Unique restoration scores industry accolade

A Castlemaine business has won a major award for its restoration of what is widely regarded as the most important historic racing car in Australia.
Castlemaine’s Up The Creek vintage car specialists used cutting-edge laser scanning and 3D printing technology to help restore the world’s only 1914 Delage Type-S grand prix car – owned by Melbourne collector Stuart Murdoch.
At a recent black tie awards ceremony in Melbourne, the unique project saw Up The Creek declared among the state’s finest automotive businesses, taking out Victoria’s Best Restoration Project (Mechanical) in the 2018 VACC Industry Awards.
Up the Creek, owned by Grant Cowrie, was among 31 other automotive businesses announced as winners at the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce awards.
Up The Creek manager Daniel Clarke said the local business had engaged industrial designer Phil Guilfoyle as project manager for a significant aspect of the project – the replacement of the vintage racer’s cylinder block – while the project also included the overall mechanical restoration of the Delage.
“We’ve been very fortunate to be trusted to do it and appreciate Stuart, the owner’s foresight and faith in us to be able to complete the project for him,” Daniel said.
“It’s probably the most important historic racing car in Australia. In fact it is the most important historic racing car in Australia and we’re very pleased that we were able to deliver a result for it.”
The project even attracted the attention of ABC personality and vintage car buff Jon Faine and was documented on the ABC 7.30 Report.
But encounters with the rich and famous are nothing unusual for this niche local enterprise which – fans of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries series will be interested to note – worked on the engine for Phryne Fisher’s Hispano-Suiza car as it appeared on the ABC TV series.
“We did some repair work to the engine in time for the series to start filming. It was a fabulous car to drive,” Daniel laughs.
He describes winning the VACC award for the Delage restoration as somewhat humbling.
“Very pleased,” he laughs – “and a little bit humbled. It means that there’s an appreciative audience that finds the work we do interesting and useful.”

Eve Lamb
Journalist and photographer Eve Lamb has a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) degree from Deakin University and a Master of Arts (Professional Writing) from Deakin University. She has worked for many regional newspapers including the Hamilton Spectator and the Warrnambool Standard, and has also worked for metro daily, The Hobart Mercury, and The Sunday Tasmanian. Eve has also contributed to various magazines including Australian Cyclist.