My young bloke turns 16 soon. This event has provided an opportunity to buy another car. To be honest, I rarely need an excuse! 

For the last few months I have been trawling used car sites looking for something that is reasonably priced, relatively safe and is a bit of fun for he and I to work on over the weekend. 

Back in the day, this would have seen us digging out the Trading Post and lining up at the bank to ask the teller for $2k from your account before heading down the route of a HQ Holden Kingswood or maybe even a XD Falcon. Solid and dependable local metal from the ‘70s and ‘80s. 

A quick search on sees the owner of a 1983 Holden WB Kingswood ute asking $45k for their example. It looks to be in good condition, but is far from perfect. In fact, it is described as a “tradie workhorse”. It’s not a classic; it’s just old. Likewise, the 1979 Toyota Corolla on offer at $19500. Twenty kay!!! Are you mad! 

These aren’t classic cars – they’re just old! How do people ask so much for them? Worse still, who the hell buys them! 

Twenty something grand is serious money. A Ford Fiesta ST, an Abarth 595 Competizione, an older Mini Cooper S, all with nominal mileage, are cheaper, safer, more efficient, more comfortable and more ‘cool’ than a ‘79 Corolla. If you don’t mind a few miles travelled, BMW’s 130i Sport is on offer for this kind of money too. $45000 will get you a Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG or a WRX STi with change for a box trailer! 

This sense of mania has flowed into everything ‘Aussie’ since the collapse of local manufacturing. Now, if you’ve got a 1996 HSV VS GTS-R, glorious in a taxi inspired ‘XU-3 Yellah’ yellow, tucked away, down the back of the shed, congratulations. You’ve got yourself a genuine slice of legendary Aussie performance car history. You deserve every cent of the $200k or so that you will get at auction. Kogarah’s Muscle Car Warehouse sold this one a while ago. I’m sure if you ask nicely, and you can afford it, they’ll find you another one. 

If, however, you’ve got a 1996 VS Executive that actually looks like a taxi, glorious in it’s faux lambskin seat covers and antenna shaped in a map of Oz, you have no right to ask ‘classic car prices’ when you go to sell it on. It’s not a classic. It’s a shitbox. You should be happy if someone offers you a few hundred bucks, not the $14k they’re asking for this specimen.

Now, speaking of shitboxes, Pickles has sold what it claimed to be the last Ford Falcon XR6 Highway Patrol car. It’s clocked 86k km, which suggests a city posting. With four days still to run in the online auction, bidding is strong with K.W. from Castle Hill pledging to hand over $40250. The thing might have had ‘one owner’, but I’d say that it’s a fair bet that New South Wales’ finest have given the thing a pasting in the line of duty. At least the body fluid stain on the back seat is thrown in for free. I guess the beauty of an auction is that the market decides what something is worth. Me? It’s sure as hell not worth anywhere near what it will finally went for, that’s for damn sure. 

Which brings me to my point. Acknowledging that the FG XR6 Turbo isn’t a rare car, or even a particularly good car, why on Earth is there any value in being ‘the last’ of something. Why is there any value in bidding far beyond a reasonable price, just because it’s the first, or the last, or even that the American parent company has decided to withdraw from local manufacture. I don’t get it. 

Needless to say, my boy won’t be driving a tidy WB ute for his first car or an A45 AMG. The search continues.