Carligious was lucky enough to attend The Australian International Concours d'Elegance & Classic Motor Show 2016 in Melbourne. As you can imagine, it's a car lover's wet dream and an event that made me realise I'm auto-sexual. I was already at a tipping point and with the amount of car porn on display, I couldn't fight it anymore.
If you say you're a car lover and you didn't see something to float your boat at the Motorclassica, then you're not the real deal.
The Motorclassica, now in its 7th year, is one of Australia's, if not the Southern Hemisphere's most significant car events. Attracting visitors and participants from across the country, the sheer variety and quality of cars displayed was enough to please all car enthusiasts alike.
Representing a huge cross-section of major marques and types including; exotics, luxury, GT, sports cars, muscle cars, hot hatches, pre-war, post-war, new, old, quirky and ultra-expensive - it was all was on show.
This year's Motorclassica also saw participation from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Rolls-Royce, Touring Superleggera and Ducati. Mercedes-Benz is also proudly celebrating its 130th year of car production.
Motorclassica is a three-day celebration including the Concours d'Elegance, Classic Motor Show, Motorclassica Car Auction, various other events and trade exhibits. For those unfamiliar, the Concours d'Elegance (a French term) is a competition of elegance, aimed explicitly at classic and vintage automobiles. A panel of judges evaluates competitor automobiles assessing their condition, appearance, originality and significance historically. The ultimate aim for participants is to take out the Best of Show award.
Participants go to great lengths to present their car as if it had just left the factory and in many cases the cars on show are in better than new condition. Representing a healthy cross-section of cars and owners, from the ultra-rich to the regular 9 to 5 Bruce. Everyone can have a crack at putting up a car for judging, you just have to be prepared to put in the money, blood, sweat and tears. For this year's event over 115 cars entered with more than 450 cars displayed over the 3-days.
The Motorclassica is a great experience and a must for all Aussie car enthusiasts. Next year's 2017 Motorclassica will be focusing on Ferrari's 70th anniversary, great news if you're Tifosi (Ferrari and Italian car fan); I'm booking my tickets now.
Let's check out some of our 2016 Motorclassica favourites.
1976 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.0 Coupé
I can cast my mind back to when this car was brand new, I was just a kid and my old man said it looked like a pumped up frog! Yeah right! This frog I'd like to take for a hop. I'm sure my old man would appreciate the lurid green paint job. Just look at it, in 1976 nothing came close, the 930 turbo version was the fastest production car in world, how's that for leaving a mark. While this Carrera may not be a widow maker, it's still a very respectable sports car in its own right. This pristine example, despite a modest power output of 200bhp, was capable of a 0 to 100km/h dash in just 6.1 seconds and a top speed of 236km/h. A lot of that is due to its kerb mass of just 1120kg and close ratio gearbox.
The car on display was up for auction at the Motorclassica but failed to reach reserve. If you could get it, for its $90 - $120k AUD asking price, it should be a solid investment and it's likely to increase in value as time passes.
1951 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, Barn Find
As my exposure to classics and cars in general increases, the broader my appreciation is becoming. It's hard to explain but like great works of art, the more time you spend contemplating them, the more you can see their intrinsic beauty.
The Jaguar XK120 Roadster barn find is like that. Pictures hardly do it justice and it is in remarkable condition, considering it's sat hidden away for years. I happened to be viewing the car alongside another writer, who at the time was gushing, "clean it up, make it mechanically sound and leave it at that", this was his hope. The patina in the paintwork and the wear and tear of interior would speak volumes of its long, chequered history and could only add character to the Jag. I agree wholeheartedly, that would be cool.
The XK120 was also an auction lot and sold for $80,000 AUD. A bargain for sure.
1964 Jaguar C-Type, re-creation
Another Jaguar but with a difference. It's a Clayton Jag, mind you, Claytons was rubbish and this is anything but.
That's right folks this 1964 Jaguar C-Type is not the real deal, but a meticulously copied re-creation. Lust was the first thing that captured me when I cast my eye over this tasty creation. Assembled like no car in the 60's ever, they weren't capable of making them that well then. Panel gaps, symmetry, paintwork and attention to detail are all flawless. It might be too perfect but I don't care, imagine cruising along in this thing, looks alone who's going to compete?
The real thing is worth somewhere around S12 million AUD. Unbelievably the Jag was passed when it failed to reach reserve. For $160 - $200K AUD, if I donate my spleen do you think my wife will let me buy it?
1967 DeTomaso Mangusta
The Mangusta, have a look at it, such a rarity I never thought I'd see one in the metal. I have to say it's another car where pictures just don't do it justice. Apart from the obvious 60's styling cues, this thing could be released today, no drama. Its arse is so wide it looks like it would struggle to drive on a regular road. Its lines are unquestionably Italian but it has an American heart.
