Off the train tracks in Richmond, on a little road called Madden Grove there is a secret. A treasure, even. Peer behind these doors, or should the Michelin Man down the side alley catch your gaze, and be treated to an astonishing menagerie of exotic, classic, super and rare automobiles. This is Dutton Garage.
Dutton Garage is an institution, established in 1911 but not reaching full strength as an exotic car establishment until a later merging of Morgan Sachs ownership, the Dutton Sporting Cars legacy and arguably Australia's best, and certainly most passionate, automobile mechanics. Dutton Garage is a showroom, a garage, and a retreat for car enthusiasts and buyers. Generously, Dutton Garage have their doors open to the public, where cars with multi-million dollar price tags can be closely admired.
An oasis-blue Porsche beckoning one to Dutton Garage
Each visit to Dutton's is a treat, in that there are newly acquire classic and exotic cars in the showroom, out the front, and along the architecturally designed ramp entrance. There are classics, such as an original Willys Jeep, Porsches from the fifties and sixties, and blue-chip Ferraris, as well as modern Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Mercedes' and Bentleys. The online catalogue lists all available and sold inventory for both categories, and lists prices for about one-third of these, with the remainder mysteriously "$POA." There are also no price stickers throughout the showroom, which features about one hundred cars. As the saying goes, "if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it."
Lamborghini Countach, derived from the word Piedmontese men would use to refer to breathtaking women - one of many supercars on display
One doesn't need to be buying or selling to have a reason to visit Dutton Garage. The fully licensed Dutton Garage Kitchen is centrally placed in the showroom, and offers espresso coffee, drinks and refreshments, with comfortable seating in which to admire the showroom design, automobilia artefacts and decor, and listen to the conversational rises and falls from the passionate Italian tifosi usually seen on neighbouring tables. Dutton Garage staff are among the most knowledgeable car aficionados in Australia, and there are even in-house specialists for Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. They will gladly welcome any questions and inquiries and are never pushy or pro-selling. All they ask in return for the ongoing open doors and accessibility to cars which most will never drive, let alone own, is that visitors respect the automobiles, and do not touch or sit in cars without first talking to a staff member. While the showroom is open to the public, the entire bottom floor of the warehouse, and the top floors are off-limits. Presumably, there are more cars on each level, with a few glimpses being afforded to the lower level workshops where Dutton Garage conduct their restoration and race preparation work.
A visit to Dutton Garage is fun for all; there is the warehouse decor, automobile antiquities, nooks and crannies hiding classic cars, and the experience of being so close the exotic supercars and classic rarities on display. With Dutton Garage staff friendly, welcoming and knowledgable and with a cafe offering a perfect break in a cool venue, it rounds out the experience.