You’ve been asking big questions this week.
Like, is an old white Torana worth $833,000? Or is a 2017 Holden ute worth a million? To answer these and other critical problems you’ve put to us (What’s the meaning of life? Is Plato’s Trial and Death of Socrates as good a read as Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans? Do angels practice horizontal folk dancing?) I’ve put together our top brains trust (the Sultan on the Zoom directly from the corner bar at the Oxford Think Tank of South Australia – the Kensi Hotel) and yours truly.
So, Lloyds Auctions sold the Torana we showed you last week for the price of what? Well for around the same money you can buy a used cotton undershirt considered to be a holy grail of LeBron James memorabilia at Julien’s Auctions next week. I am reliably informed that while LeBron has never got a podium finish, he’s not too bad at the basketball caper and is worth $700m, or more than Michael McMichael (so good his parents named him twice in the manner of other great Australians like Bom Bom, Bong Bong, Banda Banda, Book Book, Bonoo Bonoo, Bootti Bootti (get your mind out of the gutter), Dum Dum (true), Gin Gin, Goonoo Goonoo, Grong Grong, Tucki Tucki, Walla Walla and Coopers Pale Ale) earns a week from his Beemer service and nude painting business. Evidently because LeB wore this jersey while playing for St Vincent-St Mary against the Archbishop Hoban Knights and scored 32 points and collected seven rebounds and it featured (with him inside) on the cover of Sports Illustrated, it’s the same price as new long wheel base Roller.
In the art caper you can buy a painting by any Australian living artist for well under the price of the white Torana, or in fact the absolutely amazing piece of Australian motor racing history, the chrome yellow and March 17 green Torana racer Australian Muscle cars still have going for $850k. Of course, dead artists always bring more money (just wait till the old bloke shuffles off his BMW coil) and a close friend and mentor of Mick’s, Hans Heysen’s painting of an old gum tree and two horses, sold for $500k over reserve last year at Deutscher and Hackett.
One of the big buyers of Australian muscle is Melbourne’s Adrian Portelli, who is single-handedly bidding up the value of beefy classics. Adrian started and owns LMCT-plus, which gives you “access to the LMCT+ platform where you’ll receive exclusive discounts from over 400 automotive, trade, homeware and lifestyle partners Australia-wide” and “receive entries into our mind-blowing promotions”. So, this month Adrian is selling entries to win the 2017 HSV W1 Maloo for which he paid Lloyds $1.1m.
OK, what will a white Torana buy you outside lockdown land?
Look, I get Australian muscle cars in Australia, but it’s like, with due respect to Hans Heysen, comparing his gum trees and horses with Pablo Picasso’s Guernica. So, feast your eyes on the piece of art in the pic above.
It’s Ferruccio Lamborghini’s first production car, the Touring built 350GT, that debuted at the 1964 Geneva Motor Show. This piece of metal is not only a vehicle, it’s a sculpture. It’s a masterpiece.
Just looking at it makes you a better person and blows your mind more than an LMCT+ promotion or pint of Cooper’s best extra stout. There are five Italian artists you should know about: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Giotto Bizzarrini, Gianpaolo Dallara and Carrozzeria Touring. Bizzarrini worked at Alfa and Feezer (the 250 GTO came from him) before going out on his own. Fred Lamborghini commissioned him to design a V12 engine to put into the perfect touring car. And he got his own designer, Dallara, to draw the tubular chassis and Carrozzeria Touring to do the body. Fred went into the supercar business for two reasons. One, the margins were better than his tractor-building outfit and two, he had a blue with Enzo Feezer because of his cars’ clutch quality and less than sexy interiors.
“Ferrari, your cars are rubbish!” Fred said. “Lamborghini, you may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari properly,” Enzo replied. Anyway, the 350GT was the outcome and it was a better car than Fezzer was turning out at the time. Only 143 were built. Dave Gooding sold this one at Pebble Beach in 2014 for $823k, but in 2003 you could have bought any of the 143 for under $50k. When Dave puts this up next month at Pebble Beach you’ll need to bid Maloo money.
Talking of Lambos, there’s clearly money in the drumming caper. Neil Peart was one of the world’s greats. In fact, he features in the percussionists’ joke: how many drummers does it take to change a light bulb? Five: One to screw the bulb in, and four to talk about how much better Neil Peart could’ve done it. As well as his role in the Canadian super rock group Rush (most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band in the US behind the Beatles, the Stones, Kiss and Aerosmith) we love him because he was a serious petrol head.
Neil called his collection the Silver Surfers, well, because they are nearly all silver. Most of the cars are in the Torana and Maloo range like a magnificent black (I know) 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 ($1.3m); the world’s first true supercar, the 1970 Lamborghini Miura P400 S ($2m), which was the fastest production car of all time when released, and a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 ($1m).
Finally, two happenings for your diary. Unfortunately, the Sultan and I can’t be at my favourite event of the year, the Leyburn Sprints (August 21/22) because we are shipping the WART Beemer to Cairns for TARGA Great Barrier Reef. This year the start will be at Cairns showground and the final stage will be around the streets of Innisfail on Sunday, September 5. TARGA boss Mark Perry says he hopes to bring some energy back to Cairns with new stages and events. With the old bloke and I there with a boot full of Weekend Australian pens that don’t work, copies of the paper from 1972 and tummies full of Coopers.