Shannons has a collection of oddball cars up for auction on Monday night, not the least of which is an Autobianchina — one of only a handful to reach Australia.

Keen observers of Cars4starters will know that Bill Buys learned to drive on one of these cars back in South Africa before he moved here.

“My first car was an Autobianchi Bianchini, one of six delivered in South Africa in 1958 – and six others arrived in Australia,” he said.

“I bought it new and within a year uprated its Fiat engine with an Abarth kit and went racing.

“I think I was the first of the minicar racers in South Africa, competing at Grand Central, near Pretoria and on the East London Grand Prix track.

“So my introduction to cars was via small engine, high performance vehicles, rather than big cubic inches and grunt.

“After the Autobianchi came a Morgan Plus Four, then a Simca Montlhery, Renault Dauphine Gordini, MG-A, Renault 8, MG Magnette, a succession of Peugeots, Alfa Romeos, Lancias and several dozen others.

“All up, I’m told I’ve owned about 90 cars — but I think it’s more like 70 or 80,” Bill said.

The left hand drive 1960 Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile Sedan up for grabs is one of an estimated 10,000 built in total.

It sits on the Fiat 500 platform and has the same rear-engined layout, but the air-cooled twin was tweaked for more power and the Trasformabile was finished to a higher standard.

The Bianchini had rear-hinged ‘suicide’ doors and a sliding fabric roof that was perfect for sunny climates. 

As a result, the Trasformabile remains a stylish, chic machine today, with the restored example being auctioned potentially enhancing any Italian car collection at is expected ‘no reserve’ selling price of $25,000 – $35,000.

As well as the Autobianchina there’s also a four-wheel drive 1973 Haflinger 700 AP – one of few examples left in Australia.

Originally developed for the Austrian Army as a Post-War replacement for their ageing fleet of US Army surplus Jeeps, the Haflinger was powered by a rear-mounted 643cc horizontally-opposed and air-cooled twin-cylinder engine.

It had a remarkably low weight of 600kg and with its low centre of gravity, front and rear locking diffs and long-travel fully independent suspension, had exceptional off-road ability.

Later models, like the 700 AP being auctioned, received more powerful motors and a new five-speed gearbox with a Krawler gear. 

As a result, the Haflinger enjoys a cult following around the world today and there is even an active club in Australia with a strong network of owners.

With just 21,793km showing on its odometer, this example is being offered with ‘ no reserve’ and is expected to sell for $10,000 – $14,000.

Or perhaps you fancy a 1974 Citroen D Special Sedan that was once owned by the son of prominent Broken Hill artist, Pro Hart.

Kept garaged and well-maintained by the same Sydney specialist workshop since it was purchased by the vendor in 2002, the Citroen was used as daily transport until 2018 and has since benefited from a refurbished interior.

Now showing 60,384 miles on its odometer, this very useable example is expected to sell with ‘no reserve’ for $20,000 – $25,000.

Any Lotus is intriguing and this low mileage and recently refurbished 1969 Elan S4 SE Coupe is no exception, especially as it is being offered with ‘no reserve’.

Painted Carnival Red, this original Stromberg carburetted SE model with power windows has covered just 3000 miles over a 30-year period, making it fresh and ready to enjoy at its expected selling price of $40,000 – $50,000.

And for those who don’t have much to spend, there’s a couple of classic pedal cars  including a circa 1950’s ‘Jeep’ or a 1960’s CCMC Custom Coaches Manufacturing Company pedal car – each offered with ‘no reserve’ and expected to bring $300 – $500.

The action gets underway tomorrow night in Sydney or you can bid online.

CHECKOUT: Chance to get your hands on a Porsche

CHECKOUT: Jensen: You can have the other one

Bill can tell you all about the oddball Autobianchina

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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