The RACV Motorclassica Concours d’Elegance 2011 was staged 21-23 October at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. A crowd of more than 16,000 attended the premier classic car event in Australia to the see 110 vintage and classic cars on display.
The 2011 Motorclassica included the Tour Classica which saw 78 cars make their way in convoy through the streets of Melbourne, the Bonhams auction, Picnic with the Classics, the City to Country Rally and an auto art show. Appearances by Legendary British racing driver Derek Bell and Australian racing hero Vern Schuppan also delighted crowds.
The varied Concours featured everything from the oldest genuine Benz in Australia, an 1896 Velo, to the 1987 Porsche 962 driven to victory at Le Mans by Derek Bell. Other show stoppers included a brace of 300SLs and E-Types, a pair of early Isotta Fraschini team cars, Holden’s 1969 Hurricane concept car, a collection of Alfa Romeo 6Cs and more than a dozen special “Preservation Class” cars.
The Best in Show title at the 2011 Motorclassica Concours d’Elegance was awarded to the 1927 Bentley Speed Six, owned by Gary McMillan of Preston, Victoria. The 6.5L car was one of only 97 produced and was first delivered to Oswald J Syme (son of publishing giant David Syme) in November 1927, fitted with a Mulliner saloon body on a standard 12′ chassis. It was purchased from Reg Hunt in 2005 and upgraded over six years to Speed Six specifications with Vanden Plas “Le Mans” body by Simon Elliott of Derby Works.
Event Director and enthusiast Paul Mathers said, “We were determined to make this year’s even better than last year and we are delighted with the result. Feedback from patrons has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Best in Show – 1927 Bentley Speed Six
This 6.5L Bentley, one of only 97 produced, was first delivered to Oswald J Syme (son of publishing giant David Syme) in November 1927, fitted with a Mulliner saloon body on a standard 12′ chassis. It was purchased from Reg Hunt in 2005 and upgraded over six years to Speed Six specifications with Vanden Plas “Le Mans” body by Simon Elliott of Derby Works.
Antique, Veteran & Edwardian – 1908 Isotta Fraschini FENC 10HP Semi-Racer
The FENC Isotta Fraschini voiturette car was designed in early 1908 by Giuseppe Stefanini, in Milan, Italy, and built in small quantities. The crankshafts of these diminutive four cylinder 1300cc single overhead camshaft engines revolve on ball bearings. This car was discovered in 1950, and restored in Melbourne by Lyndon Duckett whose family still owns it. It is remarkably original and intact.
European & British Vintage – 1926 Delage DISS Boat Tail Tourer
This agile and sporting model was produced in very low quantities during the mid 1920s and was imported by the Delage agents Joubert and Joubert Pty Ltd who exhibited it at the Melbourne Motor Show in 1926. It was in regular use around Melbourne streets until the late 1950s, when it made its final appearance as a parade car for the Grand Final. For 35 years it was stored in a damp outer suburban garage before being acquired in 1993, with extensive restoration commencing in 1998.
American Vintage & Pre-War – 1940 Ford Duluxe Convertible
The Ford Deluxe was produced between 1937 and 1940 with a smaller V8 engine, the straight-6 to be reintroduced the following year. Sealed-beam headlights were one of the few major advances in the final year, though a hydraulic top was new on the convertible. 23,704 Deluxe Convertibles were built in 1940, however this example has a two-speed Colombia differential which was an option when purchased new.
European British & Pre-War – 1933 Hispano Suiza HS26 Junior Cabriolet
Hispano Suiza produced luxury cars from 1898 until 1936. The HS26, known as the “Junior”, owes its nickname to its smaller dimensions compared to the larger 32CV model. French company Ballot built the chassis, whilst the remainder of the car was assembled in the Hispano factory in Spain, with 124 HS26s produced between 1930 and 1934. This example was imported into Australia from the USA by another prominent Sydney collector and was purchased recently by its current owner.
European & British Post-War Classic – 1961 Mercedes Benz 190SL Roadster
This particular late model, factory right hand drive 190SL, a sister car to the brand-leading 300SL, was found by its current owner “in a barn with chickens living in the boot.” Responding to a call from a client urging him to “come and pick up our Merc as we want the money to go on a holiday” he was able to drive the car home with only a new battery and “fuel down the carbies.” An 11-year restoration with subcontractors from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Germany has resulted in this fine example.
