Whilst in Australia over the summer, specifically in Melbourne, Victoria, I was invited to Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car exhibition. The car exhibition displayed the history of Australia’s automobile design and engineering, showcasing some of the most iconic vehicles as objects of art and design.
The exhibition focused on the development of the motor vehicle, from the steam powered, ‘horseless carriage’ and the very first ute (utility vehicle) right through to the Australian muscle cars and modern day race cars.
The exhibit was extremely formative and provided a great insight into the history of Australian motoring, with the main focal point of the exhibit being the 23 vehicles on display.
The exhibit roughly followed the chronological order of Australia’s car history, each exhibit had vast amounts of information, often with sketches and information about the designers and creators of the vehicle plus race honours where applicable.
Prior to the Shifting Gear exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, my knowledge and understanding of Australian cars was limited. I was well aware of Australia’s love for the ute (utility vehicle) which is a coupe utility to anybody who is unfamiliar with the term. The term ute encompasses all vehicles with a cargo tray in the rear. They are popular with the younger generation and high performance variants are commonplace, sporting huge 5 and 6 litre V8 engines.
Some extremely quirky and rare concept cars amongst the line-up of vehicles, that I felt very fortunate to witness all under one roof. Please look through the pictures that I took at the exhibit and enjoy. I have tried to provide name captions to each of the vehicles where possible.
I loved the hinged roof on the 1976 Purvis Eureka F4.
Finished in orange paint with metallic gold flakes and a completely removable roof and windscreen section, the 1969 GM Holden Hurricane was one of the stand out, unique vehicles for myself. Unfortunately it is just a concept car.
Australia’s first ever ute was here on display. It has not been restored or recreated, just left how it was found from when it was discovered in a barn. The first ever ute was created by a woman, who wanted a car that she could use go to Church on a Sunday and then take pigs to market on a Monday. It certainly is a fascinating piece of history, a far cry from the modified and tuned utes of today being the original descendant.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and my thoughts on the Shifting Gear exhibition.
What do you think of the Shifting Gear Exhibition? Do you have a favourite car from the event?
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