• Early Vic plate ’59’ top selling auction lot at $535,000
• Australian classics deliver strong results
• 90 per cent clearance rate and $3.3 million in sales
How important is a standout colour and what value do you place on being a very early production example?
The answer was ‘$183,000’ in the case of a 1972 LJ Torana GTR XU-1 with a period race history that had been stored for 24 years when it was offered with ’no reserve’ at Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction on April 29.
The price for the Torana – around double its pre-auction guiding range of $80,000-$100,000 – was achieved for the last of the auction’s 78 lots after a prolonged duel between two determined enthusiasts bidding online and by phone.
Spurring them on was the Torana’s in demand ‘Strike me Pink’ colour, its special status as the first documented LJ-model XU-1 produced at GM-H’s Elizabeth plant and its later racing life as a Sports Sedan in Western Australia.
The result for the XU-1 was indicative of the high demand for Australian classics at the auction, which grossed $3.3 million in total sales, with 90 per cent of all lots sold on the hammer.
In other strong results for home-grown heroes, a beautifully-presented 1969 Holden HT Monaro uprated with a 383ci V8 engine and corresponding mechanical and cosmetic upgrades, sold for $107,000 and a true survivor – a two-tone 1960 Holden FB Holden special sedan in lovely condition – brought $26,000.
Black and white Heritage Victorian number plates continued their strong performance at the auction, with the highly-anticipated sale of the early issue plate ‘59’ held for many years by the same family, producing the top sale of the night of $535,000, with bidding starting at $500,000.
The three-digit plate of the five on offer was ‘822’, which brought an excellent $175,000.
Restored commercial vehicles continued to be popular with buyers, with a restored and scarcely seen 1962 Ford Falcon XK ‘Windowless’ panel van being pursued by several bidders before selling for $50,000 – comfortably above its pre-auction high estimate.
A right hand drive 1956 Ford F100 Side-Step Pick-up sold for $45,000; a 1982 Toyota Land-Cruiser HJ47 Long Wheelbase 4X4 Cab Chassis Utility sold for $29,000; while 1957 Holden FE Ute sold with ’no reserve’ brought $18,000 and a right-hand-drive Ford F00 351 V8 Utility made $17,000.
In other noteworthy sales, a striking, right hand drive 1959 Chevrolet Impala 348ci V8 Coupe sold comfortably above its reserve for $84,000, while a beautifully-restored 1971 Citroen DS21 Pallas originally owned by Seekers’ lead singer Judith Durham, sold for $40,000.
Two classic Porsche 911 models also attracted plenty of bidder interest, with a special order Baltic Blue Metallic 1989 Porsche 930 Turbo selling with ‘no reserve’ for $160,000, while a Sydney-delivered Pewter Metallic 1983 911SC Cabriolet sold for $75,000.