American Post-War Classic – 1958 Chrysler 300D Coupe
The Chrysler 300 series was designed by Virgil Exner, an American designer heavily influenced by his work with Ghia in Italy in the 1950s. The 300 series cars are considered the very first muscle cars, the 300 badge referring to 300hp, and their expense and exclusiveness lent to the nickname “The Bankers Hot Rod.” They were produced with trademark natural leather interiors with a limited range of exterior colours available. Only 618 300Ds were produced in 1958 with less than 150 known to exist today.
Modern European & British – 1973 Citroen Pallas Prestige Sedan
This Citroen DS 23 Pallas Prestige was one of only seven built by Henri Chapron, the famous Parisian coachbuilder, in 1973. Imported new into Australia for the French Consul in Canberra, it was passed into the hands of his secretary in 1976. Named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine, the car has been fully restored by its current owner.
Modern American – 1962 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Entering production in 1955 as a sporty two-seat convertible, it was marketed not as a sports car like the Chevrolet Corvette, but as a personal luxury car. In 1961, a re-design saw immediate success with 73,051 sold that year. It was 1961’s Indianapolis 500 pace car and was featured prominently in US President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade. This particular example was purchased in the USA by its current owner in 2005 and restored over 12 months to its original delivery specification.
Modern European & British Thoroughbred – 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2
The 330 GT 2+2, introduced in 1964, replaced the 250GE/E 2+2 featuring, in addition to an up-rated engine, several significant cosmetic and performance enhancements including a sharper nose and tail, quad headlights and a wide grille. The wheelbase was 50mm with Koni adjustable shock absorbers and a new dual-circuit Dunlop braking system. The 1965 model also featured a five-speed gearbox instead of the four-speed overdrive of the previous year. This USA-delivered example was imported to New Zealand in 1997 and to Australia in 2005 where it completed a full restoration.
Motorcycles – 1938 BMW R12
The R12 was BMW’s most produced model until the R75/5 of the early 1970’s. Nearly 30,000 were made, 20,000 as civilian models (most of which were conscripted in 1939) and another 10,000 specifically built for the Wehrmacht. BMW R12s did yeoman service in the German Army of WWII but were eventually replaced by a purpose-built military model, the R75, in 1942. This example was one of those German Army bikes and was purchased in Poland after WWII, with its Nazi number plate still fitted. It was restored in Melbourne 20 years ago.
Preservation – 1914 Victor Motorcycle & Sidecar
The Victor motorcycle was made by Mr Edward Victor Bowen from 1908. Over a number of years he assembled a total of five motorcycles in the shed at the rear of his bicycle shop in Surrey Hills, Victoria. Fitted with a J.A.P 1000cc V-Twin engine, each bike was built for personal use and sold on when the next was completed. This is the only remaining example.
Longines Heritage Award for 125 Years of Benz – 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe
One of the most iconic and coveted cars of the last century this 300SL coupe, or “Gull Wing,” was purchased by the current owner in Los Angeles in July 1996. It was shipped to Melbourne where it was painstakingly restored under the guidance of renowned 300SL restorer Jerry Hjeltness of California with the aim of producing the world’s most authentically restored vehicle of this type.
Longines Heritage Award for 60 Years of Porsche in Australia – 1965 Porsche 356C Coupe
Introduced in 1963 the C was the last revision of the 356 line featuring disc brakes all round and an option for the most powerful pushrod engine Porsche had produced, the 95hp “SC”. This example was purchased by the last owner from South Carolina USA in 2003 prior to purchase by the current owner in 2006. It has since undergone a complete 3-year restoration.
Longines Spirit of Motorclassica Award (presented by the Chief Judge) – 1958 Facel Vega
In 1954 Jean Daninos, having already built a small series of coach-built Bentleys in conjunction with his company in Paris, revived the concept of the French Grand Tourer with the new Facel Vega. Introduced at the 1954 Paris Auto Show with the tag line “for the few who own the finest” the order list comprised a who’s who of Hollywood including Tony Curtis, Danny Kaye, Ava Gardner, Dean Martin, and Stirling Moss who preferred to drive his Vega to race meets rather than fly. With 352 units produced from 1957 to 1959 at USD 7,500 they were $200 more than a Mercedes Benz 300SL “Gullwing.”
Australian Vintage & Classic – 1969 Holden GTS Monaro Coupe, Marco Mason