This year was my first time at Classic Days in “Schloss Dyck” and it was overwhelming! We arrived on Friday and after wandering around and getting used to the area, we met some great racing legends, like Walter Röhrl and John Fitzpatrick amongst many others. The event at Schloss Dyck (Castle Dyck) is known to be one of the large vintage cars events, so you really need the complete weekend to have an opportunity to see everything.
The first cars that watered my mouth were the British racing green Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Supercharged from the end of the 1920s – better known as “Blower Bentley” – and the 8 Liter Bentleys and the famous silver colored “Mother Gun”. It’s incredible how much power these cars send out, even if they are not running. On the opposite side, there were their old rivals of the supercharged era: the Mercedes SS and SSK with their lovely exhaust manifolds. Soon their engines would burst to life and race against each other, just like in the old days. Until then we had a view at those good old Bristols with their very special… Continue reading
The latest report was all about Amillion and its cheeky performance at the Concours Palace Het Loo, but of course there was much more to admire! Sadly I have not had enough time to see much, but still enough highlights to mention. The gardens of Palace Het Loo are royal, so plenty of choice for everyone, from American bad boys to the most elegant and classy dandies. I guess the most brutal beasts were the RR Merlin V12 Spitfire 27 litre Bentley special, the blue Renault Nervasport des Records (record car) and the little robot car… Sadly I have not seen the little car, which was said to have more personality than Amillion. I heard it was flying and opening its doors and interacting with people, but… Continue reading
The upload issue is solved, so here are some more pix as I promised. Computers are a bit like cars, just never give up. There is always a solution if you are patient enough and think logically… Continue to see more pix
You may never have heard of this event before. The Hertzberger Trophy is a very discreet Dutch event for a specially selected group of owners of amazing prewar cars. This is a 2-day rally with tour and sports class. The participants are battling for the Hertzberger trophy, which is a brons sculpture. Another prize was a nice limited edition watch made by jewelers Schaap – Citroen from Amsterdam and designed by Van der Klaauw from Friesland. The rally goes from one historic estate to the other, while making sure the drivers and especially their navigators are put to the test to follow the rules, which is of course not made easy!
This year’s Hertzberger Trophy was the third edition and since this is a young event, the zest is increasing each year. A prestige event with 45 dream cars and many interesting participants. It all started with Eddie Hertzberger himself. Eddie was a Dutch race driver and the first and only GP winner until… Continue reading
Hello, I am your host for today, and may I present you my next tour around Essen’s treasures. When I was walking between those irresistible automobiles, I found my next holiday location, Osnabrück! This might sound not so exotic, but I found out that it actually is… This is why: a Porsche 904 GTS, Maserati Mistral, Horch 853, Jaguar D-Type, the streamlined Fiat Abarth 1000 Pininfarina Record car and many more from tropical Osnabrück.
The great thing about exhibitions, concours and most of the auctions, especially if I go there with my dad, is that I learn so much. After such an event I realize that I have discovered so many new icons of automobiles and many other exciting cars. Perhaps you forgot, but it was only one year ago when… Continue reading
The first auction that was to be held in Paris during Retromobile was the RM Sotheby’s sale at the impressive Place Vaubain. Earlier on I presented you my shopping list of a few of their more affordable stars. Let’s now take a look how they actually did. I took a good look at the lots during my preview and I will make a list of the, for me, most striking ones. But first my shopping list from an earlier article.
One of my fave lots was the 1965 Maserati Mistral 3.7 Coupé by Frua. The Mistal is one that is making a good name and so it was not a surprise that this one sold for… Continue reading
Let’s continue the party with two Atalantes. As an Atalante myself, I am obviously always on the hunt for those masterpieces made by hero Ettore. The Bugatti stand exhibited a 57 with a strange color combination… moss-green and yellow. But the real treat was at the Lukas Hüni stand, a 57SC! I understood that this ex Dr. Williamson Atalante had long been in Japan and agreed with the color combination, it is fabulous. Lukas Hüni is known for high class automobiles and the collection which was exhibited didn’t disappoint, on the contrary. Next to the 57SC, I was really impressed by the stunning Alfa 8C 2300 Figoni cabriolet, Jaguar D Type dans son jus, the Bugatti T59, a smashing black Mercedes 26/120/180 Saoutchik, an Aston DB3S, and pretty much everything else Lukas had on display. What I also really like is to meet young people with the same interest and luckily I did.
