Celebrating The Motoring Heritage

BY Burnpavement

The former Ford Motor Factory hosted the Motoring Heritage Day, an event filled with nostalgic memories.

The Ford factory came into existence when the demand for Ford vehicles grew in the 1940's. In October 1941, the Ford Motor Company opened its first motorcar assembly plant in Southeast Asia along Bukit Timah Road and it stayed in operation until 1980. Today, part of the original factory remains as a gazetted national monument housing a permanent World War II exhibition gallery and archive repositories.

The Motoring Heritage Day is a collaboration between the National Heritage Board (NHB) and the Malaysia and Singapore Vintage Car Register (MSVCR). This event also presented the public a rare opportunity to come up close and personal with these iconic motoring gems.

With almost 80 percent of cars on our roads today aged 10 years and below, it came as a surprise to find cars that were born way before the first expressway in Singapore was completed. The exhibition area had close to 40 cars worth of nostalgic memories, some of which were built in the factory itself. Here are some of the classics that caught our eyes.

This 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet B and the 1941 Ford Mercury Convertible survived World War II. The Ford has a history of being confiscated by the Japanese to be used as an officers’ car. It then was handed over to the Dutch, the Indonesian Army, several private owners and finally to its current owner.

It was not just Singapore-registered classic cars that were at the exhibition, several Malaysian members of the MSVCR and their beautifully kept cars were part of the exhibition. This 1965 Ford Cortina was one of the cars that gave Ford a reputation for offering a lot of car for the money.

This 1969 Ford Capri 1600GT was made at the Ford Motor Factory and is the only one left in Singapore. The Capri brought a sporting edge to the marque and remains a desirable classic to this day. Next to it is a 1979 Ford Cortina 1600GL that has remained with the same family since it was first produced back in 1979. Back then, the Ford Cortina was one of the popular family saloons on our roads.

The 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT was a coupé designed by Bertone and it had a nippy drive. It had a beautiful cabriolet variant, but the soft top variant is very rare. It was joined by the 2000GTV in 1971.

No, this isn't James Bond's Lotus Esprit Turbo but it's a fine example of how long the name has been with us. Built in 1982, this Series 2 embroidered the Lotus philosophy of “Performance through lightweight”, which still exists today.

Three roadsters we wouldn't mind having: The Triumph Spitfire, MG TF1500 and the second gen Mercedes-Benz SL. These sports cars offered wind through their owners' hair for a relatively modest outlay - just like the modern Mazda MX-5.

Also present at the show were luxury coupes such as this 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr Club Coupe and the 1953 Bentley R-Type Continental Coupe. This was the first time the famed Continental name appeared on a Bentley and the only time when Zephyr appeared as part of the Lincoln marque.

The 1960 Austin-Healey Sprite was known as the "Frogeye" in the UK and the "Bugeye" in the US. Being affordable and practical, the Sprite also had the performance capabilities to make it a formidable competition car and it is still being raced by their owners today.