Underdog American classics flock to Sydney


Dozens of US classics turned out for the annual American Independents Day show near Sydney on 12 July, an event that caters for North American cars not produced by the Big Three manufacturers, Chrysler, Ford or General Motors. Chris Martin was there.

The historic Linwood House Estate in western Sydney played host to AMC, Auburn, Hudson, Nash, Packard, Rambler and Willys models, with the largest display featuring a selection of Studebakers ranging from the 1920s to Avanti sports coupes. 

One of the earliest Studebakers on show was a 1926 Standard Six ER Tourer fitted with a ‘Californian’ hardtop. It was joined by a 1927 Standard Six EU Victoria Coupe and a President 8 from the same year. The President was a recreation built by John Grant of Carss Park as a replica of the cars that took first and second positions in their class at the 1929 Brooklands Double Twelve.

Another standout Studebaker was the 1963 GT of Colin Green. The car’s roof was removed during the 1970s, and Green fully rebuilt the car to the same specification. 

Peter Leyden brought along a powder blue 1960 Hawk coupe that had been in storage until it was eventually registered in 1974. It was presented in preserved condition and has just 3100 miles on the odometer, making it one of the lowest-mileage examples known to exist. 

The Studebaker display was complemented by a trio of 1950s Packards, a 1937 120, an Auburn 654 Phaeton, a handful of Hudsons – including the only 1942 Brougham 21 Series Coupe known to the Hudson clubs – plus several Ramblers. 

A 1902 Rambler owner by George and Donna Berube wasn’t quite what it seemed: it was one of a few built by the Gaslight Motors Corporation of Fort Lauderdale in 1958, and was sold through the American Motors Rambler dealer network for $1495. 

No American car show would be complete without a smattering of Willys Jeeps, and American Independents Day didn’t disappoint. Perhaps the most interesting Willys on display was a 1937 Roadster Ute. Unique to the Australian market, the utility was designed to be a dual purpose pickup truck that was also smart enough to drive to church on Sundays. This example had covered 40,000 miles since a full restoration. 


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