A bevy of historic cars in beautiful condition converged on the car park grounds of the MATRADE exhibition and convention centre on Sunday for Asia Klasika 2012, of which our sister site oto.my is a proud sponsor.
The clear skies provided a welcome break from the incessant downpour over the past week, and the sunlight glinted off the polished chrome and gleaming paintwork of the vehicles on display – the blast from the past was truly a sight to behold for classic car fans and families alike.
Also known as the Malaysian International Vintage and Classic Car Concours, the competition, now in its third year, comprised two one-make classes (Mercedes SL and MGB) and an open class; the latter divided into Vintage (pre-1940), Classic I (1941-1960), Classic II (1961-1975) and Modern Classic (1976-1987) categories.
Faithfulness to the original was the order of the day, as the participating cars were meticulously judged on the conditions of their engines, exterior and interior, suspension, wheels and even their undercarriages, by a panel that included our Paul and Harvinder!
Cars and owners bagged numerous awards, but the coveted overall Best of Show trophy went to a 1965 MGB roadster owned and restored by M. Sinnasamy.
“When I bought it three years ago it was in bad shape,” Sinnasamy said. “The 1.8 litre engine has been given a complete overhaul with parts sourced from the UK.” His pristine car also placed first in the MGB class, while in the Mercedes SL class, Ir Kor Chan Wah took top honours with his 1957 W121 190 SL, in shining silver paintwork.
Gracing the concours with his presence was HRH The Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, who inspected and admired each of the cars in turn as the event’s Royal Patron, before declaring his favourite – a 1975 short-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz 600 belonging to Datuk Jaya J.B. Tan. The ‘Grosser’ was the winner of the inaugural Sultan’s Cup, as well as the Classic II category.
Only 2,677 units of the Mercedes 600 were built between 1964 and 1981. The luxury car features a hydraulic system that powers the windows, seats, sunroof and boot lid amongst others. Notable owners included Coco Chanel, Elvis Presley and Fidel Castro. This particular example is one of the 240 RHD cars that were produced.
“My friend bought this 600 in the early 1980s for his father,” said Ong Kheng Liat, who had a hand in restoring the car. “It hadn’t been driven for 10 years, and four years ago he contacted me to help restore it. The work took three years.”
Ong cited the air suspension as one of the biggest issues he had to deal with. “At the time I got it there were many leaks, but we’ve just solved it. Most of the components have been rebuilt.”
His Royal Highness also had on display some stunning classic machinery from the Royal collection, including a one-off 1938 Lagonda specially built and presented to the Johor Sultanate (the only one of its kind in the world), BMW M1, Alpina B12 (tuned BMW 8 Series), Aston Martins DBS and V8 as well as the pair of Mercedes 300SLs that includes the Gullwing you’ve seen earlier.
The Vintage category was won by Stanley Yoong with his 1924 Rolls-Royce, while the Classic I category went to Jason Campos with his 1955 Mercedes 220S Ponton cabriolet. As mentioned earlier, the Classic II category was won by the Mercedes 600, and the winner of the Modern Classic category was Arnout Everts with his 1981 Citroen CX Prestige. In addition, the Best Preserved Automobile award went to Chandrasekar a/l Kandasamay with his 1965 Volvo 122S.
The cars are not the sole stars – we salute and congratulate the owners and restorers who have painstakingly worked to bring these pieces of motoring history back to their former glory, to be appreciated by the current generation and those to come.
The sixth-gen Mercedes-Benz SL had its local launch at the same venue only days before – more details on the SL350 here.