Fitted with a 4.7litre Ford HiPo V8 engine, power is sent to the rear wheel via a 5-speed transaxle ZF gearbox. At the time of release, the Mangusta was way ahead of its time, featuring all-wheel disc brakes, fully independent suspension, rack and pinion steering, power windows and air-conditioning all standard. One cool but not necessarily practical feature was the gull-wing doors over the engine/luggage compartment. Like all things Italian they were temperamental, its saving grace American running gear, like its newer sibling the Pantera, well documented are the Mangusta faults but they are easily sorted, you just need to find a reputable expert.
This was my show favourite; I can only imagine how great it would be to get behind the wheel.
1967 Lamborghini Muira
Do I even need to write anything? The original supercar, the one that started all and perhaps the most beautiful car ever created, penned by Marcello Gandini at the tender age of 27. The picture says it all.
1956 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint
By the mid to late 50's Ferrari had already asserted its dominance both on the racetrack and as a road car. Alfa Romeo in a sense was Ferrari's progenitor; it's ironic that the marque has been relegated the poor man's Ferrari. Seriously, who cares when the car in question looks this good? It has all the appeal of the Ferrari and is just about reachable to the average Joe. This particular little Alfa is almost perfect and really looks like a miniature Ferrari. Viewed from any angle, it doesn't put a line out of place.
Featuring a 4-cylinder engine of just 2.0 litres, the little Alfa was capable of 190km/h top speed. An amazing achievement for the period and proof positive that the Super Sprint was a giant killer.
1980 BMW M1
BMW's take on a supercar and what a supercar it was. Another hybrid, this time German/Italian. Lamborghini won the contract to build the M1, which would appear to be the antithesis of BMW. Ironically, conflicts arose between the two manufacturers, which prompted BMW to build the car themselves. Penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro the undoubtedly beautiful M1 is the least German looking BMW ever, for obvious reasons of course.
As time has rolled on, it is clear just what a harmonious design Giugiaro created, its appearance is timeless, looking as fresh as a new release. The M1 wasn't just solely about the looks; it was also an able performer, featuring a classic BMW inline 6-cylinder motor of 3.5litres with a four valve per cylinder head, with a specific power output of 273bhp; enough to propel the M1 from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.9 seconds and onto a top speed of 262km/h.
1938 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300B MM Corsa Spider
This was a hard call for me, which car did I like better, the 6C or the Mangusta? Both had me weak in the knees but each for different reasons. You're looking at a hypercar circa 1938. The 6C was the Bugatti Veyron of its time but more than that, the 6C is truly mobile art. The attention to detail is mind blowing. It's obvious from when you first lay eyes on it, going very fast is its only purpose.
The bodywork is by the famed coachbuilder Touring of Milan using the Superleggera technique (super light), if it looks right, it is right, which the Italians are very quick to point out and 9 times out of 10, its true!
1984 Group C John Player Special BMW 635 CSi racer
The 635 CSi is special to me because I remember the big Beemer's racing back in the day. They weren't that competitive during the 1984 season but you could see promise for the future. The best they could manage was a 3rd place at the Surfers Paradise event. Overall, finishing fifth for the year. In 1985, the ATCC ran under the international Group A rules for the first time, the gutsy 635 Beemer's asserted their dominance, winning 7 out of 10 races to take out the Australian Touring Car Championship.
None of that mattered to me, I just thought the 635 CSi with its jet-black paintwork and bright gold stencilling made it the coolest looking car on the track. In my pubescent mind that made it at least 20 miles an hour faster than any of the competition, forever seared into my brain its lairy stance. When you look at the stablemates of the period, the XE Falcon and VH Commodore, they were comparatively dreary and you can appreciate why the 635 CSi is now such a classic.
1960 NSU Sport Prinz Coupe
What the…? NSU, NS who? I don't know much about this super compact coupe, they were around before I was born. I do know the NSU Sport Prinz Coupe displayed left an impression on me, the first thing you notice is just how tiny it is, it makes a mini look like a yank tank. The next thing that comes across is just how cool it looks; even the little fins at the rear play their part in making the NSU Sport Prinz look like a very cohesive design. Penned by Franco Scaglione at Bertone studios, manufactured between 1958 and 1968, 20,831 units left the factory.
The Sport Prinz' small packaging didn't stop just at the body; it was fitted with a tiny in-line 2 cylinder engine of either 583 cc or 598 cc. Apparently, it was a great drive and the performance on offer contradicted the modest power output just 30bhp.
Was it the MR2 of its day? Looks like it to me; I'm adding it to my dream car collection.
