Ex Dick Johnson XC coupe was one of the many great classics on display

Speed Style Beauty, a display of rolling art from over a century of car design got off to a strong start as one of Australia’s newest but most impressive car shows with vehicles as diverse and disparate as a 1910 Brush and a 2011 Ferrari California on display all in the name of charity.

Aimed at showing cars as art and taking its name from the similarly titled exhibition of the Ralph Lauren car collection, Speed Style Beauty organiser Rod Gould garnered some very rare and desirable classics from various collectors in and around Brisbane with all proceeds going to Young Care, a charity that assists Australians under 65 to get out of aged care.

“We wanted to do something a bit different as a charity fund raiser instead of the usual raffle,” Gould said.

More European-focused than is the norm for an Australian show (the only Australian car was an ex-Dick Johnson XC Ford Falcon race car) Speed Style Beauty gave the visiting public a chance to get close to some mouth-watering exotics including an ex-Phil Hill 1955 Ferrari Monza 750, Lamborghini 400GT and LP400 Countach as well as a recreation of the very first BMW Art Car, a 3.0 CSL painted by sculptor Alexander Calder.

Other cars included a trio of Rolls Royces with Wraith, Camargue coupe and an imperious Phantom III with H.J Mulliner ‘Sedanca de Ville’ coachwork on show, along with a 1926 Bentley 3-Litre, 1958 Porsche RSK and 1933 Aston Martin International long chassis.

One of the star attractions was to be a 1935 Bugatti T57 C, but gearbox failure on the way to the venue saw it being replaced with the owner’s intriguing Tatra T87 featuring a rear-mounted air-cooled V8, surely the only one of its kind in Australia.

Other oddities included a Mercedes 500K roadster replica powered by a 460ci Ford V8 and an Australian-designed Giocattolo Group B, a fusion of Alfa Romeo Sprint body and mid-mounted 5.0-litre Holden V8. One of only 15 made from 1986 to 1989 the Giocattlolo (Italian for ‘toy’) employs Kevlar and carbon composite body panels and at the time gave supercars a real run for their money.

Speed Style Beauty may be one of the less established classic car shows in Australia but if the quality of vehicles on display this year was anything to go by, it deserves marking down on the calendar as an annual must-see.

Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011


RACV Motorclassica, held in Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition hall from 21-23 October, got off to a thunderous start with the historic building reverberating to the flat-six warble of an ex-Derek Bell Porsche 962.

The 1987 Le Mans-winning sports-racer (above), on loan from the Porsche Museum, was piloted into the venue by the racing legend himself, along with Australian great Vern Schuppan, to join some 16,000 visitors at this world-class event over the weekend.
“I think it’s amazing,” enthused Bell. “When you see the quality and preparation of the cars, it’s astonishing. And this beautiful building lends itself perfectly to it.”

This highly anticipated second instalment of The Australian International Concours d’Elegance & Classic Motor Show featured a depth of quality and variety surpassing last year’s edition, with some 110 cars on show boasting a combined value of more than AUS$100million (c£65million).

Among the Australian and US muscle cars was a spread of iconic and intriguing vehicles, from the oldest Benz in Australia – an 1896 Velo – to one of only seven 1973 Chapron-built Citroën DS23 Pallas Prestige saloons, along with Alvis TB21 Roadster (below), Mercedes-Benz 540K and 1973 Porsche 911RSR.

It was more than just a static display, though. The Tour Classica saw 78 entrants start from the Australia Grand Prix pitlane at Albert Park and head into the centre of Melbourne, mixing with modern machinery and turning heads along a 6.9km route to the Exhibition Hall. The sights of cars such as Lamborghini Miura SV, Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing and Facel Vega going toe-to-toe with lunchtime traffic was a treat for spectators and drivers alike.

Motorclassica also played host to the unveiling of the 1969 Holden Hurricane concept (above) – a car largely forgotten by both the company and motoring public – after a three-year restoration, having not previously seen the light of day for nearly 40 years.

Bonhams was on-site with an impressive array of collectables, ’bikes and cars, highlights of which included an ex-Australian government 1967 Rolls Royce Phantom V by HJ Mulliner Park Ward (AUS$400-450,000), a Ford Falcon XA coupe (sold for AUS$43,700) and a gorgeous Lancia Aurelia B20GT (above, sold for AUS$159,000).

