Victoria's car manufacturing industry may be in terminal decline but you could be forgiven for thinking we were entering a new golden day.
Just weeks after motors from the Formula One Grand Prix revved up Albert Park, Melbourne is hosting a national-first car exhibition at its state art gallery and the brand new Australian Motoring Festival, which opened on Thursday.
It is not quite the fully fledged revival the industry was hoping for, but the new players are making their pitch for relevance and it is being welcomed.
The motoring festival has risen from the ashes from Melbourne International Motor Show, which was cancelled in 2013 after visitor numbers plummeted from 320,000 in 2001 to just 194,000 in 2011. Perhaps reflecting a permanent change in the industry, organisers are only expecting up to 50,000 attendees.
One of the reasons could be the lack of car brands involved – Toyota is one of only six car companies to have signed up. Noticeably, neither Holden nor Ford – the two biggest sellers in Australia – is taking part.
But that is not dampening the spirit of organisers, Royal Auto Club Victoria and Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce. Geoff Gwilym, executive director at VACC, said the market was still strong
"Australians still love their cars, and so we think that a festival focused on experiencing the automotive industry in motion has a genuine and long-term place in the Australian event calendar," he said.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 93,432 new cars were sold across the country in February alone, up 0.2 per cent on January. Of those, 25,883 were sold in Victoria.
In its heyday, the international show was the go-to destination for car buyers and enthusiasts to test out the latest in technologies and explore prototypes of "cars of the future". As more people looked online when deciding which car to buy, and high petrol prices meant more people downsized their car size, the show fizzled.
The current round of celebrations is in contrast with the actual car industry. After the Abbott government withdrew hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies last year, Ford, Holden and Toyota are all winding back their operations in Victoria and South Australia. Factories are set to close by 2017.
But in another sign that interest won't be driven away with manufacturing, the National Gallery of Victoria is hosting Shifting Gear, the first exhibition of motor vehicles in an art institution, examining iconic vehicles as "objects of art and design".
A mix of sponsorship and philanthropy is funding the show, which gallery spokeswoman Marian Joseph said received an "overwhelmingly positive" response.
"Via written feedback, one visitor called Shifting Gear 'absolutely fantastic and revolutionary' and they were moved to tears by the exhibition."
The future, Mr Gwilym said, belongs in design and engineering.