Rare and vintage marques
An all-round celebration of automobiles, Robb Report Singapore’s Car of the Year 2017 showcased several of motoring’s past legends thanks to partners Luxglove, a curated collectibles marketplace. Robb Report’s invited guests were mostly drawn to the early iteration of the Ford Zephyr. The post-war Ford’s pronounced hood showcases an exposed engine that is flanked with cheeky decals just behind its dramatic fenders.
Car connoisseurs were also seen enthusiastically snapping photos of the Fiat 130 Coupe that was parked along the main walkway of the Car of the Year exhibition. The successor of the Fiat 2300, the 130 Coupe heralded Fiat’s significant departure from its conventionally boxy style. A sign of things to come for the evolution of Fiat design in the 1980s, the 130 Coupe enjoyed much acclaim during its heyday. Both its four-door saloon and two-door coupe were the pride and enjoy of Fiat from 1969 to 1977.
Another conversation piece that turned heads with its unusual form was the Panther Kallista. Dressed in a smart suit of purple and silver, this retrospective English endeavour is powered by Ford engineering and was the apple of many a gentleman’s eye back in the 1980s.
The Mercedes E36 AMG Convertible on display hit closer to home. Once a popular symbol of status in developing Singapore, this special edition of the E Class recognises the longstanding partnership between Mercedes and AMG.
Back in the day, Alfa Romeo thrived as one of motoring’s most sought-after marques. The six-cylinder Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint Speciale represented speed and might in the swinging 60s, with red being the colour of choice. When people thought of Alfa Romeo, this flagship speedster would come to mind. The Alfa Romeo 2600 Sprint Speciale would however prove to mark a pivotal juncture in the brand’s history – its descendants were no longer individually crafted, but mass produced in factories to target middle income consumers. Later collections like the 1750 series became commonplace among family cars of the late 1960s, but the brand would every so often produce sporty iterations like its Alfa Romeo 1750 Veloce, which brandishes a racier GT design.
The unforgettable Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Cabriolet Lowlight, too, was a symbol of freedom back in its day. Named after the suave lights on its dipping bonnet, this object of desire has attracted a sizeable following up till now. A Volkswagen gifted a new chassis by coachbuilder Wilhelm Karmann in collaboration with automobile designer Carrozzeria Ghia, the Karmann Ghia’s intrepid design was unfortunately only given the green light after its designer and main proponent Wilhelm Karmann had passed on. However, his creation went on to win the hearts of innumerable car aficionados, and experienced a skyrocketing of its price due to the market’s insatiable demand for it.
The aficionados who graced Robb Report Singapore’s Car of the Year 2017 were most enthralled by the off-kilter appearances of the Austin Healey 3000 MK II and the Lotus Super Seven S4. Back in the day, the 3000 MK II was a dramatic unveiling by this storied marque. It underwent numerous technological and aesthetic upgrades throughout the 1950s and 60s. Meanwhile, the latter is an extraordinarily longevous sports car that enjoyed over two decades of fanfare – the brainchild of English designer Colin Chapman that exhibited finesse both as a road car and a clubman racing car.
However, the undisputed star of the show was the Ferrari F40. Making its debut in 1987, the 40th anniversary of Ferrari’s founding, the F40 was at once bristling with technology and incredibly spartan. Its twin-turbocharged V8 was state-of-the-art, as was its composites bodyshell; this is in stark contrast to the complete dearth of electronic driver aids, sound deadening material, a sound system and even door handles (it used an exposed cable instead).
Among these vintage marques, several vaunted luxury brands also set up displays at Robb Report Singapore’s Car of The Year. Among them, the 131-year-old shoemaker Pantofola d’Oro, which has fashioned shoes for Italy’s most prominent footballers. Then there was Sam & Sara Home, which presented its nickel-plated stainless steel tableware, marine-grade anti-corrosion lanterns, as well as its new furniture line Ipse Ipsa Ipsum, a collection produced in collaboration with Singaporean designer Nathan Yong.
German finesse, Italian flair