car, but everyone is getting wise to that fact and prices are starting to climb. Jump on in before it is too late and they become expensive. Try to find a nice original one that has been well maintained. Cheap to run, spares and parts easy to obtain, and the MG car club is one of the best for help and advice. Pay from the mid-twenties.
2. 1973 Lotus Elan +2S 130. With the latest Lotus Emira set to make a huge splash when it goes on sale, expect classic Lotus lovers to start to value their vehicles even more. This model of the Elan has the “Big Valve” Lotus Twin Cam engine and a five-speed gearbox. Hugely exhilarating fun to drive, light, fast and responsive. If it was me, I would be looking for one of the black and gold “John Player Special” limited editions to celebrate Lotus’s 50th F1 GP victory. Great pedigree and by this time the build quality was much improved. On sale in the UK for $75k.
3. Citroën SM. Quirky and wacky as it comes, the SM, “Serie Maserati”, has sublime lines that still make it look futuristic 50 years on. Do not be put off by critics who worry about Citroën hydraulics or the Maserati engine. The SM is fast, comfortable and sensual. One of the most iconic cars of all time. Try to get a European rather than US model if you can, but any SM is a thing of beauty. Available with either 2.7 litre and later three litre engine and as manual or automatique! I have put my money where my mouth is and just invested in one. Ten years ago a good one was $40k, today closer to $100k.
4. 1962 Facel Vega Facel II. Totally elegant, hand-built and purchased by the rich and famous. Highly desirable, they were the chariot of choice for Stirling Moss. Only 182 units of this model from the erstwhile French manufacturer were built. Fast French elegance with a reliable American Chrysler V8. Stylish and super cool. Expect to pay $300,000-plus.
5. Lamborghini Countach. With launch of the latest Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 last week, expect to see prices of the original Countach (local Italian Piemontese dialect for “Cor, what a beauty”) go even higher. Now could be the time to jump aboard the Countach express before the prices go to Miura levels. If you need reminding just what a striking car this is, check out the opening sequence of the Cannonball Run movie. Do not be afraid of the wild colours such as turquoise blue or purple rather than another red one. If you can afford it, go for the original 1972-1977 LP400 “periscopio”. One of Marcello Gandini’s greatest designs. About $600k.