From the Ford Falcon to the Holden Commodore to the Great Aussie Ute, Australians have always been passionate about their home-grown cars.
But these favourites are only the tip of the iceberg, as shown in a new NGV exhibition showcasing the amazing history of Australian car innovation, design and engineering.
In these gloomy days of car production shifting ever further off-shore, it’s hard to remember that Australia has been kicking design goals from the very first steam-powered ‘horseless carriage’ to ever-more sophisticated muscle cars, racing cars, sports cars and high-performance ‘concept cars’ like the futuristic 1969 Holden Hurricane coupe (pictured below).
Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car will display many of Australia’s most iconic vehicles, alongside a wealth of photographs, models, sketches, illustrations and archival materials, all exploring this country’s rich auto heritage.
From 6 March to 12 July this year, the National Gallery of Victoria will look back on the heyday of the Australian car industry, exploring the expert designers of some of our most loved cars and the rocky road they travelled to make their dreams a reality.
Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said: “Shifting Gear will be the first major exhibition of Australian car design and is exclusive to the NGV. As part of the NGV’s commitment to showcasing design, this exhibition will uncover how the modern automobile is far more than simply a means of transport; it is a sophisticated design object that reflects contemporary aesthetics and social values.”
So what does the future hold for Australia’s struggling car industry? The exhibition will look at how we can shift from being a manufacturer to a global contributor of specialist design knowledge, cementing our place in this growing field.
This is a real up-close exhibition. The cars themselves make an appearance here, to be seen in all their glory.
And for the designers of tomorrow? School children can learn how to design and construct their own ride-in box racing car from recycled materials . . . then take it for a test drive.
Anyone for a spin?