Gavin’s Best 7 Cars You Can Buy For $30,000 AUD


Last week I covered 7 classic car investments for rich people and promised that Gavin and I would take a shot at compiling a list (each) of 7 classic car investments for more regular people. Have we suceeded? Let us know.

For now, here’s Gavin’s list….


Old man: …….. “What is you quest”

Me: …….. “I seek the Holy Grail”

Old man: ……“What, …..a bargain value car around $30,000 Australian dollars”

Me: …… “err… yes”….. fearing the worst..

Old man:……“Okay, on ya go … good luck to you then … (demented laugh) hahahahahaha”

Me: ……(Confident) “thanks” … then the view ahead hits me …”oh bugger…. what have I done”



I have admitted already that I am an automotive addict. Regular sessions of intense internet trawling, just to take in and store all tediously small tidbits of information that exist on all things motoring. So to take on the challenge to pick the seven best vehicles for $30,000 AUD was, well … akin to asking Jamie Oliver whether he could whip us up something for lunch.

I can do this in my sleep, I thought, which I wish I did. It’s been near impossible to stop doing the tedious, mind numbing, painful 9-to-5 stuff and find the time to write this. So If I start to rabble about gross profit, EBIT and stock turns, please disregard as it’s most likely a brain shutdown and reboot mid keyboard stroke. Meaning I’ve mixed up my month end report with this   ……. Oh… bugger, that would mean ………

Anyway, you can’t actually do things like this in your sleep. So in between profit and loss spread sheets, and some new point of sale for a BBQ, my list of seven was compiled. Note that most, if not all of these belong on my personal “shed full of cars list”


The vehicles

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls …. The seven best are……

Okay I tried to put them in some sort of order, but that was taking hours out of my work day. I had to list them on a white board and number them by different categories. Then I spread-sheeted them and sorted them by different fields. In the end I fell asleep and now have the windows key and the Alt key marked on my nose. People stare … that’s rude.

So, in no apparent order:

(Long dramatic pause please, just like on reality TV)

BITTER SC – 16,000 Euro

There’s one available here!


I discovered Bitters years ago and was just intrigued by the concept. Being Australian we had the Commodore here, which basically was the same as the Opel that Bitter used to build his own car. It occurred to me, at that point in time, that I did not need to build a car from scratch to get my dream car. I could use a standard sedan and create a GT coupe.

I’ve always harboured that addict’s dream of building your own car from scratch.

That said, time has passed and I now understand the pitfalls of using another vehicles chassis. You are governed by that vehicles foibles and in essence you are building into your vehicle someone else’s design flaws. I’m still dreaming down this path. If I get to know you better, I’ll let you in on my current passion dream project.

The Bitter has stood the test of time; hand-built coachwork over an Opel chassis. They were expensive to buy from new and have now deteriorated over time. Pick an original, well looked after car, not a restoration project as it will not benefit you.

Bitter CDIn my car trawling years, prices of these have slummed to the low 7,000 euro. But now it appears the cars that have survived are the only ones popping up, and prices have risen again. Expect them to stay steady, or rise further.

The earlier Bitter CD coupe is the real pick, but they have risen beyond the boundaries set in this quest. Sexy none the less.


AUDI – 100 Coupe – 13,500 Euro

There’s one available here!

The early 70’s Audi 100 Coupe Audi 100 coupehas been known to me since, well, for as long as I can remember (In motoring addiction terms).

My First car was a Mk1 VW Golf three door. From this car grew my knowledge of all things VW and from that, I found Audi.

The 100 Coupe is a rare sight in Australia, but I have seen one in the flesh. They have seen the bottom end of the market in prices and over time they have gone through design fashion trend changes that in one period or another would have made people stop and point at this car and say things like “ugly”, “Odd”, or ”out of proportion”.

Thankfully time changes a lot of things, including perception, and this pretty littleaudi tt coupe has come of age, and like the Bitter above, only the good survive. I saw a few basket cases on the net while reviewing for this, but stay well away from those. Pick the best and you will be rewarded with a classic that will pay you back in more ways than one.

