The organisers of the annual Interclassics Maastricht show crossed the border to Belgium in 2015 to stage the inaugural Interclassics Brussels event. Banking on the vast experience gathered in the last 20+ years of hosting the Interclassics event in Maastricht, the organisers hit the ground running in the Belgian capital. Two halls of the Brussels Expo, located at the base of the iconic Atomium building/structure, were filled to the brim with classic cars, displayed by clubs, dealers and collectors. With a capacity 180 exhibitors, the 2015 Interclassics Brussels was instantly one of the country's largest classic car events. Among the special displays was one for over 30 rare Bugattis, while the 60th anniversary of the Citroen DS was also celebrated.
Seasoned visitors of the Interclassics Maastricht, our photographers ventured to Brussels for the opening day of the new event. The result is this 100-shot gallery
, which includes all the highlights.
Taking centre stage at the inaugural Interclassics Brussels was the Bugatti brand with a collection of around 30 examples squeezed onto two separate displays. Among the more unusual examples present was a Type 57 re-bodied during the 1950s with fibreglass coupe coach-work designed by French artist James (Jacques) Brown. It was loaned to the show by the fabulous Autoworld Museum in Brussels where the unique creation is on permanent display. Another local touch was the inclusion of several Bugattis clothed by Belgian carrossier
Equally formidable was the vast stand celebrating the 60th anniversary of the legendary Citroen DS, which, in 1999, was named the most beautiful car of all time by a panel of prominent car designers. Produced for 20 years, the design gradually evolved and many special versions were produced, most notably by Chapron. Of these a superb selection was shown in the Brussels Expo, many of which were provided by Belgian and Dutch private collectors. From Citroen's own collection came the ever striking, short-wheelbase rally version.
Not shown on dedicated stands but spread over the displays of many exhibitors were an impressive number of very rare Italian machines. The hardest to miss of these was a fabulous, bright yellow DeTomaso Vallelunga brought by the Opus Collection. Across the isle, fellow Belgian dealer Bernard Marreyt showed three fantastic etceterinis
from the 1950s; a Parisotto, powered by a Siata engine, a 1,100 cc Stanguellini and a Bandini that was originally fitted with a Masereati four-cylinder engine from a pre-War Grand Prix car. Another, similarly exotic little Italian car was the Moretti 1200 Spider, which was one of just two built and displayed by LMB, who are better known for pre-War British sports cars. What also caught our eye was a Fiat 850-based Lombardi, which was lined alongside a Group 4 version of the boxy but strangely appealing Fiat 131 Mirafiori. Altogether more understated was the Lancia Aurelia B50 Coupe brought by the Belgian Lancia Club. Bodied by Vignale, this car formed the inspiration for the design of the now legendary Aurelia B20 Coupe, which was built on a slightly shorter chassis.
While our eyes are usually drawn to the rare and unusual cars on display, the Interclassics Brussels provided something for all automotive enthusiasts. The Porsche fans under the visitors will have had a particularly good day as they were treated not only to a selection of the most recent high performance models like the Carrera GT, 918 Spyder and 911 GT3 RS but also earlier rarities like a 1980s 911 Speedster and the second ever 911 built, which was shown in partly restored condition. Another impressive sight was a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster in bare metal form, which also offered a rare opportunity to admire the SL's intricate spaceframe chassis. Of a slightly earlier vintage was a very rare Alvis FWD (Front Wheel Drive), which had been one of the works entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 1928. Belgium's own automotive heritage was highlighted by a 1913 vintage Minerva Type G, which, as was typical for these machines built in Antwerp, is powered by a Knight-patented, sleeve-valve engine.
Attracting close to 15,000 visitors over the event's three days, the inaugural Interclassics Brussels exceeded all expectations. These visitors were treated to a fabulous mix of classics cars and were most definitely not disappointed. With the Interclassics Maastricht less than two months away, it does remain to be seen how the Brussels event will affect the original. We have spoken to at least one (Belgian) exhibitor, who will now not go to Maastricht.