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Lotus Evora for Melbourne

And the show will go on.

A battle over the future of Australian motoring shows has not affected plans for the 75th running of the Melbourne Motor Show in March.

Lotus has already committed the first high-profile newcomer to the event and organisers have begun a search for a catalogue from the first show, which was run in 1925.

The show will open on February 27 and organisers are expecting a strong event, despite the global new-car slowdown and decisions to cancel motor shows in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth next year.

“We are most definitely going ahead in 2009. We've got the majority of brands on the market,” says show organiser Russ Tyrie, of the VACC.

The future of motor shows in Australia is likely to be decided by a joint taskforce set up by the Melbourne and Sydney organisers, who are aiming for a single event and perhaps a new shared date in the middle of the year.

“We're just trying to get a result that works for both us and the motor industry,” Tyrie says.

While planning for a single show alternating between Melbourne and Sydney continues, Tyrie and his team are pushing ahead on their 2009 plan.

He has already locked-in the Lotus Evora for its Australian debut.

It is a mid-engined, two-plus-two sports car that sits above the Elise and Exige, complete with a 3.5-litre V6 engine. The Evora has rakish looks and a list of available equipment which runs to driver-adjustable suspension and an active noise-cancellation system for the cabin.

Lotus Cars Australia will reveal full details, including the car's price, on the opening day of the show.

That is also when Tyrie hopes to have a copy of the catalogue from the original show. He is offering a reward package as he looks to complete the history display for the 75th show with a full spread of catalogues.

“We have them for all but five of the 74 shows to date,” Tyrie says.

The 2009 Melbourne Motor Show, at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, will be run from Friday, February 27, to Monday, March 9.