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2004 Interclassics and Topmobiel
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Over the years the annual Interclassics in Maastricht’s MECC has grown out to be one of The Netherlands' finest indoor automotive events. Thanks to its central location it is visited not only by Dutch car enthusiasts, but also by a large number of German and Belgian visitors. Held on the second weekend of January, it's the start of the year's automotive season for many in attendance. To further add to the appeal of Interclassics a second event, "Topmobiel", was held in an adjacent exposition hall. Although both events were enjoyed by the crowd, they had a very different approach and line-up.

As with many historic automotive events Interclassics had a number of featured marques and themes. Jaguar was put in the spotlight with a separate tent in which some of the British manufacturer’s finest cars were displayed. Highlight of the selection of ‘leaping cats’ was a very rare aluminum bodied Jaguar XK120. It was disapointing to see a D-Type replica and XJ13 recreation amidst these vintage vehicles, especially considering that one of the actual LeMans winning D-Type has been in Dutch hands for a long time.
Fifty years of Facel Vega was celebrated with a large display dedicated to the French marque. Pretty much all of the production models were present, ranging from a Facel Vega FV1 of 1955 vintage to the final incarnation, the Facel III built in 1963. Star of the display was a FV2B Cabriolet of which just two were constructed with 71 coupe bodied FV2Bs built. Another interesting Facel Vega lined up was the four-door Excellence, which in its day was a direct rival of the likes of Rolls Royce.
The rest of the hall was filled with around 250 smaller stands and displays, ranging from clubs, classic car specialists and restorers. Many of the cars on display were also for sale. Among the many cars on display, only a few really stood out for us. The most stunning of these was a completely original Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pinin Farina Cabriolet, which was in need of a ground-up restoration. Amazingly it was displayed as if it was just another rusty classic and not what it really is; the most expensive car of its day. Other interesting cars on display were a rare Ferrari 400i Cabriolet, which was never officially offered Ferrari and one of just seven Shooting Break Porsche 944 Turbos converted in Belgium.

For the real ‘connaisseurs’ the separate Topmobiel show was a must see. A museum-like atmosphere was created in the ExpoFoyer and Congres Center of the MECC building by tasteful stands and lighting. The cars were the centre piece and surrounded by stands of various sponsors like Jaguar and Spyker.
One of the true stars of the show, an exceptional example of the rare Mercedes Benz 540K Spezial Roadster, was the first thing the visitors stumbled upon after entering the show-room. Many consider the ‘Spezial Roadster’ as the quintessential pre-War Mercedes Benz. The rest of the around just over 25 displayed cars shared the Mercedes’ outstanding condition and provenance. Of these the Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder, Moretti 750 GS and Fiat 8V Zagato were our personal favourites. Especially the 8V originally owned and raced by Elio Zagato himself caught our eye.

In total the two shows attracted over 16000 visitors to the MECC Conference and Exhbition centre. With the addition of the Topmobiel show, these visitors were most definitly not disapointed. For 2005 a new Topmobiel is already planned, although a date has not yet been set. To give you a first-person impression of the cars on display at Interclassics and Topmobiel we have compiled a 80-shot slideshow.

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Report and images by Wouter Melissen.