This Valentine's Day, love is on the mind... but things don't always go plan. Today, the CarAdvice team share their stories of the 'one' that slipped from their grasp. Buckle up, it's about to get emotional.
What could have been: 2000 Volvo V70
The closest thing I have to the 'one that got away' was my mum's 2000 Volvo V70.
She traded it in when she got sick of the servicing costs, meaning I narrowly missed out on learning to drive in it.
To this day, I remain an aspiring Volvo owner and unabashed wagon lover, so I would have loved to have had the chance to buy it from her and see how far it could have taken me (although, according to its track record, that would have been not very far...).
The faceless adversary: Land Rover 110
Before I bought my current Defender, I came awfully close to buying an ex-military Land Rover from Australian Frontline Machinery.
I was young, had a small budget, and was starry-eyed at the procession of cool old four-wheel-drives that were going under the gavel every other week online.
And amongst the throng of old Rovers in varying states of maintenance and disrepair, I found the one.
While most ex-army Land Rovers were two-seater One Tens with a rag-top roof and not much else, this Senior Commander was reserved for the military’s top brass. Five-doors, five seats, even air conditioning built into the roof.. Luxury.
It still had the tough and durable driveline, centred around an Isuzu diesel engine that promised to rattle violently on until the end of time. Coil springs all-round, more galvanized bits than a shipyard and great low-range gearing. Oh, the endless potential for modification.
In my twisted mind, this would be the ultimate family and adventure car: slow, unsafe, deafening, rough, bare, cumbersome and uncomfortable.
Ready for a family getaway, indeed.
And unlike all of the others, this unique number had straight olive drab paint all over, instead of the customary camouflage blobs and hues. It’s something I haven’t seen again since, and I thought it would be perfect: I won’t be constantly getting confused for G.I Joe.This is it, I thought. The one.
However, things didn’t go to plan. Tragedy loomed. I started bidding late into the game, hoping to steal my beloved away at the 11th hour. I was alone at my computer after work, staring avidly as the timer wound down.
The auction ended at 5pm, but in August, it was already dark. Lights flickered above me in the otherwise empty office, but my eyes were unwavering from the screen.
As other competitors slowly died off, one foe was unassailable. They answered my every bid with more money, until I was well and truly over my budget and into uncharted territory.
I wasn’t 100 per cent sure how I would pay the money (plus vendor charges), but I just knew that I wanted that car. I kept going higher, but they retorted every advance. I can still remember the quickening pulse, feeling each heartbeat thud through my head as we both kept upping the ante.
Eventually, I backed out, admitting defeat to my faceless adversary. The auction’s virtual bell tolled, and the one slipped from my grasp, never to be seen again.
If you’re out there, whoever outbid me all those years ago, Congratulations. It’s a keeper.
15 years on but it still hurts: The 'Walkinnotshaw'
This is not Kez's car, but in his mind, this is how it looked.
There's a car from my past that I still manage to think about, almost 15 years after it rolled out of my life.
It wasn't a VL Walkinshaw, but from 30 paces it sorta looked like one.
When I was working at a Toyota dealership, it turned up as a trade-in and I had to have it. The paint was fresh, the body kit was new, and the suspension was impossibly low.
It looked too good to be true hunkered over a set of Simmons wheels, sprayed a matching shade of pale blue.
I was a little too smitten to really bother delving into what the car might want or need to have done to it. I know it was an unfinished project, but it looked mostly complete, so it couldn't possibly need much more to finish it, right?
Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. As a largely aesthetic project, the car underneath was a Commodore SL and that meant no power steering and no air conditioning, plus with a drum brake rear and rigid axle. It was white-knuckle entertaining in the wet.
On the other hand it looked absolutely menacing, with its ground-effects aero bodywork and bathtub rear wing... One fashioned out of fibreglass, meaning the only way of holding the boot open was via a broom handle, and woe betide anyone who knocked that handle out and lingered too long in the path of the lock striker.
With a stance that can only be described as tastefully far-too-low, only two service stations in town allowed me access to refuel. The rest would have seen the inflexible fiberglass front bumper sharply shredded.
In what I can only imagine was a hasty reassembly process, nothing inside the car was connected. The odometer didn't turn, the heater controls were left disconnected, the interior was from a completely different car and the windows only had one winder handle between them.
As a result, passenger calls of 'can you turn on the air con?' were met with me unclipping the driver's handle and passing it in the direction of the complaint. In the end it became a running joke, and the handle would travel with us to the beach or bush for some hot weather relief for anyone who dared complain of the heat.
The car was slow, ran hot, rode like absolute shit, and would swap ends if you applied just a touch too much force to the brake pedal.
The straight-through exhaust threatened industrial deafness, and for all of that it was the car my mates most wanted to head out in for a few casual laps of the main street.
When I moved to Melbourne, Tom – as it was affectionately known – stayed behind. During the sale process the radio was summarily removed by a passing stranger, who also busted every lock they could and tried to detach the body kit with a crowbar. What a top citizen.
For all the bad luck that befell the car, it did find a new owner, but it never quite left the garage space of my mind. Encapsulating the best and the worst of torrid automotive love affairs.
912 reasons to cry: Porsche 912
Nearly 15 years ago I had the opportunity to buy a stunning black Porsche 912 in Canberra for $9000.
The friends I told about the car asked me why I would want to spend that much on a glorified Beetle.
Today, the value of that Porsche has increased tenfold. Ever since I missed out on that 912 I've watched as the popularity of older Porsches has exploded, and I've wondered how my life would have been altered had I gone through with that decision.
An unrequited love story? BMW E30 Hartge H23
About ten years ago I missed out, by a matter of days, in buying a very rare BMW E30 Hartge H23.
Hartge, like Alpina, is a German tuning company that started modifying BMWs in the 1970s and became an official manufacturer in the mid 1980s. Their speciality was cramming larger BMW engines into smaller BMW cars.
The H23 was essentially a modified 323i with revised engine internals and tuned exhaust manifold. The car in question was a white one, complete with the 11-spoke Hartge wheels, decals and rubber 'handlebar' rear spoiler.
The interior included a Momo wheel and Recaro seats. It was very '80s and very cool, but it was in Tasmania and advertised just outside of my price range.
I spoke with the owner a number of times, and following some in-depth BMW discussions, agreed on a price that worked for us both. But sadly in the time it took for me to secure the funds, someone made a better offer and completed the transaction. The car was snatched from my grasp, and I've never seen it or another advertised since.
Other cars have come and gone since, but I've still never owned an E30, let alone a rare and special one, and I will never stop wanting one!
Do you have a tale of automotive love or loss? Let us know in the comments below!