Seeing as it is the first part of the show you see when entering, why not start with the outdoor Club Sandwich display for our tour of the Motorclassica show? There was an interesting range of cars on display (just for a change!), starting with an Alpina B10 3.6 and a 1986 E28 M535i (known as an M5 in other markets), plus as you can see some more interesting vehicles in the background.
This Aston Martin DBR1 was perhaps saving time by staying on the back of the truck. We weren’t sure if it was the real thing, but either way it is pretty spectacular.
Here is a closer view of the interior, with a large tachometer and a varied collection of gauges, switches and warning lights. There is a speedometer just visible lower on the dash – you wouldn’t dare drive on our speed camera-infested roads without some idea of your speed – and of course a big quick-release fuel filler.
There was a Toyota Land Cruiser club present, and this pair exhibits some of the things you can do with these old 4x4s. The ute is a bit more conventional but ironically has the electric winch while the caged swb soft top has the PTO (power take-off) driven version. As well as hard tops there was also a troop carrier version, all 40-series Cruisers.
The Mini club kept on with the theme of variety; with a Countryman, Clubman, Cooper S and so on. While this echoes the current model line up, the next model hasn’t yet made a re-appearance.
I’d be surprised if BMW brought back the Moke! This is a later type with enlarged wheel housings, and has had the roll cage replaced.
Here is a view of the back of the Countryman with its partial timber construction; well, timber cosmetics – at least it is real timber!
There was an electric vehicle club on display which I hadn’t seen before; but it is not surprising even if the most numerous Nissan Leaf didn’t sell 600 units. Most of the cars were the ‘usual suspects’ with one clear exception.
The Ford Capri didn’t emerge from the factory with electric propulsion, but is one of a few custom conversions I’ve seen based on various ‘donor’ cars.
Another curiosity was this Renault Twizy, the 2-seater that was not sold here. Note it does not have registration plates. At least there would be no issue of a right-hand drive conversion!
For a complete change of pace, how about a 1970 Olds Cutlass? Because they weren’t sold here originally you are more likely to see a 442.
A trio of Maseratis; a modern-era GT, classic Ghibli and a more-classic Mexico. I know which one I would take – the Ghibli is a favourite of mine.
Changing tack yet again, this 1977-78 Datsun 200B coupe is a real rarity in this country, being fully imported from Japan while the sedan and wagon were locally assembled.
Here is the interior, which is pretty nice for the 1970s.
Behind the 200B were a pair of R31 generation Skylines, enhanced by the local Nissan Special Vehicles Division. The GTS I (left) and II came with minor body changes, special colour-keyed paint schemes, 16″ wheels and tweaks to the engine, suspension and interior. The red car has more power than the white, with 20% more than the standard 3.0L sohc inline six. They were only sold as a 5-speed manual, and I think just 200 were built of each.
You might have seen the Jaguar Mark 10 in the background of the Oldsmobile picture above, and the group was happy to see it, but this one was even more exciting.
The special feature was inside – not the leather and timber, but glass! The partition shows this was the rare ‘touring limousine’ version.
Here is the rear compartment, complete with its own radio, picnic tables, air conditioning vents and electric windows. The B-pillar is quite intrusive though, and must really restrict foot access.
In front of a row of more modern MG’s were this sedan pairing, a late 1940’s Y-Type and a later Magnette. The components weren’t anything particularly special, but MG did have a knack of making the whole greater than the sum of its parts in terms of overall performance and driver feedback.
Here is the interior of the Magnette, which with its half-octagonal speedometer would never fail to remind you which brand of car you are driving.
The Baur convertible version of the BMW 3-series continued the coachbuilder’s previous conversion, before it was replaced by an in-house full convertible version in 1988.
This later Lamborghini Diablo was right outside the entrance, representing one of the event sponsors, but do not overlook the 1970 Citroen H food van in the background.
Our group comprised some pretty staunch Mercedes-Benz fans, so we were happy to see the marque strongly represented, starting with this line-up of mid-size models.
This 220 looks to be one of the locally-assembled models – the original registration plate dates from 1959.
The Fiat Car Club and friends provided yet more variety including a Lancia Fulvia Sport and vintage 503C.
There were plenty of ‘usual suspect’ BMWs, such as the silver 3.0Si coupe, but you don’t often see its sedan counterpart. They are arguably a more sensible buy these days thanks to the rust problems associated with the Karmann body construction of the coupes.
Another rarity was the 323i JPS or John Player Special. This was a unique model to the Australian market, with 70 built in the JPS racing team colours of black with gold striping.
Getting further into the motorsport realm we have this Group B Audi Sport Quattro, the car that revolutionised rallying. This one is used in active competition.
Next is a unique Nissan Stanza. The last time I saw this car a couple of months ago it was plain black, but now is painted with a dreaming by Alice Springs artist Charmaine Pwerle prior to this years’ Classic Outback Trial.
This aerodynamic hatchback 1971 Citroen GSA was remarkably ahead of its time in many ways. Of course the hydropneumatic suspension was not to catch on, and even Citroen no longer offers it.
A row of late-model 2CVs are also similar, but reflect different uses. The middle one was rebuilt to travel all over Australia, it was stated that its cruising speed is 100 km/h on bitumen and 80 km/h on corrugated outback roads. There aren’t many vehicles that would match that, including 4×4’s, thanks to the 2CV’s supple, long-travel independent suspension.
This Morris pairing of Oxford and Minor represents BMC at arguably when they started to lose their way. The 1955-56 Oxford Series 2 was struggling to stay competitive, while the again-updated Minor from the same era was as good a long-term strategy as today’s retro cars. There was some ongoing development, but a lack of investment would tell as time went on.
To jump back into the more exotic realm we have a near-matching pair of De Tomaso Pantera and Ford GT40 in sinister black.
We’ve had commentary on the prevalence of Mustangs at shows recently, and like many commenters we also basically ignored the Mustang club display. Time was of the essence and the cars inside were calling, but this gold fastback stood out because it looked like it has seen quite a bit of enjoyment.
More next week, when we head inside.