After a difficult judging session, Best in Show was awarded to Gary McMillan’s Bentley Speed Six, one of only 97 produced and first delivered to Oswald J Syme (son of publishing giant David Syme) in November 1927. Originally fitted with a Mulliner saloon body on a standard 12ft chassis, the Bentley (above) was upgraded over six years to Speed Six specification with Vanden Plas Le Mans-style body by Simon Elliott of Derby Works.

Here is a full list of Motorclassica category winners:

Best in Show – 1927 Bentley Speed Six

Antique, Veteran & Edwardian – 1908 Isotta-Fraschini FENC 10HP Semi-Racer

European & British Vintage – 1926 Delage DISS Boat-Tail Tourer

American Vintage & Pre-War – 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible

European British & Pre-War – 1933 Hispano-Suiza HS26 Junior Cabriolet

European & British Post-War Classic – 1961 Mercedes-Benz 190SL

American Post-War Classic – 1958 Chrysler 300D Coupe

Modern European & British – 1973 Citroën Pallas Prestige

Modern American – 1962 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Modern European & British Thoroughbred – 1965 Ferrari 330GT

Australian Vintage & Classic – 1969 Holden GTS Monaro Coupe

Longines Heritage Award for 125 Years of Benz – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Longines Heritage Award for 60 Years of Porsche in Australia – 1965 Porsche 356C

Longines Spirit of Motorclassica Award – 1958 Facel Vega

Motorcycles – 1938 BMW R12

Preservation – 1914 Victor Motorcycle & Sidecar

Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011


A bout of acute embarrassment must be sweeping through the offices of Top Gear Korea following the Stig crashing out in the very first episode of this regional variation on our favourite autotainment theme.

TG pitted Korea’s own sports car – the Oullim Spirra S – against a Porsche Cayman S and Lotus Exige Cup 260 in a ‘Best Sports Car Under ₩100million’ (US$94,000) triple test.

In what many would term a ‘spectacular stuff-up’, the Stig managed to write the Spirra off while on a hot lap of the new TG circuit by braking way too late coming into a corner, sliding off the track and hitting a dirt mound.

The front of the Spirra lifted into the air causing major damage on landing to the underside of the car. While the video shows none of the damage (it’s mostly on the passenger side) the car was written-off with Oullim and Top Gear now in negotiations about financial reparation.

As if having the local hero go down like this wasn’t enough, sources present on the day say that the Stig almost binned both the Porsche and Lotus as well, leaving many to question the skills of this ‘tame racing driver’. If the Stig has a face it must be redder than a bowl of kimchi.

I was lucky enough to drive the Spirra the day before the Top Gear crew destroyed filmed the car and found it to be bum-clenchingly quick, with ultra-direct steering and a controlled but comfortable ride, which for a carbon-bodied road car with (optional) race suspension is very surprising.

The fit and finish of the interior was right up there with the Europeans too, with a nice amount of leather in the cabin along with a decent driving position (enough room for people 193cm and possibly taller) and good all-round visibility despite the deep racing seat and five-point harness.

While it wasn’t a perfect package overall (zero boot due to radiator, AC and brake booster up front, plus the gearchange felt rubbery) , it’s a damn sight more interesting, stylish and rat-stabbingly rapid than anything else on the Korean domestic market at the moment.

So while the chance for the Spirra to shine against its natural rivals has been dashed, like any decent Schwarzenegger franchise it is sure to be back, bigger and stronger than ever.

Make up your own mind about this new Stig and Korea’s (not bad) new show with the video here. Lap starts at the 3.34 minute mark with the crash at 4.03.

Words © Dillon Media 2011

Think rock festival but with the most gorgeous, rare and incredible cars on Earth and you’re getting close to what the Goodwood Festival of Speed is all about.

Held each year on the grounds of Lord March’s rural estate in Southern England the FOS attracts top-line drivers and vehicles from around the world for what is the ultimate celebration of the car.

The 2011 instalment lived up to all expectations with F1 drivers Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Damon Hill, Nigel Mansell and Lewis Hamilton – among others – wringing out road exotica and race cars up Lord March’s driveway.

Further adding to this atmosphere of the slightly unreal were a plethora of race, road, concept and classic cars and bikes – with unbelievable levels of public access, ‘go on touch the Bugatti EB110’ –  so mightily impressive it was impossible not to be awestruck at every turn.

