CLAS­SICS AT ELLER­SLIE

PRE­VIEW OF THE ELLER­SLIE CLAS­SIC CAR SHOW

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents - Words: David Burke-kennedy

The col­lec­tion, put to­gether by the Mercedes-benz Club Auckland, will be the most valu­able and best Mercedes dis­play ever seen in New Zealand. A two-car Mercedes-benz Club en­try won the con­cours Teams Event in 2018, scor­ing 1117 points, the high­est ever awarded in the show’s 46-year his­tory — mak­ing the club the show host for 2019.

Re­flect­ing the Clas­sic Cover In­sur­ance Best Club Dis­play com­pe­ti­tion theme, The Col­lecta­bles, the club will show cars from var­i­ous decades that are either unique or have unique fea­tures, in­clud­ing seven of nine con­cours win­ners.

Show or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee chair­man Garry Boyce, a pas­sion­ate and knowl­edge­able con­cours-win­ning Mercedes owner, says club ex­perts went over all 34 cars and put a value on each one — cal­cu­lat­ing a to­tal worth of over $12.5M.

The cars in­clude two 190 SL road­sters, one 220 SE cabri­o­let, two 280 SL road­sters, and two 300 SL road­sters. There will also be a 1928 SK road­ster re­con­struc­tion, a 1938 540K Spe­cial Road­ster, and three 300 SL gull wings, in­clud­ing a 1955 300 SL loaned by the South­ward Car Mu­seum. This will be the first time that the three 300 SLS in New Zealand will be seen in the same place at the same time.

A se­lec­tion of ’50s mod­els in­cludes a 170 SD, a 220 A, round Pon­tons, cabri­o­lets, coupés, and saloon cars, as well as the best 300 D in New Zealand.

From the ’60s, the club has se­lected fin­backs, coupés, and cabri­o­lets, in­clud­ing a 1964 220 SEC re­worked as a long-dis­tance en­durance rally car that’s about to be shipped to China to com­pete in the 2019 Pek­ing to Paris event. There are also two mas­sive M100 V8s — a 300 SEL 6.3 and a 450 SEL 6.9. These cars are ef­fi­ciently re­ferred to as the ‘ bankers’ hot rods’.

More modern club cars from the ’ 70s on­wards in­clude the best 350 SLS, a 450 SEC, a 230 CE, and a 500 SEC. There’s also a 190E 2.3 Cos­worth, a late model AMG SLS gull wing, an SLK 55, and a CLK 240 cabri­o­let.

The Eller­slie event is al­ways held on the se­cond Sun­day in Fe­bru­ary and, over the decades, has be­come the high­light of the New Zealand car lovers’ cal­en­dar.

This one is the 48th and, like other years, has at­tracted top pres­tige and per­for­mance car deal­er­ships — some 70 car clubs and en­thu­si­asts from around the coun­try.

Un­like big­ger or more com­mer­cial events aimed at the gen­eral pub­lic, the show is club and en­thu­si­ast fo­cused and not about sales, so it at­tracts smaller, al­beit more af­flu­ent, at­ten­dees. Most years, deal­ers qui­etly tell or­ga­niz­ers about ‘ca­sual’ site vis­i­tors who end up buy­ing a $100K–300K ex­otic — even in 2018, when rare heavy rain washed out the event.

On av­er­age, show vis­i­tors and par­tic­i­pants tend to be 40-plus years old and af­flu­ent — if only for the need to af­ford own­er­ship, main­te­nance, and restora­tion costs. Feed­back sug­gests that most en­joy the re­laxed, no-pres­sure at­mos­phere and so spend longer talk­ing with brand rep­re­sen­ta­tives even in the wet.

The clubs’ dis­play ve­hi­cles, rang­ing from early 1900s through to modern ex­otics, are val­ued from thou­sands of dol­lars each to $3M–$4M. The cal­i­bre of many ve­hi­cles re­flects the rep­u­ta­tion and work­man­ship of the New Zealand restora­tions in­dus­try, which is rated in­ter­na­tion­ally among the world’s best. Some have taken lau­rels at Cal­i­for­nia’s Peb­ble Beach Con­cours d’el­e­gance and ap­peared at other clas­sic car com­pe­ti­tions around the world.

On the new-ve­hi­cle front, the Gil­trap Group will show the lat­est from As­ton Mar­tin, Audi, Bent­ley, Jaguar, Lam­borgh­ini, Land Rover, Porsche, Volvo, and more. Alfa Romeo and Maserati are back with a stun­ning line-up, along with first-time ex­hibitors Re­nault, In­finiti, among oth­ers.

Spe­cial­ist ex­hibitors in­clude Auckland Trans­port (tar­get­ing driv­ers of older cars), South Is­land clas­sics dealer Waimak Cars, Pro­tect Auto Paint Pro­tec­tion, Ob­ses­sive Car De­tail­ing, Jensen Clas­sics, USA Streetwear, Oc­tane Books, and the ever-pop­u­lar Mcdon­alds (used) Books.

This year, the nom­i­nated char­ity is the Prostate Can­cer Foun­da­tion of NZ Inc., pub­li­ciz­ing its work at the event via a free dis­play site.

The Eller­slie Clas­sic Car Show is more than just a show and shine; it’s the coun­try’s only pro­fes­sion­ally judged clas­sic car restora­tion event, with com­pe­ti­tion par­tic­i­pants ben­e­fit­ing from gen­er­ous spon­sor­ship from Meguiar’s and Clas­sic Cover In­sur­ance.

The best cars, en­tered in­di­vid­u­ally or as a club team, vie for cov­eted awards rang­ing from the In­ter­mar­que Team Shield to Mas­ters Class, for in­di­vid­ual ve­hi­cles, and Best Sur­vivor, for un­re­stored clas­sics.

The Clas­sic Cover In­sur­ance Best Club Dis­play this year, with the afore­men­tioned The Col­lecta­bles theme, will pro­vide in­for­ma­tion on what makes mar­ques col­lectable and must-have.

Each year, the day be­fore the show, the MG Car Club or­ga­nizes the day-long, Auckland-wide, Meguiar’s Tours d’el­e­gance, de­part­ing from six des­ti­na­tions to end up at Vel­lenoweth Green in Saint He­liers. Around 100 par­tic­i­pants ben­e­fit from Meguiar’s spon­sor­ship and homage.

It takes a year, and a com­mit­tee of 10 rep­re­sent­ing car clubs, to or­ga­nize an event this big — and it’s all vol­un­tary, with dozens of host-club work­ers on the day. Although it’s run like a busi­ness, it’s staged by an in­cor­po­rated so­ci­ety whose mem­bers are car clubs. Al­ready, they’re think­ing ahead to next year, and long-term — the 50th an­niver­sary event in 2022. So, while this year will all be done and dusted by the end of Sun­day, 10 Fe­bru­ary, only a few weeks later, a re­view will be­gin of ev­ery as­pect of the day to en­sure that the fol­low­ing year is even bet­ter. Visit con­cours.org.nz to keep up to date with event de­tails.

Thirty-four rare and valu­able Mercedes-benz from 1928 to 2015, in­clud­ing con­cours Mas­ters Class and Teams Event win­ners from over the past 20 years, will be the star at­trac­tions at the 2019 Eller­slie Clas­sic Car Show on 10 Fe­bru­ary

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