ELEGANCE AND A DANGEROUS DB5

The weekend after the rally around Lake Garda we spent at Knokke, participating in the Zoute Concours d’Elegance. We brought a car that was once the prototype for this model at the 1950 Salon in Paris.

It was for me the first time to join this concours and so it was for Maciej and my dad. We were invited by Bonhams to bring along dad’s 1950 Delahaye 135MS cabriolet with coachwork by Henri Chapron. This car is in original and mostly unrestored condition, and it has a nice story to tell. The car was the show model on the Delahaye stand at the Auto Salon in Paris in 1950. It is the prototype of its model, proof of which is an old photo published in a 1950 magazine. The colour used to be very light grey with maroon leather interior and matching top and wheels, and… whitewall tyres, a feature my dad has always disliked. So luckily we bought the car in a different colour scheme, as you can see in the photos below. In the same class there was a Lancia B20 convertible, a fine Mercedes 300S convertible, Maserati 3500 convertible and a Siata 208S Spyder Motto with... whitewall tyres! The Siata had benefitted from a full restoration and looked splendid, but to me it looked too over-restored with those chrome wirewheels. I preferred the Lancia and of course our 135MS, because they have a story to tell with their scars. The Siata won this class though.

The first day the concours was located at the Approach Golf. There was quite a nice field of participants. With for example a gorgeous Ferrari 288 GTO that Maciej fell in love with, and me too. A great class of sports-racing cars such as an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Zagato spyder, and a striking Lotus VIII, but I also loved the Bugattis, which included a freshly restored T57 Stelvio of a friend of mine, and a fine T43A with roadster body was a favourite as well. There was a gorgeous green Pegaso Z102 that was very special. A row of BMW 507s and new i8s and a Chiron. And much more. Well, as you see a diverse and most interesting field! 

One of the things Maciej and I really liked to see was the judging. It is interesting to see what they look for and what their critique is. Our 135MS made a good impression, except for the brake lights which for some mysterious reason were not working, and there was a modern sticker on the battery. Some owners stared a heated discussion, which was even more interesting to watch. History is something you can speak about for ages, especially about those little details. The great looking two tone blue Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, which is an uncommon colour combination, did not have a small blue line in the chrome strip on the waistline. One of the judges was pretty sure that it should have those lines, but the owner, who is a friend of mine, was quite sure that it shouldn’t. He had very impressive files of his car. It is so amazing to see all the old photo’s, also of races. And the great thing is that he is really driving this car. He also came to the Lake Garda rally with this spectacular 6C, twice a MM participant in the 1930s! Respect.

One of the judges was also a good friend of mine. He has great knowledge about many vintage and classic cars. So, it was cool to see him busy and giving critique. There were many friends and nice people, and that is something I very much like about concourses and such gatherings. Hang out and have good chats with friends you didn’t see for a while. And sometimes there are those friends who you see every event, or in this case in rallies.

The Louwman museum was also present at the concours, with a marvellous DB5. And as a ‘side note', it was the “James Bond” DB5, fully equipped with machine guns, pop-up armoured plate and ejector seat. This was the car that won the “Best of Show award”. Afterwards I heard many diverse opinions, of course. I am curious to hear your opinion, if you have one. Let me know in the comments what you think. 

The best part of the concours was the parade after the award ceremony. All the participants of the concours make a small lap thru Knokke-Heist icluding the boulevard where there was a stage. What made this little lap so great is that the crowd was immense! We were surprised how many people showed up.

In my schedule for this week is Interclassics Brussels, so hopefully see you there! It will be one great cyclecar party, so I am looking forward to it.