Happy Friday, Autopians! I’m taking over for Mercedes today, as she heads out on a super secret mission. There will be tire-roasting. That’s all I’ll say. Welcome to Marketplace Madness: ‘Straya Edition! All the vehicles you see below are for sale within Australia, or are Australian cars available for sale overseas.
I’m not including Aussie cars that were sold in the USA brand-new such as the 2000s Pontiac GTO or G8/Chevrolet SS as they are not that hard to find Stateside.
I burned quite some hours on the various sales sites last night to give you this bag of ‘Strayan mixed-lollies (candy), so big props to both Mercedes and Mark Tucker for their consistently high-standard of vehicle sale content!
Something that is not widely known is that Australian motorists had a long history with French vehicles. Some of the earliest cars to reach our continent were French, with the first Renaults arriving by 1903 according to Drive.com.au.
Regarded by many as having rugged suspension and good overall reliability to survive on the harsh unsealed roads in Australia, the three mainstream French manufacturers (Citroen, Renault and Peugeot) continued to sell in good numbers from the 1910s and into the interwar, and post-WW2 period. The first car known to drive all the way around Australia was a Citroen in 1925. That vehicle is kept in the National Museum of Australia.
This 203 sedan is from the third year of this model and was assembled in Australia. A 203 won the 1953 Redex Trial, a 6,500 mile rally held over fifteen stages, which saw 142 of the 186 starters finish the Trial.
According to the advert, this 203 has had a full restoration completed in the past decade, including a disc-brake upgrade, and has covered 15,000km or a little over 9,000 miles, presumably since the restoration as the seller is unclear. The seller also states there are receipts for the restoration work and a spare gearbox is included
Located in sunny Queensland (the second-largest state in Australia, larger than Alaska!) and priced at 10,500 Aussie Dollarydoos or approximately 6,972 ‘Merican Freedom Tokens this could make a nice ‘Cars and Coffee’ cruiser that you know could also handle a rough track if needed.
Are you a fan of the ‘Tri-Five’ Chevrolets but have a small garage? This 1961 Holden ‘FB’ Special might be just up your alley!
Dating from the period where Holdens looked like Chevrolets or Buicks at 2/3 scale, overall length is only a tick over 15 feet which makes it at least 16 inches shorter than a ‘56 Chevy.
As the penultimate model to feature the ‘Grey’ Holden inline-six, with a sedate 75 hp hauling around 2500 lbs it was never a barn-stormer in terms of performance, but kept Holden in market dominance before sales started slipping in the face of stronger competition both from Ford/Chrysler and the growing Japanese imports.
With the old ‘Grey’ being put to pasture and motivation now from an appropriately-British-via-Buick 3.9L Rover V8, this would presumably make for a lively little sedan.
Priced around 31,000 Uncle Sam discs, or 46,000 Skippys, it is certainly up there for a customised four-door sedan a long way from home, but I’m sure you’ll get confused looks at the local car meets which would be worth it.
Moving over to Thailand, we have this more squared-off bright-red slab of an Aussie sedan. The Big Three carmakers (Holden, Ford and Chrysler) in Australia all had export programs from the 1950s to the 1980s and beyond, with varying levels of success.
All three sold cars throughout the Pacific in particular, and old Aussie cars still turn up in places such as Indonesia and Thailand.
When the original American Falcon hit our shores in 1960, the vehicle wasn’t an immediate hit and struggled against the dominant Holden. The car also took flak from the Chrysler Valiant when it came through in initially limited numbers the following year.
Numerous failures with the front suspension on rough Australian country roads resulted in significant time spent engineering much stronger replacement components to allow the Falcon to start to gain ground in sales. By 1965, in the wake of a legendary marketing stunt (70,000 miles at an average of 70mph!) it was finally perceived as ‘tough enough’ for Australian buyers.
By the time this XY model had been released, the Australian Falcon had started to deviate from their American parent model significantly, with the styling gradually becoming unique. The inline-six was increased in size to a uniquely-Australian 200 cubic inches and the hot ticket to performance was the GT-HO model with a 351 ‘Cleveland’ V8 under the bonnet.
