10 of the best from Motorclassica ‘16
Motorclassica is the finest collection of classic cars you’ll see in Australasia. Here are our picks for best in show. By Damien O’Carroll. Held in the main hall of the historic and beautiful Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, the Australian International Concours d’Elegance and Classic Motor Show - or Motorclassica has quickly established itself as one of the must-sees of the downunder motoring scene.
With more than 100 utterly stunning classic cars on display, Motorclassica has also become a place that Mercedes-Benz likes to unveil some rather stunning new cars at, and this year was no exception as the German manufacturer chose Motorclassica to unveil the stunning (and rather large) Mercedes-AMG S 65 cabriolet.
Packing a 6.0-litre bi-turbo V12 that pumps out 463kW of power and a rather staggering 1000Nm of torque, the S 65 tops a range of S-Class cabrios with its prodigious $461,200 asking price.
But while the S 65 was deeply impressive, the classic metal on show was the main focus of Motorclassica, so here are our ten favourites of the show.
It would seem obvious that because Mercedes had chosen Motorclassica to both unveil the S 65 and celebrate its 130th birthday at that there would be some rather tasty classic Benzes there, and they don’t come much more "classic" than that car that started it all.
While this particular Motorwagen isn’t an original (only 25 were ever built and just a few remain today) it is an exact replica that was built by apprentices at the Mercedes factory. Needless to say, it is still worth a vast sum of money… Abarth did some brilliantly mental things to tiny Fiats in the 1960s, but probably the best (and arguably most mental) was the Fiat 600-based Abarth 750.
The gorgeous little example at Motorclassica was one of the rarer 1000 versions, complete with the roaring 56kW engine that was cooled both via an oil cooler in the comically large front bumper, as well as the permanently opened state of the rear engine cover!
It wasn’t all European classics at Motorclassica, as this gorgeous 240Z proves that Japanese classics were also represented. Intended to prove to America that Nissan could build exciting cars, the 240Z was eventually sold there as a Datsun because it sounded "less Japanese".
This particular car was originally exported from the UK to Zimbabwe where it lived for 30 years before it was taken to South Africa and underwent a full restoration. The current owner brought it into Australia earlier this year.
1932 FORD 18 SPECIAL
While Ford offered a startling 14 different body styles in the USA, in Australia the 18 was only built in five different configurations, with production only ever reaching 1,695 units.
This stunning little Deluxe Roadster is an example of one of the many specials built in the 1930s and boasts a power increase of around 70kW over the engine’s original 49kW, bringing it up to 119kW. It also packs 1940 hydraulic brakes, repacking the original mechanical brakes.
1974 ALFA ROMEO MONTREAL
Alfa Romeo only 180 right hand drive Montreals and this stunning example of what is a pretty damn stunning car in the first place was delivered new in Sydney in 1974.
The Montreal packed a screaming 2.6-litre V8 that redlined at a then-stratospheric 7000rpm and could propel the gorgeous coupe to 100kmh in 7.4 seconds. It was, however, also more expensive than the E-Type Jaguar and Porsche 911 and was never really a sales success, with only 3900 being built.
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL
A stunning silver gullwing 300SL was another star of the Mercedes stand.
With just 1400 built between 155 and 1957, the 300SL was pretty much an instant classic. Derived from the legendary W194 racing car, the 300SL was not only visually beautiful and had those amazing doors, but - and possibly more significantly - was the first production car to ever feature direct fuel injection.
1971 DINO 246 GT
While there was no shortage of Ferraris at Motorclassica, including a number of pretty little Dinos, this unusually blue example stood out and not just because of its colour.
Intended to be a Porschechallenging sub-brand of Ferrari, the Dino was named after Enzo Ferrari’s late son and was later used on models with engines with fewer than 12 cylinders.
This particular car was originally delivered in the UK, before being imported into Australia in 1993.
1922 ROLLS-ROYCE SILVER GHOST TOURER
Utterly huge and imposing, this bright red Rolls was hard to miss, even among the sea of cars in the hall.
This particular Silver Ghost was delivered from the factory to Australia, where it was bodied in Sydney where it has resided ever since. It passed through a number of owners, even being pressed into duty as a hearse for some time, before being bought by the current owner 15 years ago.
It sat in their shed for a number of years before being treated to a full restoration and a new body.
1961 VOLKSWAGEN MICRO BUS DELUXE 23-WINDOW
Staggeringly valuable and desirable these days, this VW spent a large part of the last 20 years as a lot of its kind have sitting in storage waiting patiently to be restored.
Two years ago it was sold to its current owner and finally got the breath-taking restoration it deserved.
Built in Germany and deliver to Australia, this is an original RHD example AM-coded nine seat model. The "AM" stamp means it was built for deliver to Melbourne (M) in Australia (A).
1971 FORD FALCON GTHO PHASE III
Of course it wouldn’t be a classic motor show in Australia without an example of the most legendary Aussie muscle car of all time. And this particular example was absolutely beautifully restored.
It was part of the Theodore Bruce classic auction that was taking place at Motorclassica and had an expected price range of between AU$400,000 and AU$450,000.
633293513 (hall): Motorclassica show takes place in the appropriately elegant Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.