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Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon prices are out of control, but you'd be a fool to buy a used one at nearly $100,000 | Opinion

Would you pay nearly $100,000 for a Holden Commodore?

Joni Mitchell was right; you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

It’s been a big year for Australian-made cars fetching big dollars – a pair of HSV GTSR W1 Maloos have sold for a combined $2.2 million – but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Perusing the Autotrader classifieds recently, I was struck by the staggering prices that the final run of locally made cars are selling for.

All used car prices are up during this period of pandemic-induced supply constraints, but the price of Australian-built Holden and Ford models are worthy of examination. But to be clear, there is a big distinction between asking price and the figure at which a car will sell, so please don't look at this as a price guide for Holdens and Fords.

Certainly, in the final years of Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon production, I was aware of people buying these cars with the intention of using them as an investment opportunity – keeping the kilometres low, and hoping to cash in on people’s nostalgia and the lack of new production.

As any art collector will tell you, works by deceased artists fetch a higher price because no more art can be created. And the same seems to be true of cars. The death of Holden and the demise of the Falcon have seemingly set the market for used models skyrocketing.

Looking at Autotrader, I was blown away by the asking price for the last of the Australian-made Holdens. Want a VF Series II SS-V Redline? I hope you’ve been saving your money. At the time of writing there were 290 SS-V for sale, with 14 VF SS-V Redline advertised at more than $80,000, with the highest asking for $99,990.

That’s an impressive level of appreciation in just five years from its original asking price of $58,690 before on-road costs.

Interested in an HSV? Hold onto your wallets because you’ll need more than $200k to get your hands on a low milage example of the final GTSR model. While the W1s are fetching huge dollars at auction due to the extra performance and limited numbers, the GTSR is still seemingly in high demand.

A low kilometre example, just 47km on the odometer, is asking $299,999, but even with more than 50,000km on the clock you’ll need $239,000. To put that in perspective, a brand-new BMW M5 Competition – a similar-sized sports sedan – is priced from $246,900 (plus on-road costs).

It’s not just Holden’s either. Autotrader was advertising a 2014 FPV GT F 351 for $179,888. That’s enough to buy you almost two and a half examples of the Falcon when it was new (starting at $77,990).

The FPV GT-P has also crept up in price, with six owners trying to sell their examples for more than their original price ($75,990). The high watermark is a 2008 GT-P asking $89,500, that’s an increase of $13,510 for a 13-year-old car.

Even the late model Ford Falcon XR8 are fetching similar to their original prices, in the low $60k range on Autotrader.

What does this all mean? Well, Australia’s love-affair with locally made muscle cars remains strong, even years after they have left.

The price of Holdens in particular speaks to the brand’s strength with its locally-developed Commodore, and indicates why switching the nameplate to an imported model was doomed from the beginning.

Ultimately though, these prices seem unsustainable in the long-term given the sheer volume of relatively low-mileage examples that are available.

Exclusivity is the key to sustained appreciation so thinking that you can buy an $80k SS-V Redline in 2021 and have it be worth $100k or more in 2031 is, at best, a high-risk investment.

Maybe if more people had been willing to pay a premium price for Australian-built cars when they were new, we might still have a car industry?