Unique Rolls Royce ‘Riviera car’ at Sotheby’s auction in Australia

The Australian arm of Sotheby’s auction house has a very special 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost being offered by public tender at its forthcoming selling exhibition at Double Bay in Sydney on 13 – 15 October. The unique Rolls, chassis number 14PK has been described by journalist David Berthon as, “one of the finest examples of the late series 40/50hp Silver Ghost in the world today.”

Chassis 14Pk was delivered to coachbuilders Barker & Co Ltd on 22nd September 1923 to be fitted with a touring body. Once completed the car was dispatched to the French Riviera, where it was used by Rolls-Royce for demonstration to prospective clients. It’s very likely that while in the South of France, 14PK would have been driven and used by Sir Henry Royce himself when he was at his villa, La Mimosa at Le Canadel.

After competing its duty in France the car returned to England in early 1925 before being shipped to Canberra in the 1930s. Its history was established in 2000 by well known collector Laurie Ogle who has since passed away. Read the rest of this entry »

Australian flood waters wash cars away from parking lot (+video)

Only if you’re still in holiday mode and have been scoffing sausages and drinking beer at a remote beach for the last week will you not know that the floods in Queensland have got very bad.

Australia is undergoing one of its worst natural disasters in history with over 30 lives already lost and many people missing. The floods have now reached Brisbane and damage estimates are speculated at around $15 billion. But it’s hard to really understand the extend of the floods force until you see a video like the one below where office workers saw just how quickly a stream of water can turn into a raging river.

Filmed from the balcony of a Toowoomba office, the video recorder watched as water levels grew higher until they were high enough to begin picking up parked cars. The most horrific of these car casualties is what looks like a very tidy Subaru WRX STI that just floats away. One bold Nissan Patrol driver gets his SUV away from the torrent just in time, and is probably very happy he fitted that snorkel kit earlier.

Check out the clip below to see just how bad things have got over the ditch and if you want to help out click here to make an online donation through the Queensland Government website. Read the rest of this entry »

Bugatti Type 38 body shell sells for $140k at Sydney auction

Last Saturday a packed saleroom in Sydney was the scene of some spirited bidding on a number of motor cars at Bonhams Collectors’ Motor Cars, Motorcycles and Automobilia auction. The auction generated total sales of AUS$1,180,583.   The highlight of the sale was the 1926 Bugatti Type 38 restoration project — completely dismantled, incomplete and lacking engine and body — which realised $110,400 ($140,500 NZ), some seven times it’s pre-sale auction estimate. Seven telephone bidders fought against six absentee bids and five people in the room with a northern hemisphere telephone bidder victorious. When Robert Glover, Bonhams Head of Motor Cars Australia, informed the lady owner how much the car sold for there was a stunned silence followed by a tearful thanks.

Britain also had success on Australian soil — with a 1925 Bentley 3-litre Speed Model VdP Tourer and an ultra rare right hand drive 1949 Jaguar XK120 Alloy roadster selling very well at $329,500 AUS and $249,200 AUS respectively.

Over 75% of the lots offered in the Automobilia and Motor Car sale found new homes with buyers from the USA, UK and France bidding against the domestic market.

Robert Glover said, “Given the strength of the Australian dollar against other world currencies we were pleasantly surprised by the level of overseas bidding at the sale. Whilst the Australians often won out, it clearly demonstrates the reach and importance of Bonhams global motoring network.”

Rare RHD Jaguar XK120 going to auction in Australia

Bonhams Australian motoring division is selling a rare and historically intriguing 1949 Jaguar XK120 alloy-bodied Roadster from the highly esteemed collection of The Late The Hon. John Dawson-Damer.

On Saturday 13th November Bonhams Australia will hold their first collectors’ motor car auction as a wholly owned subsidiary of the international company. Early entries for the sale indicate that a mouth watering array of cars will go under the hammer not least of which is the aforementioned Jaguar.

