Fine classic cars on show at Sydney Concours d’Elegance 2018
Sixty world-class cars competed for the title of Best in Show at the Sydney Concours d’Elegance 2018, the first major Concours show of the year. James Nicholls shares the highlights of the weekend.
Two international Concours d’Elegance took place on the weekend of 27–28 January 2018. Respectively they were the Sydney Concours d’Elegance and the Cavallino Classic, held in Palm Beach, Florida. While the event in the States may have been a grander affair with a bigger classic car gene pool to call upon, the honour of being the first major Concours show of the year went to Sydney by dint of time difference, if nothing else.
But having said that, the quality of the 60 cars on show at the Sydney Superyacht Marina did not suffer in comparison with those on display on the other side of the Pacific. Run under the auspices of the International Chief Judges Advisory Group (ICJAG) the Sydney Concours d’Elegance not only had world-class judges in the form of Chief Judge Nigel Matthews from Canada, Chris Kramer from Germany, and Siegfried Linke from the US, but also had some truly world-class cars on display over the two days.
Supercar Saturday at Sydney Concours d’Elegance
The weather was fair, if somewhat humid, and the backdrop of the superyachts on the water under the towering, but probably second most well-known bridge in the city, the Anzac Bridge, was spectacular. On the first day, dubbed Supercar Saturday, it was the turn of modern supercars and their owners to show off their wares, but it was on Sunday that the real deal took place with a host of amazing automobiles competing for the prize of Best in Show.
Competing class by class
The cars at the Sydney Concours d’Elegance 2018 were split into 10 classes, run not along marque lines, but, more interestingly, into categories of style and inspiration. Winner of the 2 Seats & the Road – Fast coupés from the ‘50s & ‘60s was a superb 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 narrowly pipping another beautiful Ferrari, a 250 GT Lusso in traditional Rosso Corso red. Cruising the Riviera – Roadsters from the ‘60s & ‘70s was made up solely of English cars giving some wag the opportunity to dub it as ‘Cruising the Cornish Riviera’. This class was won by a 1965 Austin Healey Mk 3. Another English car, a 1984 Aston Martin DBS Vantage collected top spot in the class entitled Gentlemen’s Tourers – Big cars with 2 doors.
Inspired by Racing – Roadsters from the 1950s was won by an owner/driver with a wonderful white 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster which also collected the award for the most significant sports car present.
Highlights from Italy: Maserati, Fiat and Lancia
Another double award winner was an absolutely superb 1971 Maserati Ghibli SS Spyder which picked up Best Maserati and also won its class, Italian Sportscars from the ‘70s against stiff opposition. This Maserati is a very special car which would grace any international event, in superb condition and being one of just five Factory right-hand-drive cars of its type built and the only one sporting a Factory hard top. At the other end of the Italian scale the beautifully prepared 1948 Fiat 500 Topolino was the winner of the Small Displacement – Big Fun class which also sported a host of pretty Alfas and not one, but two lovely Lancia Fulvia Sport 1.3S Zagato-bodied cars; like London Buses you can wait an age to see one and then two turn up together.
The New Generation – Sportscars from the ‘80s was won by a 1989 Porsche 928 S4 which also picked up the Porsche 70th Anniversary award. Australian cars were also on display at the Sydney Concours d’Elegance and an immaculate 1971 Ford Falcon GT took honours against strong opposition in The Grand Tour – Big cars for the trip category.
Best in Show at the Sydney Concours d’Elegance 2018
The more traditional, though, would have been drawn to the final two classes. Kings of the Road – Touring cars from the ‘30s & ‘40s had a couple of beautiful Alvises (or is the plural of Alvis, Alvii?), but the winner of the class was the impeccable 1933 Hispano Suiza HS 26 Junior. If you like your cars even older, then The Golden Years – Open cars until 1930 would have grabbed your attention. And what a class this was with the 1930 Cadillac V16 Sports Phaeton winning the class by pipping the 1913 Rolls-Royce London to Edinburgh Silver Ghost which had won Best in Show at Motorclassica in Melbourne in October 2017.
It was to be a close-run thing, but in reality, for the Jury there was no going past the quality and presence of the imposing Cadillac in placing it ahead of the other class winners and naming this behemoth as a worthy winner of the Best in Show of the 2018 Sydney Concours d’Elegance.
Lead image © PHOTO DOMAIN