We’ve seen quite a lot of the Motorclassica show already, from the cars driving to the show, outdoor club displays and the special classes, now here are some of the other cars that I just couldn’t pass up. The first car that met this criteria was this 1960 FB model Holden Station Sedan, which was their slightly-archaic name for a wagon at the time. On debut it won the best restored car prize at a major All-Holden show 9 years ago, which is a strong statement of its quality.
This car sat in a shed for 25 years before its restoration, having gone in there at 12 years old. This car has the 138 ci ‘grey’ 6-cylinder and 3-speed column shift manual transmission, which was the only option at the time. At this time the Holden had roughly 50% of the local car market, and built a record 140,336 cars in 1960, so while volumes were decent the level of serious competition had only just begun with the Falcon and Valiant. There were heaps of nice touches on this car, such as a period radio station sticker on the back window.
This is a 1956 Chrysler 300B – what a beauty. It is a great example of the increasingly gadget-heavy cars of the 1950s, plus of course the push-button automatic transmission controls that debuted in 1956.
I thought I had shown this car in the Tourclassica post, but it was only in the background so here it is with a bonus for M-B Pagoda lovers too.
Something that was perhaps step too far was the ‘Highway Hifi’ record player (also new for 1956), which I can only imagine was as prone to skipping as early car CD players. Would there be another term for this phenomenon with automotive record players?
In that post tonyola asked for more of the Maserati Mexico, so here is another shot. There was another Mexico at the show too in the line of top-notch Maseratis you can see in the background here. I was a bit frustrated looking at my photos afterwards that many were poor – especially in light of the recent phone camera discussion, it usually does a good job. The information board for the other car was interesting, noting celebrity owners of the cars as including Ronald Reagan, Italian actress Virna Lisi and middleweight boxing champion Nino Benvenuti, and also that the was not named after John Surtees winning the 1966 Mexican GP in a Cooper-Maserati, but rather because the former Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos had bought the prototype car after it was shown at the 1965 Turin Motor Show.
This Goggomobil 400 Sports caught my eye because of the Mini Cooper S-engined one I saw and wrote about earlier. The wide bolt pattern on the rear wheels here indicate this one is original. Being on a Shannons booth it seems like they are branching out from their usual Dart mascot.
Another Tourclassica car was the Bristol 405 convertible, which was a major change for Bristol – here is a closer look at the front of the car with the radiator grille modelled after the Brabazon airliner’s engine air intakes. The model line-up was drastically changed too – the 2-seat 404 came first in 1953, then the 4-door 405 in 1954; only the 405 convertible released the same year had a direct predecessor. This wasn’t to continue though; the 4-seat car dropped the extra doors for the subsequent 406.
The interior was more traditional though, and the instrument binnacle could nearly pass for any of their later models. The rest of the dash would need some HVAC controls and vents.
Next up I came across a Maserati Ghibli convertible. This is one of those cars like a Cobra or GT40 where you don’t expect to see a real one when replicas are far more numerous – like the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, only 10% of Ghiblis were built as convertibles. And this is the case here; the car was originally a US-market automatic coupe.
It does make it easier to get a shot of the interior; a couple of things to note here are the brilliant steering wheel badge, and the fairly unobtrusive clock. It is slightly larger than the other minor gauges, and nothing like as fancy as some of the clocks in more recent times when they have made a big deal about the analogue clock.
This car had the roof chop in the US, and was originally black but has been changed to Verde Gemma Metallic which is unusual to say the least but was a factory colour. I don’t think the true nature of the colour comes through in these shots; it was a slightly odd shade, and while it made a big impact I dare say more people would hate it than love it. Even appreciating unusual colours, I don’t think I would chose to live with it when there are so many others out there that would not challenge you each time you looked at it.
One of the restoration team was on hand tending to the car, and explained that even though the conversion was done years later, even the originals were converted by the Ghia carozzerie after they had left the Maserati factory. The Ghia badge appeared on many local Fords (as elsewhere), so can’t have been hard to find. It also has been changed to a 5-speed manual gearbox which is a plus in my book. It has just finished an 8-year restoration, which won the restoration of the year award.
This 1966 Brabham BT17 has its Repco 4.3L 620 series V8 to thank for the bundle-of-snakes centre-exit exhaust that looks just incredible here. The engine is an enlarged version of the Oldsmobile-based F1 championship engine, which is why the exhaust doesn’t exit out the side where it would increase the frontal area of a grand prix car. The one-off BT17 only raced a couple of times originally against cars like the Lola T70 before the focus was switched to other categories. The car only arrived in the country just days before the show, and I’m hoping it will be seen on the race track at Philip Island next February.
It seems pretty incredible to see this 1938 Bugatti Type 57C – yes 57C; they normally look like this, and have a 3.3L DOHC supercharged straight eight. It is almost unthinkable now that a one-of-96 Bugatti with Le Mans-winning heritage was rebodied in the style of a Type 59 grand prix car, but hey, that is the 1980s for you!
This 1950 Allard J2 is one of 6 to come to Australia originally, and was sold to noted racing driver Jack Murray. It was the only one with a Cadillac 331 racing engine, and was raced extensively, coming 4th and 6th at the 1951-52 Australian GP’s and winning the 1952 Sprint Championship. Jack Murray is better-known by his nickname ‘Gelignite’ thanks to his exploits on the Redex Trials – and not just winning one without dropping a penalty point!
As a change from the vintage and classic cars, one of Ford’s current GT race cars was on show, fresh from its demonstration runs at Bathurst a couple of weeks earlier. This shot shows how the cabin tapers sharply back through the engine compartment, with giant openings inboard of the rear wheel houses; making it abundantly clear it was designed as a race car first and foremost.
This 1957 Porsche 356A was very popular with our group because had the most amazing patina you are likely to see; the paintwork was described as ‘distressed’, which is about right. You really get the sense the car has seen a lot of living, and not been treated as a precious object, and it was still more characterful than decrepit.
Renault’s new Alpine A110 was making its debut at the show, and made me wonder if it is compulsory for it to be shown alongside one of the originals? It does serve to emphasise how much bigger than the original it is; but it is still very small. It seems like a great car, and for AUD$95k it would want to be. That is $5k more than an Alfa 4C, $10k less than a Lotus Elise and $20k less than a Porsche 718 Cayman for comparison, so it is not outrageously priced.
I don’t think I need an excuse to include this 1970 Lamborghini Miura 400S? It puts the company’s current products to shame as a truly, universally beautiful, car and not something resembling a stormtrooper’s helmet.
There were a pair of immaculate Fiat 124 Spyders, that also show the modern equivalent up as the caricature it is.
To one side of the Cadillacs was this Facel Vega HK500. These French GT cars had Chrysler engines and running gear, although this one has the 4-speed manual that was fed back the other way; it was optional but very rare in Chryslers etc of the era.
The tail light has a nice detail.
But the interior is the real highlight, just so plush. One notable thing is how low the beltline is, by comparison to modern cars. Driving this would be a real ‘period’ experience in many ways, but I’d expect still very easy.
That is just about it for this year’s show, I have just one more snippet (well, two) that I’d like to share. I hope you have enjoyed this look at the show, and if possible try to join us next year.