My modern alternative to this, and possibly at less then $30,000 currently (and you will need to hold on to it awhile longer to get a return) is the original Audi TT. Like all good collector cars today, they were once cars that were wanted and admired when launched. The TT is one such car. Yes it’s looking a bit dated now, but as you start to grow dated yourself, the TT will come of age again. (trust me).



There’s one for sale here!

I am a Lotus nut.

Of all the marques of vehicles I’ve owned, I’ve had more Loti than anything else. Strangely, I have never had a Europa and previously, I never really wanted one. Time has shifted my thinking and as per the examples above, time has also filtered the bad ones out, so only the cream remain.

The Twin cam is the pick obviously.

lotus europa twin cam

Colin’s design concept of backbone chassis and fiber body is probably at its best and simplest here in the Europa. The Early Élan was his stepping stone and continuous development to this model. The Esprits after were much more complicated and intricate. Having owned an Esprit, I now yearn for the more basic version of the concept.

They handle well, go like party pies at a work lunch and the style has travelled through time a lot better than some other 70’s cars.  I love the happy face they have.

Mmmm this is not good … as I write this I am seriously contemplating one of these…


CITROEN DS – $27,500 AUD

There’s one for sale here!

Okay, stop laughing. No really, that’s just not being nice.

From childhood it was that odd French thing. Young school boys talking about that weird car with head lights that moved.

The shape was a stand out, and in terms of pushing the envelope, you should buy one of these for that alone. They were brave boys back then at Citroen, either that or the pigeons above the smoko hut at the design lab were tripping out all the time from the fumes rising up at smoko time.

Citroen DS

No one has pushed the design of a motor vehicle more than this car. Sadly today, as much as we love and desire a lot of old and newer cars, no one has really forged ahead with any major leap forwards in design. Not like the DS.

That said, no one really copied the DS design either and to an extent, neither did Citroen. They all sort of stood back and said “yeah okay, cool, but we’ve got other ideas”. Mind you, in 2015 the DS appears to go back into production as Taxis in America. (I just want a hover board)

It’s a must have car for a certain type of addict and due to its uniqueness it’s never really been in or out of fashion. It’s just always been what it is: the DS.

Once again (I seem to be saying this for each car, so it must mean something) the good ones have survived and they are the ones that will stay with us, well, at least till we run out of petrol.



There’s one for sale here!

Big, boxy and fast. What more could you want? The whole concept of a hand built vehicle, with grace, comfort and style just works.

This series of Royce’s (real RR people call their cars Royce’s not rollers) was not the prettiest and were made at a time when the marque was in a financial and design wilderness.


The boys at Bentley stopped crying into their gin and said “bugger this, let’s make do with what we’ve got”. They went into the workshop, stared at the new Royce, then went back and finished the bottle of gin, which preceded a great brain storming session. This gave birth to the Turbo R.

All I can say is find a good one, sit behind the driver’s seat and if possible, take it for a drive. You will wonder why it’s not been on your list before. It’s not a sports car, but it’s that vehicle you need for those special days. Those days you need to feel extraordinary.


MGZT V8 260 – 9,995 GBP

There’s one for sale here!

If the Bentley scared you – just because you think the first time something goes pop you will need to sell your house just to buy the parts, let alone have anyone work on the thing (sort of killed the Bentley here haven’t I) – well don’t despair. These English folk were thinking the same thing and in a haze of single malt scotch (and more gin) the team at Rover came up with the budget Bentley.

Once again, a team staring at their front wheel drive sedan, while looking back at heritage, and asking “where did that come from” knew they had to have a rear wheel drive car in the Rover fleet, so they set about building one.


“Ello mate, Gordon form Rover design ere. Listen, we’z were lookin’ for a big lump of a donk to drop in our new Rover / MG, you’ze got anything lying around we can ave?

To which the line to BMW head office went dead. More calls went out to other marques. More dead phone lines.

Then they hit gold.

Unbeknown to them, Tommy Lee at Ford procurement had placed a big order for V8 engines, but they had not sold through.

“Tommy Lee … if you don’t on-sell those engines by close of business today, don’t bother coming back”

…and at that point Tommy’s phone rang.

”ello mate, Gordon here…” 

The rest is history.

