Thousands of classics flock to Australia’s biggest classic car show

| 20 Aug 2013

The 49th-annual Council of Motor Clubs show drew close to 2000 classics to Sydney MotorSport Park, New South Wales on 19 August.

The event attracted all classes of the hobby from Ford Mustangs and Morris Minors to a Lambretta, a Lamborghini and a London double-decker bus.

Highlights for this writer included a 1908 Schacht ‘High-Wheeler’, a Studebaker Avanti, plus Doug and Wendy Judd’s ’34 DeSoto Airflow and a group of Leyland P76s.

The  Schacht, made in Cincinatti Ohio, is a two-cylinder ‘K’ type Runabout owned by Alan Miller who was busy all day showing the curious public around. Drive goes through a gearless transmission, which has a variable friction drive taken off the flywheel that in turn drives chains to the rear wheels.

The Avanti was a rare example of the last Studebaker. The Raymond Loewy-designed 1963 R2 coupe had a supercharged V8 and is one of fewer than 5000 produced, while the deco-styled DeSoto was part of the Chrysler Restorers’ Club 40th-birthday celebrations.

The homegrown Leyland P76 model was having a 40th birthday party, too, and the club brought along not only a few of the tough sedans, but one of only a handful of surviving Force 7 coupes, plus the only station wagon built.

They were probably also toasting the recent Peking to Paris victory of one of their brethren driven by Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson.

Bob Thomas’ 1935 Dodge-Miller racer shared a pit garage with a ’59 Elva Courier owned by Rick (Skid) Marks.

Another early car was the 1910 Talbot 6AS of Phil O’Loan, which for reasons unknown was parked among the Packards, but then there was also an early-’50s Sunbeam Alpine in with the Thunderbirds (of which there were many).

More rarities included Keith Wall’s 1959 Lloyd Alexander, a Fiat Abarth 1000 based on the 850 model, a DKW 1000 SP and a genuine Herbie VW Beetle that starred in a couple of the movies.

One of the most popular cars, judging by the crowds surrounding it, was a 1930 Cadillac V16.

There was an even bigger Rolls-Royce Phantom II from the same year, with a Hooper Landaulet De Ville body.

Ferraris were outnumbered by De Tomasos, Bolwells turned out in force (as always), pre-war Rolls-Royces included a Ghost, two Phantoms and a 20.

Elsewhere, there was a gathering of 80 Aston Martins celebrating the centenary of the marque, with a DB2/4 and a DB3S from the ’50s, through the classic ’60s DBs and later V8s through to many moderns with a Towns-designed Lagonda to add a touch of controversy.

The Chevrolet Corvette celebrated its 60th birthday, while Buicks, Cadillacs (including a hearse), Chryslers and Packards helped to wave the US flag, but the Brits were well represented by Humber, Jowett, Rover and Vauxhall among others.

Those ‘others’ included a Morris Minor police car done up as if it was on patrol in Aidensfield, á la Heartbeat.

That was only a few miles further from home than the two London buses – one a Routemaster – that were giving passenger rides around the race circuit all day.

There was also a pair of ADO 16 BMC models, one a Vanden Plas, the other an Austin, strangely both showing UK registration plates.

Two fine examples of the Austin Atlantic convertible were also on show.