The Climb to the Eagle is without a doubt one of the highlights of the Adelaide automotive calendar. The event has now become a first Friday of November institution for all of us, signalling that the start of the summer season is not far away.
And not only that, but after checking out the cars, you get to go and sit on the side of the road in the hills and watch them all roar past. And what’s more, it doesn’t even cost you a cent. You can then roll back into work around mid morning, still on high from the morning’s activity. Brilliant.
The idea for Climb to the Eagle came from John Blanden, who in 1985 decided to hold a car run in conjunction with the first Adelaide Formula 1 Grand Prix. The Sporting Car Club got behind the idea, and it soon became one of the highlight events of the Grand Prix weekend. Cars would leave from the track, and drive through the city to a morning tea at the Eagle on the Hill hotel. And some pretty big names participated over the years – Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio and Sir Jack Brabham just to name a few.
The cars were even more impressive – A Porsche 962, a Maserati 250F, and Mick Doohan riding his Grand Prix racing bike were just a few of the vehicles to have threaded their way through the Glen Osmond road traffic and on to the Eagle. I have a foggy recollection of going to one in about 1994 when I was six, and it was at that Climb to the Eagle that I saw my first Ferrari F40 in person.
The Climb to the Eagle tradition continues long after Formula 1 was poached from our city, and exactly 27 years to the day since Ayrton Senna qualified on pole for the first Adelaide Grand Prix, the Climb to the Eagle once again gridded up and departed from the start line of the Adelaide Street Circuit at 9am.
The 300SL is no less breathtaking no matter how many times you see it. I love the dash designs of these old Merc’s, so elegant and timeless yet the form is heavily influenced by usability and ergonomics in a way only the Germans can.
Nor does it have the sense of free spirited yet refined fun of the XK120. Although to cut the XK some slack, its predecessors are two of the most beautiful cars ever made, and in isolation the new XK is a fine automobile.
… and in this case, I feel that Pininfarina’s modern successor, the Ferrari 360 Modena, is a worthy descendant and the perfect modern interpretation of the smaller, mid engined Ferrari. I know the 430 and 458 are faster, better cars, but for me it’s the 360 that still gets my heart racing. It’s just so beautiful.
It was great to see this black D-Type replica in the natural light. I commented at the Torrens Parade Ground show that the paint on this thing just has to be seen to be believed, and I discovered that it’s another level again in proper daylight.
Hellaflush stance looks hot around the city and sounds like a great idea on the interwebs, but the harsh reality is that it sucks for proper driving. I’d love to say that this Mini was laying fat rubber around the bend, but no, it was merely the outside rear getting seriously intimate with the fender.
The badges are easily replicated, but this NSX had the legit titanium NSX-R gearknob, suede dash trimming and a pair of the uber rare red kevlar Recaro’s; all trademarks of the legendary NSX-R. Can any of the Honda fanboys out there positively identify this car as genuine?
Where there are car clubs, there are MX5’s, that’s just the way it goes. The owners of these probably also own British or Italian sports cars, but spend most of their time driving their MX5’s because it’s a lot more enjoyable than being stuck in the shed on a sunny day tracing electrical faults.
These two GT’s would have squared off against each other in the 60’s, so it was fun to watch them chase one another up the Eagle. I think in this case the Jaguar wins on looks, but the V12 Ferrari 330 definitely wins on exhaust note.
So who knows, if the rumours we’ve been hearing about a possible return of Formula 1 to Adelaide are true, maybe in 2015 these people will be assembling their cars just off the track, and they might be joined by a Webber or a Schumacher. Wouldn’t that be nice.
But one thing’s for certain. 3 years of covering the Climb to the Eagle from the sidelines is too many, and next year’s report simply must come from behind the wheel of something. Who know’s, if I stop driving the MX5 on sunny days I might just get that Italian sports car finished in time…
Words and photos by Andrew Coles.#300SL #Adelaide Street Circuit #Ayrton Senna #Climb to the Eagle #Formula 1 #Mercedes-Benz #SCCSA #Sporting Car Club