There even was a 4×4 version of the Ute, as detailed by David Tracy once he lifted his jaw from the bitumen upon gazing at the Aussie Jeep CJ-5.
The Falcon in this listing has much in common with a ’50s car from Cuba, running a locally-sourced four-cylinder in place of the big inline-six or V8 it would likely have originally had fitted.
As for price, it’s a bargain compared to the same model in Australia. According to the internet, 290,000 Thai Baht is roughly equivalent to $8,300 USD. A complete XY in Australia running even the most bare-bones specification is more like $20,000 USD. I’m not sure how easy it is to export vehicles from Thailand, but at that price it might tempt some Aussies!
Staying in the UK, this one is a bit more of a bargain. It’s the fancy-pants version of the Aussie Valiant, like if Project Cactus went on an exchange program to a good school and came home speaking in Received Pronunciation.
With Ford Australia adding new front and rear sheet metal and a longer wheelbase to their Falcon to create the local Fairlane range in 1967 as a new entry in the luxury segment and Holden responding via a long-wheelbase Premier the following year, Chrysler Australia needed a spruced-up Valiant to take on this emerging new market niche. Initially, it began with the 1968 VE-model Valiant VIP, and then followed into the VF and VG series of cars.
This car is from the VG series, denoted by the flat front grille and the quad-headlights having their own surrounds, whereas the similar VF had the convex grille and more integrated quad-headlights that was more similar to the more pedestrian twin-headlight models such as Cactus.
Powered by the venerable 318ci ‘LA’ small-block Chrysler V8, this should offer moderate and torquey performance from a car weighing around 3200 lbs.
The seller notes there is some rust creeping around the rear window and arches, and the paint is getting a little worn. At approximately $10,200 USD it doesn’t seem like a bad buy for what is a rare vehicle even within Australia and although it’s a ‘more-door,’ I’m sure there would still be plenty of double-takes if this landed in the USA due to the unique styling and correct-hand-drive layout.
If there’s no takers in the Northern Hemisphere, I know quite a few Aussies would be considering giving this car a repatriation at this price.
The Ute-based panelvan is an Australian oddity I hope to one day cover here in some depth. [Ed note: Why do I want this thing? I want this thing. – MH]
This 1998 ‘XH Series II’ Ford Falcon panelvan is the penultimate year for this model, and the final panelvan series made in Australia, as this was not replaced with the now meme-lord ‘AU’ series of Ford Falcons.
The ‘XH’ designation was only for utes and vans in the Ford Falcon range. An offshoot from the market-leading XF Falcon range that included the sedans and wagons (technically the utes/vans are ‘XFN’ in that series), this means the bones of this vehicle date back to 1984, when Holden gave up on utes until 1990, and panelvans altogether.
Regarded as a decent, but a little out-dated workhorse, the XH has been immortalised in Australian motoring history (link NSFW and 100% unfiltered Aussie), the 4.0L ‘SOHC’ inline-six can trace lineage back to the 1960 Falcon as well as forward to the ‘Intech’ and later ‘Barra’ sixes that replaced it, and is regarded as a long-lived and relatively trouble-free engine with plenty of torque. At nearly 200,000 miles there’s likely some life left in the six-banger, and column auto means this van may have started life with a bench seat before a centre console and buckets were nicked from the wreckers, and a console-shifter hole covered in duct tape.
Prices were climbing for these vans just before 2020, but it seems they may be returning to more sane levels based on the $7,500 or ~$5,000 USD asking price.
With the large cargo area, you could stuff this one to the gunnels with spares to keep it going overseas and have something uniquely Australian for not too many dineros. A vehicle equally at home with a mattress in the back or shipping steel.
I hope you enjoyed this special-edition of Marketplace Madness, it was fun to search for vehicles and do some virtual tyre-kicking to fill in for the inimitable Miss Mercedes!
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