Another visit to Classic Throttle Shop

CTS_June_14 (63)There are some things you just do without question; acts that are almost mandatory given another related occurrence. You never change oil without also changing the filter, and you never get behind the wheel without first belting up. In what’s becoming somewhat of a similar ritual, you never make a visit to Sydney without also stopping in at Classic Throttle Shop.

CTS_June_14 (2) In the 21st century we are connected to the world in an unprecedented way – I’ll bet at least some of you are even reading this from the bathroom. The impact of technology is changing the world forever and can be felt everywhere in our society; even frontiers seemingly unrelated are being forced to adapt or die. For example, the internet is replacing newspapers as a primary method of news delivery which leaves the door open for magazines to deliver a material experience, and online shopping is apparently devastating the retail industry. Adapt or die, right?

CTS_June_14 (6)Any smart business person will tell you that a threat is often opportunity in disguise, and what we’re learning is that technology can’t deliver an experience. Industry leader Deus ex Machina is brilliant at delivering an experience, and new players like Zen Garage are fast catching up. I’m sure the Peel Microcar sitting on the shelf in this image is a hint at where I’m going with this, which is why Classic Throttle Shop has quickly become an essential Sydney destination. I wonder how many people with the necessary means stop by for a relaxing Saturday morning coffee only to spot a lithe Porsche 911 in the corner, stew over it for the weekend and then return during the week to make a purchase.

CTS_June_14 (72)Case in point – this track inspired but oh-so-clean E30 M3. It made me weak at the knees on first sight, and had I the means it would be eating away at me right now. And the fact that it was converted to right-hand drive at brand new in the UK by the dealer just sweetens it further. Continue reading

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Celebration of the Motorcar at Carrick Hill

CelebrationOfMotorcar (63)Adelaide witnessed something truly special when a completely new type of show, Celebration of the Motorcar, took to the immaculately manicured gardens of Carrick Hill one stunningly perfect late Autumn Sunday a few weeks ago.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (56)The lush grounds were overflowing with some of the finest classic and sports cars this state has to offer, and were merely supplemented by the expansive views of the metropolitan area as backdrop. Thousands of attendees enjoyed the cars to the accompaniment of champagne, oysters and a string quartet from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

CelebrationOfMotorcar (9)Celebration of the Motorcar represents somewhat of a departure from most traditional car shows, largely because emphasis is placed on the experience of the attendee. The cars are there to serve the viewer, rather than the viewer attending a show about the cars. It’s a small detail, but one that ensured an interesting, eclectic, and most importantly a high-quality collection of vehicles. Entry to display was by invite only, and the cars were individually selected by a committee of advisers aiming to build the best possible display.  Continue reading

Eurofest 2013

DSC_0457It only feels like a year ago that we heard of and attended a new show called ‘Eurofest’, but in fact it was three. Organized primarily by the BMW Drivers Club of SA and held on the grounds of the National Motor Museum at Birdwood, Eurofest was run by a fresh, younger group of enthusiasts and promised to offer something a little different from the other shows out there.

DSC_0468Personally, I thought it was a top day out but if there was one criticism to be leveled, it’s that it was predominantly a BMW/Mercedes-Benz show. For some reason a lot of other European marque clubs didn’t get behind it, which I thought was a shame given the potential of the concept and the energetic crew making it happen.

DSC_0521But after attending the third Eurofest, I’m proud to say that this event is quickly coming of age and the turnout this year was simply brilliant. It was still a predominantly German based field, which is to be expected, but what impressed me the most was not the country of origin of the cars but the sheer number of styles and cultures that harmoniously clashed on the lawns of the mill. Continue reading

The second Any Given Reason Burger Meet

DSC_0291As the alarm went off at about 6am on Sunday morning, I awoke to a really odd sound. A constant, almost comforting patter. What was it? Ah yes, rain. And lots of of it. In my early morning stupor I came to the conclusion that I should just go back to sleep, and it probably will stop by the time I need to get up. 7am and the alarm buzzed again, and for some damned reason it was still raining. At least I wouldn’t need to wash the car I concluded, and promptly fell back asleep. Wintery mornings do not welcome the early bird.

