Holland’s most important annual Concours d’Elegance took place at the Royal Palace of Het Loo (say “low”) for the seventh time now in the beginning of September. The event was a bit overshadowed by the Goodwood Revival Meeting as well as the European Concours at Schwetzingen.
The beginning of September is also no guarantee for nice weather and while the forecasted rain stayed away on Saturday, the larger part of the Sunday a persistent drizzle did not do well for both participants and public. Still about 15, 000 paying visitors entered the gates.
Fortunately we went there on Saturday, and we came home with some interesting material, which is presented in a 100-shot slide show
This year the main event, the International Concours, was flanked by a number of supporting national events, a Concorso Italiano, a special event for American post-war classics and a Concours organized by Dutch magazine Autovise, this year dealing with the delivery aspects of the car. Furthermore about 40 pre-war cars participated in a rallye sprint on the main entrance road to the palace.
The dubious weather forecasts unfortunately resulted in a number of late cancellations, and we spoke to some people who only at the very last moment decided to come. Overall the number of cars in the International Concours was a bit disappointing, which is not to say that the quality suffered likewise, with some very interesting machinery brought to the show.
Overall winner, as well as winner of the Public Award, was Henk Koel’s stunning and unique Ferrari 166 MM Pininfarina Coupe, which already came close to a win at the Villa d’Este Concours earlier this year. The oldest class (“Pure Vintage”) saw Wim Smit’s 1928 Fiat 520 taking the honours, pipping victory before Rene Verbiest’s Talbot 105. As was the case in Villa d’Este, Wim and his wife came dressed up to blend in with the car, and in this case Wim was able to sport a different outfit, while his wife was dressed the same, with only a new fag fitted to her elegant cigarette holder.
The “Thirties Class” was won by Arthur Valkieser, with his Panhard Levassor Dynamic X77, which already stood out by its psychedelic colour scheme, but also turned our to be in a perfect condition. Other interesting participants there were a Triumph Dolomite (one of two known to exist) and a mysterious Alfa Romeo 312/16, a GP car recently shipped from Argentina. The car has a peculiar history which will be dealt with later.
The theme of the Concours originally was going to be the Alfa Romeo 8 Cylinder cars, but due to lack of support from Alfa Romeo the theme faded away. There still was an Alfa Romeo 8C Masters class, but only two cars showed up. The winner was Jaap Braam Ruben’s 1932 8C2300 Zagato short wheel base, while Frans (“sunglasses”) van Haaren scored a second place with a long wheel base version of the same model.
The “Post-War Surprises” class included what we considered to be the most remarkable car of the show, albeit not the prettiest. It was Tony Paalman’s unique Pennock bodied Talbot T26C, which has a racing chassis plus a 235 BHP engine, under a Coupe body with a peculiar styling. Apparently it was the last body built by the Dutch Pennock company, before it closed down in 1952. The car won best in class, but also the preservation award. It recently came back to Holland after having spent 43 years in the USA but was never shown anywhere. Second place was for the pristine Borgward Isabella Cabriolet of Guus Baltus.
The “Desirable Classics” class brought together a mixture of mainly American and Italian post-war sportscars, whereby the win went to the 1962 Split Window Stingray of Johan van Meeuwen, with the Ferrari 330 GTC of Yvo Alexander coming second.
“Italian Sculptures” included Henk Koel’s Ferrari, but contrary to Pebble Beach proceedings, it did not win its class. That honor went to the 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Stabilimente Farina Michelotti of Hans Ribbens, with Norbert Heyke’s 1952 Lancia Aurelia Vignale B52 coming second. Other interesting cars there were the ex Prince Bernhard Ferrari 212 coupe, which had no chance to win beforehand as the engine has not turned since 1960…Two surprises came from Belgium, a 1965 Abarth 1300 OT Periscopio and a 1961 Abarth 1000 Monomille. Run during recent sporting events, they were not in a real concours state, but appreciated by many nevertheless.
The “Classic Limousine” class had only five participants with the win going to the 1958 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, owned by Guus Temming. It must be rare for a hearse to win a Concours like this. The 1963 Jaguar Mk10 of Mary Fokkens came second.
Overall the International Concours showed some very interesting cars, but care should be taken to increase the number of vehicles, in order not to marginalize the event, also in relation to the supporting activities. Furthermore devoting only four pages to the entering cars in a 155 page programme looks a bit unbalanced, especially when the classes on display do not correspond with the contents of the program.