To continue with Alfa, I have a very special one for you in store, as the price might be approaching that of a GTO. It is probably even more… Continue reading
We have all been waiting for the legendary sale of the Ferrari 335 Sport Scaglietti, or as my mom called it, that “little red car” of the auction. The Retro week was quite busy with three major auctions, but for sure Artcurial stole the show in a typically passionate French way. A large collection went under the hammer, and 80% sold for a total of €56 million, a European record, of which the 335 is claimed to be the world record for a motor car at auction. The 335 sold for €28 million, but with premium added, it actually yielded €32.1 million! A price unaffordable except for the few. Four automobiles were sold over a million, so enough ‘bargains’ still.
The big and black room downstairs was incredible and very very busy! The auctioneers knew how to fill the space with their voices/songs, and even if they made a mistake, I still like them. The 335 was one big spectacle. The lights were switched off and then… A movie started showing in full song the excitement of the 335. It took a while to… Continue reading
You probably know that petrol heads can talk for hours… I became just the same in less than a year. Today the final part of my Interclassics adventure. I hope my reports made you enjoy the event, especially if you weren’t there. Or that you can now look back at this event to remember what made it so nice.
I was sad to leave without completing my to-do-list, but at 8.00 pm it was time to close the doors for the crowds. Of course we left a bit later as it was too cosy at the stand of LMB… Adventurer, world traveller, Bentley driver, Bugattist, and so on… Kjeld Jessen told me all about the Barnato family history, and the Blue Train story. As you know, I recently wrote about this on CHB. There are however some corrections that should be made following Kjeld’s explanations, but that’s not to be ashamed of. This was quite a blooper, talking to a Bentley connoisseur, but luckily Kjeld is… Continue reading
Since we were now in the barn find corner, I spotted another ‘dans son jus’. This was again a very special experience, because I saw two different worlds… On the left we see a Porsche 356 AT2 in excellent condition, while on the right we see the true ‘dans son jus’ 356. This is something that impressed me, and what you don’t see very often. Most special cars in this show I saw double or even triple, and I was not stoned! I saw a discrete ‘dans son jus’ E-Type between the other well restored E-Types on the stand of E-Type Center Europe. The ‘dans son jus’ look is something I really appreciate, and I hope we all will continue preserving rather than restoring everything to the finest detail. Although some cars can handle that perfectly restored look very good… like for instance our Delahaye 135M Chapron convertible super star.
