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Best Australian V8 cars

Based on bang-for-buck and classic muscle appeal, Shannons says the Falcon XY GTHO Phase 3 is the best Aussie V8.

Based on bang-for-buck impact, as well as classic muscle appeal, Shannons Insurance says it has to be the Falcon XY GTHO Phase 3 that ruled at Bathurst in the 1970s and was the world's fastest four-door sedan at the time it was introduced.

A Silver HO was passed in at the Brisbane Motor Show auction in 2008 at about $750,000.

"You wouldn't get those prices now as the bubble burst on the Aussie V8 muscle car market over 12 months ago and we haven't seen those numbers back ... yet," says Shannons spokesman Phil Ross.

But Dan Bowden, whose family museum has one of the greatest collections of Aussie muscle cars, reckons the top prize goes to the Falcon XR GT which he calls "The first of the real Aussie V8s". It won Bathurst in 1967.

What about Holdens?

Ross says the number two and three cars in the price stake are both Bathurst winning Holdens: the A9X hatchback 308 V8 LX SS and the 1968 327 V8 HK Holden Monaro, "or possibly the 1970 HT 350 V8 Monaro". Shannons Auctions sold a HK 327 Monaro for $220,000 at one of our auctions at the height of the muscle car price wars," he says.

"We have an A9X in our next auction ... and it may go for around $250,000 or more. They only made 100 of these so the Holden fans will argue it's the number one Aussie V8 of all time and the most collectable."

Bowden's museum seems to favour the Falcons, but he agrees that the HK 327 GTS Monaro is "one of the most beautiful and a real contender", winning Bathurst in 1968.

Others to consider are:

  • Falcon XA GTHO Phase IV, the one Ford said they never built, killed by the super car scare and only one road car ever made.
  • Holden L34 Torana, with Hi-Po option, our only all-Aussie-made engine.
  • VL HDT Group A Brock Commodore, another homologation special. "The polariser plus pack version just adds to the story," says Bowden.
  • Falcon XA RPO-83 option GT. A lot of those Phase IV bits went on these special cars.
  • Falcon XC Cobra, one of the first 30, the Bathurst special versions.

Ross says the cars that conquered Bathurst were awarded hero status by the car-buying public.

"But I don't think this kind of hero status for Aussie V8s will be as big with the later model cars but time may prove me wrong," he says. "I have just noticed there is a bit of a cult following starting with younger guys and the humble XD Falcon at shows. I always thought it looked more like a taxi but after looking at the Dick Johnson `Tru Blu' Falcon Group C race car at Bowden's museum I have changed my mind."

Neither Ross nor Bowden mentioned any Chrysler product.

"Sadly Chrysler didn't have any good V8s," says Bowden. "The ones with any real sporting pedigree were the six-cylinder versions. In the end they built the V8s in the Charger, the VJ E55 versions, but they were very toned down, marketed against the big luxury Ford Fairmont and LS Monaros, not as a sporting car."

Ross says the six-cylinder E49 E49 RT Charger in the popular Vitamin C (orange) six pack "Big Tank" (extra Fuel for Bathurst) fully restored can be worth $170,000-$200.000.

"I once asked Leo Geogeghan if he thought a Charger could win Bathurst and he said not without a V8," he says. "He couldn't beat the V8 GT Falcons up the mountain. There was a 770 Charger released with a V8 but it never ran at Bathurst. If they had won maybe they would be worth more."

Of the current batch of Aussie V8s, Bowden likes the FPV GT.

"Amazing engine. The only manufacturer that hand assembles its engine in Australia," he says.

Bowden also throws a monkey into the works with the rear-mounted HSV V8 engine in the Alfa Romeo Sprint made by Giocattolo Motori Pty Ltd.

The Australian car company built just 15 cars from 1986 to 1989 which were capable of up to 260km/h.

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