Every year, thousands of Queenslanders from Brisbane and the Gold Coast cross the border into New South Wales and its array of delightful towns. Lennox Head is a tranquil, beachside haven. Byron Bay is hip, eclectic and full of character. Nimbin is renowned for its cheese and, uhh, oregano. This northern pocket of NSW really is a wonderful world and one with a beautiful, temperate climate. So, it comes as no surprise that there are classic cars to be found here.
On a road trip with family through northern NSW, we stopped at the Tweed River Art Gallery. The gallery was hosting an exhibit of paintings created by Philip Wolfhagen, a Tasmanian landscape painter and one of my favourite artists. And in the “parking lot” – effectively a dirt shoulder but hey, the gallery itself was nice – I spotted these two green classics (at least I recall the MGB being green in person despite its black appearance in photographs)
In my mind, I’ve always associated the original VW Beetle with titchy dimensions. However, I forget just how many cars the Beetle dwarves: the original Mini and Fiat 500, for example, as well as this MGB GT. This GT is equipped with the aluminum-block 3.5 V8, originally sourced from General Motors who developed it for their “Senior Compacts” of 1961. Sadly for North American enthusiasts of British cars, the GT V8 was never offered in left-hand-drive. One wonders how successful it might have been in that market: with a dry weight of just 317 pounds, this neat engine was actually lighter than the four-cylinder. It was much more powerful, too, with 136 hp and 185 ft-lbs of torque moving around just 2425 pounds of British coupe.
By the time of the GT V8’s launch in 1973, the MGB’s platform was getting quite old. Still, in terms of longevity it had nothing on the Bug. And years later, these two examples are still running strong and enjoying a climate conducive to their survival. Whether by accident or design, these two were the only old cars in a parking lot otherwise full of 21st century hatchbacks and crossovers. It’s almost like they were two friends shaking hands, saying “How do you do?”
Photographed in Murwillumbah, NSW on 31 August, 2014.