Basically if it’s fast and made within the last 100 years it has a place at Goodwood.

The main theme this year was the 50th birthday of the Jaguar E-type with a 90-foot tall, 150-ton steel sculpture of an E-type outside Goodwood house to mark the celebrations along with some of the rarest Jaguars known to man including the one-off XJ13, C-type, D-type, XJR9LM and XJR12 Le Mans racers as well as priceless E-type ‘low drag’ lightweight racers and the 1985 Bathurst-winning XJS.

Another milestone celebrated at the FOS was 100 years of the Indy 500 with the largest ever gathering of Indy cars outside the US spanning a century of racing at the legendary ‘brickyard’.

Standouts included the Duesenberg Cummins diesel which qualified in last place for the 1931 race but finished 13th after not needing to stop, the 1994 Penske-Mercedes in full Marlboro war paint and in full flight up the hill with legend Emerson Fittipaldi at the controls and Kiwi Scott Dixon in his 2008-winning Dallara-Honda.

Other Indy legends old and new piloting cars at the FOS included Bobby Rahal, Bobby Unser, Dario Franchitti, Gil de Ferran and Dan Wheldon.

Off the tarmac, the rally stage played host to some of the greatest dirt road maulers of Group B including the Audi Quattro, Lancia 037 and Peugeot 205 T16 which shared the 2.7km stage with iconic Mini, gorgeous Lancia Stratos and more recent stars including Ken Block and his 600hp Ford Fiesta.

With most necks craned to catch a glimpse of local F1 drivers and celebs like Rowan Atkinson, it was cool to see heroes like Horatio Pagani slipping unnoticed through the swarming crowds, though his company’s latest offering – the Huayra – was far more conspicuous parked at the Goodwood golf club entrance with only a Bugatti Veyron for company.

Three days isn’t enough to indulge in all the Festival of Speed has to offer – you could spend a whole day just on the Cartier lawn cars – as the presence of every supercar from Aston Martin One-77 to Lamborghini Miura S to McLaren F1 to Ferrari F40, F50 and Enzo, demand more attention than time permits.

Lord March’s sensibilities would probably exclude it, but the FOS should really be renamed the OMFG as it’s more than just a fast car festival, it’s revhead heaven.

Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011

Nur24 – A trilogy in four parts

Part 1

Like rooting to a super model or setting your arse in a Lamborghini for anything longer than a couple of seconds (which is all you’ll get from the latte-sipping salesman who stops chatting up the secretary to chase you away), the Nurburgring 24 hour race is a life event that demands ticking off the bucket list for anyone with even a little unleaded pumping through their veins.

The Ring is the cathedral of worship for real drivers, road or race. It doesn’t matter if it’s on two or four wheels, if you have that burning urge inside for cars and driving then this is the place to be.

Although the weather is dreary with the kind of light, fairy-piss rain that does nothing but annoy, the sense of excitement and anticipation is palpable.

Ferrari started from pole but the SLS Mercs look (and sound) the goods, but it’s hard to predict anything here as 24 hours is a long time and the Gods of the Ring ultimately decide the outcome, no matter how well any team thinks they have prepared.

To be mingling with the cars and drivers on the grid along with 40,000 other car-nuts (with semi-legitimate paddock passes) is a privilege that is right up there with the super model (Claudia Schiffer please) and Lambo experiences, and while the gratification of the latter pair would only last a few minutes, the race still has it’s full 24 hours to run in which I’m expecting to endure all the pain, pleasure and beers that would normally be experienced in a normal man’s year. Bring it on.

Part 1.5

From the swank of the Porsche corporate suite (and its incredible buffet), to the stank of the public toilet in the press centre, you can experience it all at the Nurburgring.

From sipping champers and downing prawns on a stick, to sitting in the mud slowly devolving into an illutible motorsport fanatic, the race provokes different reactions in everyone.

Me? I’m enjoying the warmth of the media centre now but I’m feeling an overpowering, primal urge to expose myself to the elements, tear chunks of half-cooked meat off the bone, drink a shitload of beer and howl at the moon.

Night will fall soon and the transformation will begin. Looking at the fans around me I won’t be alone.

