Motorclassica. The Australian Concours D’Elegance, 2017 (Part III).
Hey all, I know this is probably a little bit of a weird grouping of cars and eras, almost the complete opposite ends of the scale to be honest but I was hoping to just do two more Motorclassica posts and in doing it this way, I can achieve that lol. So in this, I’ve included a Pre-War British Aston Martin and a pair of Modernist Australian Holden’s, all housed within a Victorian Italianate building in Australasian modern day Melbourne… okay I’ll stop that.
The Aston was one of the last cars I shot on the day and I have to say one of the more difficult. It was parked on the Aston Martin stand next to an exit door to the outside display area, and a place where people loved to stop for a chat with one another. I can’t really complain about crowds though, I was fully aware I would encounter this problem throughout the day, surprisingly thought it wasn’t that huge of a problem until this car. It might have had something to do with the brand new DB11 parked on the opposite side of the AM stand, facing the “sports racer” (Aston’s words, not mine) that I was trying to shoot.
Manufactured and assembled in 1923, by Bamford & Martin in their Kensington, London workshop, AM chassis number ‘1927’ (this car you see before you) was born. Built for competitive sports racing, this car is possibly the oldest surviving AM of this particular style and configuration still in (known) existence. The car was shipped new in 1924 to Australia where its first owner John Goodall put it through its paces, racing it at the now long gone Aspendale Park in April of the same year, and followed by several outings to Phillip Island to race in the Australian Grand Prix. AM ‘1927’ remains in, and has for its entire life remained in Australia, currently owned by Peter Saglietti of York Motor Museum, Western Australia. AM ‘1927’, which borrows engine parts from AM ‘1923’* to keep it running isn’t just a museum piece though, it’s still used to this day for a variety of hill climb and club events.
*AM chassis number ‘1923’ is a second of three similar Pre-War Aston’s originally brought into Australia when new in the 1920’s. AM ‘1923’ was parted out and the whereabouts of the third as far as I know is unknown… A barn find awaiting discovery perhaps?
Although owned by a Western Australian, the car appeared to still have Vic club permit registration.
Making moves to create a more modern Australia was a manufacturer that no one… and I mean no one would call a ‘modernist’ car company… when I say modernist, talking cars, I’m thinking less about actual manufacturers and more along the lines of what some coachworks companies such as Bertone, Pininfarina and Ghia (before they all sold out to produce mundane Astra’s, Focus’ and Territory’s and shit) were doing throughout what could be termed post modern times, and that is the style you see before you. I’m sure if Holden could write a letter to their younger self, it would be simply titled “build these” with a photo attached of what you’re looking at. They could have taken an entirely different direction for production over the last 40 years and possibly even never have died out. At the same time I’m sure they may not have gone on to produce the ever popular Commodore and the like had they taken this direction for future production, but when you’d get to see cars like this on the street daily, that’s barely a loss.
The Holden Hurricane was admittedly never intended for production, and was purely built for what it appeared to be; a concept vehicle. A way for Holden to study ideas and research ways they could implement said ideas into future production. I mean I’m sure that was just what they were told to tell people when the car was unveiled as I’m quite sure there was no intention to bring out a HJ Holden with reverse camera’s and a ‘long range propulsion system’ what ever the fuck that is haha. But this car is insanely cool nonetheless and a car I’d only seen in magazines like Street Machine growing up, until walking into MC a few weeks ago. Like I mean looking at it now, it’s still an insane car, I couldn’t imagine what people thought of reverse camera’s, Pathfinder Navigation (Sat-Nav) and a hydraulic lifting canopy in 1969. Even though Holden had absolutely no intention of anything other than a one off, it’s so cool to see that this car was restored and given the care it deserved in the years following, when it could have – like many 50’s and 60’s concept cars, just be sent to the crusher.
The Hurricane was fitted with 5 spoke/ finned alloys.
Digital dash and (below) the ‘Pathfinder Navigation’ screen/ reverse camera and dials which I think someone pinched off a 60’s TV set.
One car that did almost suffer the weight of the crusher however was this; the almost production model 1970 Holden Torana GTR-X Coupe. So this particular car never saw destruction but this was one of three concept cars built, the other two weren’t so fortunate. (At least that’s what Holden wants you to think… okay so maybe that’s enough barn find rumours created, I’m sure they were in fact crushed… or were they..?). But anyway, this car was so close to production that Holden was advertising it with promotional material at the time of it’s unveiling in 1970. With a body of fibreglass and based on the chassis of the already in production Torana GTR XU-1, the GTR-X just didn’t manage to produce enough serious interest at the time for a production run to be deemed worth it. Well, I wonder where one would nowadays find some of that promotional advertising, I suppose if we aren’t searching through outback barns, that would be at least something to keep an eye out for.