Our History

The Bay to Birdwood Run was first held in 1980 when the Federation of Historic Motoring Clubs, SAS Channel Ten, and the National Motor Museum were invited to develop an event commemorating the issuing of the first South Australian driver’s licence in 1906 to Dr William A. Hargreaves.

BTB 1980

Stephen, Christina, Gabriella and Elizabeth Boros won the inaugural Bay to Birdwood Concours d’Elegance in 1980 in their 1930 Ford Model A (pictured)

The original agreed concept was a biennial run for pre-1950 vehicles from Glenelg (fondly known as “the Bay”) to the National Motor Museum in Birdwood.

By 1990 the Run had established itself as Australia’s premier historic motoring event and had earned Australia wide recognition by winning the National Tourism Award as the best special event or festival staged in Australia.

Because of its high survival rate of old vehicles, Australia has become internationally recognised as one of the world’s major storehouses of historic vehicles. South Australia has the highest per capita rate of ownership of historic vehicles in the nation. The advantage of having the National Motor Museum in the Adelaide Hills, along with a well-established restoration regime, has resulted in the preservation of historic vehicles becoming an important part of the South Australian culture.

As the number of interstate and country South Australian entrants grew, it was decided in 1986 to introduce a range of motoring and social activities around the Run under the title of Motorfest. In 1997 the Bay to Birdwood Classic was introduced for later model historic vehicles, making the Bay to Birdwood a yearly stalwart of South Australia’s event calendar.

Since celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020, the Bay to Birdwood has been a joint celebration of historic motoring, open to all unmodified vehicles greater than 30 years of age (in line with historic registration regulations in South Australia). This annual celebration has now firmly established itself as an iconic event for both entrants and spectators alike. It is one of the world’s great historic motoring events!