1955 Austin Healey 100S Roadster
The 1955 Austin Healey 100 Roadster would equate to the MX5 today and showed the Brits had it going on. Its clean simple lines are up there with the best of the Italians and it was an advanced little roadster for its time. The 100 in the moniker meant that it was capable of over 100mph, impressive when you consider the average British motor car of the day struggled to reach 70mph!
This particular car is even more special as it's the racing version of the marque. It had four-wheel Dunlop disc brakes, 32bhp over the standard 100 at a 132bhp total, a lithe kerb weight of just 908kg, which helped it achieve a top speed of 118.1mph.
1970 Holden LC Torana GTR XU-1 Coupe
If the GTR doesn't pull at your heartstrings, nothing will. It doesn't get more Australian than the giant killing LC Torana. It was a simple formula; fit the biggest engine you could into your smallest car. The theory being that it would make for a good power to weight ratio and you'd have the advantage of nimble handling, owing to its compact size. It sure worked; the Torana consistently outgunned its bigger and more powerful competitors. Initially fitted with an 186ci 6 cylinder engine for a claimed power output of 160bhp, an Aussie 4 speed transmission and a kerb weight of just 2432lbs, it was a success on the racetrack and much loved by Holden fans.
One thing I really love about these early 70's Aussie icons, is their lurid paint schemes, this battler is liveried in Purr-pull. I'm not kidding that was its actual name. They were tripping out badly in the 70's I guess. Either way, I just want one.
2006 – 2012 599 GTB Fiorano
It's now on ten years since the 599 GTB Fiorano was first introduced to the public and it's showing that design done right never goes out of style. Time has been kind the Fiorano and if anything it looks better now than when it was first released.
Being a modern Ferrari, I'm sure I don't need to rattle off its specs. If you're a fan, you already know them and if you're not, you don't care.
Silver-grey is the colour to get; it further accentuates its svelte lines.
Another car I want in my dream collection, I've had the pleasure of hearing one these in full song, the sound of the V12 screaming at high revs is truly glorious.
1993 Lamborghini Diablo VT
Lamborghini knew they had to pull out something very special to replace its venerable Countach. With a production run spanning 16 years from its first release, it was the poster child of a generation.
The Diablo, Spanish for the devil was the car that took over the reins, while nowhere near as outlandish as the Countach, the Diablo was still all raging bull.
Capable of 202mph and 0 to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds, it definitely deserves its supercar status. With the VT update, added to the equation was all-wheel drive, which substantially improved its handling. While other improvements such as electronically adjustable dampers added refinement to what was otherwise a balls out racer. Even though the Diablo was uncompromising supercar, the VT edition made the car easier to live with on a day-to-day basis.
1990 Maserati Shamal
From The late 80's to mid 90's Maserati didn't get much love. In fact, Jeremy Clarkson said of the 80's Maserati Bi-Turbo was one of the worst cars ever made. Ouch! Which brings us to the Shamal, there's just something about it that I find mesmerising. Starting with its design, looking like a kids drawing and then that same kid grew up and made that car. It's absurd, but I absolutely love it and It was love at first sight, I might add.
Having never seen a Shamal before I wanted to know more and here's what I found out. Shamal is an Arabic reference for north wind, what that has to do with cars, umm, I don't know. The Shamal is fitted with a twin-turbo intercooler 3.2 litre V8 engine producing 325bhp and 320lbft of torque. With a top speed of 170mph and a 0 to 62mph dash in just 5.3 seconds, it was no slouch.
I don't care what Jeremy Clarkson thinks on this one, I want the Shamal in my dream garage.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 351
The original Gone in 60 Seconds movie started my love for the Ford Mustang, the original pony car. American muscle at its finest. This particular Mach 1 gave me sweaty palms; the only thing that could have made it better would have been a yellow paint job. You can't beat the sound of American iron either, there's nothing like a real V8.
1970 Dodge Challenger 383 Magnum R/T
When Detroit was king of the hill and American muscle was American pride along came the Dodge Challenger. Man, this thing is big. It looks like it would eat an Alfa whole. Chew it up, spit it out and leave nothing but an oily mess. I'd be too scared to drive it because it looks like it would have a hard time staying in a straight line. Doesn't stop me wanting it, though. Despite this monsters immense size, it wasn't overly heavy at 1595kgs, fitted with 383 cubic inch FirePower V8, producing 335bhp, that's a fair power to weight ratio and explains the Challengers strong performance. 0 to 60mph in 6.1 seconds.
The Dodge Challenger is another example of a car whose presence can't be underestimated and probably explains why a mint condition example can fetch as much as $100,000 USD.
Stay tuned for more highlights from the Motorclassica 2016...