Kyoto Concorso d’Eleganza

Ultra-rare cars showcase at Kyoto Concorso d'Eleganza 2019

Kyoto Concorso d’Eleganza 2019
On the picturesque grounds of Nijō Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and former shogun residence in the heart of Kyoto, Japan, 54 of the rarest and most prized classic cars were on display for Kyoto Concorso d’Eleganza 2019. Founded by Hidetomo Kimura and chaired by world famous car collector Corrado Lopresto, this is the third edition and now officially recognised by the Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA), the worldwide federative association of historic automobile clubs, as an important concorso in Asia.  The majestic architectural settings coupled with the quality of the cars on displayed could have rivaled the experience at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este – except there is no prosecco on tap (no F&B allowed in the castle) and Simon Kidston is split into 3 persons speaking English, Italian and Japanese.

Zagato Celebrates 100th Anniversary
As part of Zagato’s centenary celebration, there was a wide range of super rare Zagato bodied cars spanning the century starting with 1930’s Alfa Romeo pre-war race cars, 1950’s diminutive Fiat-Abarths, 1960’s GTs, 1980’s oddities to modern day carbon-fibre bodied limited editions penned by Zagato design chief Norihiko Harada.

Winners
American collector Bill Pope’s unique 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato was awarded “Best of Show” and “Best Zagato” by a panel of judges led by Sandra Button, chairman of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  “Best Lamborghini” went to a 1971 Miura SV in Verde Miura. “Best Alfa Romeo” went to a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Zagato. “CHAPAL Desirable to drive” went to a 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 Periscopio.

My Car
My 1957 Fiat-Abarth 750GT Zagato competed in “Class 750” but lost to a well-deserved Moretti 750 Zagato with period racing history. Kudos to the Japanese owner for keeping it on the road.  The other entrant from Hong Kong Douglas Young brought along his Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ that has been his daily driver for the last 20 years.  It’s full of originality and patina that it would’ve surely won Conservation Class if there was one.

Tour d’Eleganza
The morning after the show, some of us took part on a 3-day Tour d’Eleganza rally starting from Nijō Castle, traveling 300km westbound towards Takamatsu via the beautiful Seto-ohashi Bridge.  The second day we explored the wonders of Naoshima and stayed overnight in Kotohira.  On the last day, co-driver Carl Yuen and I woke up at 6am to do a morning drive through the mountains of Kagawa before heading back to the hotel for breakfast.  On the last leg of the journey, my car suffered an engine problem and we had to make an emergency stop on the hard shoulder.  A very helpful Emii Matsunaga in the convoy asked her friend Akihiro-san to call for a tow truck which came to my rescue.  He later showed up in his Jaguar XK120 in which he raced at the Mille Miglia five times!  I caught up with the convoy again at the next meeting point and hitch-hiked the rest of my journey in an open top Cisitalia 202MM Nuvolari Spider.  How cool is that?

The car currently is at the shop awaiting inspection.  I hope to be back on the road soon to explore rural Japan again.


Bloomberg Invest Asia

5 things to consider before buying a classic car

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Last week I took part at the Bloomberg Invest Asia “Investing in your passion” panel where I shared my thoughts on things to consider when buying a classic car.  Here’s a recap:
1. Do homework
Identify the car brand, model, color and specs.  The next step is to take a deep dive and conduct due diligence.  Thanks to the proliferation of internet, knowledge is a commodity and so much information can be found with just a few clicks on the computer.  Auction catalogues from leading auction houses such as RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams, Gooding & Co. are a good starting point.  Catalogue description often provides a brief background of the models’ history as well as details specific to each lot.  Attending car club meetings is another great way to learn about a particular brand as well as an opportunity to mingle with other car enthusiasts and see their cars.  First hand experience from past/current owners is often the best resource.
2. Buy from reputable dealers and auction houses
It goes without saying that working with trusted people is the number one priority.  The vast majority of classic car dealers in the industry maintains a high degree of ethical standards and professionalism but when there are financial transactions there are scammers and fraudsters.  For private sales, bring a knowledgable friend for a second opinion, arrange a test drive, do pre-purchase inspection, check legitimacy of the paperwork, confirm the seller holds clear title to the car and is authorised to sell before handing over cash.
3. Condition, Condition, Condition
There is no such thing as a cheap Ferrari.  Classic car market is very efficient and price generally reflects condition.  As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.  Contrary to conventional investment wisdom of buy-low-sell-high, paying top dollars for the best example often works well in the long run.  Buy high sell even higher.
4. Expectations
Automotive engineering and manufacturing technology has come a long way since the arrival of Ford’s Model T in 1908 – the first mass production vehicle in the world.  Modern cars are comfortable, reliable, environmental friendly and economical, everything classic cars is not. If you want to impress a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend on a date in a newly bought pride and joy, chances are it may well end up on a tow truck.  Having said that, giving up modern day comfort in exchange for a rewarding driving experience is what this is all about.  Getting admiring glances and thumbs up from passer-bys is the icing on the cake.
6.  Purpose
Buying any car is already a big financial and emotional commitment, buying a classic car just takes this commitment to a whole new level.  Classic car is an expensive hobby that requires a lot of TLC.  What is it that makes you want to go down this route?  What are the objectives? Will your spouses or children be part of this journey?  Can you see your children sharing your passion and wanting to drive it one day?
There is nothing more discouraging than buying a childhood dream that turns out to be a living nightmare.  I have made many of the mistakes mentioned about and I hope this will be helpful to your journey to classic car ownership.
Would love to hear your comments and experience, please share them below.

