Here’s What You Missed At The 25th Edition Of InterClassics Maastricht
Photography by Máté Boér
My 2018 season for classic car events was kicked off with a jubilant display at the Interclassics Maastricht, an event that celebrated its 25th anniversary on the second weekend in January in the Netherlands.
Each year this is recognized by many as the first major classic car show in Europe, and by the way the largest in the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). Even if you’d prefer to see these cars moving under their own power, hearing their sounds and smell the spent gasses, there are atmospheric realities that tend to keep them indoors when there’s snow and ice on the road. So in the harsh winter months, these exhibition halls are where it’s at, so to speak.
Right in front of the entrance doors, cars from the Houtkamp Collection greeted the visitors, and their main attraction, an ex-Mille Miglia participant 1949 Maserati A6 1500 convinced everyone in a millisecond that this was going to be a good show. Next to it sat a genuine works racer 1955 Austin Healey 100S, one of just 50 “S” cars ever produced. But there were more reasonable options for Mille Miglia aspirants as well, but one really captivating car was an ex-Mille participant 1949 Fiat 1100 B that was also for sale— one of the cutest cars of the event with its mid-mounted spotlight.
Visitors could find all manner of interesting cars though, and sometimes only the small information boards revealed a car’s truly special nature—not everything is immediately recognizable for its accomplishments. There were plenty of classic car staples too, and it would have been hard to choose between the metallic brown Renault 5 Turbo 2 and the Ferrari F40 at Prins Classics for example. But even this was no regular F40, as according to the info table on the windshield, this particular car once belonged to Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who drove it home from Maranello to the UK after collecting it in 1988. In addition to that interesting ownership history, it’s the best F40 setup anyone could wish for: an early, non-catalyst, non-adjustable suspension model with sliding windows. It was rebuilt by Dutch specialists after an engine bay fire, and I can’t decide if that fact makes it more intriguing or less.
Well preserved classic cars with a little patina and slight traces of usage are becoming more and more appreciated in the last couple of years compared to their meticulously restored comrades, and this is the market segment that Alphons Ruyl Classics focuses on. I got to know them a few years back, and hoped to see some of their cars at the event this year too, which I did. The lot included a 1971 Fiat 124 Sport Spider 1600 with 64,232 miles, a 1981 Peugeot 504 2.0 Pininfarina Coupé from the first owner with 36,000 miles, a 1963 Mercedes 220SE/b Coupé with less than 40,000 miles, and a rare 1974 Toyota Celica 1.6 GT DOHC with a perfectly preserved interior. They all waited for their new owners in that beautiful condition that only a well cared for decades-old car can posses.
Getting back to the big picture, Interclassics Maastricht has been organized around a given theme since 2003, and sometimes there are more than one celebration in a single year. This time, the organizers recruited 18 of the highlighted cars from the past themes that have characterized the event over the years. Among these cars were one of the two existing Bugatti T54 grand prix racers, chassis no.1 which was built for Achille Varzi. An Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 stood next to Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari F1/87, with the bond between these two cars tighter than one might think. This Alfa is also called “the first Ferrari,” because this car wore the Cavallino Rampante logo on its hood for the first time during the 1932 24 Hours of Spa, when it was raced by Enzo Ferrari’s Scuderia Ferrari Alfa Romeo factory racing team.
Also, the Louwman Museum loaned their legendary Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type “XKD 606” for the event, and we can’t be thankful enough for them for not only restoring and sharing this special car, but preserving it for the years to come. These are just a handful of the 800 cars exhibited of course, and I’m sure that the 26th event will bring at least as many interesting cars and stories to Maastricht in 2019.