(first posted 6/4/2017) After a very long delay it is time to complete the tour of the Castlemaine Lancia Rally, because there were some pretty interesting non-Lancia cars in attendance as well! And they weren’t all Italian.
I’ll start with the first car I came across upon getting to the show, this 1974 Lamborghini Uracco. This smaller Lamborghini was rather overshadowed by the Countach, and never sold in the sort of volume that I assume Lamborghini would have wished for. It has a mid-mounted V8 engine and one of the smallest back seats you are likely to see. It looks like the wheels may from the later Silhouette.
There was a whole line of Lamborghinis beyond this, including another Uracco plus a heap of modern Gallardo, Hurracan and Aventadors, and a DeLorean for good measure. But no time to check them out, more interesting cars were on offer as you can see in the previous instalments from the show!
Next was quite a more modest machine that is probably a rarer sight on the roads today. I’m not sure that the Fiat 127 was terribly popular in Australia, but there were over 3.7 million built in total. It is fwd of course, with a 900 or 1050 cc engine.
Next were a pair of Dinos. The 308 GT4 was a jarring follow-up to the 246 with its angular Bertone styling, but I think it has aged well. I can imagine that the US-market bumpers don’t help in this regard however.
Jumping to the other side of the oval is a row of nice cars for the Sunday Drive, with one obvious stand-out. I suppose it may terribly cliché to focus so much on rare cars like this Fiat 2300S, but modern cars like the Mercedes here will have their turn.
The Fiat 2300 coupe debuted in 1961, 2 years after the sedan range it was based on. Overall styling is attractive, with the height of the body section due to the sedan origin the artfully disguised by the chrome strip along the lower edge. The engine is a twin-carb pushrod inline six making 130 bhp in S form.
The interior is classic Italian of the era, definitely no compromise there. One item of note is that from 1963 the car had dual-circuit brakes.
You may also have noticed the classic Nardi steering wheel; here is a close-up of Signore Nardi’s signature!
There were several Ferraris, but this 365 GT4 BB and 458 provide an interesting contrast of nearly 40 years-worth of technological advancement. The BB stood for Berlinetta Boxer, but I learned recently that the engine was not strictly a boxer. Only 387 were made before it was superseded by the 512 BB. The 458 is much more conventional and much less compromised than the engine-above-gearbox of the older car.
There was a large group of Alfa Romeos, with quite a variety on display as shown by this Alfasud Ti and 105-series 1750 GTV coupe.
Seeing an Alfasud in this condition is pretty rare given their infamous rusting habit, and I think it might even be unrestored as I think the final 1982-84 Ti hatch with its 80 bhp 1.5L boxer would have been recognised as an instant classic from day one.
I think that the 2000 GTV that followed the 1750 is generally regarded as slightly less-well regarded due to the longer stroke of the engine making it less willing to rev (I wonder if this is over-exaggerated hair-splitting pickiness?), plus I don’t think it has the same racing heritage as the earlier car. I do like how the Alfa shield is formed by the grille bars though!
Right next to these were the GTC featured at the start of this article plus a Giulietta Spider. Both beautiful cars, with the GTC being notable for its almost unicorn status with less than 1,000 built before it was judged to be superfluous next to the Duetto. Interestingly the Giulietta is a pretty rare example too, because they weren’t built in RHD before 1961 and replaced by the otherwise-identical 1600 cc Giulia in 1962.
Alongside these cars was a 2600 Sprint (1964-66 in RHD form), which is a very unusual car in that the sedan was the least popular variant, selling just 2,092 versus 6,999 coupes and 2,255 convertibles.
The styling is recognisable as early Giugiaro, while the engine was a twin-cam 6-cylinder producing 145 bhp and with a standard 5-speed gearbox good for 124 mph.
The weight means it is a grand tourer rather than a ‘proper’ sports car, but with an interior like this who is complaining? If only modern cars could look like this, including the view out!
Near the entry to the oval things get a bit racier, in the form of a Lotus Seven, or at least a replica. Four foam filters indicate a pair of Webers (or individual throttle body injection), while the bonnet hump indicates a more modern, taller engine than an original Seven. The low screen matches the harnesses, roll bar and racing numbers.
The same competition accoutrement adorns the next car, a Bolwell Mark IV. Bolwell was a small sports car company based in Moorabbin, Melbourne, and the Mark IV was the first commercial model from the four brothers, with over 100 built from 1962-64 (200 according to some sources). Most were powered by a Ford 4-cylinder engine, although others were possible including Holden and Falcon sixes, with the engine placed further back than usual, alongside the driver’s legs. The interior shows some badges from the nearby Mount Tarrengower hillclimb.
The final car I’ll feature is perhaps the most valuable here, a 1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Mille Miglia spider. The decals relate to this car’s frequent outings in the Targa Tasmania, so it gets used and hard!
Lancias are interesting cars, and attract interesting people – you can guarantee there is an interesting story behind this Holden Rodeo 4WD pickup with a third axle conversion. The low height of the body indicate this rig probably sees some serious highway mileage, which is confirmed by a South Australian registration plate; at least 220 miles from home, possibly closer to 400.
Castlemaine is an interesting place, with a lot of history and now antique dealers etc, but it is also a major centre for hot-rodding. This Fargo truck was one of quite a few old vehicles I saw on the way out of town, and the old chairs on the back plus its apparent immobile state point to the former industry (antiques) rather than the latter.
I hope you have enjoyed my coverage from the biennial Lancia Rally; it is due to be held again this October!