Don Andreina organised for a group of CCers plus a few car club friends to gather for a visit to the annual Motorclassica Concours at the Royal Exhibition Building here in Melbourne. I thought it would be fun to play a game of “which one would I take home?”, so here (finally) are the cars our group picked as their favourites – no easy task here with the array of cars on display!
1955 Chrysler ST Special (Ghia). Paul has written before about many of the 1950’s Chrysler-Ghia concept and coachbuilt production cars and it was a pleasant surprise to see one at the show. While this car may be more restrained or conventional in some areas than some of the earlier models it is still just beautiful. If anything the lack of controversial front-end styling helps its cause.
It was larger than I had imagined these cars to be, as the reality of the 126″ wheelbase New Yorker chassis does not come across in photographs because of its proportions. This car featured in the 1955 Paris Motor Show when new and painted black, which I gather will be reinstated in the future. The car received the “Spirit of Motorclassica” award.
1935 Packard Super 8 3-Window Coupe. There were several Packards at the show, but the 1935 is my favourite era Packard and this coupe is just an elegant body style whether it be a humble Ford or a Lincoln. This car was given to Amelia Earheart and bears her initials on the bumper overriders. It won the Pre-War USA class.
One of the features of the show was the 50th anniversary of the Dino and they were well-favourited by our group. I’m going to assume that everyone is familiar with these, and now I will include this green example as a colour you don’t normally see, which also awarded best car in the Modern Classic Sports & Performance under 3 litre class.
The ‘Ferrari’ Dino was preceded by the Fiat Dino coupe, which was styled by Bertone. It is a very elegantly-styled car if not quite at the top level due to the rear seats raising the roofline and stretching the wheelbase.
The Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso was a common choice from the group, as this was a beautiful example of the car and I don’t think there is a lot more to be said, apart from noting that this car was awarded Best of Show and Restoration of the Year (by Classic Auto Metal at Glengarry in the Tamar Valley region of the island state of Tasmania).
I don’t think it would be a surprise that the 1936 Cord 810 Westchester sedan made our ‘short list’, and again all that needs to be said has been done so many times.
Another iconic car is the Porsche 356, and there was a beautiful early example on show in a nice subtle beige (seen beside a 1972 911E).
The next nomination is one I can also get behind, because it nearly made my list too; a Bentley Continental S2 Flying Spur six light. While the Continental coupe lost its fastback with the arrival of the S-series Bentleys, while the Mulliner Park Ward-bodied Flying Spur could be compared to today’s CLS Mercedes, 6-series Gran Coupe BMW or Audi A7 as a much sportier saloon in contrast to the Rolls-Royce-clone standard sedans. Being a S2, this car has the new V8 that is still in production today. Incidentally the darker sedan to the right is another Continental sedan but not a Flying Spur, being a James Young-bodied car. Incidentally, these two cars took second and first in the Modern Classic (UK & Euro) category.
As I missed recording the details on the information boards it took some doing to establish which car was which; they are quite similar! This photo in the open air better shows the sleek lines of the Flying Spur.
The Maserati Mexico seen already was nominated as a car to take home, no real surprise as this was a fantastic example of the model.
BMW had a stand at Motorclassica, featuring their i8, i3 and M4 GTS and a special display of the retro-liveried M Hommage coupe alongside a replica 3.5 CSL race car. No prizes for guessing it was the latter car that caught the eye of one of our group (at least)!
The early Lamborghini Countach LP400 was also nominated, and at 40 years’ distance is better looking than the later be-winged and be-flared cars. (Yes those are the ‘eyelashes’ of a Miura photo-bombing the bottom of the frame)
This wing of the building was dedicated to supercars, and our next couple of nominations were in this area also; firstly the Ferrari 288 GTO which is the ideal combination of classic Ferrari looks and outrageous power levels. A shame that they only built 272!
Not far away was this 1981 512 Boxer Berlinetta, which got an honourable mention from one of the gang because the French Blue paint (one of just 11 in the colour) was just the wrong colour for the car – what do you think?
A couple of additional honourable mentions from the auction field were two of the ‘project cars’; this 1934 Packard V12 which would be sold for AUD$75,000 (plus fees). It appeared to be fairly complete and solid but needed “everything” doing to it.
Does anyone not want to see the engine? The manifold arrangement is interesting, with both intake and exhaust intertwining inside the vee.
Only a few feet away was this 1941 Cadillac sedan, a bargain by comparison at $12,000 plus fees and no doubt a much less daunting task to restore. No doubt that some people would be tempted to retain the current ‘patina’ aka severe surface rust over the entire body, and I can see that this gives it a sinister look but a true luxury car can only tolerate a small degree of shabbiness before ‘devil may care’ degenerates into ‘delinquent’.
Our final ‘take home’ nomination was a Lancia Flaminia 3C GTL which I didn’t photograph as it was on one of the vendor stands on the outer wall (Oldtimer Australia in Queensland) that I paid less attention to, so here is a photo from their website.
That will do for now, I may do another post on some of the more down-to-earth cars at the show unless you would like to see some more of the extraordinary cars at the show. But for now I will finish with what may have been the most significant car there; a 1928 Bugatti Type 37A grand prix car which won the 1930 and 1932 Australian Grand Prix. It was last raced in 1952, and has not been seen in public for 63 years! The body has been restored to preserve as much of the original metal and 1930s paintwork as possible.
Car Show Classics: Motorclassica Mini Meet-Up (an overview of last year’s show)