Melbourne gears up for Motorclassica
This year’s Motorclassica to be the biggest year as new brands join the fray
18 Oct 2016
By TIM NICHOLSON in MOTORCLASSICA
ORGANISERS of Motorclassica Melbourne are expecting its seventh year to be the biggest yet with a number of new manufacturers showing their latest metal alongside some iconic classics that will feature in the Concours d’Elegance.
Once again held at Melbourne’s historic Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, the automotive extravaganza runs from Friday October 21 to Sunday October 23 and will feature some new additions to the program as well as the return of popular events.
As well as more than 115 collectible classics, Motorclassica this year hosts several car-makers showcasing new wares or high-tech concepts.
As previously reported BMW will celebrate its centenary at the event with its CES, Las Vegas i Vision Future Interaction concept that previews a Spyder version of the i8 hybrid sportscar, as well as an example of the exclusive M4 GTS.
Long-time Motorclassica attendee Mercedes-Benz is yet to reveal its hand but will commemorate 130 years since the creation of the first automobile with a special display.
Other marques involved this year include Mini which is celebrating 50 years since its historic Bathurst win, Abarth which will show off its 124 Spider, Jaguar will have most of its line-up, including the just launched F-Pace crossover, and Maserati will put the spotlight on its Levante SUV.
Porsche Centre Melbourne is expected to reveal something special at the event, but there is no indication of what that might be, and British sportscar marque McLaren was a late addition to this year’s roster.
Lamborghini is also keeping its cards close to its chest, but GoAuto understands it will display the Aventador Miura Homage that was revealed at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Just 50 examples of the supercar will be built to celebrate 50 years since the release of the V12-powered Miura and all of them have been spoken for.
Porsche Centre Melbourne, Jaguar, Mini and Mercedes-Benz will also be offering test drives of cars at the event for prospective buyers.
Speaking with GoAuto, Motorclassica event director Paul Mathers said he was expecting a slight lift on last year’s attendance figures, which hit 21,000 punters by the end of the weekend.
“We don’t limit tickets,” he said. “There is a threshold where we say enough is enough. We are not quite there yet but not far off. I think we are probably expecting somewhere around 21-23,000 people through the door this year. Ticket sales online are tracking ahead of where they were last year and we got 21,000 last year.
“I think we will certainly get what we have had in the last few years and maybe a few more and that will be comfortable.” While Mr Mathers said he was comfortable with how the event has been run in previous years, he added that there was always room for improvement and changes to maintain visitor interest.
“The formula is very consistent and has been for a number of years now. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But don’t think we are complacent about it. On the contrary, we are always looking for points of difference every year on how to improve.” Mr Mathers highlighted the fact that there are different cars on display and celebrations of different marques each year as dynamic elements of the event.
“It’s fair to say that while the overall framework of the event hasn’t changed since last year, it is going to look completely different. That’s beauty of it. I don’t think anyone can say ‘I don’t need to go to Motorclassica this year, I saw it all last year’. People go, ‘what’s on, what have they got for me this year?’ It will be really different.” This year Motorclassica will host another special guest, following past international guests which have included Jack Brabham and Sterling Moss, with Steve McQueen’s son Chad set to appear on the weekend as part of a movie retrospective of his late father’s automotive-themed films.
A VIP lounge that offers a “more high-end experience” is returning after a successful debut last year, while watch-maker Tag Heuer has been added to the list of event sponsors for the first time.
Mr Mathers said the organisers always look at what works and what has been less successful each year and adapt the program accordingly.
After expanding the expo area upstairs to lifestyle displays outside of the motoring world in previous years, Mr Mathers said there would be a renewed focus this year on automotive.
“We have tried things in the expo – which is the area specifically upstairs on the gallery level – where we have tried to build our business that haven’t necessarily worked. But they have all been product categories that sit outside of motoring lifestyle. We have tried food and wine and that and it really hasn’ t resonated so we are actually not doing any of that this year, we are concentrating on real motoring lifestyle stuff.” “The event is really dynamic. We are always looking for something different, looking to change. Even if it works well. We say, ‘so that worked well last year, how do we do it differently next year?’ How do we pass or subvert people’ s expectations so they continue to be surprised by what we have to offer? That’ s part of the challenge, but that’s what makes it resonate with the people that love it so much.” A number of manufacturers have elected to not return to Motorclassica this year, including Morgan, Ferrari, Lotus and Citroen.
Mr Mathers said the new-car brand presence at the event fluctuates yearly, but acknowledged that some will return, with a special celebration planned for an iconic marque in 2017.
“Last year (Citroen) wanted to launch the DS brand, which went very well for them. This year they didn’t really have anything to say. It happens in peaks and flows. I know Ferrari will be there next year for instance, we are doing 70 years of Ferrari next year and already I am in talks with Herb (Ferrari Australasia CEO Herbert Appleroth) up in Sydney on that. It happens in waves.” Mr Mathers added that, as always, the focus would be on the classic cars and said it could potentially harm the event if there was too much emphasis on the new-car brands each year.
“We don’t go to market like the motor show waving this flag saying we have got all these brands in. We have got what we have year to year and they continue to be important to us, but that is not the key reason for people to attend Motorclassica. It is not what we are trying to build ourselves on, as that would be fraught with failure. As so many other motor shows have tried. You don’ t want to have your success predicated on 10 or a dozen brands or whatever it is.”
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