Just around the corner, I saw an unfinished Mercedes 190 SL, a super sexy car that caught my attention. In the same corner, I saw a 1958 Porsche 356 A Cabrio, which told my to mint (mint green…) my own business. Well, sometimes you also meet cars with a grumpy attitude… I wonder if you must first complete a study to become a Porsche expert, because… Continue reading
As promised, here is a report about Interclassics Maastricht. It was my first time visiting this “Premiere Classic Car Show of the Benelux”, and I did not expect all that much, since Retromobile really is the holy exhibition for my dad and me. Earlier on I wrote you a report of Interclassics Brussels, which is a nice exhibition, but it needs to mature, which is not unusual for such a young show… So there I was with my lovely dad, the most popular day, Friday. In the parking it seemed that there was quite a crowd accompanying us. While entering the arena, a DB5 and a DB4 welcomed us with a tempting wink. I was already in trance ; )
Divided in three spacious halls, there was a wide range of stands and cars. Obviously you see that post-war sports cars are high in demand, especially the famous classic Porches 911, of course. Classic sports cars continue to gain compared with for instance prewar cars, because the mid-aged generation is now able to purchase their dream poster car that was once hanging above their beds when they were a kid. Not many of them may have had a poster of a 1947 Alfa 6… Continue reading
Barney Barnato brought his three nephews Jack, Woolf and Solly Joel into the business, but this may have lead to his death…
With that said, Barney becomes even more interesting when looking at his death in 1897. At the time Woolf was only one or two years old. The death of Woolf’s dad has been verdicted as suicide, but rumors went around that it was actually a murder because of some mysterious circumstances… The waters between South-Africa and Londen are the only ones which know if Barney drowned himself, or if someone else pushed him overboard. This accident happened when Barney, his wife and three children, of which Woolf was one, were on their way to the England for a holiday in their fatherland. Beside his family, nephew Solly also journeyed with them. One of the rumors is that Barney was on deck with Solly and that they were arguing… Did Solly push Barney, or was he trying to stop Barney from jumping? Did Solly have a motive to commit a murder? Personally I don’t think it was suicide, because two other things might suggest that it was a murder committed by one of Barney’s heirs, Solly…
First of all Barney’s other nephew, Woolf Joel, was shot and killed a year later his business offices in Johannesburg by a blackmailer. Secondly… Continue reading
After yesterday’s introduction of the Blue Train races, we continue today with the life of the most famous Bentley Boy. The bespoke playboy Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato (1895-1948) was a British financier, like his dad, but most of all a daring racing driver of the 1920s. His life consisted of sex, drugs and cocktails with a lot of roaring Bentley engines and exhaust fumes.
Why you should never ever have gotten into one of his daily cars? Well, those were blinded with curtains. You probably already know now what the reason was that his cars really were a playboy mansion on wheels… Next to his image of being a Woolf, he was a true star in the automotive and racing world. He won three times the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a row, and of course also the Blue Train victory in his Bentley Speed Six with body by H.J. Mulliner.
To start at the beginning though, there was a most interesting family history behind this man. Our protagonist was… Continue reading
After the intro of what is going to be an intense story, we’ll make a pitstop at a very nice and impressive workshop located in Wommelgem in Belgium. This area is one I love to come, since there are many great places with fine automobiles, and this is one of the workshops I have to tell you about. By the way, close to this workshop is another one, LMB. The showroom of LMB will be the next home of Amillion, so soon more about that and LMB.
The pitstop I am talking about is at Historic Competition Services. To start with the background of HCS, the knowledgeable owner Julian Messent, has many years of experience working on world’s most exotic and special automobiles, and other exotic machinery. From helicopter engines to race winning pre-war GP cars, endurance rally cars, and just about everything in between.
The connoisseur Julian has earlier been active for LMB Racing, the workshop I already mentioned. Not long ago Julian decided… Continue reading
One of the things we petrol heads like is speed and this is something that gave us so many great stories thru history. The Land Speed Records are one amazing example, but the Blue Train Races were most exiting races as well. So let’s get back to these glorious races, with first some blues to end up later in a crazy world full of sex, drugs and cocktails, the life of one of the most famous playboys as well as an important man in Bentley history.
But first the blues. Back in history there were supercars just like we see today and as we petrol heads are a bit crazy, we come up with great and crazy ideas. One of these ideas was The Blue Train race. A series of record-breaking attempts between automobiles and trains in the late 1920s and early 1930s. I am not sure if there are people still holding such races today, but sadly times have changed and it would be impossible to beat a high speed train nowadays, unless you… Continue reading
All of this made a great time journey, BUT the real deal started for me when I stepped into the world of the finest of the finest. Before I did, accidentally, I grew like a giant after drinking something from a little bottle. I wasn’t able to get out of the Spyker hall with the wonderful aircraft, which was not a bad place at all to hang around. Luckily I remembered from Alice in Wonderland that I I had to eat some cake in order to get back to normal size. I was now smaller as before, especially when staring at those great historic heroes…
Next I ended up at the section of race icons and wonderful vintage and classic supercars. I listened with interest to some great stories about these heroic automobiles, told by… Continue reading
As we drove over some typically Dutch dykes, without any light (the headlights were ‘a bit’ weak), we almost hit the water when falling half into a ditch! Well, okay that might be a bit exaggerated… Those narrow dyke roads were the best ones, but also the most difficult as we drove into some black holes full of surprising bends.
