This past 21-23 October saw the seventh annual Motorclassica Australian International Concours d’Elegance and Classic Motor Show mark the first ever time an Australian-made car has won the ‘Best in Show’ prize – at this or any other international-level concours event.
In the past six years of Motorclassica’s Concours d’Elegance, it’s fair to say the “usual suspects” have won the prestigious ‘Best In Show’ award. Last year, it was a classic Ferrari 275 Lusso, with Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Daimler featuring among the previous Best in Show winners. This year, however, saw something of a shock result when a Holden HT Monaro GTS took out the overall honours.
Owned by Terry Smart and restored by Recreation Automotive, the car was impossible to fault in the eyes of JUST CARS staff who saw it in the metal. Concours judges obviously agreed, as the 1969 Monaro beat out a number of other stunning contenders, including a couple of immaculate vintage Rolls-Royces, to claim the overall prize with a perfect 100 point score, ie. no deductions for incorrect, inaccurate or less-than-perfect features and finish.
The result – a Best In Show for an Australian-made car - is not only a first in Motorclassica history, it’s also the first time at any internationally-recognised concours event that an Australian-made car has claimed top honours.
To say that Smart and the team from Recreation Automotive (who were understandably watching the car like hawks when it was on display) were impressed was an understatement. Recreation Automotive also won ‘Restoration of the Year’ for their work.
The announcement of the Monaro’s win was greeted with gasps and applause, but few would argue that Smart’s car was a worthy winner.
“For a Holden of any type to win an International Concours event is certainly unexpected, but this particular example is a world-class restoration,” said Motorclassica Event Director, Paul Mathers.
“It’s also an exciting decision indicating that locally-designed cars can be competitive at the same level as the world’s great marques.”
Mathers added that, in its freshly-restored state, Smart’s Monaro GTS is valued in the vicinity of $300,000, which would make it the most valuable classic Monaro ever.
Moving forward, what will be interesting to see is whether this year’s Motorclassica result prompts owners and restorers of other Australian-made classics to get their vehicles to pin-sharp, period-accurate condition to try and keep the “Australian” wins going at future Motorclassicas and other concours events.
Motorclassica 2016 concours class winners
Main class awards
Best In Show – 1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS, Terry Smart
Vintage & Veteran - 1923 Rolls Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost, Richard Knight
Pre-War Classic UK & Euro - 1931 Rolls Royce Phantom II, Ken King
Pre-War Classic USA - 1936 Auburn 852, Paul Capel
Post-War Classic Closed - 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Super Sprint, Tony Coates
Post-War Classic Open - 1959 Mercedes Benz 190SL, Sam Sofi
Modern Classic UK & Euro - 1961 Volkswagen Micro Bus Deluxe 23 -window, Theo Dimopoulos
Modern Classic Aust-USA-Japan - 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Joe Caruana
Modern Classic SP & Performance Under 3 Litre - 1971 Dino 246, Geoffrey Corah
Modern Classic SP & Performance Over 3 Litre – 1978 Ferrari 512BB, Phillip Allen
Preservation - 1935 Rolls Royce 20/25, Phillip Hilliard
Restoration of the Year – 1969 Holden HT Monaro GTS, Recreation Automotive
2016 celebration and theme awards
130 years of Mercedes Benz - 1955 300 SLE ‘Gullwing’, Lindsay Fox
110 years of Rolls Royce - 1923 40/50 Silver Ghost, Richard Knight
100 years of BMW - 1997 840Ci M-tech, Robert Pavlov
90 years of Touring Superleggera - 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Super Sprint, Tony Coates
The dates for next year’s Motorclassica are already locked in: 13-15 October, 2017.