Few weeks ago, Asia Klasika celebrated their 5th anniversary by organizing The 5th Malaysia International Vintage and Classic Car Concourse at the stylish 5 star Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside Hotel, featuring some of the finest and most exquisite cars from around the region.
The theme of this year’s event, ‘A Gathering of Thoroughbreds’ had seen a selection of some of the most finely restored classic and vintage car in this region. For the first time ever, Asia Klasika had debuted the Rally Klasika – a Tour d’Elegance of Putrajaya which had seen a convoy of 25 vintage and classic cars taking part in the scenic drive around Putrajaya. I am very fortunate to take part in the drive in a beautifully restored and customized 1968 Chevrolet Impala Fastback. (Proud to say that my Ford Ranger joined the convoy too as the impromptu media car!)
This beautiful American Muscle, owned by Mr. Hatish Mayer of Mayer Cars and Restoration was the ‘Grand Champion of Judging Pavillion at the recently held Summernats Malaysia’ and also the ‘winner for Best of Show Automobile category at Art of Speed 2014’. Having spent around RM200,000 (USD60,000) for the past 2 years customizing the ride, it’s not your average classic American Muscle. The speedometer had been change to a modern digital speedo while at the same time retaining its original frame; in addition to a push start button, the gear shifter had been changed to button ones, like the one we usually see in an Aston Martin. The small block V8 engine packs 350 horses but the Mr. Hatish hinted he will be going for more, so stay tuned!
The few hours spent in the Impala with Mr. Hatish was priceless as I’m able to listened to how he, as a very experienced car restorer and a car connoisseur look at cars compared to us young people. He wanted to bring out the passion of young people in enjoying classic cars, not in a classic way but a modern way. Hence that influenced him to rebuild classic cars in a way that new generations enjoy classic cars in a modern form. That explains the uber modern customization seen in his Impala Fastback that comes with modern sound system imported from Germany and US that’s iPod and thumb drive compatible. He prefers enjoying the car in a retro way that comes with a personal touch and that also what makes his works stood out from the crowd.
The Rally Klasika experience was a very unique one for me as this was the first time I joined a convoy that mainly consist of classic and vintage rides with one of them being a 1926 Rolls Royce Connaught Tourer. For me who usually joins high speed and adrenaline filled supercars convoy with Blue Jackets etc, this convoy proves to be much relax and less tensed. The tour was enjoyable overall until we stopped in front of the Prime Minister office to let the public take some pictures with these beautiful cars, some tourists got over excited and start going into the cars without owner’s permission while some have no respect towards these priced vehicles by having their kids standing on the car for photos. This shows that we still need time to cultivate the appreciation for these classic arts, yet this small incident didn’t hamper everyone’s mood and we all continued to enjoy the rest of the rally.
Of all the countless classics and vintage there, one of my most favourite masterpieces would be the 1954 Bentley R Type Continental.
Owned by Larry TS Lim of Singapore, this gorgeous Bentley went on to win the high coveted and prestigious Sultan Ibrahim Cup. The R Type Continental was a high performance version of the R Type, and was the fastest 4 seater of its time as well as the epitome of British Luxury in the 1950s. The Continental had an all aluminium body with an elegant styling influenced by wind tunnel testing conducted at Rolls Royce plant. Only 207 were produced, with 43 of them being a Left Hand Drive.
Quite a number of rare classics appeared at the event such as the extremely rare 1934 Mercedes Benz 500K, which is also some of the most highly valued car in the world. A 1982 Porsche 911 ‘Flauchbau’ (930), also known as slantnose, was also featured at the event. Quite surprisingly a C110 Skyline, better known as the ‘Ken & Mary’ or ‘Kenmeri’ appeared at the event, despite many sold in Japan, only a handful of them survived today.
The ‘Pullman Sale’ at Asia Klasika highlighted the sale of what was called ‘Investment Grade Car’. The centre of the sale is a beautifully maintained 1983 Ferrari 512i BB ‘Berlinetta Boxer’ with an asking price of a a whopping RM1.9million, that cost as much as a brand new Ferrari 458 Italia but being one of only 42 RHD produced, owning the 512 BB is owning part of Ferrari history and definitely one collector’s item. If European exotic doesn’t suits you, a low mileage Nissan GTR 32 was also featured at the sale, accompanied by a Toyota Celica Supra.
In keeping with tradition, The Royal Patron, HRH The Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Almarhum Sultan Iskandar displayed a magnificent selection of cars from his collection. A 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby 1000, capable of pushing up to 1100hp took the centre stage. Also displayed were a pair of Ford Mustang Mach 1s, a Carroll Shelby signed RHD GT500 ‘Eleanor’ Mustang, a 1979 Indianapolis Mustang Pace Car as well as a supercharged MG TC, 1968 Maserati Ghibli SS and a Porsche 911 Turbo. You might have noticed there’s quite a few numbers of Mustangs, that’s because this year is Mustang 50th anniversary! Great news to all Mustang fans out there, Sime Darby Auto Connexion had also announced that they will be officially bringing in the latest RHD Ford Mustang for sale in Malaysia in 2016!
Other than rare cars, something else unique was spotted at the event, which is the kneeling version of The Spirit of Ecstasy.
The ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, also known as ‘The Flying Lady’, ‘Emily’ or ‘The Silver Lady’ had been one of the most recognizable hood ornaments for cars. It was designed by Charles Sykes as a tribute to the secret relationship between editor of ‘ The Car’ magazine, John Walter Edward Scott – Montagu and his secretary Eleanor Velasco Thornton in 1909.
It initially started as the Whisperer but was modified in 1911 to the existing one and was fitted on to all Rolls Royce model. The one seen here, which is a rarer kneeling version, produced between 1934-1939 and 1946-1955, was fitted onto the sport saloon of Rolls Royce range to give a better view of the road for the drivers.
Summing up, this round of Asia Klasika auto show had seen a number of improvements compared to the previous year such as selecting a nostalgic hotel to be paired with, although the location can’t manage to pull as many crowd as like the previous shows, but those who came, they came with the spirit of appreciating these beauties and not much rowdy crowds compared to previous years. Although numbers of cars seems to be less than previous round, but the quality of the cars this round had improved significantly and more beautifully restored. This 3 days of travelling back in time had seen how cars had changed over the year, from the bodywork to the mechanics of it. Like every round of Asia Klasika, I just can’t wait for the next round because you never know what you gonna see!
“I also would like to take this opportunity to proudly introduce a new member of the BenAutobahn.com team, Wayne Yap who wrote this story on Asia Klasika. Many thanks to Wayne and my fellow friend photographers Kah Weng, and Alvin Liew who took these stunning photos you see here and in the gallery below.
Welcome again Wayne and do look forward to more interesting articles from Wayne on this site in the future!” – Ben