The German Auto Show has grown into one of the larger Victorian car shows, showcasing the main German marques, but also some of the lesser-known brands that have ceased manufacturing, such as NSU and Borgward. The first show was held in 2016 at the Royal Institute for the Blind and continued at the same venue up to 2019. Initially the event was limited to pre 1990 vehicles, but this changed with a venue change in 2022 at Sandown Racecourse, where close to 500 vehicles attended and $10,500 was raised and donated to Beyond Blue.
Last weekend the 2023 event was held at Calder Thunderdome. For those that don’t live in Melbourne, Bob Jane developed the tri-bank oval at a cost of $54 million and it was officially opened in 1987. Nascar, Auscar and Touring Car racing all used the circuit, but all stopped in 2001 and it effectively became abandoned.
August is one of the wettest months in Melbourne, with a 33% chance of rain. Given this fact the choice of venue was appropriate, as most cars could be parked on asphalt.
We decided take Claudia, our 1979 450SE. It was going to be an early morning, as the Mercedes-Benz bump time was scheduled for 8:15am – 8:45am. After a short, misguided detour down Calder Park Drive (wonder how many other entrants did the same thing), we rolled in at 8:25am, queuing up with a number of other Mercedes-Benz attendees.
Within 15 minutes we were waved through and weaved our way to the oval and then into the Mercedes-Benz display. The angle of the banked curve seems a lot higher when driving on it.
The Mercedes-Benz display was quite well attended, approx. 60 cars were in attendance. Most were Club members, but it wasn’t mandatory to be a member to attend. There was a fantastic range of models on display, covering the full gambit, from preserved, modified, to recent models.
At times the event didn’t seem quite full, but as it was so large attendees were very spaced out. I managed to bump into my cousin Ben, he had entered his 330i M-Sport wagon, a rarity in Australia as it wasn’t sold here, but he had just brought it back from the UK after living there. You always manage to bump into people you know, including David Morley, who told us he was in the process of writing another book.
I always seem to hunt out for the unusual and rare, again this time the event didn’t disappoint.
All the marque displays were fantastic, but being a previous BMW owner, I couldn’t help but notice the E34 M5 wagon and Z1.
I’m not sure how many vehicles attended, but over $20,000 was raised and donated to Beyond Blue. The organising Clubs, BMW Drivers Club Melbourne and Volkswagen Club of Victoria put on a magnificent event, while every year managing to top the previous years event. Special mention to Jo Mawson (Vice-President BMW Drivers Club Melbourne) as I didn’t see her stop all day. Also, I must make mention of all the Club members that volunteered to help at bump-in and assist in parking up of vehicles.
Author: Nick Gruzevskis is a member of the Mercedes-Benz Club (Victoria) and the owner of this 1979 450SE, a 2005 CLK320 and a SLK230
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