THE MISTAKE THAT TURNED A RARE MODEL INTO THE ‘HOLY GRAIL’

A rare example of the 'twin mirror' Biante XY GT-HO Phase III. Pic: eBay / hdta9x.

HIGHLY sought-after road cars are the focus of the Secondhand Market segment in the latest edition of the Motorfocus Model Podcast.

Aaron Noonan and Dimitri Comino from Motorfocus run through a list of rare and popular 1:18 scale Australian road car releases that represent some of the most valuable models of their kind.

The list includes the very first 1:18 scale model produced of an Australian car: Biante’s diecast Ford Falcon XY GT-HO Phase III in Track Red, with a build run of 5,000 released in July 1998.

“In its day it was worth up to $1,000, but with other colour variants coming along (it’s now around) $5-600,” Comino said.

“Biante and AutoArt have improved the mould over the years, but I would still recommend it for its significance, being the very first 1:18 of an Australian car and with good detail for that era.”

However, it’s the second car made by the company that tops the list – although it was never a model that was actually for sale to the public.

Biante’s second model was also an XY GT-HO Phase III albeit in Ultra White, produced in August 1998 for distributors and corporate customers only and was never placed on sale to the general public.

“The Track Red XY sold out so fast that Biante decided they would do a special run in white to give to the dealers to put on show to help pre-sell following models,” Comino explains.

“There was a run of 900 made in white and the certificates were signed by Trevor Young (co-founder of Biante).”

However, a certain number of the 900 were different to the rest of the run, and it is these – nicknamed the ‘twin mirror’ version – that have proven to be the most prized among collectors.

“It’s a hard one to get the real story behind because it was a complete accident,” Comino says.

“No-one knows exactly (how many), but there’s approximately 120-odd cars that went through the system that came out with two mirrors – a passenger mirror and a driver’s one – because they were (built from) leftover parts from the previous model.

“Technically the shops weren’t supposed to sell them because they were display models, but eventually they did…”

As with many other types of collecting, where an item that varies from the norm becomes more sought after, the ‘twin mirror’ XY became far more valuable that the ‘single mirror’ editions from the same run.

Biante’s third model – the second to be officially released to the public – was an Ultra White XY GT-HO Phase III, but all 4,500 of this run had just a single external mirror on the driver’s door, making the ‘twin window’ version rarer still.

“Over the years, I know of people doctoring up a car,” Comino said. “It was the rareness of it. It was like a factory mistake.

“Back in its day, $3,500 was what you paid for it if you could get one.”

And its current value?

“It’s a hard one – I haven’t seen one for probably five or six years, so does that make it worth more or is the demand gone?” Comino mused.

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Will Dale began his media career as a breakfast radio newsreader before joining SPEED TV Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia in 2012 as its Digital Editorial Lead - Motorsport for the next six years, covering all forms of motorsport both in Australia and internationally. He became part of the V8 Sleuth team in 2018.