Tag Archives: Interclassics Brussels

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New Kid on the Block

The Interclassics at Maastricht has been a feature of the classic car season in Europe for some time, late last year they expanded to a second event in Brussels for what was, by all accounts, a very successful début. Dirk de Jager is one of the masters of his craft, so enjoy his trip round the stands…………..

Yellow Fever!

John Elwin dropped in on the new Interclassics Brussels show, as ever he found plenty to comment on for our edification.

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It is always interesting to spot new trends as fashions come and go at classic car shows. At the inaugural Interclassics Brussels event a preponderance of yellow cars shone through (quite literally!). Now it may have been because yellow happens to be the national racing colour of Belgium, or more hopefully, perhaps we are moving away from the domination of drab silver, grey and black cars that fill our roads today.

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Actually, one could have been forgiven for thinking one was in Italy rather than Belgium for the full gamut of Italian machinery was on display, from tiny ‘Etceterini’s’ to those from the Raging Bull and Prancing Horse stables. Leading the way was the central Brussels-based Autoworld museum, promoting its own forthcoming Italian Car Passion exhibition by bringing along a vibrant yellow Lamborghini Miura and an OSCA 1000.

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The OSCA was one of many small racers on view and Belgian dealer Marreyt Classics had a particularly delightful three-car line-up comprising of a 1951 Stanguellini Barchetta MM, 1952 Parisolto Sport 750 Spider and a 1953 Bandidi Maserati.The latter claimed to be one of just four built and that too seemed to be a bit of a trait with many cars claiming to be ‘one of just…’. Another well-known Belgian dealer, LMB Racing, had a pretty pale blue 1955 Moretti 1200 Special, this one representing half of the total production! Whilst many of the small sports racers of the day were Fiat powered modifying Turin’s finest was not confined to the track, with some very pretty road-going machinery being produced too, as personified by the Lombardi Grand Prix 850 Sport.

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On a rather grander scale, Bonham’s was showcasing a trio of mouthwatering Italians, all of them rare survivors of very small production runs. The 1959 Alfa Romeo 1900C Super Sprint Coupé, in silver and black, was one of just five cars so-bodied by Carrosserie Ghia-Aigle, the 1961 OSCA 1600GT Coupé was one of only two built by Touring Superleggera, whilst the 1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga (in yellow, of course!) was positively mass produced, with 53 having originally been built. Its dainty lines rather put it in the same class as the Ferrari Dino but somehow doesn’t quite please the eye in the same way. There was in fact a Dino (yes, a yellow one!) on a neighbouring stand, whilst a 246 GT Competition in the more traditional red, could be found elsewhere in the show.

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Back to Marreyt Classics where aside from the cars we have described there were two very different variations upon the Lancia Aprilia. Farina was responsible for the rather glorious white Convertible dating from 1948 and claiming to have had only one lady owner, whilst Francis Lombardi created the more utilitarian Woody estate car. Bugatti was the show’s featured marque, of which more later, but Marreyt was offering a 1938 T57 Atalante chassis that had been part of the Schlumpf Collection, where it was separated from its bodywork at the time the French authorities took control.

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Aside from Bugatti, the 60th anniversary of the Citroen DS was also honoured with a small but select display which as much as anything featured the work of coachbuilders such as Henri Chapron, who created the gorgeous Le Dandy Coupé amongst other things.

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There were ‘Best of Show’ awards presented for different era’s and it was gratifying to see the 1980’s trophy awarded to a metallic green 1980 Lotus Eclat that was once the personal property of Colin Chapman, who in turn presented it to French journalist Gerard ‘Jabby’ Crombac, for so many years a personal friend to both Chapman and Lotus. The Oliver Winterbottom-designed Eclat was developed in tandem with the Elite, representing a big leap forward for the Lotus company when they were launched forty years ago.

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There was a lot to like at Interclassics’ first effort, the show attracting a good attendance with one couple even choosing it as their wedding venue! The organisers have already announced their dates for next year (18-20 November 2016) and also that they will be doubling the size of the show from two to four halls.

John Elwin, February 2016

Bugs in Brussels!

Our old friend, John Elwin, paid a visit to the InterClassics Brussels recently and discovered a treasure trove of Bugattis. 

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A major feature of the inaugural Interclassics show staged at Brussels Expo was an impressive display of some 30 Bugattis, ranging from very early cars right up to the Veyron and including some rare and unusual machinery.

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1930 Bugatti T46
In 1997 this example toured the world in the company of another T46, covering some 40,000 trouble-free kilometres in the process.

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1931 Bugatti T49
Originally sold by the Swiss concessionaire to Prague where it was fitted with a berline body by Uhlik and displayed at the Prague Salon. After the war it was re-bodied as a roadster by the Leipzig coachbuilders, Rühle.

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Bugatti T41 Royale Coupé

Napoleon 12.7-litre engine

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1932 Bugatti T50

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The steeply-raked screen of this T50 coupé made it one of the most aerodynamic vehicles of its type from those evocative inter-war years.

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1954 Bugatti T101 C Coupé

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Wearing bodywork by Antem, this is chassis no. 101.504, the last car to be built by Bugatti. It was purchased when new by Brussels concessionaire and collector Jean de Dobbeleer, subsequently passing through the hands of Bill Harrah, Nicholas Cage and Gene Ponder.

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Display centrepiece

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Bugatti Veyron

IMG_9157-151937 Bugati T57 C Coupé Special

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Designed by Jean Bugatti as a birthday present for his father, as the name suggests it had a few special features such as a Type 101 engine, Cotal transmission and a glass roof.

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1938 Bugatti T57 Aravis
One of two similar cars designed and built by Albert D’Ieteren, the Brussels –based coachbuilder, and delivered to the unlikely-named Mr .Baggage! Since restoration it has appeared at Pebble Beach, in 2009 in a special Bugatti class. D’Ieteren is an interesting organisation, laying claim to be the oldest company in the world associated with wheeled vehicles, having started out as wheelwrights more than 200 years ago. Today, still family owned, it is the Belgian importer for all the VAG brands, which of course includes Bugatti.

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1938 Bugatti T57 Brown

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This 1938 chassis was actually clothed with some very futuristic bodywork designed by Franco-British artist James Brown. It was manufactured from the then-new polyester material in the early ’50s.

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1939 Bugatti T57 Compressor Aravis
Two-seater cabriolet bodywork by Letourneur & Marchand adorns this T57 chassis.

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1931 Bugatti T54

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This 4.9-litre Grand Prix car was originally raced by Achille Varzi, its subsequent Czechoslovakian owner, Prince Lobkowicz, was killed in it competing at Avus in 1932.

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1928 Bugatti T35B Grand Prix
Originally imported into Belgium by its first owner, Rene Dubeck, it was raced on various occasions during that year in France, Spain and Italy.

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Bugatti Blues

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1927 Bugatti T37
Built to compete in voiturette racing for 1500cc cars, this T37 has passed through the hands of many owners, yet still retains matching numbers.

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1927 Bugatti T37
This car, chassis no. 37246, was supplied to Elisabeth Junek for use as a training car for the Targa Florio.

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Baby Bug

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1924 Bugatti T30
Something of an amalgam, based on the T13, but fitted with the engine from the T29, Bugatti’s first GP car.

John Elwin, February 2016