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One of the cornerstones of the festival are the racing legends, when the cars of the different eras can be seen
in their natural environment, the road. Divided in several classes ranging from pre-war sports-cars to the cars
from the 1960s including bikes the track is highly frequented during the weekend. Beside the standard
classes (the established) several special themes create new highlights every year to avoid a wear out of the
concept and animate for an annual return. But known does not necessarily mean dated as the annual
appearance of the Benjafield´s Racing Drivers Club from the UK shows when the Bentley Boys arrive with their
toys after making it all the way from the UK to be shown in a separate run. If one asks what it is like to travel
all the way in a Cricklewood Bentley in today’s traffic one might be even more stunned by the arrival of the
American LaFrance from the southern part of Germany and Switzerland. Originally constructed as fire trucks
these huge chain driven speedsters a certainly a handful to drive both on the round course as well as on the
motorway where one could see them on Sunday evening on their way home. These simple trucks were
certainly a highlight of the weekend and left a lot of spectators speechless when driven in anger.
Even bigger in displacement was a trio of very special aero engined cars making their debut in Dyck led by
the famous Napier-Railton from the Brooklands Museum. The W12 24 litre Napier engine is giving the monster
a speed of about 270 km/h and the rear-brakes-only Railton is the record holder on the outer lap in
Brooklands averaging more than 230 km/h. Even more extreme is the toy of Chris Williams, the
Packard-Bentley called “Mavis” is driven by a V12 torpedo boat engine with no less than 42 litre
displacement. The lack of a proper exhaust system but 12 flame spitting tubes on each side fed by the two
exhaust valves per cylinder did not only give the local fire brigade and the organizers a headache but also
guaranteed the most spectacular performance of the weekend.
Smaller flames could be seen on the current Audi A5 DTM driven by Mike Rockefeller to promote the races at
the Nuerburgring next month. It was accompanied by several historic DTM cars ranging from the Ford Sierra
and Capri to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class of the 1990.
But apart from that both sponsoring partners VW and Mercedes-Benz were a little bit quieter this year.
Although the Autostadt showed the famous Auto Union C-Type as driven by Hans Stuck in the 1930s at the
hill and the latest Pikes Peak record holding VW ID R both the screaming supercharger and the whistle of the
electro engine remained silence ass both cars remained static display. Audi was celebrating their heritage of
150 years of August Horch and both on the track and at the concours an own class featured the noblesse
elegance of the straight-eight engined luxury cars. Mercedes-Benz brought the Prinz-Heinrich Wagen to
Dyck, the car from 1910 delivered a healthy 100 hp as piloted by Jochen Mass and Klaus Ludwig who were
present in numerous autograph sessions alongside Hans Herrman, the former silver arrow pilot and first
Porsche Le Mans winner in 1970. Volkswagen once again brought the legendary rally duo Röhrl/Geistdörfer
piloting several cars from the Autostadt collection including a twin engined VW Golf intended for Pikes Peak
where Röhrl had one of his most famous victories in the Audi Quattro.
For the Italian moments in Dyck there was again a special run of the FIAT-Alfa Romeo Group spearheaded by
Arturo Merzario who brought the 1975 Sports Car Championship winning Alfa Romeo 33TT12, with whom he
achieved several victories including the famous Targa Florio. One year after presenting the Ferrari shark nose
the sympathic Italian racer once again was one of the spectators’ favorite.
Steve McQueen might be a movie star but his appearance in the legendary Le Mans movie made him a
trademark in the classic car scene as seen on numerous auction records for his former cars or even movie
accessories. Aside Le Mans certainly the movie “Bullit” is trend setting as it features one of the longest car
chases in movie history decades before the “Fast and Furious” series was released. The German car dealer
Chrome Cars brought the original Dodge Charger from the movie but unlike in Goodwood it was not chased by
the original “Bullit” Ford Mustang but by a similar car of year and color as in the blockbuster. Furthermore the
original “Eleanor” from the movie “Gone in 60 seconds” was chased around the block by two police cars.
A little bit quieter was the setting in the orangery for the concours, a good mix ranging from early Ford Model
T to a wild Gemballa Porsche 930. As mentioned before the featured class was dedicated to the work of
August Horch and 4 cars were lined up in front of the castle. Although a recreation of what is supposed to be
lost, the Horch 853 Streamline Coupé originally bodied by the Berlin coachbuilder Erdmann&Rossi for the
racing star if its day Bernd Rosemeyer was the favorite of the public winning the Best of Show awards. The
trophy was presented by the countess Metternich host of the castle.
The 2018 edition certainly will remain in the memory for a long time because of the extreme temperatures that
might have spoilt the fun to a degree as one was more into hiding in the shadow than walking the endless
lines of cars in the miscanthusfield for example. But as the organizers were able to get the event done in a
very smooth way despite the circumstances and the unlucky No.13 there might be almost nothing they have
to fear for the future. The German garden party is going strong and is highly accepted over the borders as one
could hear from the different languages spoken and one can be curious what the highlights of next year might
be when the first weekend in August is again reserved for the Classic Days.
Report & images ... Peter Singhof