UPDATE 16/03: We’ve just corrected a mistake in this article. The vehicle was actually a 2017 HSV GTS-R with a W557 Walkinshaw performance pack. It was finished in the same colour as the one-off GTS-R W1. We have also included a comment from Mr Lenan.


It’s what dreams are made of, getting your other half to agree to your lavish rare car purchase. But dreams can quickly turn into nightmares when that agreement doesn’t stick, as one auction winner found out.

In a Lloyds car auction held in September 2021, a 2017 HSV GTS-R W557 was up for grabs. But, it wasn’t just any GTS R W1, it was a one-off build finished in XU3 Yellah with a W557 performance kit from Walkinshaw, built specifically for a car lottery.

According to the Courier Mail, the auction winner, Ms Cindy Mikhael, gave her husband permission to bid in the auction. Ms Mikhael’s husband then bid all the way through to $425,000 and was the successful bidder in the auction.

Great news, right? Umm, not quite.

The owner of the car was a Gold Coast property developer named Tony Lenan, and according to the Courier Mail, Mr Lenan’s company Jonata Investments Pty Ltd never received payment for the car.

Jonata Investments gave Ms Mikhael six months to pay for the unique car before it started to get stroppy and involved the courts.

This particular GTS-R W1 was finished in XU3 Yellah, a colour that originally featured on the VS GTS-R. It wasn’t available from the factory in that colour though and was only changed to that colour after a W557 performance pack was added and it was given away as part of a Mater car lottery.

Court documents show that Ms Mikhael’s husband bid on the auction with her permission, but it’s unclear why the couple thought it would be okay to simply not pay for the car after winning.

The District Court in Southport originally heard the case made by Jonata Investments, according to the Courier Mail, and agreed that a payment should have been made within four days of winning the original auction and that the requirement for payment still stood – this decision was made without Ms Mikhael defending the case.

Not satisfied with that decision, Ms Mikhael appealed the ruling in October last year, this time she was represented by lawyers, hoping for a different outcome.

According to the Courier Mail, the court again ruled in Jonata Investment’s favour, ordering Ms Mikhael to pay for her husband’s flash new wheels.

Judge Holliday, according to the Courier Mail, said, “this is the clearest of cases.”

“The defendant has no real prospect of defending the plaintiff’s claim and there is no need for a trial of the claim.”

The judge reiterated the terms and conditions the bidder agreed to when participating in the online auction and that they must pay $448,241, which is the original winning bid amount, plus fees.

Mr Lenan told CarExpert that all he wants is to get paid.

“It was great to obtain a judgment. I really don’t understand why the buyer was being so difficult. It is pretty simple really. If you bid at an auction and the item is knocked down to you are contractually required to settle. As the Meerkat says ‘simples!'”

“Saying bad luck, I’m not going to pay is not the right answer whether it’s a five dollar item on eBay or a $425,000 car. I don’t know why the buyer seemed to just put her head in the sand and hoped the problem would go away. That fixes nothing at all. Worse still she necessitated me having spend a lot of money with my lawyers. They also would have completely wasted tens of thousands of dollars with their lawyers – further compounding their problems,” Mr Lenan said.

So the moral of the story? Double and triple check with your other half when agreeing to buy a rare car in an online auction.

Paul Maric

Paul Maric is an Australian car expert based in Melbourne, Australia. Paul is a founder of CarExpert.com.au & formerly part of the CarAdvice founding team.

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