Car Show Classics: Tales of the Unexpected from Motorclassica

Mercedes Benz SLs

Let’s get a bit more real-world and head outside to the external car club area at Motorclassica, where there were a few cases of the CC staple “one of these things is not like the other”.

Right inside the entrance was a row of Mercedes-Benz SL’s with four of the 1990-2002 4th-gen R129 models, then going back a few decades for a 1960s Pagoda SL acting as a people-magnet at the rear of shot and a 1956 300SL Gullwing that I didn’t photograph – oops!  I don’t remember seeing the grille type on the third and fourth cars before, is that a facelift/update?



Next was the Daimler Owner’s Club, where as you might expect there were a few SP250s and a 250 V8 sedan, but it is not often you see the larger-V8 Majestic Major.  This was the final Daimler sedan developed before the takeover by Jaguar, which featured a 4.5L V8 designed by Edward Turner of BSA motorcycles fame that was effectively a scaled-up version of the 2.5 and was rated at 220hp only because the company’s dynamometer did not go any higher.  Later when Jaguar trialled the engine in their Mark X it comprehensively trounced the 4.2L six.  By the time of its 1960 introduction the Majestic Major was quite old-fashioned but it was produced until 1968; however only 2048 were built including the extended DR450 limousine version.

1971 Ford Capri Perana

Next was a row of 7 Ford Capris, aka the European Mustang, and in addition to later Mark 2 & 3 versions that were not imported by Ford Australia there was a South African Capri Perana V8.  Only 500-550 of these were built by Basil Green Motors, and thanks to using an alloy intake and bellhousing they were only 20lb heavier than the V6 they were based on. (note the custom plate is misspelled, the correct version must have been taken!)

Mercury Capri

What was both a surprise and quite a neat quirk seeing as the European Capri was sold as a Mercury in North America was this Fox-body Mercury Capri.  This car had an inline 6 with what looked like a Holley 4-barrel carb and a Hurst shifter on the auto transmission.  The car next to it is a local Capri GT V6, with hood pins and the Superroo decal ahead of the front wheel arch.

Volvos 1200

The Volvo Club had surprises on two levels, firstly as all the cars on display were 2-doors.  What was really unusual though was in addition to a pair of 242 GTs, a 262C Bertone and a personal-favourite 1800ES was the not-imported-here 480ES Turbo that can be seen ahead of it.

Ford Escort Sundowner panelvan

At the end of a trio of Ford Mark 2 Escort RS2000s (which were built in 4-door form in Australia to increase sales potential) was this Sundowner panel van that was a local product of the 1970s custom van craze.  Not many were built and few remain.

MG SA Midget pair

Just behind that was the MG club, which had a Magnette sedan, three TC/TD roadsters and then this pre-war pairing of a 1934 6-cylinder SA sedan and 1928 M-Type Midget roadster.   The SA sedan is larger than what you associate as an MG, being nearly the size of a 1934 Ford.

Jensen 541R

On the other side of the area was the Jensen Car Club.  Now the 6 Interceptors are something most people would be familiar with, so here is one of two 541 R’s that were its 1950’s predecessor.  They had a fibreglass body and a 4-litre Austin 6-cylinder engine with triple carbs and 150 hp; the last model before the switch to Chrysler V8 power.


A row of eight Morgans might be an unusual sight, but what was surprising was this Aero 8 on the end.  What is a curious mix of almost-retro styling and exotic aluminium construction was spoiled by an unfortunate cross-eyed visage.

Alfa Romeo RL

The Alfa Romeo club had quite a few unusual cars such as the SZ as can be seen in Don’s post from the Concorso Italiano, but by any measure this RL tourer is unusual.  The elephant radiator mascot must be a unique piece, and brings to mind that of the Bugatti Royale.

Pontiac sedan delivery

Finally, here is an unusual Pontiac as part of a gathering including an early Firebird, 65 Le Mans hardtop, Bandit Trans Am and a 57 or so RHD Super Chief – not to forget a Fiero which must be one of a handful in the country.  I didn’t get a shot of the front end to assist identifying the model year of this sedan delivery, but I think it is a 53 or 54.  Apart from its rarity and the fantastic restoration the thing that we thought was neat is the badge on the rear door.

Frigidaire badge

The story is that the owner’s mates came up with a nickname for the big white box of a car – the fridge – , and a suitable badge was found.  It originally came from a large commercial refridgerator, and being another GM brand it is quite fitting here!  I assume the Silver Streak 8 refers to the engine rather than being a model designation.


That is almost the end of the coverage from Motorclassica, because while many of the cars do not have much curbside status they have some interesting stories to tell.  Here is a preview!