Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wheels Expo 2011 - Part 1 - British carmakers: Leyland P76, Austin Healey, MG, Rollers, Armstrong Siddeley, Triumph, Rover, Jaguar, Lotus, GT40

Leyland P76 Super V8 4-spd

Shannons Wheels Expo is the biggest car show on the Canberra car show calendar, and is so large that it spreads over all the lawns in front of Old Parliament House, and spreads to the lawns between Scienceworks and the High Court. The road is closed to general traffic, so it allows an enormous area for car fans to wander around and look at some amazing machinery.  This years photo-essay will be broken up into 5 posts with roughly 70 photos each, and arranged thematically. Todays post is of British manufacturers. 
Leyland P76 V8 Executive

The organizers of almost all car shows place Leyland P76's with the British cars, and although this causes tension in the P76 Club (because the P76 is an all-Australian car y'know) it doesn't really worry me. I think that the contribution of the British car industry to Australia's motoring heritage is overlooked easily today with the ridiculous focus on ford v holden racing rivalry and the almost complete disappearance of British manufacturers from the Australian motoring marketplace. Yet, they live on in peoples hearts and memories, and especially on splendid days like Wheels Expo, we get the opportunity to see the best of the breeds. 
 Austin Healeys
 There is always a large MG contingent
 MG Magnette - very nice saloon
 Last of the old style MG's - badged as a Rover on the wings
 rear engined MG - very last of the UK built MG's
 MGB V8's are deceptively quick cars
 Enough room for an Esky
 Modern Bentley
 A small gathering of Rollers and Bentleys were on display. No pre-war though.
 The venerable Rolls Royce V8
 That is some impressive under bonnet insulation
 Armstrong Siddeleys are impressive looking cars, with a distinct look
 Jaguars are still with us, although now owned by India
 I covet thy XJS
 E-type jaguar, one of the few perfect cars built
 Modern Jaguar sports car, still carrying E-type DNA
Triumph, another firm folded into the conglomerate that became British Leyland in the 1960's. The TR7 was a good idea, classic British sportscar ideas with new technology body and a proven V8. It begat the TR8, but Triumph disappeared soon after. 
 Isn't this a great looking sportscar.
 Triumph Stag 
Rover produced a long line of sturdy reliable cars, and are now owned by the Chinese. The Rover club is pretty strong in Canberra and had a fine display with models from the 30's right through to the 90's. 
Early Australian delivery Rover SD1
While looking at the engine bay I told the owner I wouldn't mind getting a 3500 SD1 and dropping a later 4.6 Rover V8 with EFI from a Range Rover HSE. He said he was doing such a swap on another car... cant wait to see it.

 There were a pair of GT40 replicas on display. Amazing engineering on these, and they were crowded by people all day.
 The Lotus folks had genuine and Caterham replicas mixed in together 
 Photo might not show it, but this Lotus has a body made of carbon fibre
Lotus are still making exotic sports cars, applying the same principles Colin chapman espoused in the 50's and 60's.

See also:
Wheels Expo 2011 Parts 2 thru 5
Wheels Expo 2010