Porsche 917s Mingle With SAAB 93s When Classic Cars Come To Schloss Dyck For ‘Classic Days’
Photography by Máté Boér
The date of the next Classic Days is announced immediately after the current year’s event finishes—and for me, it’s a year-long countdown. I so look forward to this event that it’s one of the first things I highlight in red on my calendar.
Since my first visit to Classic Days, Germany’s largest classic car and motor festival, I’ve been a big fan of it. And it’s not because of the hundreds of classic cars rolling into the almost 1000-year old castle’s park, but because of Classic Days’ atmosphere. Despite that it’s a huge event, it’s not overcrowded, and its area is well divided to display various chapters of the automobiles’ colorful history from prewar pioneers through the evolution of monopostos to the golden age of touring car racing and so on.
At the Classic Days, one can never know, when and in which corner you will be struck by an automotive masterpiece. This year the “Lost Bugatti,” the 1919 Bugatti Diatto AVIO 8C stood there in a row of other Bugattis without any particular notice. The black behemoth is powered by an early eight-cylinder in-line Bugatti aero-engine, which was produced under license by Diatto in Italy and named AVIO 8C. It’s 14.5L, 200hp engine can be regarded as the prototype for the mighty Bugatti Royale power plant. This engine, with the massive Diatto chassis, was rediscovered in a Turin museum, and after nearly a century, the project is finally getting completed. Right next to it, the 1912 Type 15, which some might confuse for a child’s toy, is the sixth oldest surviving Bugatti. It was built before the brand started to use an oval-shaped cooler, which is a hallmark of the French brand today.
Most of the exhibited cars were regularly exercised on the 3-kilometers long demo track to everyone’s delight. As the cars drove past the picturesque alley, where the sycamore trees are dressed in red and white checkered flags, it created the signature photo spot of the event. I especially enjoyed watching the original works 1931 MG C-type, known as the “Evans Sprint car.” This supercharged Bellevue blue race car won numerous hill climb events in the UK in the period, among them the famous Shelsley Walsh.
With direct access to the round course, the “Old Paddock” was home to some hardcore racing machines from the late sixties and early seventies. Two of those were highlighted this year, a pair of Porsche 917s, an original example (in white) and the one that David Piper built using original parts. In their demonstration run, they were accompanied by the 1975 World Champion Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 TT 12 from the FCA Heritage collection with Arturo Merzario behind the wheel. The 70-year-old Abarth brand was represented by two iconic machines, the brand’s hill climb master, a 1968 Abarth 2000 Sport Spider and the unforgettable 1971 Fiat Abarth 1000 TCR.
If one needed a break from the heavenly engine noises and petrol fumes one can take a relaxing walk through the “Nostalgic Journey” classic picnic area. Here, the campers set up their period-correct caravans with great attention to the last accessories, or taking a drink on the orangery-peninsula and watching the judges, while they inspect the cars of the Concours. This year the Masterpieces Concours d’Élégance merged into Classic Days and gathered 47 of the most beautiful classics.
Seeing the Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Aerodinamica Spider majestically rolling to the castle gates was a pinch myself moment. This beautiful machine, once a secret project of Alfa Romeo’s chief engineer, Vittorio Jano, and two Hungarian engineers, the Jankovits brothers, rarely leaves its home in the Technik Museum in Sinsheim. Gino and Oscar Jankovits wanted to build a machine, which could challenge the Germans in Grand Prix racing, but the development process aborted when Jano left Alfa in 1937. What the trio came up with until that point is the world’s first mid-engined sports car which was way ahead of its time in many aspects such as aerodynamics.
Among the Jankovits Spider’s competitors at the Concours was a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 320 with an unusual coach-built body by Wendler. Built as a one-off in 1950, it surprisingly has two separate doors for the two spare wheels.
The category “Coupes of Class and Rarity” presented two amazingly well-preserved beauties, the 1963 Ferrari 330 America and the 1964 Lancia Sport Zagato Prototipo. The Lancia is chassis-number 001, and she’s proudly wearing the 1964 Targa Florio starting number with the first sealing still hanging under the steering wheel. The odometer shows only 2695 km, and it had only three owners from new.
Don’t worry, the classic motorbikes got their moment to shine. The NSU Quickly demo actually created one of the funniest moments on the course as the owners of the 49cc mopeds, all dressed according to the period, motored around the course garnering smiles from the crowd.
The date of the next event is already set. Schloss Dyck will open its gates once again to display the most beautiful automobiles for the 15th time on the 31st of July 2020. Mark your calendar.