Southeast Asia just got its first prestigious automotive event and it’s held in Singapore – here’s what it’s like

The expansive line-up of vintage cars at the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance is any car enthusiast’s dream come true.
Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

With modern cars dominating Singapore’s automobile landscape, vintage and classic cars seem to have turned into an archaic remnant of the past.

But make no mistake, they have not faded out of existence yet despite today’s eye-popping prices of Certificates of Entitlement.

In fact, they are making a spectacular comeback at the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance,  what’s been dubbed as Southeast Asia’s first-ever prestigious automotive event.

Happening from June 29 to July 1, the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance is the headline event of the iconic Fullerton Building’s 90th anniversary celebrations, showcasing over 90 vintage, classic and super cars from around the world.

With highlights like a live concours judging contest and charity car drive, the event is set to draw in over 30,000 local and international visitors, say its organisers.

Business Insider was invited to an exclusive media preview at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore on Tuesday (Mar 13), and here’s what you can look forward to.

We were invited to the East Garden foyer near the hotel’s main lobby where two luxury vintage cars greeted us in full glory.

The cars on display were a blue 1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Ponton Cabriolet (left) and a red 1959 Austin Healey Sprite Mk. 1, both faithfully restored and in pristine condition.

Here’s a little trivia: The Sprite is affectionately nicknamed “frogeye” or “bugeye” because of its prominent top-mounted headlights that were originally designed to be retractable.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

The cars were being used for a demonstration by Concours d’Elegance’s chief judge Dr Ivor Thevathasan to show how luxury cars would be assessed during the actual contest.

A concours d’elegance is akin to a beauty pageant for prestigious vehicles whereby cars are judged by authenticity and appearance.

“Like how Miss Universe contests are for young women, the concours d’elegance is for old ‘women’,” said Dr Thevathasan, who is also president of the Malaysia and Singapore Vintage Car Register.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

At the hotel’s entrance facing Battery Road, I was greeted by two Rolls-Royce luxury vintage cars set up exclusively for the media preview.

Surely I couldn’t miss out on taking Instagram-worthy photos with these beauties that look fit for royalty – and way too expensive for me to ever possibly afford.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

After shamelessly flaunting my imaginary wealth by standing next to the cars, I was ushered over to an open area next to The Fullerton Bay Hotel where a bevy of vintage cars of all sorts was assembled.

From classic Volkswagen vans to flamboyantly coloured Mini Coopers, the automobile line-up against the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands was pure eye-candy for car enthusiasts.

The Fullerton Concours d’Elegance will feature cars from four different classes: pre-WWII, 1940s to 1970s classics, GTs and post-1970s modern classics.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Those who have a penchant for exotic supercars will be glad to know that Bugatti, Ferrari and Porsche automobiles – among many other brands – will also be part of the roster.

Be sure to look out for the historic 1934 Austin Seven Ulster Special, glamorous 1961 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Southeast Asia’s only right hand drive 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Here’s a sneak peek at what is just a fraction of the entire line-up that will be at the 90th anniversary celebration:

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Finally, it was time to be part of the action as I was given the rare chance to ride in one of the cars for the charity car drive.

My driver was William Lyou, a member of a Singapore Mini Cooper car club.

Unsurprisingly, my ride was a charming Morris Mini Cooper S, which according to William, has a rich history of cross border rallies in its heyday.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

After embarrassing myself by struggling with the unfamiliar mechanics of the Mini Cooper’s door handle, we were ready to set off for a scoot around Marina Bay.

William casually mentioned that he used to race at Old Upper Thomson Road – which was previously a Grand Prix circuit – back in the day.

Thankfully, the entire ride went swimmingly and was admittedly exhilarating.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Our thoughts: Even if you aren’t really a car enthusiast, there is still a lot of fun to be had with the whole family at the Fullerton Concours d’Elegance.