This year saw the 14th edition benefiting the Schloss foundation, helping the renovation and maintenance of
the buildings and the gardens. Looking back 14 years the difference is quite remarkable and today not only
the exquisite orangery but also the old stables and the main building are a perfect setting for this kind of
The Classic Days basically consist of three key features, the concours d’Elegance on the orangery, the so
called racing legends with demonstration runs on the closed roads around the castle and the infield with a
large picnic area, the cars of the visitors in the fields and displays of the various manufacturers.
Three of these manufacturers are regular to the Classic Days, Mercedes-Benz celebrating 125 years of
motorsport, the Autostadt from Volkswagen bringing in their various brands and Alfa Romeo adding some
Italian flair. The marque from Torino once again sent crowds favorite Arturo Merzario to demonstrate the Alfa
T33 on the narrow streets, the car he won the 1000 km of Monza with in 1974. Merzario was not only works
driver for Alfa Romeo but also for Ferrari but aside his own sportive success he is mostly known for two thing:
being one of the drivers saving Nikki Lauda from his burning car at the Nuerburgring and his typical cowboy
Mercedes-Benz had a large infield hospitality built but car wise they were a little but calmer this year, their
demonstration run somehow only consisted of two cars, both of them probably not the most important in the
125 years of Motosport history with the 190 SLS and the 500 SL driven by touring car greats Roland Asch,
Dieter Glemser and Klaus Ludwig. Ludwig was also one of the drivers of the CLK-GTR in its short racing
history, the car on display unfortunately remained silent that days in Dyck. For those interested in the
motorsport history the autograph sessions in the Mercedes-tent are always one of the highlights and both
Ludwig and Asch were joined by their sons as well as Ellen Lohr and Jochen Mass.
The Autostadt of Volkswagen hosts a number of exhibits from the various brands, be it the sportive models of
Lamborghini and Bugatti, the noblesse of Bentley as well as the mass production past and present from
Skoda, Audi, VW itself or DKW. So the cars on track were a mixture colorful mix ranging from a number of
DKW transporters brought by Audi Classic, some Skoda Rally cars or the recent record breakers from VW
and Porsche. One of the less known exhibits of the Autostadt is the VW W12 Nardo. This concept was one
of the ideas of Ferdinand Piech bringing VW on the map in different categories, this time a sports car. Never
made into production it was used for record runs in Nardo over the 24h. Not only at the time but still today
records are a good marketing tool and two of the most extreme concepts of the VW group were seen in Dyck.
Porsche brought the 919 Hybrid Tribute, the car that holds the overall record on the Nordschleife easily
beating the old best of their own Porsche 962 in the hand of Stefan Bellof. Based on the WEC and Le Mans
winning 919 the tribute was improved after not being bound on specifications from the motorsport series.
Unfortunately the car did not run the small track but obviously the car is way too extreme to prepare and run
even on the smallest demonstration runs. Not less extensive are the preparations for the current flagship, the
all-electric VW ID.R. The electric racer demonstrates the possibilities of the new powertrain as shown by the
record run up the mountain at Pikes Peak last year, the first car to get up in less than 8 minutes. Bringing us
back to Goodwood the ID.R in improved version for the much shorter run set an unofficial record of less than
40 seconds a few weeks ago. In Dyck certainly the car was running much slower never showing its potential
due to the speed and safety restrictions on the public road.
Every year there is a celebration for one of the brands all over the world, most of them having a jubilee. This
year certainly is the year of Bentley and the British Company will be very prominent at various Concours like
the upcoming Pebble Beach Concours or with special classes at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. In Dyck
the marque with the flying B is celebrated every year as the Benjafield Racing Club was coming down from
the Isle again. Starting in the UK the travel to Dyck is a fixed date in the calendar of the club and so the
visitors in Dyck always can count on a great number of the “original” Bentleys as built in Cricklewood still
under the patronage of W.O.Bentley himself. Unfortunately the Club had some losses of very active members
in the last years but the others keep the tradition alive and so the 4- and 6-cylinder cars were roaring down
the alley on both days.
As said before, the visitors in Dyck are more than just spectators, arriving with their classic cars and many
dressed up for a garden party they are also exhibits. Some of them take this to another level and the
Charme&Style display featuring the dress, picnic and car in the park are one of the highlights. Furthermore
the displays feature German cars from the economic miracle after the war as well as the commercial vehicles
of the days. This was also the time when growing wealth in Germany saw the first holidays with travels over
the Alps and the Nostalgic Journey section showed the camping of that period.
Overall the Classic Days were again a big success and although the real highlight like the Mercedes or Audi
Silver Arrows, exotic machines like the huge fire spitting aero engined pre-war monsters of the previous
edition might have missed, the line-up of cars was very much to the taste of the spectators. Sometimes less
is more and those more popular cars are much more appreciated than rare machinery many never have heard
of. A VW Beetle as driven by grandpa over the Alps back in the time sometimes brings back more memories
than a rare Ferrari one only have heard and read of in magazines. We very much enjoyed again our weekend
in Dyck with mostly great weather and we are looking forward to another garden party in 2020, then the 15th
of its kind.
Report & images … Peter Singhof