It's set to be the first major exhibition of its kind for an Australian art gallery, Shifting Gears: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car will showcase 23 iconic examples of our automotive ingenuity, alongside photographs, sketches, models and archival materials.
Australia has a surprisingly rich and colourful history and the exhibition - that will open at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) on March 6, 2015 - will also explore the future of the industry for Australia as the focus shifts from manufacturing to contributing specialist design knowledge at a global level.
Beginning with the good ol' days of steam powered 'horseless carriages', the show will feature everything from the quintessential Aussie favourite - the ute - through to muscle cars, V8s and flashy concepts as well as the history of the Royal Automotive Club of Victoria (RACV).
Among the highlights, the futuristic Holden Hurricane Coupe concept car that was built in Melbourne in 1969 (below) and restored in 2011. The 2005 Holden Efijy will be on show as well, as will the FR-1 that was designed by Brian Tanti to represent a look into the future of motoring in Australia.
Back in 1934 the wife of a Victorian farmer asked Ford for a vehicle that could get her to church on a Sunday, then double as a livestock hauler around the farm during the working week. The 'ute' was born as as the Ford coupe utility, designed by Lewis Bandt and the body style became a huge success.
Many will remember the 1973 XA Falcon GT that rolled off the production line at Ford's Geelong headquarters (below).
The Chrysler VH Valiant Charger R/T E49 coupe was made from 1971-1973 in Adelaide. At the time it was the fastest accelerating car in the world. In fact, from the late 1960's to early 1970's, Australia was making some of the world's fastest production cars.
Several cars are on-loan from private collections including the General Motors 1939 Pontiac all-enclosed-coupe and a Paul England designed and built Ausca sports racer from 1956.
Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley MP said Shifting Gear is an exciting showcase that celebrates the history of Australian car design, and also looks to the future.
‘With the Australian car manufacturing industry facing the serious challenges of globalisation and the planned closures of plants, the importance of innovation and design in the creative jobs of the future has never been more important. The lessons from car design are too important to lose.
‘The Victorian Government is working to ensure that our state’s creative industries continue to grow and thrive and lead the next century of design innovation.’
Shifting Gear: Design, Innovation and the Australian Car will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square from 6 March 2015 to 12 July 2015. Open 10am-5pm, closed Mondays.
Tickets on sale now from ngv.vic.gov.au. Adult $15 | Concession $12 | Child $7 | Family (2 adults, 3 children) $41