Cashed-up overseas collectors hoping to snap up the most desirable racing Holden offered for auction in decades were rebuffed when the federal Office for the Arts advised it may not allow the car to be exported.
The Federal office contacted Lloyd's Auctions on Friday - a day before the classic car auction - to advise an export permit may be required under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986 if the buyer wishes to export Australia's first Holden Dealer Team Monaro.
The unassuming 1969 HT Monaro race car, in its original race livery, crashed and burned in its first race but won its second some weeks later at Bathurst.
It is regarded as a hugely significant piece of Australian motor sport history which shaped the success of Holden during the 1970s and 80s, and set the stage for the company's touring car racing domination, much of it with the late Peter Brock.
In the Saturday auction, the Monaro had been expected to fetch $1 million but instead fell well short at $715,000, quite likely as a result of the potential export ban.
Cars like this original V8 Monaro fall under the designation of protected objects, a spokesperson for the Minister for the Arts Paul Fletcher advised.
"Australian Protected Objects may include motor vehicles that are: (a) of significance to Australia; (b) at least 30 years old; and (c) not represented in at least two public collections in Australia by an object of equivalent quality," the spokesman said.
"An Australian Protected Object cannot be exported without a permit issued by the Minister or his delegate.
"A permit would not be issued if it was determined, following the receipt of expert advice, that the object's export would significantly diminish the cultural heritage of Australia."