Up by more than 40 per cent on last year's exhibition, the 2013 attendance was also a record attendance figure in the four-year history of Australia's premier event for rare, exotic, historic, vintage, veteran, classic and collectable cars and motorcycles.
Significantly, this year's RACV Motorclassica also featured the Australian debut of Mercedes-Benz's uber-luxury S-Class, as well as the latest from Jaguar, Morgan and Caterham, plus an extensive display of contemporary models from Lamborghini Melbourne/Zagame Automotive inside the Exhibition Building, while outside, Lorbek Luxury Cars showcased more modern exotica from Lamborghini, McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.
"Everyone at Motorclassica is delighted with the attendance on the weekend, with numbers surpassing even our wildest dreams," Paul Mathers, RACV Motorclassica Event Director said.
"One of the most pleasing aspects of the attendance this year was the increase in the age diversity. We had the enthusiasts of course, but many, many family groups, and often three generations together, that's very heart-warming for us.
"There was real momentum behind this year's event ... Australia's automotive enthusiasts really embraced the event and anecdotally we've seen a big rise in visitors from interstate and overseas," Mathers added.
RACV Motorclassica 2013 kicked off on the morning of Thursday, October 24, with Tour Classica, where 70 classic cars and motorcycles took to the streets of Melbourne's CBD en route to the Royal Exhibition Building for a red carpet arrival.
Celebrations continued that evening with an exclusive cocktail party for the local unveiling of the all-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, before the doors opened to the public on Friday, October 25.
The main exhibition floorspace was devoted to the concours entrants, which were grouped generally according to era, with special concours classes this year in acknowledgment of anniversaries for Lamborghini (50 years), Aston Martin (100 years), Corvette (60 years) and Italian carrozzeria Bertone (100 years). The outer edges of the ground floor saw selected stallholders, including Jaguar Australia, Zagame Automotive (Lamborghini), Morgan Motor Cars Australia, Roaring Forties and Just Cars advertiser, Oldtimer Australia, display their latest, along with a number of specialist service and accessory providers, including JC Classic Car Restorations, Tufflift Imports, Wolfsburg Automotive and more.
On the upper level, concours motorcycles were on show, along with more trade stands, covering everything from motoring art and memorabilia, garagenalia, motorcycle servicing and custom building, travel and car club destinations, motoring enthusiast publications, classic motorcycle sales, and more. With more than 90 stallholders this year, there was plenty to see, experience, try and buy when you'd finished looking at the cars and bikes.
Across both days of the weekend, 'Club Sandwich' featured grouped car club displays in a fenced-off area outside the Exhibition Building, with different clubs on show each day. Presented by Lorbek Luxury Cars, Saturday, October 26, saw Lamborghini, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, MG, Mustang, Corvette and Jaguar clubs, amongst others, present their finest.
Porsche and Jaguar car clubs returned for Sunday's Club Sandwich, and were joined by Rover, Triumph, Rolls-Royce, Fiat, Morris, Jensen and more, as well as the Lion's Pride Holden Car Club and Historic Rally Association. With the number and diversity of cars on display, there was as much to see outside as inside! Cleverly, the outside food stalls featured culinary offerings in theme with the marques and regions on show, including British, German and Italian fare.
The outside area also featured the 'jet car' consigned for Saturday evening's Theodore Bruce Motorclassica auction and the 'Globe of Death' motorcycle stunt display. The only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, this special addition to RACV Motorclassica 2013 was impressive enough when one rider defied gravity by riding around inside, even moreso when two riders did their thing, riding close enough to touch hands. However, when a third member climbed in and held her nerve while both riders roared around her, at one stage snatching the cap off her head - then replacing it - there were audible gasps from the crowd!
Theodore Bruce conducted Motorclassica's collector car and memorabilia auction on Saturday evening, where a group of thirty diverse cars were on offer, including later model sports and muscle, veterans, classics and rarities including an American-La France custom Speedster, Tatra T600, Re-Car Industries jet-powered LSR car, and the ex-Reg Hunt 1949 'Flying Bedstead' Special.
