Classic Peter Brock designed Commodore sells for $165,000
THE late Peter Brock can still pull a crowd - and drive demand. A 34-year-old Peter Brock designed 'Blue Meanie' Commodore sold for $165,000 at auction this week.
With 10,387km on the odometer, the pristine 1985 HDT VK SS Group A Commodore sedan was finished in the model's signature 'Formula Blue' paint scheme with white Aero wheels. It was one of only 500 V8 5.0-litre vehicles made by Brock's HDT for Group A racing homologation.
Regarded as the most desirable of all 'Brock' Commodores, bidding for the VK began north of $100,000 and quickly developed into a slugging match between a telephone and an online enthusiast at the Shannons Melbourne Summer Auction on February 18
It was a day for the big bangers, with a 2009 HSV W427 Commodore swelling for $98,000 "after vigorous bidding". Marking the 20th anniversary of Holden Special Vehicles, the W427 with its 375kW 7.0-litre LS7 V8 engine was the most powerful and expensive car ever made in Australia when it was introduced in 2008.
The as-new example (Build No. 110) had been part of an enthusiast's private collection, having travelled just over 55,000km.
Last year's Frank Knight Wealth Report, which tracks global investments, reinforces the desirability of classic cars. In the past 10 years prices have climbed by an astonishing 334 per cent, a return on investment that outstrips every other benchmark.
Lloyds Auctions' chief auctioneer Bill Freeman says nostalgia is driving local demand.
"What we're seeing is people buying cars because of their emotional attachment to them," Freeman says.
"Everyone remembers their first car, their parents' first car and the cars they had as posters on the wall. When my dad bought his first car everyone in the street came out and he took people around the block. Jump into one of those cars today and they still smell the same - we get transported back to that time."
Last year, a rare four-door Holden Torana SLR5000 A9X - the very first off the production line in 1977 - sold for an Australian record price of $365,000.
The Australian muscle car record was hit out of the park last June with a seven-figure price paid for a Ford Falcon GTHO Phase III once owned by Australian fast bowler Jeff Thomson. It sold for "more than $1 million" at a Bathurst auction.
Good prices were still being paid for Aussie classics this week. A rare 5.0 litre four-speed manual 1976 Holden HX GTS Monaro 5.0 litre V8 sedan went for $51,000, against is pre-auction estimate of $25,000-$35,000.
Black and white Victorian Heritage number plates remained in strong demand, with the top sale of the auction being $255,000 paid for the '228', followed by $215,000 for '173'.
The 'Porsche' number '9.110' was the top-selling four-digit plate, selling for $56,000, followed by '1.356' that brought $50,000.
Being close to Chinese New Year, plates with prominent '8' digits were popular, with the five-digit '18.881` selling for an excellent $56,000 against its estimate of $15,000-$25,000, while '88.008' brought $35,000 (versus $15,000-$25,000).
In other landmark results, a restored 1954 Land-Rover Series 1 SWB 4X4 wagon smashed its guiding range of $14,000-$18,000, selling after strong phone and online bidding for $38,000.
Another restored beauty, a 1949 Riley RMB 2.5 litre Saloon brought $31,000, while an 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite Mk1 'Bug Eye' roadster went for $44,000.
A 1978 Leyland Mini Moke Californian presented in wonderful condition sold for $34,000 despite a pre-auction estimate of $20,000-$25,000.
Japanese sports cars also did well, a 1990 Toyota MR2 'Targa' manual coupe made $31,000, a circa-1972 Mazda RX3 rotary-engined coupe extensively modified for Group C racing sold for $57,000.