Tax dispute drives massive Aussie car collection to estimated $30M auction

If you’re looking for a bargain, you might want to check out the cars from the Gosford Classic Car Museum. The southern hemisphere’s largest collection of classics has hit the block after a two-year barney with the Australian Taxation Office.

Bidding for the collection started at just one buck as Lloyds Auctioneers clears out some 200 cars and motorcycles valued at a cool $30 mil. The cars are among hundreds that the museum, located about an hour north of Sydney, started amassing four years ago.

The most desirable cars already command stratospheric prices. Bidding on the 1976 Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer stands at $312,773, for example. You can still pick up a 1958 AWZ P70 project car for just $170, too. Want something a little nicer? A 1961 Renault Dauphine Gordini remains a steal at $4300, while bidding on the 1956 Hudson Hornet has climbed to $5700. You can bet those prices will climb before bidding closes April 7.

1958 AWZ P70 15F
1958 AWZ P70 15F Lloyds Auctioneers
1960 Chrysler 300F
1960 Chrysler 300F Lloyds Auctioneers

1985 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV
1985 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV Lloyds Auctioneers

An ongoing dispute with Aussie tax officials forced Gosford to shut down despite drawing an average of 10,000 visitors each month. The museum, founded by longtime car enthusiast Tony Denny, features some 400 cars from Australia, Europe, and the U.S. The full collection, valued at $70 million, includes iconic models from marques as varied as Lamborghini, Chrysler, and Holden.

Jason Fischer, Gosford’s workshop manager, told the Central Coast Express Advocate that Gosford Classic Cars was established as a showroom for interested buyers to view luxury cars with the museum element of the business being used as a way to generate interest and promote the sale of luxury vehicles. When the ATO audited the business in December 2016, it decided that the business should be classified as both a luxury car seller and a museum, making it a “dual-purpose venture.” That meant Gosford could no longer claim luxury car tax exemptions.

“We still have no answer from the ATO on why, as a matter of principle, promoting new vehicles by purchasing cars for test driving and inspection only is acceptable, while promoting the sale of cars using the museum concept is not,” Fischer told the Express Advocate.

1987 BMW M5
1987 BMW M5 Lloyds Auctioneers

Lloyds Auctions COO Lee Hames expects heavy bidding as the end of the auction nears. “This impressive collection of classics is highly important to motoring enthusiasts and collectors,” Hames told Yahoo Finance. “Because there is such a wide range of European, Australian, and American classics, we are expecting thousands of people to show up.”

Some of them will surely score a bargain. While most of the cars will likely stay Down Under, this gorgeous E28 M5 has us Googling shipping costs from Sydney.

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