A RARE 1923 Alfa Romeo RL Super Sport was the centre of attention yesterday as it was driven around the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery car park, Launceston.

QVMAG curator of history Jon Addison said that the car was one of only five remaining in the world. This was the first time the Alfa had been driven for about two years, but it is started twice a year as part of its regular maintenance program.

The museum bought the car in 1991 for $200,000, but Mr Addison would not estimate its current value. “The car was sent out for an exhibition in Melbourne in 1923 but arrived too late and was bought by Gordon Fysh, who raced it,” he said.

“He paid 795 pounds for the car and another 150 pounds on the (aluminium) bodywork so it was one of the more expensive vehicles in the country. But it paid off – he won pretty much every race he took part in.”

Among those who came along to look at the Alfa was Gordon Fysh’s daughter Judy McDougall, of Launceston, who had not seen the car until yesterday.

“Dad sold it in 1925, before I was on the map,” she said. “I think mum had difficulty getting into it in the long, tight skirts they wore then.”

Members of the NSW- based Vintage Sports Car Club of Australia witnessed the occasion and Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten was given the honour of starting the sporty six-cylinder. Club members had been on a motoring tour of Tasmania for the past week and caught the Spirit of Tasmania last night.

Among the 18 vintage sports cars touring the State were a 1920s Rolls- Royce Silver Ghost, a 1935 Bentley 3.5L, a 1923 Vauxhall 23-60 and a 1957 Jaguar XK150.

Yesterday afternoon members visited the National Automobile Museum while their wives and partners hit Launceston’s shops.–BY PETER SANDERS in The Examiner

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