Australia has a long history of love and obsession with classic cars and motoring. Ever since the former Prime Minister Ben Chifley watched the unveiling of the Holden FX, Australians have shown their love and passion for motoring and classic cars. The biggest car manufacturers in Australia are Holden (a subsidiary of GM) and Ford Australia.
Because of the exorbitant costs of manufacturing anything in Australia, some say the future won’t have any Australian-made cars, which gives more value to the old classic cars that stood out the test of time and tried to leave their mark in the motoring history books and in the memories of true car lovers and enthusiastic. This is a list of my top 10 classic cars built and manufactured on Australian soil.
The Holden FX 48-215 was the first car designed and built in Australia by Holden. It’s the car that started the Holden legacy that exists to this day. It set a standard in auto mobile manufacturing, taking cues from the American car designers and assembly work to give Australia its first car. Online, this classic can be purchased for between $12,000 and $25,000. A prototype of this car was recently sold at an auction for a Holden record of $672,000!
The Monaro was a car that I grew up hearing about from my uncles. It was rough, it was tough and it was fast. The 2-door design was new for Australian motorists, who didn’t seem to mind that passengers would have to climb over a seat to take a ride in the belly of this beast. It’s a car that’s designed to race, to go fast and to impress. Depending on its current state, prices for this model range from $80,000 to $240,000 from private sellers. (Photo credit)
If you were on the streets of any Australian city in the late 60s, you were most likely to have seen the XT Falcon driving on the roads, next to a Monaro. A luxury model, dubbed the “Fairmont”, was also manufactured and made available on the market. The car came in a variety of models, a 4 door sedan, 5 door station wagon, a 2 door utility (Or a ute, an abbreviation for “utility” or “coupÃ© utility”, as Australians & Kiwis call them) and a 2 door van. Prices for this classic are between $5,000 and $45,000.
The Holden VL Commodore SS Group A was the last car designed by Peter Brock’s HDT Special Vehicles organisation (For those who don’t know, Peter Brock is an Australian motor racing legend.). There were only 500 of these machines made, with all the models painted “Permanent Red”. If this car drove past you, you”d know about it. The one that I found online for sale was $64,990. (Photo from Flickr and car photoed is for sale)
This iconic automobile, according to legend, was born from a letter sent to Ford from a wife of a farmer in Gippsland, in it she asked: “Could you please make a car that we can go to church in on Sunday and take the pigs to market on Monday.” And from this, the “ute” (once again, abbreviation for “utility”) was born in Australia. It’s a classic due to its ingenuity and versatility, inspired from a two-door coupe, with a cargo bed attached behind the cabin. This model has become a rare collector’s item.
This light weight car was fun to drive – particularly when equipped with a V8 engines (4.2-litre or 5.0-litre), and whatever flaws it has didn’t matter when the engine was roaring. Wild colours and body kits were all the rage,and drop tanks, sticker decals and tough lines make it an iconic car in Australia’s motoring history. To own an iconic SLR 5000 in today’s world will set you off by $35,000 to $60,000 as per this link.
While General Motors and Ford from the US owned Holden and Ford respectively, Chrysler wanted in on the Australian market. Under the name Valiant, Chrysler released its VH Charger and earned itself a following in the land down under. The VH was the first series of Chargers, and was the most popular of the Charger models. Prices vary on a used Valiant Charger, costing between $10,000 and $35,000.
The Holden FJ was the younger brother of the Holden FX. It is a classic Australian icon, and one that is remembered fondly by many of the older generations. The car was reliable, and there are a range of clubs around Australia dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of these pieces of Australian history. If you want to own this classic, a fix-up project will cost about $6000 plus, while a restored or modded Holden FJ will cost between $30,000 – $58,000
The Leyland P76 made it on to the list due to the its memorability. It was the first Australian car designed from a blank sheet of paper, thanks to the British company Leyland’s attempt to get into the Australian market and take on Holden, Ford and Chrysler. It failed by far to do so, but the cars that were produced survived the fall and remain around today. The cost to own a Leyland P76 is between $3000 and $10,000. This article explains in full details why Leyland cars tanked like a rock.
Many Australian teenagers from the 1970s up to my generation spent hours thinking about owning a Holden Sandman. It’s a classic car that went from being a part of youth culture to youth folklore. Putting a mattress in the back, getting some friends together or your girlfriend, and going away for the weekend was the dream. Got your transport and your bed right there, plus it can be also used for work, in order to pay for the weekends away. The reason I never got this car as a teenager? It cost between $27,000 and $60,000, depending on the condition.