Part 2

Watching the cars from any vantage point around the Ring is incredible, but when you are on pit wall mere feet from race cars hammering down the main straight, it’s just sphincter clenchingly scary, and inspiring.

While all the world might be a stage, there is no place but centre stage. So why be watching when you could be driving?

That is the great thing about this event. If you have the requisite dosh there will always be a team (a small team, but a team nonetheless) ready to give you a seat. BUT you do need a modicum of talent and balls that clang when you walk. Other than that, even an Antipodean scribe with a dodgy knee could fulfil the dream of driving in the greatest race in the world.

Night has now fallen and tanks start to empty on both the crowd and the cars. Pitstops of all kinds are made, the drivers for fresh rubber and fuel, the crowd for much the same judging by the quivering tents and queues at the beer stalls.

Talking to a bloke earlier, one pit stop story around here is that a German fella who punted an old W107 Merc coupe at this place in years gone past had three things to pit for, fuel, tyres and a fresh set of CDs in the 6-stack player.

Walking to the Karussell, KISS is playing over the loudspeakers in some sort of weird ‘rock and race’ mélangeIt works well too, everyone is having a ball all around the track dancing, drinking and barbecuing meat. This definitely isn’t a place for vegetarians.

Part 3

Sitting at the Karussell as the sun came up this morning was one experience that will stay with me for a very long time.

Cars scythe into the corner – splitters hitting the road, brake discs glowing – was just incredible. As was the angle of the banking, much steeper than it looks on a flat monitor or TV.

Earlier negotiating our way to the corner was like walking through a neo-hippie camp, complete with crappy trance music, glow sticks and crazy, off-their-face bastards everywhere. It was awesome.

The disparity between the mindsets of the spectators and the drivers at first seems vast.

Both usually get a bit of a kip at some point during the dark time, but the element of focus on the part of the drivers must be immense.

Alternatively they could be getting off on the whole party element of the event, as (of course) speeds were noticeably lower at night.

Who wouldn’t enjoy the aroma of cooking meat, the beauty of fireworks exploding over the track (usually fired off from the top of the safety fence), and the fug of smoke from a million camp fires lingering over the track, separated by the explosion of a race car, like some 80’s music clip (replete with fog machine) but on fast forward.

If you have ever wanted to come to the Ring but the tyranny of distance or under-abundance of folding in the wallet has been a deterrent, beg, borrow and/or steal yourself a way here.

As cliché as it sounds, it really is an experience you will never forget.

Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011

The 2011 Le Mans 24-hour race will be indelibly etched into the minds of many as one of the most exciting in recent times, with two big spills that left a pair of front-running Audis out of the race and the drivers with bruised egos and battered bodies.

The top billing of Audi vs. Peugeot saw a huge build up prior to the race with parochial feelings aired in the paddock for the two heavyweights before a tyre had even turned.

While the Audi was superior in aesthetic terms, Peugeot had the upper hand in the economy stakes, requiring fewer refuelling stops than the faster but thirstier German car.

Allan McNish started fifth on the grid and put in a storming performance during the first half hour of the race to pilot his Audi through the swathe of Peugeots ahead and claim second place behind team mate Timo Bernhard.

The Scot struck trouble though when attempting to take the inside line on a Ferrari that had held up first-place Bernhard.

McNish clipped the slower GT class car, sending his car flying into, and almost over the safety barrier and into the marshalling area before coming to rest upside down in the gravel trap. McNish survived the experience relatively unharmed, walking away from the accident after his car had been righted.

As night descended the Audi of Mike Rockenfeller also clipped a Ferrari with a similarly destructive result, his car being reduced to shards of carbonfibre from the impact and Rockenfeller being held overnight in hospital for observation.

This left only one Audi still running for the team keen to claim a tenth Le Mans 24-hour title.

The LMP2, GTE Pro and Am classes also experienced heavy loses with the inner inspection area of the pits looking like an exotic breakers yard with Aston Martin, Ferrari and Corvette among the brands sitting forlorn and broken from accidents around the track in a race which saw only half of the 56 starters reach the finish line after 24 gruelling hours.

In the end Andre Lotterer at the wheel of the No.2 Audi shaded the Peugeot of Sebastian Bourdais by just 13.854sec after 355 laps with a further trio of Peugeots filling the top 5 places.


Words and Photos © Dillon Media 2011