A visit to Classic Throttle Shop

DSC_0178Any Given Reason was recently in Sydney on a flying weekend trip for decidedly non automotive purposes. However, with Sydney being the hotspot of Australian automotive culture it is, there were two iconic premises on the must visit list – Deus ex Machina and Classic Throttle Shop. I’ve already posted about Deus here, however I decided to save the best for last.

DSC_0112Classic Throttle Shop is quite simply the first and last word in premium classic cars from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Spanning over two levels, CTS is the largest classic car showroom in Australasia. But it’s not just the size that sets CTS apart – it’s the sheer quality of their stock. Quite simply, every car for sale, be it original or restored, is a concourse winner. There’s no shaggy dog stories attached to any of these cars, they are the best of their respective types.

DSC_0148The other thing that sets CTS apart is the location. The showroom is actually in the Sydney Harbour Bridge structure in North Sydney.

DSC_0171This is the view from just a hundred meters up the road from the showroom. The location means CTS is easy to get to from the city – just catch a train from Circular Quay to the Milsons Point station, and walk a few minutes north.

DSC_0114One of the more impressive cars for sale was this Ferrari 212 Barchetta from 1951.

DSC_0038DSC_0040First displayed as a running chassis at the London Earl’s Court Motor Show, chassis 0165EL was purchased off the stand by future Formula 1 world champion Mike Hawthorn. The car remained in Europe until coming into the New Zealand collection of well-known vintage racer Peter Giddings in 1996, and then into Australia via Ferrari collector Guido Belgiorno-Nettis , who then sold it to Jeff Dutton in 2003.

DSC_0032 DSC_0046Apparently the 212 does get driven from time to time, and one can only imagine what it feels and sounds like to work the revvy 2500cc V12 through its five gears.

DSC_0037Serious business when the gear knob uses roman numerals!

DSC_0095This Jaguar XJ220 wasn’t for sale, but it was a welcome addition to the collection. I’ve never seen one of these in person before, and my knowledge of it is limited to the Matchbox XJ220 I had as a kid (which I loved). The Tom Walkinshaw Racing developed XJ220 is a seriously extreme piece of machinery in person, more so than appears in photos.

DSC_0018The 3.5 litre V6 is fitted with twin Garrett T3 turbochargers producing 543hp. This was the first V6 to be fitted to a Jaguar, although it’s not just any V6 – it’s a derivative of the Cosworth DFV Formula 1 engine, and was originally designed for use in the Austin Metro 6R4 Group B rally car. TWR first planned a version of their 6.2 V12 Le Mans engine for the XJ220, however this was deemed too difficult to pass emissions regulations with.

DSC_0001This 1973 Porsche 911S Targa was the recipient of a no expense spared, ground up body and mechanical restoration. I’ve never before been a huge fan of the Targa, but this example has given me serious cause to reconsider my position. Far removed from the motorsport connotations usually associated with 1973 model 911’s, the Targa offers an entirely different kind of cool.

DSC_0004Just look at those ridiculously rare Porsche factory option ski racks this example is fitted with. I could just imagine twirling this 911 through a long series of mountainous switchbacks on a snowy evening on the way up to the ski chalet, heater on, Ella Fitzgerald emanating from the period Blaupunkt stereo.

DSC_0100There were only 4 1973 911 S Targa’s delivered to Australia, not surprising given their asking price was the same as that of the immortal Carrera 2.7 RS. Admittedly this is a flawless example with full history, books and invoices at the top end of the market, but its $165,000 asking price indicates that the days of the Targa being an affordable entry into 911 ownership are close to over.

DSC_0097One hazards to use the term ‘replica’ around this GT40 – an exact copy is a more apt term, to the point that GT40 specialists have never seen a better copy. The level of detail is stunning – the correct spot welds for the fuel tanks and ribbing of the chassis panels are done exactly like an original car. All the correct components are used too – the 200mph speedo, the original rear view mirror, the correct seating trim, correct lighting, period BRM wheels with Halibrand knock offs, the correct ZF 525-2 gearbox is fitted to the correct 302 Windsor V8 and it even runs period Gurney Eagle heads. In fact it’s so close that the suspension and brake components are interchangeable with an original GT40. It’s pretty much a real GT40, and with an asking price of $229,995 it almost laughs in the face of the $2million plus asked for genuine GT40’s these days.

DSC_0128 DSC_0073There were McQueen vibes coming left, right and center from this Jaguar XK SS replica. The XK SS is one of the ultimate road going racers, and was conceived as a way of selling the unused D-type Le Mans chassis when Jaguar withdrew from racing in 1955. The XK SS uses a simple formula: Take a D-type racing car, add a passenger door, a passenger seat, remove the divided cockpit center and headrest fin, add a full windscreen and some bumpers and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a road car!

DSC_0019CTS isn’t just about selling classic cars, they’re more about living the classic car lifestyle. The main showroom at CTS can be used as a function center and has held events, fashion shows, dinners, functions, seminars and photo shoots for clients like Zimmermann, Penfolds, Hermes Paris, Country Road, Vogue and Gibson USA.

DSC_0119There’s a small cafe serving drinks and coffee…

DSC_0121… a dedicated automotive art section…

DSC_0061… and a stock of accessories and clothing required for proper classic motoring.


There’s an airy upstairs section too, housing yet more automotive temptations and surprises…

DSC_0133… such as this wooden buck. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what car is it for…

DSC_0136… although one thing is for certain, it was most certainly hand built and the craftsmanship was first class.

DSC_0168Sydney can often be a tough place to garage a car, so for that reason CTS also offer a warehouse where they will house and maintain your classic for you, ensuring it is ready whenever you desire.

DSC_0014It occurred to me that visiting Classic Throttle Shop is kind of like stepping right into the pages of a Classic & Sportscar or Octane magazine.

DSC_0023The variety is huge, but it has all been carefully selected to maintain quality and relevance.

DSC_0126You turn the page to discover something unexpected…

DSC_0091… or an old favorite in an unusual hue.

DSC_0027Or maybe you just spend some time appreciating something you’ve overlooked before.

DSC_0111Visiting Classic Throttle Shop is a must do experience not just for enthusiasts of all things classic, but for anyone who appreciates fine things. My girlfriend was a little hesitant of coming with me to a ‘car dealership’, but even she admitted that she really enjoyed her visit. It’s that kind of place.

DSC_0060Classic Throttle Shop can be found at Bays 3+4, 50-64 Pacific Highway, North Sydney.


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  1. Tom Gilbert March 21, 2013 Reply

    Awesome...'nuf said.

  2. Zander Pickering March 21, 2013 Reply

    Pretty awesome isn't it! Loved the artwork from Tim Layzell and Guy Allen, especially the Felix Petrol Abarth! They must have good taste!
    As you enjoyed CTS so much, you need to try and get to Meilenwerk in Dusseldorf - Its CTS but BIGGER! http://www.duesseldorf.de/planung/projekte/umnutzung/meilenwerk.shtml

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