November 29th, 2020Just sayin’…
Anyway, there was a 10-second bit about a “rare 1977 LX Torana” once owned by race car driver John Harvey, which could sell for up to $2 million.
It got me thinking, not about buying it because quite frankly if I had $2 million the last thing I would buy is an old car, but about my first car, a Holden Sunbird.
(Interesting Wikipedia fact: Sunbirds are pretty much the same as Toranas but a little shorter in the chassis and instead of six-cylinders they have just four. The word Torana comes from an Aboriginal word meaning “to fly” while the Sunbird is named after an Australian bird with long thin down-curved bills and brush-tipped tubular tongues, both adaptations to their nectar feeding. You’re welcome.)
I bought my sky-blue Sunbird when I turned 18 and got my driver’s licence. Yes, you say, that is pretty normal, but I have two nephews, one who turned 21 last Friday and still to get his P Plates and another who waited until 23 to learn to drive. Kids.
Anyway, it was my pride and joy. I think I paid about $1000 and it was just about the only possession I owned. I also bought a car cleaning kit and cushions for the back seat. Embroidered, white. I don’t know what I was thinking.
For a four-cylinder car it went like the clappers. Fish-tailing now and again in the wet. Over-revving when the choke was left out too long on those cold mornings. (People under 40, ask an old person what a choke is.) And I remember the tap dance of the high-beam button on the floor and the clutch. (Again, people under 40…)
But as enamoured as I was with my Sunbird, I secretly coveted both of my Dad’s cars. One a Holden Kingswood, maybe 1968, nice and square, white with red leather trim. He gave it to my older brother, I think hoping he would see the historic value, but who promptly traded it in for an ugly 1980s Holden Camira. Dad then bought a genuine one-owner 1970 Chrysler Valiant. A sleepy six which, at the lights, could leap off the starting blocks like the launch of a space shuttle. Dad had great fun revving the engine next to Frankston would-be rev heads and then leaving them behind by about a mile. When Dad died in 1986 my Mum gave that to my younger brother, who promptly wrote it off in a crash about two days later. My brother was fine.
Meanwhile, I had been heading overseas and sold my Sunbird to my sister, who promptly wrecked the engine in an incident involving a scarf and leaning in under the bonnet to apparently see how things worked. My sister was fine.
Now I drive a Mitsubishi Triton and a Toyota Camry. Nice and safe. But maybe if I had $20 million I would think about that Torana. Just sayin’…