Motorclassica 2014, the Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show, was the most successful one yet, with over 20,000 people attending Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building over the three days.
Now in its fifth year, Motorclassica’s status as Australia’s premier classic car event was further reinforced by the presence of Gina Campbell, Donald Campbell’s daughter, as the special guest for 2014. Gina, a world speed record holder in her own right, took part in a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of her father’s greatest achievement, when he became the only person in history to set the world speed record on both land and water in the same year. I had the great privilege to conduct an exclusive 30 minute interview with her, who I found fascinating to talk with – stay tuned for more information!
In many ways I thought the unofficial theme of Motorclassica for 2014 was the show of contrasts, with the contemporary equivalent of many of the classic cars also on display. For the second year in a row Mercedes-Benz chose to host the Australian debut of an new model, the all new S-Class Coupe, which was positioned directly facing an iconic 1950’s 220 convertible – the steering wheel on that car I believe could be considered a work of art! Likewise several beautiful Jaguar E-Types were complimented by a brand new F-Type R Coupe, and both a current and first generation Aston Martin Vanquish were present. Special thanks go out to the staff at the Jaguar stand, who were particularly friendly and helpful.
Courtesy of the luxury sports car specialists Lorbek there was the recently released Ferrari 458 Speciale and Lamborghini Huracan at the show, together with several new McLarens and some lovely classics, both an 1980’s and 1950 style Ferrari Testarossa. Compared to the elegance of the 50’s Testarossa I thought some of the aerodynamic additions on the 458 looked a little overdone, such as the carbon fibre “shark fins” in front of the rear wheel arches. On the other hand while the Lamborghini Huracan doesn’t represent a big leap in styling, such as from the Muira to Countach, I believe it looks well resolved, a logical evolution of the previous design.
Motorclassica’s collector car auction on Saturday evening saw a rare 1954 Bentley R-Type Continental, the original 1955 Australian Motor Show car, and the only one of its type to ever come to Australia, sell for almost $1.1 million. Rare as it may be, if I had my pick out of all the cars at the auction it’s not what I would have bought. Instead I would have gone for a lovely one-off Ferrari, a 1969 “410 GTC Speciale”. The bodywork is almost the equivalent of a combination of Ferrari’s greatest hits, with cues from several classic 1960’s designs, including the 275 GTB and 250 GTO. Actually I thought it was better looking in the metal than the 275 GTB I photographed last year. One nice detail in particular is the step in the shoulder of the car above the door handles, it’s a very sculptural touch.
As this year marked the 100th anniversary of Maserati, and the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang, it was great to see classic models on the streets of Melbourne during Tour Classica, including several Maserati Ghiblis.
One vehicle at the show which had several distinctive features that caught my eye was a 1959 Jensen 541 R. Instead of having turn indicators mounted near the rear bumper bar or fenders, they were located high up on the car’s C Pillars (The metal between the rear and side windows). While the owner mentioned his first impression was that they were an afterthought, I think if the indicator lenses were flush with the body it might work well. Other unusual details include window winders deeply recessed into the door panels, and a cover in front of the radiator to completely close off the grille to help prevent the car freezing, handy for the winters of Europe.
In addition to all the cars on display, a new addition for the show in 2014 was the display of a range of vintage bicycles. One feature which I thought looks decidedly odd on the Side by Side Sociable from 1882 were the cut-outs added into the top of the seats, like the breathing hole of a dolphin. Another distinctive arrangement I thought was the light mounted inside the centre of the wheel on the 1886 “British Challenge” Penny Farthing. Made by no less a brand than Lucas, also known as “The Prince of Darkness” by some classic vehicle owners!
Any rumours that Motorclassica will be merged with other car shows or changing location was quickly dispelled during the press launch. Motorclassica Event Director Paul Mathers confirmed plans are well underway for the 2015 show, with the Royal Melbourne Exhibition Building already booked for 23 to 25 October next year. For more information, please visit www.motorclassica.com.au