A Private Tour Through Dutton Garage
After the birth of the 2nd RWB in Australia had come to an end, we had some down time before everyone had to head off to the airport to fly home, and there was one thing I was dying to do before leaving Melbourne, and that was to check out Dutton Garage.
I had been dreaming of going to Dutton Garage ever since I came across their Instagram account and was lucky enough to be invited along by Olivia for a private tour of their world-class showroom, along with the rest of the RWB crew.
Located in Richmond just south of the CBD, Dutton Garage is a car dealer specialising in luxury, performance and collectable car sales, purchases and restoration. They are the largest Australian luxury car wholesaler that have both purchased and sold over 13,000 cars internationally.
Leading up to the visit, I could not contain my excitement and I was so fortunate to be spending this experience with a bunch of like-minded enthusiasts who not only appreciate cars but also appreciate art and design. The second we pulled up outside, I was instantly drawn to the raw materials used on the facade of the heritage-listed building, which was designed by world-renowned Architect Karl Fender. Being a self-confessed lover for all things industrial, this building was the epitome of perfection and I knew that what lay on the other side of the wrought iron doors, was going to be like walking into a dream.
Upon entering, I think every single jaw dropped as we were instantly captivated by the fine examples of air-cooled Porsches on display, and this was just in the front entrance room! As my eyes gazed around the room, I couldn't help but feel somewhat overwhelmed by everything. This was the first time I had ever encountered such a perfect showroom - it certainly was like walking into a dream...
Not only is the quality and provenance of the machinery sitting on the floor mind-blowing, but the remarkable collection of art on display is quite spectacular, like that Carroll Shelby installation on the rear wall behind the Porsches. I couldn't help but wonder that if this is just the entrance room, what was to come!?
Throughout the entire facility you'll come across all works of art and there’s no question that everything came at a hefty price tag - that kind of thing is given away when you spot the white POA cards on the dash, like on this stunning 1980 Ferrari 512 BB which was in absolute immaculate condition. But the whole point of the Dutton's Garage is to allow people to own (or admire) an important classic car that matches or even exceeds the quality of the original, and there are cars available for the more modest budget. One could only dream right?!
After a quick look at the cars on display in the entrance foyer, we headed downstairs to the batcave where we were greeted by a massive workshop – which is Dutton's restoration and race-car prep area. The entire space is clean, almost clinical, and is set-up to be able to undertake engine and gearbox rebuilds.
Amongst many of the iconic cars, one that caught our attention was the symbolic orange Porsche 911 RSR Iroc which was driven by Mark Donohue and arrived in Australia in 2014. Its engine has been restored to the correct, original, specs that Donohue enjoyed, while the coilover suspension is back in race trim. Christian from RWB also happens to own the only Iroc RWB back home in Seattle.
After strolling through the basement, we then made our way into the function area which was designed beautifully with more captivating pieces of automotive art. It almost feels as though you have been taken back in time when you step into this room and I love how they have kept the ceiling and brick work exposed, baring all the rough surfaces.
We then made our way upstairs and had a quick walk-through of their exquisite offices. With my background in Interior Design you can only imagine that I was in absolute awe as we toured through each room.
The attention to detail throughout each room was inspiring to say the least as I’m currently working on a mainly-concrete house, so my fascination with the architecture is professionally slavish. Plus you simply cannot go wrong with raw concrete and clean lines paired with classic automobiles.
Slates of marble, copper finishes and exposed concrete were evident throughout the entire 4 level building, which has inspired me for when it comes to the day that I get to design my own home.
After drawing inspiration and exploring the other levels whilst trying to take it all in, we then took the lift back down to explore the main level.
Overwhelming. That was the first reaction as the doors from the lift slid open. We were surrounded by a sea of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and so on, and it felt as though we were in an international automotive art museum of the highest calibre. There were unicorns everywhere, and I mean everywhere!
It is crazy to think that there’s currently $40+ million of stock on the floor! For now I think I will just admire from the photos I captured and dream of one day having an inventory like this.
After wandering through the showroom, we developed quite the appetite, so we put our camera's down and headed to Dutton's very own cafeteria. Melbourne is known for its cafe culture, so it is no surprise that Dutton Garage has a cafe inside, so visitors can always stop by for a cuppa at any time, whilst admiring the line-up of cars. I think this was the best view I've ever eaten in front of!
After enjoying ourselves over lunch and the afternoon fast approaching, it was sadly time to leave Dutton's and head to the airport to fly back home. I did not want this day to come to an end but I was so glad that I had the chance to visit and bring the RWB guys along with me. Hopefully next time I can come back and take some more photos and spend some more time learning about all of the cars.
As you've probably gathered by now, this isn't just any car showroom. It's one filled with some of the most desirable vehicle and art collections on the planet, so if you're ever visiting Melbourne, make sure you stop by! They are open every day to the public, and all the staff are incredibly accommodating, (plus the food is great too!) I guarantee it will be the best place you have ever visited!