Motorclassica: A car lover's dream destination

RELIVING THE PAST: Beautiful cars and elegant surrounds are Motorclassica hallmarks.
RELIVING THE PAST: Beautiful cars and elegant surrounds are Motorclassica hallmarks.

MELBOURNE rarely does things by halves.

The Melbourne Cup, the AFL Grand Final, the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open, for example, are big events on a global scale.

The city also does several things on a classy scale; things that are quintessentially Melbourne and one of those is Motorclassica.

Never heard of it? Then the accumulated sympathy of the automotive world is with you or, put another way, you really don't know what you are missing because Motorclassica is that 'something special', a true 'must see' when it comes to classy, classic cars.

AUSSIE CLASSIC REBORN: Bolwell's Nagari 500 made its debut at Motorclassica.

AUSSIE CLASSIC REBORN: Bolwell's Nagari 500 made its debut at Motorclassica.

The three-day show is an exhibition of rare, classic, collectible and significant cars and motorcycles showcasing elegance, style and sportiness. It is also Australasia's biggest and most prestigious concours d'elegance (that's a fancy French phrase describing an automotive beauty contest).

So rather than looking like a multi-franchise dealership's new car showroom Motorclassica, held for the last decade in the world heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, more resembles a museum - but one with life and spectacle.

Motorclassica, held in early October, also celebrates the great marques and this year's exhibition was no exception with Citroen, Bentley and Alvis all marking their centenaries, specialist car maker Abarth clocking-up 70 years and Mini celebrating 60 years of smallness.

FRENCH BEAUTY: A Classic Citroen cabriolet was a Motorclassica star.

FRENCH BEAUTY: A Classic Citroen cabriolet was a Motorclassica star.

They all celebrated their anniversaries in different ways. Bentley was stately, Alvis was a bit less stately and Citroen was, well, Citroen with a timeline display of 17 iconic cars ranging from the very first 1920 Type A two-door cabriolet through to its contemporary models.

Citroen's display also included an example of the first vehicle to circumnavigate mainland Australia, a 1923 5CV. The original lives in Canberra's National Museum of Australia but hey, a close relative is good enough.

"In the history of the automobile it's arguable, indeed probable, that Citroen has been the most innovative of all car manufacturers.

"It has been responsible for so many innovative and now-iconic models, like the Traction Avant, the 2CV, DS, CX, Mehari, the SM, the C6 and so many more," Motorclassica event director, Paul Mathers, said.

Porsche, Alpine, Nissan and Mini also had displays of old and new cars.

Motorclassica 2019 also played host to a heritage number plate auction with some 38 classic Victorian plates going under the hammer. 'Q1' fetched an eye-watering $181,000 while the only motorcycle number plates to be auctioned, '4', went for an impressive $150,000.

They would have looked great on the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction in Australia, a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning that sold for $1.16 million in 2018, which was also at Motorclassica.

The best thing about Motorclassica? It's held after the AFL grand final so Melburnians can actually talk about something other than Aussie Rules football for a few days!

WHEN OLD AND NEW MEET: Citroen blended its contemporary cars with a great variety of corporate classics.

WHEN OLD AND NEW MEET: Citroen blended its contemporary cars with a great variety of corporate classics.