DSC_0075Rewind a couple of weeks. After receiving some feedback from the first Burger Meet held on a Friday evening at Fancy Burger in Blackwood, I decided to try something a little different for the second Burger Meet. The main suggestions were that the location was less than inspiring, and that people wanted to go for a bit of a drive as well. So with sunny late summer hills mornings in mind the decision was made to hold the second Burger Meet on a Sunday morning in Mylor, with the burgers served up from the picturesque Harvest Cafe.

DSC_0370Gourmet breakfast burgers? Check. Picture-perfect surroundings? Check. Twisty driving roads to arrive at the venue? Check. Constant rain and freezing cold temperatures? Check. Damn. With this in mind I didn’t really expect a huge turnout, and I couldn’t really blame people for not coming. It takes a strong passion for cars to get out of a nice warm bed on such an awful Sunday morning.

DSC_0025But then one by one, people started arriving in all sorts of interesting cars. Continue reading

Eurofest 2012

DSC_0008The second running of the Eurofest show at the Birdwood Mill took place last Sunday 2nd December. A fresh idea from the BMW Driver’s Club of SA, Eurofest aims to bring together as many European cars as possible in one place.

DSC_0252Whilst the aim of the show is to encompass all European cars, at this stage early in its life Eurofest still has a very heavy German influence. There were examples from Fiat, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Renault, Vauxhall and Ford, but BMW and Mercedes Benz definitely made up the bulk of the show.

DSC_0162The other cool thing about Eurofest is that it’s predominantly a ‘young’ show, put on and organised by younger people. I don’t mean to comment on age, but just to say that a persons age has a lot to do with the way they modify their cars, and there was a lot of stuff at happening at Eurofest that you wouldn’t otherwise see – proper stance, airbags, big power upgrades  and insane levels of detailing.

DSC_0221You’d never see something like a ‘bagged E28 at an event like Climb to the Eagle. Not better or worse, just different. Variety is the spice of life, right? We’re lucky that we can see this diversity at the different events we have.

DSC_0316Having said that, the car of show was awarded to this pristine 1953 Mercedes Benz 300S. Continue reading

Historic Group A & C at the Australian Grand Prix

For my last post from the Australian Grand Prix, I’ll take a look at the historic Group A & C class. It’s worth noting that to participate in this class, the car has to have actual log booked race history. Even though they were racing door-to-door, all of these cars are the real deal and most of them have genuine Bathurst history. There are no replicas here.

In my opinion, these cars are straight from the glory days of Australian touring car racing – the mid to late 1980’s. In the era immediately before the introduction of the V8 Supercar category, the best way to win at Bathurst was to get the fastest car possible from Europe, hire the best gun drivers possible and go for it. It also helped that the Bathurst 1000 was a round of the World Touring Car Championship, so the best teams and drivers from Europe made their way to our humble shores each year. The cars and drivers we dream about today were actually here and racing on Aussie soil. I was born in 1988, so I’m a little bummed that I missed witnessing this era in person. It must have been amazing.

We’re actually very lucky that a lot of these historically important cars are still here. The last three rounds of the WTCC were Bathurst, Calder and Wellington (NZ), so at the end of the year it made financial sense for the teams to sell the cars here, rather than go to the expense of transporting them back to Europe for sale.

There was a huge field at the AGP, so I’ve picked out a few of the cars that I think will be of particular interest.  Continue reading

Off track action at the Australian Grand Prix

Obviously the main attraction at the Australian Grand Prix was Formula 1, however there was also a lot of other fascinating displays happening off track. This is a bit of a random grab bag of the interesting things that stood out to me at Albert Park.

The trip for us started as soon as the clock at work ticked 430pm on Friday afternoon. Racing out the door and straight into the Miata, we hit the road and arrived in Melbourne at about 130am.

It was pretty dark out there at midnight in the middle of nowhere. I swear we didn’t imagine that… Continue reading