What made you wake up one Monday morning and say to the person lying next to you: “Guess what I’m going to do tonight? I’m going out to the old sandmining suburb ofHeatherton, home of the mighty Tunners (netball and what passes for football players in Victoria and don’t forget to mention The Weekend Australian Motoring when you get to the club because you can become a social member for $50 and get free entry to all of the Tunners home and away games) and buy a Strike Me Pink Torana for a lazy $183k. And if I don’t get that I’ll up the ante and pay $535,000 for the ability to display black and white Victorian heritage number plates with the number 59 on them.”
Well whatever it was, there was plenty going around. Shannons had a 93 per cent clearance rate at their Melbourne autumn classic auction. The pink Torana, which almost doubled its estimate, was the first documented LJ-model XU-1 produced at GMH’s Elizabeth plant and had been in storage for 20 years.
Earlier in the year, Shannons sold an as new Jasmine Yellow 1977 LX Torana A9X for $275k at auction. In 2017 Mossgreen sold the Peter Briggs-owned A9X driven by Bob Morris for $705k.
You can buy a very nice replica of Australia’s own Porker killer for around $30k so why are two buyers in particular trying to corner the market on the real thing?
To my mind, the A9X is the greatest performance car we’ve ever produced (no emails please) and the rest of the hot V8 Toranas are pretty neat too.
But there weren’t many made, even fewer remain unmolested, even fewer have clean histories and there are two collectors vying to own every one.
If you’re going to spend real money on a classic car, get advice. There are more counterfeits for sale than there are originals.
Of course, you’d expect some more trivia from Targa Tasmania and here it is. The most expensive toy in the Apple Isle wasn’t any of the machinery racing around the very slippery roads but a yacht that looked very much like media mogul Barry Diller and partner Diane von Furstenberg’s Eos. But then lots of yachts look like they cost $200 million. Looking like they were waiting for an invite on board were celebrity Targa competitors, the Oatley family’s favourite CFO Steve McClintock, driving an old Beemer very quickly; Lynas and Cleanaway director Philippe Etienne sitting in the left hand seat of a beautiful classic Porker; lawyer Robert Bryden in one of the 300 Lotuses; fertility specialist Christine Kirby in a Jag; hose inspector Alan Gluyas in a French car; strategic delivery professional Peter Gluskie in a Beemer; and of course Paul Stokell, who won in another Lotus.
The real highlight of Targa was the food. First place in lunch went to the Burnie Football Club, who served cleverly disguised Middle Eastern food in an Australian looking wrap.
Our ongoing food investigation revealed a terrible shortage of honeycomb Magnums. Friends, we had to endure plain, salted caramel and even dairy free (the world has gone mad), until, after six sugar-deprived days we returned to the sophisticated cosmopolitan international urban hub of Hobart, where we gorged ourselves on the gold medal winning bee made ice cream.
Continuing to plug stuff we paid for, if you are going to Tassie for Dark Mofo and the nude swim (like me) you have to eat at one or both of the Tso family’s Mee Wah restaurants in Hobart and Lonnie. As the King of Kensi says “the best Cantonese food this side of Canton”.
Talking of Canton, next weekend is Historic Winton. It’s all historic racing all the time. More than 400 historic racing cars, motorbikes and drivers (Michael McMichael and me) from the 1920s as well as a huge array of veteran, vintage, rare and unusual vehicles and people to show the kiddies. Look for Michael and Peter Shacklock with their father’s 1929 Scott Flying Squirrel motorbike. Dad bought the squirrel new in 1929, raced it in the thirties winning scramble events, trial events and hill climbs. You can buy one (not as good as Mick and Pete’s) for $20k.
Also, next weekend is the first round of TCR Australia at Eastern Creek. Billed as a cost-effective touring car racing alternative, the series features drivers like our favourite Molly Taylor, Tony D’Alberto and Jason Bright. As you know, cost effective is a relative expression in car racing. The TCR Series rules stipulate that “fully-fledged factory-backed entries are prohibited. However, car manufacturers are encouraged to support its cars entered by professional or private teams”. Hmmm. What does that sound like to you?
And in late news (as in, I’m late in reporting it) one of the world’s best collections of classic Porkers, the Ingram Collection, was virtually wiped out by a deadly gas pipeline explosion in North Carolina. Owned by Bob Ingram, the former chief executive officer and chairman of Glaxo Wellcome who led the merger and integration that formed GlaxoSmithKline, the collection has 80 cars, including a 918 Spyder back to the third oldest 356 model still in existence.