Hero Bell lights up Aussie spectacular

| 24 Oct 2011

RACV Motorclassica, held in Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition hall from 21-23 October, got off to a thunderous start with the historic building reverberating to the flat-six warble of an ex-Derek Bell Porsche 962.

The 1987 Le Mans-winning sports-racer (above), on loan from the Porsche Museum, was piloted into the venue by the racing legend himself, along with Australian great Vern Schuppan, to join some 16,000 visitors at this world-class event over the weekend.“I think it’s amazing," enthused Bell. "When you see the quality and preparation of the cars, it’s astonishing. And this beautiful building lends itself perfectly to it."

This highly anticipated second instalment of The Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show featured a depth of quality and variety surpassing last year’s edition, with some 110 cars on show boasting a combined value of more than AUS$100million (c£65million).

Among the Australian and US muscle cars was a spread of iconic and intriguing vehicles, from the oldest Benz in Australia – an 1896 Velo – to one of only seven 1973 Chapron-built Citroën DS23 Pallas Prestige saloons, along with Alvis TB21 Roadster (below), Mercedes-Benz 540K and 1973 Porsche 911RSR.

It was more than just a static display, though. The Tour Classica saw 78 entrants start from the Australia Grand Prix pitlane at Albert Park and head into the centre of Melbourne, mixing with modern machinery and turning heads along a 6.9km route to the Exhibition Hall. The sights of cars such as Lamborghini Miura SV, Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing and Facel Vega going toe-to-toe with lunchtime traffic was a treat for spectators and drivers alike.

Motorclassica also played host to the unveiling of the 1969 Holden Hurricane concept (above) – a car largely forgotten by both the company and motoring public – after a three-year restoration, having not previously seen the light of day for nearly 40 years.

Bonhams was on-site with an impressive array of collectables, ’bikes and cars, highlights of which included an ex-Australian government 1967 Rolls Royce Phantom V by HJ Mulliner Park Ward (AUS$400-450,000), a Ford Falcon XA coupe (sold for AUS$43,700) and a gorgeous Lancia Aurelia B20GT (above, sold for AUS$159,000).

After a difficult judging session, Best in Show was awarded to Gary McMillan’s Bentley Speed Six, one of only 97 produced and first delivered to Oswald J Syme (son of publishing giant David Syme) in November 1927. Originally fitted with a Mulliner saloon body on a standard 12ft chassis, the Bentley (above) was upgraded over six years to Speed Six specification with Vanden Plas Le Mans-style body by Simon Elliott of Derby Works.

Here is a full list of Motorclassica category winners:Best in Show – 1927 Bentley Speed Six


Antique, Veteran & Edwardian – 1908 Isotta-Fraschini FENC 10HP Semi-RacerEuropean & British Vintage – 1926 Delage DISS Boat-Tail TourerAmerican Vintage & Pre-War – 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible

European British & Pre-War – 1933 Hispano-Suiza HS26 Junior CabrioletEuropean & British Post-War Classic – 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SLAmerican Post-War Classic – 1958 Chrysler 300D CoupeModern European & British – 1973 Citroën Pallas PrestigeModern American – 1962 Ford Thunderbird ConvertibleModern European & British Thoroughbred – 1965 Ferrari 330GTAustralian Vintage & Classic – 1969 Holden GTS Monaro CoupeLongines Heritage Award for 125 Years of Benz – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL GullwingLongines Heritage Award for 60 Years of Porsche in Australia – 1965 Porsche 356C

Longines Spirit of Motorclassica Award – 1958 Facel Vega

Motorcycles - 1938 BMW R12

Preservation - 1914 Victor Motorcycle & Sidecar

Our thanks to Ben Dillon for this story