Are you feeling that this country is being divided?
Like last Saturday, if you read this column online, you would have seen a great pic of a beautiful blue 1931 Alfa Romeo 6c 1750 GTC Fifth Series Cabriolet.
If you did the right thing and bought the paper, you would have seen a pic of GM boss Mary Barra who, I can assure you, is not a blue 1931 Alfa Romeo. Then there’s the divide between petrol and electric cars. Friends and readers, I know you have expressed your opinions very strongly on this, so you can rely on the old bloke and me to look after your interests. We’ll be the first to don the khakis, pull the 303s out of the back shed and head to the front line in the war against silence.
Talking of the old bloke, he rang me this week to tell me that he’s on social media. I thought “that’s a bit rich since he only got a mobile phone in November last year (he still has his landline and Panasonic answering machine with a dual compact cassette tape drive to record and replay messages at the Global HQ of Michael McMichael Motors) and he only hooked up his fax machine to the internet last month”. “Yes, I’m running a sophisticated search engine-dominated campaign using the (sic) Google, the Facebook and the new sticker pinning option in videos on TikTok,” he yelled at me, not being used to where you talk into a mobile phone.
My first thought was that after being the human face of the Kensi, Coopers and Jim Barry Wines for all these years, the three had ganged up and given him a lifetime of free drinking. But no, he’s there on Facebook with a visage that would scare brain-eating amoeba and male baboons on their way to vasectomies.
And hasn’t his creative streak come out: “Not one to toot my own horn but we are the recognised specialist for a reason.” God give me strength.
There’s still a way to go till you get to the interesting stuff in today’s column.
OK. Evidently there’s a place called QAGOMA in Brissie that “offers compelling experiences that will move and surprise you”. I have had many compelling experiences in the city on the river that always floods. Of course, most of them were at a competing Arts institution, the Breakfast Creek Hotel, particularly after NSW crushed the Maroons at Lang Park in 1982.
Anyway, back to the boring bit. Later this year QAGOMA will feature a show called “The motorcycle — design, art, desire”. None of those words belong in the same sentence.
According to Ms QAGOMA: “This world-exclusive exhibition will showcase the art, design and history of one of the most iconic objects of the last 150 years, the motorcycle (of course Porkers, Fezzas and blue 1931 Alfas are not iconic).”
There will be 100 innovative and influential deathtraps from the 1860s to present day. There will be no highlights but the lowlights include: a 1868 Michaux-Perraux, the first steam-powered velocipede and oldest known motorcycle in the world; a Spencer produced in Brisbane in 1906; the 1930s Triumph Speed Twin; the 1970s Ducati 750 Super Sport and the 1990s Britten V1000, whatever that is.
Today’s pic shows a 1930 Majestic (also on display at QAGOMA) designed by Georges Roy and restored by Serge Bueno of Heroes Motors in Hollywood (where else?). George was not an engineer but a former corporate executive who took bikes art deco. Serge is a French designer known for his vivid creativity and his ability to balance functionality and elegance across a broad range of artistic mediums including photography, painting, interior design and architecture, now focused on rebuilding classic motorcycles. And I thought Mick was full of it.
The Majestic belonged to Serge’s father. Together they decided to restore the bike. His father died suddenly and Serge couldn’t bring himself to continue the restoration without his father, so the deconstructed and rusting parts were stored in crates at the family estate in Normandy, France. Ten years later he started the restoration again and today the bike spends most of the time in Bobby Haas’s museum in Dallas. Bobby was one of the inventors of the leveraged buyout, became a National Geographic photographer and now has a QAGOMA bike of his own.
Anyway, Georges created a monocoque chassis using sheet steel, which also encased the drive train. Bike persons went off at the 1929 Paris Motor Show when they saw it but it didn’t really sell and four years later it was gone. Ten are left but surprisingly haven’t moved that well at auction. Somewhere around $150k should get you a non-Serge one.
And in more of the “get your hand off it department”, QAGOMA is promising a “range of special programs and events, including Up Late and a specially curated film program in QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque”. Presumably, that means movie house.
And as we say in the business section, another test of the market next month in Florida. Six auctioneers, 630 classic pieces of metal and thousands of punters looking for a bit of sunshine. I’ll start March at the Fernanida Beach Golf Club at Amelia Island where Bonhams are selling a wonderful red and black 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Super Sport Roadster with factory coachwork by Jean Bugatti Design. Originally delivered to Victor Rothschild, who later became the 3rd Baron Rothschild, the car features the 2.3-litre supercharged unit inline eight, the first and only time it was used in a road car. Owned by physics professor and astute collector Dean Edmonds, this was only one of 14 of this model Super Sport Bugattis that left the factory. About $13m.
Gooding will be at the classic beachfront Omni Amelia Island Plantation with an absolutely stunning 1958 (red of course) Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider 16. Comes with free Rare Factory Hardtop, handbook set, tool roll, Ferrari Classiche Red Book and coachwork by Scaglietti. Maybe $16m in this market.
Of course, next weekend it’s our own Amelia Island: Sydney Harbour Concours D’Elegance at the Swifts neo castle at Darling Point. Thirty cars including the rare 1950 Bristol 402, the 1987 Porker 959, the 1982 Lancia Rally 037 Stradale and the 1979 Lambo Countach are on the lawn. If I was you, I’d buy the VIP ticket for just over $2k where you get to drink French champagne at the private soiree concours preview, the Garden Party Concours, the grand opening cocktail party, the final garden party concours and the black tie trophy gala dinner. Then again you could probably bring an Esky full of Coopers and sit under a tree until security finds you.