Prior to the auction, the very first Holden built in Australia, a 1947 prototype 48-215, previously owned by noted car collector Peter Briggs, was expected to be one of the top sellers. This one-off Aussie rarity didn't disappoint, selling for $668,750, the most paid for an early Holden, and close to the best-ever auction price for an Australian-made car. A rare RHD 1968 Lamborghini Miura also found a new owner at $757,550 - which is believed to be a world-record auction result for this model.
Other significant results included $263,600 for a 1913 Hispano-Suiza Alphonso XIII T15, and $120,000 for a 1913 Nazarro Tipo 2 roadster. There were a few bargains to be had, though, with a 'rubbernose' MGB going for $13,650, a 1965 MkII Jaguar selling for $26,000 and a 1926 Salmson 6AL tourer achieving $11,500, with a selection of motoring memorabilia and collectables finding new buyers, too. (Note: all prices listed include buyers' premium).
Run as the main element of RACV Motorclassica, the Australian International Concours d'Elegance saw 21 cars and motorcycles singled out as the cream of the crop amongst the 150-plus entries received this year. Last year's Motorclassica concours saw the Best in Show trophy awarded to a 1952 Bentley R-Type Continental.
This year, a strong field of classic Bugattis, Mercedes-Benzes and other veterans competed against modern classics from Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Ford and more. Sunday afternoon's awards ceremony, hosted by Steve Pizzati, with trophies presented by this year's special guest, former Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni, saw crowds gather to see who would won the coveted trophies.
2013's ultimate 'Best in Show' accolade was awarded to a 1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Entered in the Vintage (1920-29) class, the Rolls-Royce was up against another Silver Ghost (which won a class trophy) and a 20HP Rolls-Royce skiff, as well as a pair of Vauxhall 30/98 tourers, a rare Chenard-Walcker, two Bugattis, and a striking Sunbeam 35HP coupe.
Known as the 'Rothschild Tourer', the Silver Ghost was ordered in March, 1921, for the then manager of Kodak Australia. The rolling chassis arrived in October that year, where it was bodied locally. History following its arrival is unknown, until it was purchased by the current owner, who commissioned a ground-up restoration that took ten years. More recently, the Silver Ghost was used in the recent Baz Luhrman remake of the film The Great Gatsby.
Various class winners, covering veteran, pre-war, modern classic, performance and preservation, amongst others, saw makes and models as diverse as a 1913 Vulcan, '31 MG F-Type, '47 Ford Tudor, stunning 1970 Aston Martin DB6 MkII and 1962 Mercedes 190SL awarded. The Spirit of Motorclassica trophy went to a Ferrari 275 GTB Coupe, while People's Choice, with an impressive 5,000 votes, was won by another Ferrari, a 246 Dino GT. This car was a two-time winner, also scoring a trophy in the Modern Classic (Performance >3lt) class.
In special awards marking automotive milestones in 2013, Trevor Maddern's 1963 Corvette C2 Sting Ray coupe took out the Corvette award, while Mark Newman's 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Coupe won the Aston Martin gong. A 1969 Lamborghini Miura S owned by Mark Jansen of Oldtimer Australia clinched the very keenly-contested Lamborghini award, while a 1978 Maserati Khamsin coupe won the best Bertone design on display.
Shortly after this year's RACV Motorclassica was completed, Event Director Paul Mathers revealed that he and his team are already planning next year's event.
"We're straight into planning for the 2014 Motorclassica, which will include celebrations of 100 years of Maserati and 50 years of the Ford Mustang, plus some very big projects we're currently working on and hope to confirm shortly," Mathers said.
"We've also had some real interest from a number of high-end manufacturers about displaying their latest models and celebrating their heritage as Mercedes Benz and Jaguar did this year ... this is a very exciting step in Motorclassica's development."
Motorclassica will return to the Royal Exhibition Building on October 24-26, 2014. For further information, go to www.motorclassica.com.au.