IT IS commonly held that Melburnians will turn up to the opening of an envelope. Well, I’m here to tell you that the adage is holding true in these post-lockdown times, at least in the automotive community. Every show or race event I’ve attended since restrictions lifted has been oversubscribed.
And so it was yesterday, at the sixth edition of the Highball Motor Club’s Cars & Coffee, held at Bosch headquarters in Clayton. Kicking off at 8am, the event was a four-hour, full-body immersion in the past 70 years or so of motoring history.
A stroll through Highball Cars & Coffee is like being run through an automotive version of the Infinite Improbability Drive dreamed up by Douglas Adams for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. That is to say, the probability of encountering a type of car you’ve never seen before is very high.
Take, for example, this Volvo 480 Turbo. Never sold new in Australia, I had never twigged to the car’s existence, let alone see one in the flesh.
The first-ever front-wheel-drive Volvo, it was powered by a Renault-sourced four-pot and featured Lotus-tuned suspension. The 480 was one of Volvo’s regular, unsuccessful attempts to change its dowdy image.
On the other hand, HG Holden GTS Monaros can be viewed at just about any street machine-type show. But towing a period-correct vintage speedboat? Not so much.
Okay, if you live in Melbourne, you are actually quite likely to see this Autozam AZ-1 out and about at various shows. However, the 657cc, mid-engined, gullwing-door Kei car is one of a tiny handful on the road Down Under, making every sighting of its irresistible cuteness a blessing.
The other side to the Highball event’s improbability is the juxtapositions you’ll be confronted with. Where else can you see a Lamborghini Aventador parked with a VL Commodore on one side and a hotted-up Mazda RX-3 on the other? It’s a beautiful thing, and totally in keeping with the Highball Car Club’s philosophy.
To quote their website: “The HMC prides itself in being vehicle agnostic, with two of the key prerequisites for membership being a love of the automotive and a very, very down-to-earth attitude. All members are equals regardless of whether their car costs $5000 or $500,000.”
Entry to these shows is free! The HMC crew rattle the tin for donations to their charity partner, Goldie’s Angels, while the Bosch folks donate a portion of the funds raised through coffee and T-shirt sales as well. Sound like a good time? Keep an eye on the club’s Facebook page for the details on upcoming events.
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