The West

Idle Torque: Lots to choose from
Reader Robert Stevenson’s random car sighting was a rare V12 Lincoln Zephyr, which he spotted in Coolgardie during the 1950s. Supplied picture

With a Tatra 603, a Fiat 130 Coupe and a giant American LaFrance Speedster on offer, diversity will be a strong theme at Shannons' next auction in Melbourne on August 27.

Particularly tempting will be the affordability of many of the lots. Assuming they sell for around their pre-auction estimates, many of these cars will prove you can have just as much fun in a $20,000 classic as you can in a car worth 10 times that.

The 1974 Tatra, complete with a rear-mounted and air-cooled 2.5-litre V8, has been reckoned by Shannons to go for between $14,000 and $18,000.

This is the same car that was sold by Shannons in 2009, when it went for $15,000. That's a lot of wackiness for the money.

The 1917 American LaFrance Speedster is a fire truck chassis fitted with speedster bodywork in the rough style of a Stutz Bearcat from the same era, including a giant monocle-style windscreen. Shannons reckons $55,000-$70,000 will be needed to secure it.

The Fiat 130 Coupe is lusted after by some but it has never reached the values many think a V6-powered Italian coupe deserves.

This 1974 Tatra 603 will extend the extremes of diversity at Shannons’ Melbourne auction of August 27. Like many of the other lots on offer, it should change hands for less than $20,000. Supplied picture
The result is an estimate of $18,000-$24,000 for this grey one, which is also the estimate on a gorgeous 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto 1600 Spider. I know which one I'd choose for the money and it'd be red, roofless and irresistible to Mrs Robinson.

Look it up if you don't know what I'm talking about - the Duetto's association with a certain Mrs Robinson ushered the car into the theatrical canon.


There were some fantastic responses from readers to my question in last week's column about random car sightings in WA. We'll start with one from Robert Stevenson.

"I was in the main street of Coolgardie in early 1955 when I saw an unusual car," he wrote. "I walked over to find it was a green four-door sedan, a Lincoln Zephyr which had obviously just been driven over the Nullarbor.

"The family with it were Indian, dressed in their national clothing, and it appeared they had driven all the way with the windows open as the car was full of gravel dust.

"The bonnet was up and I had a look to see the V12 flat-head engine inside. I recognised the engine as being similar in appearance to the Lincoln Zephyr owned by the foreman mechanic at Jack Nelson's garage in James Street where I had previously worked."


August 18-19
Hotrod & Street Machine Spectacular. Burswood Dome. See
September 2
Father’s Day Hotrod Show. St Patrick’s Primary School, Fremantle. 10am-4pm. Phone 0417 767 566.
Shannons 1-Day Classic rally. Perth and surrounds. See
September 29-October 1
Mid West Show ’n’ Shine. Phone 0418 939 285 or see
October 7
GM Muscle Car Heaven. Cannington Greyhounds track. Phone 0410 437 136 or see

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