What a treat; a concours d’élégance without excessive polishing

Written by Kurt | Thursday, 09 September 2010 16:12

bernhardferrariWhat do you need for a successful concours d’elegance? Well, first of all some pretty cars, perhaps some rare cars and good weather. More importantly you need an impressive location for the event, something that can take on the concours cars in terms of grandeur and classiness. Enter the gardens of ‘Paleis het Loo’, the former royal residence of the House of Orange-Nassau, it played host to already the ninth concours on its premises.

The event was a good excuse to get up early at Sunday, so off we went over the Netherlands’ crowded motorways. Yes, even on a Sunday morning you can expect a traffic jam, I’m still wondering if we perhaps could blame the Sunday morning church services throughout the country for them. Thankfully everything is close by in the Netherlands, it really is the size of a peanut, so we were there in a jiffy. Thankfully the organisers granted us two press passes which meant parking right next to the event.

Even though it was a pretty cold and frosty morning, a large number of people had made their way to the palace in the woods surrounding Apeldoorn. Better still, being early meant most of the cars that had stayed at the terrain from the day before still had dew on them in the form of millions of little drops of water covering the sensuous shapes of for example a Toyota 2000GT. Which made for interesting shooting of pictures of course, the result of which you can see underneath.

Walking through the exhibition field was a concatenation of jaw-dropping situations, the array of rare cars was quite incredible (certainly to Dutch standards). It was so good I only just realised the day after where this pain in my jaw was coming from! Some of the highlights included an unrestored and totally original Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’, which, unpolished and perished, actually looked ten times better than its much-polished compatriots. That’s what we like here on DRIVVEN, a bit of individuality and originality. Going on past a wonderful 300 ‘SLR’ with fitting Mercedes truck we ended up in the Royal Paddock. Not quite so sure what was royal about it but this is where the cars taking part in the sprint were lined-up. Mostly these were pre-war cars. With many very pretty Rileys, Alvises and Bugattis. If you ask me, the highlight here was a collection of Veritas racers. Both monopostos and sports racers were present, all of them were unpainted and presented in their original bare-metal look. They might not be the prettiest cars but they made for fascinating viewing, you don’t see one, let alone four, every day! The detailing on those machines was superb, low, sleek and slippery bodies made in Germany. Veritas was one of the few early post-war small race car manufacturers, which make all of these cars a little more special as they actually represent the ‘German’ way of engineering race cars of that time.

Thankfully it wasn’t all about cars standing still, as said there was a sprint, in which two Veritas cars also took part. Especially the monoposto was a treat to the senses, what music to the ears. Sadly the pleasure was short-lived as the sprint run was just 100 metres long running over the cobbled driveway to the palace. On the other hand, it was just as well, as most of the participants in their ancient pre-war cars (with tyres barely thicker than bicycle wheels) had more problems stopping their cars than actually finding the grip to get it going. Many a car slithered about on the slippery cobbles hoping to stop on the line, to post a competitive time. The prize for best engine note should, if there was one, really have gone to one of the green and yellow Alvis. It was actually more terrific than the 46 litres BMW V12 of the largest car of the meeting; Brutus. It had specially come from the German Sinsheim Museum to show off its huge pre-war airplane engine. It really did justice to its name and was a very good attraction indeed.

All-in-all a very good event then with a friendly atmosphere and best of all visitors really get value for money (even though the price of a ticket was 20 euros). If you happen to have time some somewhere in September 2012, make sure you visit the bi-annual event, preferably with a classic car, we’re sure we will!

For now enjoy the photos we took as well as the youtube clip of our friends over at klassiekerrally.nl covering the finish of the Vredestein sprint and another one from the start of the sprint (recommended if you fancy some engine noise today)!