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JĂĽchen, 2nd - 4th of August, 2013

On the first weekend in August the 8th edition of the annual SchloĂź Dyck Classic Days were held in perfect sunshine with temperatures above 30 degree Celsius. Sir Stirling Moss (honoured guest of last year's event) described it best being a German version of the both Goodwood events and although these are big footsteps to walk in the Classic Days indeed share many ideas with its British counterpart without copying them but creating an own atmosphere.

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Just like at the Festival of Speed the centre of the activities is a historic building with the moated castle Dyck in the park. This is also the initial point of the whole event as it is held by a non-profit association to raise money for the preservation of the 17th century castle and the park resulting in a splendid renovation of the main buildings over the last years.

Numerous activities including a Concours d´Elegance, demonstration laps on a nearby closed off triangle course, an infield with classic picnic and fashion shows and a huge classic car parking for the spectators again drew almost 30,000 visitors during the weekend despite the high temperatures.

The Concours d´Elegance “Jewels in the Park” is held in the orangery and attracted again 45 selected cars in this Fiva Category A event sorted into 12 classes. Starting with a nice selection of small cars including a duo of Austin Seven Swallow (Coupé and Roadster) and a superb Amilcar Coupé bodied by Duval several pre-war classes featured cars from the know marques of Bentley, Rolls Royce, Mercedes-Benz and Bugatti. Being all in perfect condition it were the small stories and famous owners that made some of them even more special like the Lagonda LG45 in two-tone brown-beige once owned by Clark Gable or the Auburn 851 Speedster from Marlene Dietrich brought over to Dyck by the British National Motor Museum.

In class H “Amazing Concepts & Styles” three ground breaking examples could be seen with the VW38 Prototype by Reuter built by Ferdinand Porsche in 1938 for the regime of the days becoming famous after the war as the Beetle and the Peugeot 402 Eclipse that featured a completely disappearing hard top ages before this concept came back into the contemporary convertibles. But most admired (as less known) was the aerodynamic Volkhart Sagitta V2 that was last seen at the Villa d´Este in 2012.

Post-war sports cars included four Ferrari, a 225 S Berlinetta Vignale (0170ET), a 250 GT Series I Cabriolet (0735GT), a 259 GT Lusso and a 275 GTB. They were joined by a nice Fiat 8V and one of the rare alloy 300 SL Gullwings.

Best of Show went to a Talbot Lago T120 with factory coachwork that was already shown in Pebble Beach two years ago showing the quality of cars the concours attracts.

In addition to the concours classes a special display was set up for the coachwork of Erdmann&Rossi celebration the 125th anniversary of the Berlin coachbuilder. Before the war Erdmann&Rossi built some extraordinary designs mostly on the German chassis of Mercedes-Benz, Audi or Horch but also a few on Rolls-Royce, quit remarkable in the times of tension between the Germany and Great Britain during this era. Erdmann&Rossi was also responsible for the creation of a unique coupé for one of the best racing drivers of the mid 1930s, Bernd Rosemeyer. Being works driver for the Auto Union Rosemeyer commissioned a one-off Horch 853 with streamlined coupé body nicknamed “Manuela”, two reconstructions were displayed in Dyck. One of them was driven that day by Rosemeyer’s son Prof. Bernd Rosemeyer who also introduced a new edition of his father’s biography written by his wife Elly Beinhorn, a famous pilot of the 1930s.

Leaving the orangery to the inner yard of the castle and the stables one could see the paddocks for the older cars including a superb line-up of about 20 grand prix Bugatti celebration 80 years of the victory of Achille Varzi in Monaco with the Bugatti T54. This car was for sale earlier this year in Paris at the Bonhams auction but as it remained unsold the owner who is active in historic racing, brought the car to SchloĂź Dyck to lead the special Bugatti run on the circuit followed by numerous T37, T35 and T51.

But Bugatti was not the only special marque run as both the Benjafield Racing Drivers Club and the Mercedes-Benz Kompressor club are regular guests in Dyck revitalizing the old rivalry of the Bentley boys and the supercharged straight six Mercedes-Benz that dominated the long distance racing in the late 1920s. Especially the five “white elephants” were a big show blasting down the main straight with their singing superchargers engaged, a sound that could be heard even on the other side of the track.

They were joined by two track record cars, the Pacey Hassan Special Bentley driven in Brooklands and the famous Fiat Mefistofele with a total displacement of 27.1 litres. Back in 1924 this red monster with 320 bhp was driven to a world record of almost 235 Km/h and although comparable slow this weekend in August it was still impressive to see and listen.

Two further stars of the weekend were the Gull livered Porsche 917K that featured in the Steve McQueen movie “Le Mans” and one of the rivals of these days, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 Le Mans. Alfa Romeo was always a supporter of the Schloß Dyck Classic Days as is the sponsor Mercedes-Benz who celebrated the race history of the S-Klasse. Although this is not a typical race car the big Mercedes brought the motorsport company AMG on the screen with the 300 SEL 6.8 (“rote Sau”) that won its class during the 24 hours of Spa in 1971. It was joined in a special run by the 300 SE in rally trim and a 220 in Mille Miglia livery.

Mercedes-Benz was also again responsible for the guest of honour as John Surtees followed Sir Stirling Moss as international top star of the Classic Days. The charming British motorbike and Formula 1 champion was signing autographs together with Hans Herrmann and Jochen Mass in the Mercedes-Benz tent in addition to some laps on honour in a 300 SL roadster.

But not just the official program is part of the fun in SchloĂź Dyck as just like in Goodwood some of the spectators add to the atmosphere of the event with period dresses and lifestyle. In the picnic area the visitors were hiding in the shadow under the trees of the park to enjoy the days with likeminded, in the historic camping area several period campers could be seen ranging from small caravans from the 1950s to flower power VW Bull from the early 1970s.

A small display of commercial vehicles or “lovely heroes”, the cars of the time of the German economic miracle in the 1950s were some of crowds’ favourites. In addition thousands of cars brought by the spectators were lined up in the miscanthus field so there was plenty to see during this weekend.

Although the SchloĂź Dyck Classic Days share another trademark with the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the alley with the chequered flags around the trees it would not be fair to reduce the Classic Days to a smaller edition of the big British show and hopefully none of the participating organizers, sponsors or exhibitors will ever try to compete with it but keep its own charm that makes this to one of the best classic car events in Germany during the summer months.

Certainly the 9th edition in 2014 will again feature some special attractions and most of the spectators will be back again for a great weekend in the lovely setting of SchloĂź Dyck.

Report & Images ... Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de