MOTORING: AUTO AMORE
Autumn in Hong Kong means cooler weather – and the high season for auto enthusiasts and motorcycle lovers to come out to play.
Autumn in Hong Kong means the high season for car enthusiasts and motorcycle lovers to come out to play
On most Saturday mornings in Hong Kong, the roads to places like Shek O come alive with the roar of automobiles and motorcycles of all types, sizes and eras. It’s a joy to drive or ride in, and also watch roadside as the cars and bikes zip along the twisting asphalt towards their final destination.
In parking lots, owners and spectators mingle over coffee and croissants – bonded by enthusiasm for all things related to these motorised vehicles that represent the past, present and, in some cases, the future. Owning a classic car or bike involves passion, persistence and petrol.
But it’s the autumn months when things really kick off. From October to December, there are several major car events happening in Hong Kong and of course Macau, where the 64th running of the Grand Prix takes place between November 16 and s19.
THE CHATTER ON CHATER
For classic car lovers, the Chater Road Classic Car Show in Central takes place October 29. Organised by the Classic Car Club of Hong Kong (CCHK), this Sunday show features some 100 pristine vehicles representing all eras of automobile history, such as the 1926 Bentley and Sir Michael Kadoorie’s grey 1936 Rolls-royce Phantom III, which was displayed last year, up to the more familiar modern classics from Japan and elsewhere around the world.
Even BMW’S modern and very futuristic i8 model was part of the pack.
The CCHK began in 1979, when Dick Worrall and 18 other enthusiasts gathered to share their passion for older cars. The following year, they became an affiliated club of the Hong Kong Automobile Association (HKAA), until the CCHK was incorporated in 1989.
This non-profit organisation promotes the collection and preservation of classic cars. Its roughly 500 members collectively own about 750 cars. The members meet regularly to share their love and experience through gatherings such as Sunday Morning Drive, Noggin’ & Natter, Classic Car China Drive and the annual Chater road show.
Over the years, CCCHK and its members have also supported many public and charity activities by providing pieces of their collections for holiday parades, promotion of road safety, charity fundraising, as well as visiting homes for the elderly and orphanages.
Last year’s Chater show drew the attention of hundreds of spectators as well as the Urban Sketchers group, who feasted upon the smorgasbord of classic car shapes, colours and textures to create their artistic interpretations of the automobiles on display.
WHAT’S UP ON TWO WHEELS
The Motorcycle Show 2017 (November 5) is also in Central, this time at Edinburgh Place in front of the Post Office and former City Hall on Lung Wo Road beside the Central Waterfront exhibition area. Organised by Ian Foster and the Classic Auto-cycle Museum, this event brings together the city’s bike owners, clubs, dealers, manufacturers and even the emergency services that use motorcycles.
Something new this year is the show being granted permission to use the curvy installation in front of the former City Hall. The temporary “Hong Kong ∞ Impression” Pavilion will be a focal point for a Motoring Heritage Exhibition “As well as classic motorcycles we hope to have classic cars, buses, bicycles, and any other vehicles we can find in Hong Kong,” says Foster.
One of the best things about collecting vintage motorcycles is that they fit within the confines of Hong Kong’s tiny flats. A spare bedroom can be easily converted into a garage, bikes and their parts can squeeze into building lifts and there is a strong community of like-minded bike enthusiasts to help with restorations and go riding with on Hong Kong’s 1,700km road network.
THE GOLD STAR
The second running of Sino Group’s The Gold Coast Motor Festival (November 10-12) at Hong Kong Gold Coast in Tuen Mun will see this show zoom much closer to its goal of being the “Pebble Beach of Asia”. This is a paid-entry show, with tickets ranging from $60 for seniors and students to enjoy a day with the cars, up to $2,888 for two VIP passes good for all three days.
Building on the inaugural show last year, the organisers have enlisted well-known classic car aficionado Carl Yuen to curate the 80 or so vehicles on display that will include such wonders as the 1926 Bentley 3-litre – one of the oldest registered vehicles in Hong Kong – up to current wonders such as the Volkswagen VX1 hybrid, of which only 250 were built, and the one-off special edition Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo.
“This year’s festival promises to deliver another exciting experience for motoring aficionados and festival-goers. It holds special meaning as we are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR,” says Eugene Leung, general manager of the Gold Coast Motor Festival.
“The scenic Hong Kong Gold Coast is a perfect venue for this festival for all, which is gaining widespread international recognition and acclaim,
bringing significant benefits to the motor industry, to tourism and to the local Hong Kong community.”
Other highlights of the Gold Coast Motor Festival are an iconic Ferrari 250 GT/E first introduced at the 1960 Le Mans 24-hour race, a Toyota 2000GT that was one of the first Japanese supercars, one of the only 20 Lamborghini Sesto Elemento cars ever made, a Mclaren P1GTR and the iconic Mclaren F1.
“With the support of leading car manufacturers, we shall also be displaying some of their most sought-after current offerings, including the Bugatti Chiron, which will make its first Hong Kong public debut,” says Leung.
In a nod to the huge popularity of e-sports, the sponsors this time include Xbox in collaboration with game maker VLT and local racing driver Darryl O’young, who will go head-to-head in virtual competition with motor-racing fans online and on-site as they race in the newly released Forza Motorsport 7 game in hopes of beating him and claiming prizes such as the limited-edition Xbox One S console.
THE MOTORING IN MACAU
The Macau Grand Prix is a legendary event in what is now known as China’s gambling mecca. But for even longer than the gaming, Macau has been regarded as a major
–Eugene Leung, Gold Coast Motor Festival
stepping stone to Formula One and a great weekend for spectators who simply enjoy the displays of racing and amazing vibe of the former Portuguese colony.
Current F1 driver Valtteri Bottas, the Mercedes teammate of Lewis Hamilton, absolutely tore up the competition in Macau behind the wheel of the Galaxy Resort F3 car a few years ago and was well on his way to winning this prestigious event when his back wheel brushed a barrier and he was forced to retire.
THE ELECTRIC AVENUE
Finally in December, it’s the second running of the Hong Kong E-prix in the Central Harbourfront Event Space between the ifc mall and Tamar. Held December 2-3, this is the kick-off event in the FIA Formula E Championship’s fourth season and features a two-race format along the Hong Kong harbourfront. Besides a fantastic VIP tent, there is also an E-village with racing simulators and other interactive experiences.
It costs $2,140 for a weekend pass in the Observation Wheel Grandstand, although if you go online public there are 10,000 free tickets on offer for both days.
WILD IN WANCHAI
Finally, at the end of December, car lovers get a Christmas treat in the form of the Hong Kong Car Show (December 24-27) at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai. There are themed zones featuring an extensive range of products and services including modern and classic cars, automotive consumables and mechanical parts, car beauty and care, diagnostic vehicles and products, motorbikes, accessories and maintenance services. Other highlights include race simulators and lucky draw prizes.
The autumn months offer plenty for car and motorcycles fans to enjoy in Hong Kong and nearby Macau. But you have been warned – this hobby is very contagious.