by Rose Atalante Veenenbos
Two days before we were still busy testing and fixing Amillion, but just in time the job was done with the help of the magic hands of a Bugattist. Time to pack my CHAPAL helmet and goggles, because the Concours d’Elegance was waiting for a very cheeky and special little sportscar, which planned not to leave the concours before it had given its own show… Before arriving I drove the last 40 km in Amillion on wonderful country roads, after we had left the motorway and dropped the CGS off the trailer. The horses underneath the bonnet of Amillion were excited and restless. The little race monster did it… As I was playing a bit with the throttle the tachometer did not stay at its usual maximum speed of 90 km/h (the Amilcar kind of 90 km/h is in reality not more than 75-80). Usually at a speed of ’90 km/h’ the engine starts to scream a bit, and I calm her down, but this time that was not the case. From ’90’ the needle went up to ‘115 km/h’! A record so far and the engine sounded so peaceful. On the long straight roads thru the Veluwe forests it felt like we went 200 km/h, it was ridiculously speedelicious. After about 40 fast km we arrived, my dad pulling the trailer with Amillion’s bro Black Beauty.
It started raining as soon as I arrived and it was to stay like that almost the entire weekend. RAIN and CONDENSATION in the magneto. From the moment I arrived, until the moment I left the concours again, it was one big chat party. So much talking that one day it took me 4 hours to reach the ladies’ room, and when I finally did it was closed! But to go back to the start, we arrived Friday afternoon and in the evening we had a nice walking dinner in the palace gardens, which is usually not accessible to the public. In the middle there was a pond with a man in a tiny little boat playing his guitar and behind him a small organ. I thought it was Joris Bergsma from PreWarCar till I noticed him somewhere else. The whole evening was about catching up with great friends and new friends. The atmosphere was great and some were drunk enough to dance in a way that was great fun to see. As usual my dad and I were one of the last to leave the garden; we had to because they were closing the palace gates. Luckily the hotel lounge was not closed, so enough time to continue and enjoy the company of many great people. The only thing I regret is that I did not speak to everyone I would have liked to speak to; 2,5 days is just not enough.
The next morning we arrived in the marsh, poor Amillion; she had been fully covered during the night, but still the condensation was playing a foul game with my friend. The last day my dad noticed that one of our friends had been so clever to park his Alfa 8C in the garage under the hotel, which was not so easily visible from the street. How stupid we were, so next time we won’t make that mistake anymore. As soon as Amillion was undressed the trouble started, because its magneto is not like a fish in the ocean. Luckily some friends were so kind to help and we tried the push-start which made Amillion come alive. Time to line up for the sprint, which is great fun, being surrounded by the crowds and the host announcing me and my CGS to the public with his usual compliments. Sadly I was not able to show off what Amillion did the day before, because the engine was not performing at its best. Some of my sprints were okay, but a few were done on 3 cylinders. The most fun part was after the sprint when racing in the muddy gardens of the palace. I held my own kind of trial. I apologize for the outfit of some people who were hit by my mud splashes; just keep in mind it is a great souvenir to go back home covered in mud. I am sure Prince Bernhard would have laughed out loud about my performance, especially each time I was racing towards the Amilcar stand next to the Jaguar stand, exhibiting their brand new sports cars. Several times they must have had a heart attack seeing a red dragon car skidding with a lot of noise towards that shiny F-Type and passing so close by.
The great thing is that Amillion is so light that it never gets stuck and it is a great car to handle, also on slippery underground. When parked next to the Amilcar stand the chatting started again. The Amilcar stand was exhibiting a nice selection of large photographs from the collection of Broos Baanders. He is the descendant of a very special Amilcariste, yes a lady who traveled with her friend, each in their Amilcar, in the 1920s and 1930s all over Europe. These two gay women drove their Amilcars to many places, such as Italy, South of Franse, Switzerland, Norway, and many more, often accompanied by other friends. Amazing to see those period shots and so well photographed too. Now it is my turn, but then a little different! Amillion was btw not the only cool bolide out there, also a C6 racer with its fierce engine and two nice CGSs models. One of the CGSs Amilcars had driven the Mille Miglia this year, you can read more here.
A long and great day of chatting and driving was followed by a fine barbecue. It was again a great and long evening, although I was quite tired by then. When back in the lounge I had no time to be tired, because I was relaxing with the most interesting people, hearing the full story of the talented race driver Marcel Albers and many most interesting facts about how the Louwman museum had been built up. I had such a great time and meanwhile Germany beat Italy in the European Soccer Championship, which was a bit of a disappointment, at least for me. Next up more about the concours cars and some adventures of the last day of the concours…