5 cae events to go in 2019

5 Best Car Shows in 2019

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  • When & Where – 6-10 Feb, Paris, France
  • Reason to go – Europe largest classic car show
  • What to wear – Your best suit
  • Theme – Celebrating 60 years of Mini
 
  • When & Where – 12-13 Apr, Kyoto, Japan
  • Reason to go – Held at Nijo Castle, UNESCO Heritage Site
  • What to wear – Japanese kimono
  • Theme – Celebrating Zagato 100th Anniversary
  • When & Where – 15-18 May, Brescia, Italy
  • Reason to go – Held at Nijo Castle, UNESCO Heritage Site
  • What to wear – Italian chic
  • Theme – “a unique and fascinating traveling museum, staged in an extraordinary framework of cheering crowds” – Enzo Ferrari
  • When & Where – 16 Aug, Carmel, USA
  • Reason to go – Part of Monterrey Car Week, biggest car event on earth
  • What to wear – Straw hat
  • Theme – Celebrating 70 years of the Iconic Porsche 356
  • When & Where – 13-15 Sep, Chichester, United Kingdom
  • Reason to go – travel back in time to the golden age of motor racing
  • What to wear – anything from your parents’ wardrobe
  • Theme – If you are into vintage racing themed dress parties then look no further

Auto italia future delta

Lancia Hyena Zagato hits the cover of Auto Italia!

My 1995 Lancia Hyena Zagato appears on the front cover of the current issue of Auto Italia magazine.  Thank you Chris Rees and your team at Auto Italia for taking it out for a spin and putting together such a brilliant feature article.

Glad you had a good laugh, the privilege is mine!

To see the full article, click here.


Journal Hong Qi Chairman’s Trophy

Hong Qi wins Chairman's Trophy at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 2018

For the first time in the history of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a car made in China has won the Chairman’s Trophy. It was build by Hong Qi (literally translates to Red Flag), a manufacturer that supplies limousines exclusively to Chinese government officials including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.

This concours condition 1965 Hong Qi CA72 has been in government use until 1970s. Today it is owned by Zongmin “Jason” Huang, one of the largest private collectors in China and the man behind Sanhe Classic Car Museum in the city of Chengdu.

Congratulations Mr. Huang and the team at Sanhe Classic Car Museum!


Fiat-Abarth 750GT Zagato

Fiat-Abarth 750GT Zagato wins Best in Class at 2018 Concorso Italiano

Thank you Concorso Italiano and Keith Martin.


Fullerton 90

2018 Fullerton Singapore Concours d'Elegance

Celebrating 90th anniversary of the Fullerton Building where the Fullerton Hotel now stands, the inaugural Fullerton Concours d’Elegance officially launches. It brings together 90 classic cars across a wide range of marques and eras available for public viewing over a 3-day event.


gold coast motor festival

2017 Goldcoast Motor Festival: Hypercars steal the show

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Highlights include the Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo, a one-off special edition; Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, one of 20 ever produced; a McLaren P1GTR, the iconic McLaren F1 as well as Bugatti Chiron, which is making its Hong Kong public début at the festival.

And guess what – I forgot to take photos, haha……


Mazda Turnpike

Japan's Best Hillclimb - Mazda Turnpike

About 80km southwest of Tokyo in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, Mazda Turnpike is one of the best kept secrets and often described as Japan’s Nurburgring. The 14km mountain pass offers spectacular scenery as one ascends the mountain through engaging twists and turns on perfectly paved roads. It is privately owned but available to those who are prepared to pay an entrance fee of ¥720 (US$6.50). The entrance is at sea level near Odawara and the road leads all the way to the top of Mount Hakaone.

What are you waiting for?


Gold Coast Motor Festival

2016 Gold Coast Motor Festival: Raising the bar

Hong Kong may well be one of the most challenging cities when it comes to collecting classic cars.  Lack of local supply, high import tax duties and few marque experts are just some of the reasons why we don’t see many classic cars on the road.  Yet, these challenges didn’t stop a group of dedicated collectors from collecting some of the rarest and finest classics and keeping them in Hong Kong.  And for the very first time, Sino Group organised a 4-day Concours d’Elegance event to let these collectors share their automotive passion with everyone who came to the grounds of Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel.

“My Alfa Romeo is very reliable………until it breaks down!”

– Michael Wan

Unlike Pebble Beach which charges an exorbitant amount for entry, or the Quail which sells tickets on a lottery system, Gold Coast Motor Festival is much more inclusive, making it perfect for family day outing. In addition to the concours, there are bouncy castles, driving simulators, MakerBay Electric Vehicle Lab, Tomica and Kids Art Zone catering to a wide array of visitors.

Gold Coast Motor Festival has certainly raised the bar for Concours d’Elegance in this part of the world and I am already looking forward to next year’s event.