After many spooky dykes there was a checkpoint in the famous walhalla for shopaholics, the Chopard store (sponsor of the 100MOA) in the PC Hoofdstraat in Amsterdam. As I am not addicted to shopping we raced down the luxury street, off to more of the city centre and some more spookiness… Continue reading
Driving 100 miles thru Amsterdam and surroundings at midnight with an out of date roadbook (on purpose)… can it get any better? Most of us petrol heads will probably have the Mille Miglia on their bucket list, if not already completed! Please add this 100MOA rally to your list as well, it is something you just have to experience once or more in your lifetime.
Last Sunday/Monday was THE day! And I can ensure you it isn’t about chilling in the sun… Although it was not cold at all and no snow whatsoever, YEAH! I was probably one of the few who was happy with a normal view without white flakes all over.
Sadly Amillion, my Amilcar CGS, wasn’t ready yet to perform, so I had to… Continue reading
My dad always tells me to plan and organize or prep a bit more, not really my kind of thing… The best days are when I get in my car unprepared to experience some great adventures! To name some very nice examples, I went to Denmark on my own, to join that great Bonhams auction of the Frederiksen collection. You can read those reports by clicking here for part 1, or here for part 2. Unexpectedly I left for Denmark, without any plan but getting to the auction in time. Where to stay? Just see how it goes, no commitments, just total freedom and fun. This adventure crossed my path thanks to a great friend who knows a lot about the fine art of Saoutchik and Figoni & Falaschi. That reminds me, I still need to write that article about Figoni… Expert Peter Larsen and his companion Ben Eriksen invited me to come to the action and that is what makes this blog so rewarding, these unexpected encounters! Peter Larsen is author of a number of magnificent books, so make sure to check them out via the Dalton Watson site.
The second example of a great day was when I… Continue reading
As we continue with the Parisian coachbuilders, today is the turn for Vanvooren who was located with his workshop in the north-western Parisian suburb of Courbevoie. This coachbuilder was one who built on high class chassis like Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Delahaye and Delage. A great example of one of his creations is the 1939 Bugatti 57C Atalante that won an award at Chantilly. Vanvooren is best known for his work from the 1930s on those grandiose chassis of the era, but the company had already been active from 1910 and persisted until 1950. Vanvoorens style could be described as advanced with a conservative elegance, combined with very high standards.
Achille Vanvooren did good business with those expensive marques… Continue reading
If you heave read the previous ‘Maharaja’ articles, you may have noticed the term shikar several times. Before Independence in 1947, the Indian Royalty had an exclusive privilege for hunting, known as the sport of shikar. As a vegan quite sad to write about those shikar expeditions where many of those beautiful and now very rare (Bengal) tigers were killed. Anyhow, some very fine shikar vehicles were involved with this ‘sport’! It was a way of sharpening the senses, keeping the reflexes up to date and being active. The Maharajas needed to be prepared for war at all times… Continue reading
First some background! Maharaja Tukojirao Holkar III (1890-1978) ruled the Princely State of Indore (9,519 square miles with 19 gun salutes) from 1903 to 1926. He was already quite an unconventional Maharaja and one of the first in Central India who, around 1906, acquired an automobile! He always purchased (lots of) cars for a reason… for some kind of a utilitarian purpose. He was just more of a practical collector than a petrol head.
Now about that futuristic master dandy, which he really was… Continue reading