This rare car is the 17th Jaguar XK120 made and is one of only 58 right hand drive alloy-bodied roadsters produced. Chassis number ’660017′ was sold new in Australia and carries extensive local race history including a number of appearances at the world famous Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst, NSW. Having passed through a number of local owner/racers the car was purchased by world famous Lotus collector/historic racer and rally ace John Dawson-Damer in the late 1970s. Having been fully restored by Dawson-Damer in the mid-late 1990s the car has seen little use since and is offered for sale on the open market for the first time in over three decades. It is estimated to fetch at least AUD $140,000.

Robert Glover head of collectors’ motor cars at Bonhams Australia comments “Having overseen the successful sale of John’s exceptional collection of Lotus racing cars in late 2008, we feel both privileged and honoured that Bonhams have been entrusted with the sale of further motor cars from one of the most highly regarded collections in Australia and indeed the world.”

Also offered for sale from the same collection will be a 1979 Lotus Esprit JPS Edition. Purchased new from the factory by John Dawson-Damer, this single owner from new car is offered for sale without reserve. It will give collectors’ an affordable opportunity to purchase a part of the Dawson-Damer Lotus legacy not to mention a rare example of Lotus’s first true super car.

Read the rest of this entry »

Australia to host Pebble Beach-style Concours d’Elegance show

It has just been announced that the lucky buggers over in Australia are to get their own Concours d’Elegance show. Suitably named Concours d’Elegance Australia the car event will be directly inspired by the famous Pebble Beach Concours in California.

Sydney’s St Patrick’s Estate will be the events venue with the inaugural Concours d’Elegance Australia expected to host over 200 classic and prestige vehicles. According to the event’s organisers, the total value of vehicles on display will be in excess of $100 million AUS.

Unlike the Pebble Beach show on which its based the Concours d’Elegance Australia will not be used to launch any new models in the luxury market, instead focusing solely on the classic vehicles owned by Australian enthusiasts.

The man behind the new event is Classics repairer and restorer Sam Movizio, who has high hopes that the local event will eventually gain the same international recognition as the shows at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and Ville d’Este.

Cars that enter the show will be judged and awarded prizes in a number of fields, including rarity, originality, authenticity, historical significance and visual impession.

The first event will be held on October 10, 2010. To find out more visit the website at

Australian Alfa Romeo G1 returns to Italy

The first ever Alfa Romeo and the only one left in the world, the Alfa Romeo G1 owned by Kiwi Alfa Romeo importer, Neville Crichton, has returned to Italy as part of its Australia-wide tour to celebrate the centenary of Alfa Romeo, but it hasn’t actually left the country. This historic Alfa Romeo once resided in New Zealand and was featured in the NZCC Yearbook 1998 — with our resident Alfa guru, Penn McKay, waxing lyrical over this amazing car.

During a visit to the Australian Capital, Canberra for the Auto Italia car event, the Alfa Romeo G1 was the guest of honour at a reception held by Gianludovico De Martino di Montegiordano, the Ambassador of Italy (pictured below) and, with the event held in the grounds of the Italian Embassy which is technically Italian soil, the G1 made a symbolic return to the country of its birth.

Surrounded at the Embassy by some of the most valuable classic Alfa Romeos in Australia, the reception for the G1 was the ideal precursor to one of the largest displays of Italian cars – and, in the shape of a Fiat Ducato — commercial vehicles ever seen in the Australian capital, with a fleet of Alfa Romeos, headed by the G1, leading the display the following day alongside Lake Burley Griffin in the heart of capital.

The next outing for the Alfa Romeo G1 is, once again, in Italy, or rather, Sydney’s little Italy, Norton Street in Leichardt, when it will lead off the competitors in the annual Italian Connection Trophy, the motoring event that links the Sydney and Melbourne Italian communities and which raises money for the Duchenne Foundation.

The Alfa Romeo G1 will be on display from 7 am in The Forum at the start of the event on 21 May 2010.