It’s a bit of a weird one and really, my thoughts on it gaining or maintaining any value are only based around its rarity and value for money. A V8 rear wheel drive luxury saloon. A few for sale in the UK, which is where I have based my findings, as we here in Australia were only blessed with eight or twelve of these things. They don’t pop up for sale often, and when they do, we can only say “tell em they’re dreaming”.

I have kept an eye on these over time and only now am I starting to see a rise in prices on the good condition cars. As before, there are lots of cheapy bad cars to stay away from.


RENAULT CLIO V6 .. err from 6,000 GBP to 12,000 GBP and climbing.

There’s one for sale here!

With this car, I am both biased and stupid. Biased because I have owned one. Stupid because I just sold it.

I had a phase two version and here I show a phase one. The Two’s were a better build and better car, but the phase one was the original.

Clio V6

They’re affectionately called a “Vee” by those in the fold and there were only 300-odd made. Of those, the passage of time and the passings of boy racers will have dwindled this to much lower numbers. So they will be rare.

The phase one is well known for wanting to pirouette in a corner (or a straight line) and the phase two less so, also helping position the car as uncommon. Consider it as a sort of inbuilt Darwin evolution/vehicle rarity control mechanism.

It’s time to find a good one, as the phase two’s have already started to climb in value.

All I can say is, it’s the only car I know that really makes you smile just starting it up. It’s the only car I know you can have an intimate relationship with, it’s you and the Vee, that’s it.

I’m an addict but I don’t have the ability to buy and store lots of cars. I had the Vee, Loved him (Murphy) and he has gone to a good home. It’s time to find my next affair. … it might just be one of the above …


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  1. Interesting list. I agree most with the Citroen, the Renault and the Lotus. Definite classics that will only go up in value, as long as you keep them in decent shape.

    I have my doubts about the Audi. It has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the least reliable modern cars ever sold. That won’t help its long-term value, even if the remaining ones have been sorted. The mid-80s Audi Coupes are better bets. They drive “old,” especially when compared to contemporary Saabs, but they look just like rally-winning Quatros, and that helps a lot.

    Interesting take on the Bitter. I guess it makes sense as “the most desirable Commodore.” That would never have occurred to me, not being Australian.

  2. I think I’ve with Bernard, you can’t go wrong with a Audi Coupe Quatro from the 1980s, particularly in bright red.

  3. interesting info on the 70’s Audi being unreliable …. I’ll store that away …, still the good ones are rare and rising in price. I was contemplating the 80’s quatro but saw it as too obvious, as I was looking for vehicles that were unique and interesting ….. and yes in “red” ..

    Google the Audi 100 coupe prototype 928. Now thats the one to have. The guys at Porsche dropped the Audi 100 body over the chassis of the 928 in early prototype testing, and one still survives ..

    1. They come up on Bring a Trailer every once in a while and the comments are hilarious. It seems like everyone who owned one has a story to tell.
      I was talking with my brother last summer, and he mentioned that one of his schoolmate’s parents had one back in the day. It spent most of its early life at the dealer and was quickly sold-off at a huge loss (to both parties, I presume).
      The 1970s were the heyday of unreliable cars in the US, but that generation of Audis were considered outrageously unreliable, even by the low standards of the time.

  4. I agree with the Citroen, (which wouldn’t have made my list because I don’t think a reasonable example could be had here in the US for the kind of money we’re talking here), but I think I’d disagree with the rest. the idea was to be able to sell it on to someone for a profit, and I think the remainder of the cars (with the probable exception of the Lotus) would take some serious marketing and selling to move at a good price. The Bitter and Audi are good cars, but certainly they appeal to a very small market.

    With the Lotus, I just don’t see a significant uptick in interest or value in the Europa to sell it on at a reasonable profit.

    My two cents.

  5. I didn’t know we got the Audio 100 Coupe down here in Oz. I took a 1971 sedan for a test drive once in 1979 I think. I almost bought it too. The Europa has long been a favourite of mine probably since I had a Matchbox toy version in the late 60’s.

    1. She’s a beauty all right. Not so much a future classic as a cautionary tale, but there’s value in that. Maybe I should buy-up Cimarrons and J2000s (early ones with “OHV” markings on the fenders).