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JĂĽchen, 1st - 3rd of August

Already for the 9th time the Schloß Dyck Classic Days were held in the surrounding of the moated castle near Jüchen between Mönchengladbach and Düsseldorf. Over these last editions the Classic Days grown to one of the most important events of its kind in Germany and when walking the parking lots one could see that the draw area is not just Germany as there are a lot of guests form nearby Belgium and the Netherlands.

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But what is it that attracts so many visitors even from far away to spend their weekend in Jüchen while there are uncountable events elsewhere every weekend in the summer months in an ever growing classic car calendar? It is not just the quality of the entered cars in the demonstration runs and even more the concours but also the atmosphere created by visitors themselves as most of them are coming in style with an own classic and so the public car park in the Miscanthus Field is becoming a huge outdoor museum with about 7000 cars over the weekend that is worth watching alone. As these are cars actually owned by the attending car lovers they are exactly those cars other visitors are interested in as they are both within an affordable price range and also well-known and not few prefer walking up and down those line-ups rather than the exotics on the concours fields. When walking from the car park to the main houses of the castle one also comes past the picnic area and the exhibitors displays and even more young timers, classics from the 1960s and German economic miracle times could be seen parked on the meadows under the trees and especially the last group of the German cars had its own exhibition area where people could see the Mercedes and BMW but also Borgward and Llyod of this era that minted the status of the car in Germany and not few of the elderly people who actually saw these cars running on the streets back then got glazed eyes when telling about them to their grandsons on this family weekend. A display of the matching commercial vehicles with colourful livery led to the “Stars&Stripes” display with an American diner, several classic cars with the typical fins, girls in petticoat and a band playing rock´n roll.

In the Charme & Style area behind the castle again more than 20 cars were displayed with period accessories and matching fashion and the owners again put in a lot of efforts to make a great overall appearance.

Walking over the bridge one did reach the Orangery with the main display, the concours d’Elegance “Jewels in the Park”. Here 56 coach build examples were lined up in a dozen different classes ranging from the open sports cars from the early 1920s to the 1960s including some very famous and important machinery, most of them telling very interesting stories about their changeable life. Some highlights included the fabulous OM 665 Superba brought to Jüchen all the way from Italy with its wonderful Castagna body making this car a deserved class winner and best restored pre-war car on the field. Not less exotic is the well-known Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Aprile of Corrado Lopresto that won both public choice awards earlier this year at the Villa D´Este concours and that was awarded best Alfa Romeo in Dyck. In contrast to the small Italian cars was a quartet of supercharged straight eight Mercedes-Benz, one with work Sindelfingen cabriolet body, the other with a very unusual Freestone&Webb Saloon coachwork. This car was originally built for the German ambassador in London von Ribbentrop and with the tension between the two countries the body was built by a British company rather than a German one to give this car a less exotic exterior between the Bentley and Rolls Royce of the era. The Special Roadster as seen in the class of the “Flamboyant Years” would have been certainly a show stopper in London during this era. One of two Erdmann&Rossi bodied cars brought over by Saulius Karosas directly from the Concours in Bensberg was the Mercedes-Benz 380K built for Max zu Schaumburg-Lippe and the car with its glorious sound from the supercharged engine was not just class award winner but also runner up behind the winning car.

Best of show went to the fabulous Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet in stylish green. This car was shown a few years ago at the Villa d´Este concours and was still in immaculate condition making this a worthy winner of the concours.

But there were several more cars worth watching on the field including the Avion Voisin that won the concours two years ago, several Delahaye including the 135M Figoni&Falaschi from the Peter Mullin Collection or its white counterpart with Saoutchik coachwork. Being a VW sponsored event there was also one of the rare Rometsch bodied VW Beeskow Cabriolets and two coach built Porsches from Beutler and Wendler, Maserati in its centenary was again represented by the wonderful A6 GCS Frua Coupe as seen in Bensberg, a A6 Pininfarina and the 350 GT Vignale Spider.

Leaving the orangery on came past the wild Erdmann&Rossi bodied Mercedes-Benz 500 K that originally was designed for the King Ghazi bin Faisal of Iraq with very floating lines and covered wheels. Unfortunately the original car disappeared so this was an exact copy made for King Hussein of Jordan.

But the Classic days are not only static displays but feature the “Racing Legends” on the short triangle course in front of the castle. In two paddocks the cars are line-up for the visitors, in the inner yard of the castle and the “new paddock” at the track. Especially the new paddock had several interesting cars from the factory museums as Mercedes, VW and the Fiat Group had their own special runs beside the normal entries of the Historic, Classic and Modern “race group” in addition to Monoposto and Motorcycles. As the normal entries are basically the same every year the special runs are the more interesting part of the weekend.

Mercedes-Benz was celebrating again 120 years of Motorsport but unfortunately the W25 and the W196 Silver Arrows remained silent as they were already extensively run this year on various other events. Also the fact that Mercedes is not the main sponsor of the Classic Days anymore might have been one of the reasons. So it was Ellen Lohr, Dieter Glemser and Roland Asch running the Nardo 190 E 2.3-16, the 300 SLS and the C111 on both days with Hans Herrmann, Klaus Ludwig and Jochen Mass joining them on the infield for the autograph sessions.

VW had several cars running but the two main features were their star guest Jacky Ickx in the Porsche 550 Spyder and the Porsche Type 64 Berlin-Rom streamliner. Although VW tries to get a connection of the Type 64 and their latest XL1 they are born for very different purposes. The new VW streamliner is built for low fuel consumption from their engine whereas the Porsche designed streamliner based on the KDF-Wagen (later the Beetle) was built to get the highest possible speed out of the small engined car to compete on an intended race on the new Autobahn from Berlin to Rome. Although this race never happened this sole survivor out of three cars built was certainly the star in JĂĽchen that weekend as it was running on both days.

Also running was the Lancia D50, the famous Grand Prix car that was later entered by the Scuderia Ferrari to secure Fangio one of his five Championships. Unlike at the Vernasca Silver Flag hill climb a few weeks ago the D50 ran this time a few more miles and the unique sound could be heard in the alley for several laps. Alfa Romeo was running a 750 Competizione and the 1900 Sport, the Le Mans entered 8C 2900 B unfortunately remained silent all weekend.

So what is the conclusion of the weekend? First of all the organizers could be very happy with the resonance of the visitors, certainly the luck with the weather did them also a favour as the intended heavy rain and flooding did not reach Dyck but was visible a few miles away.

The regularity runs on the “race track” do repeat themselves a little bit every year as there are very few new cars entered normally, one could see that the fences of the closed off roads were less covered with people than in previous years. But certainly the organizers need to keep this nevertheless as the running cars are part of the success although there were rumours that the event might become more a concours in the future. We’re comparing the classic days with other events one might say that there are better driving event and even better Concours (at least outside Germany) but there is nothing comparable in the overall on the continent. Sometimes the Schloß Dyck Classic days are mentioned in a comparison with Goodwood but it would be wrong to orient on that as this might be out of reach. But there is without doubt no event in Germany that the Classic Days must be shy of and this made a very entertaining weekend in August again.

Report & Images ... Peter Singhof