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Classic-Days at Schloss Dyck: so much to enjoy

Classic-Days at Schloss Dyck
Since weeks, I looked forward to the Classic-Days at Schloss Dyck in the Lower Rhine region. And like every year it was a fantastic event. Sadly, I was only able to visit the event on Friday, but at the Classic-Days, I anyway prefer the Friday, as it is not as overcrowded as over the weekend.
The Friday started early in the morning and just like every year, you already have nice encounters on your way towards the beloved castle. On the "Autobahn" for example, I ambled with about 80mph and suddenly was passed by an Ockelbo. Oh no, not a new IKEA-shelf on the road, but one of about 60 cars built by this very little known Swedish brand between 1957 and 1965. And the concentration of old cars on the road rises with every mile, when you near the event.
Entering the large area around the castle, I at first was a little disappointed, as not many cars had arrived. But some minutes later, I realized, that it was a big luck. On Friday, there is no "programm" and there are no cars on the small track, but if you are early, you can watch many-many cars "in action", when they arrive at the castle. So after an hour of strolling around, I bought a cold apple-juice at the fruit-shop, went to the "Kastanienallee" and while sitting on a bale of straw, unpacking my sandwiches, I had a little picknick. The place is perfect, as you can see all arriving vehicles. And the traffic-jam at the entrance is always gorgeous. Most arriving cars were postwar of course, but also among the "newer" cars, there were unbelievebale vehicles, that passed my picknick-place. Afterwards I walked to the "jewels in the park"-area. In my preview, I wrote about the line of four ISO-Grifo. This year, the ISO-Bizzarrini-Club joined the event with 16(!) vehicles. Among them six Grifo, two Bizzarrini-prototypes, an Europa and a 5300 Stradale. And additional, there was one fabulous black Bizzarrini 5300 at the "Fahrerlager", that in my personal view, was the most exciting postwar-car of the event. Sorry, I divagated, but I just HAD to write a sentence about my favourite 60´s cars. So now back to the prewar-cars: At the "jewels in the park", only a few cars already had arrived. So I went to see Heidi Hetzer and her "Hudo". Heidi still was as fit, as you know her. Always a little fast-paced, but in a good temper and joking with the press-staff as she, for example told some reporters, who wanted to have an interview with famous German race driver Jochen Mass, that he only speaks Italian. And then giggeling in her typical juvenile way. What a pleasure to see the joie de vivre and the vitality of this 79 years young lady! Later I met her again, as she explored Duncan Pittaways Fiat S76. "It´s like my old Opel racer (Heidi owns a 1911 Opel 8/30 racer), but every detail is MUCH bigger!".
Without a special aim, I walked around the lawn and meanwhile, most cars had arrived. The Benjafield´s Racing-Club conquered the infield with a horde of mighty green monsters and in between them you could spot a couple of white elephants born in Stuttgart. They all relaxed after the long drive, preparing for their battle on the track over the next two days. Next to them, Hans Stuck´s Auto-Union Type-C was displayed together wit a Wanderer Stromlinie, an Audi Alpensieger and an wonderful Wanderer in unrestaured, original barnfind-condition. 
But one car was still missing. And that was the Beast of Turin, Duncan Pittaways Fiat S76. I really was afraid, that he might not arrive until Saturday, but suddenly I heard the big roar of the beast. Duncan passed on his way from the "Torhaus" to the "Fahrerlager" and arriving there, he immediately was sieged by spectators. So I decided to dander around and have a look at the beast and its conqueror later.
What more did I enjoy? A fantastic car was for example the 1920s Rolls-Royce Phantom. Well documented and still in its original, fantastic condition. Two Delage D8, a Skoda and a wonderful BMW 327 and a fantastic black SS100-Jaguar joined the Rolls. Next to the Bentleys, a small Bugatti racer (you could truly detect a "little" difference in their sizes!) and even more interesting, an Atalanta 2-litre Roadster were parked. This Abbott-of-Farnham bodied car is the ex-Team car of  Midge Wiltby. And if you like some very nice cyclecars, you had to enter the castles patio, where for example a Benjamin and an Amilcar told us about the French light-car time of the 1920s.
But now it was time to visit the "Beast". The hood was dismounted and Duncan fixed and repaired it. He told me, that the car got ready for its trip to Germany just one day before and they still had ignition problems. And putting away his tools, he started talking about the history of his S76 and about the racing history, especially of Fiat during the pre-WW1 time. Thanks for that Duncan! It was a real joy to listen to those stories, told with so much knowledge. That really was fantastic.
Meanwhile the step-counter of my mobile phone announced a new record, but as it was late and most visitors left the area, I once again visited the cars of the "jewels in the park". In the evening sun, with only one security and two people cleaning the Ferraris in the background it was surreal. It was quiet, you only heard the music of the drivers-party in the background and the cars gleamed in the sinking sun. What a perfect ending of a once more phantastic visit at the Classic-Days!
But at the end of the article, I really have to mention my personal heroes of the day. And that are the always friendly young ladies at the "Torburg" and the "Barockbrücke". Background: because of security-guidelines, the public authorities prohibit to let the visitors enter the inner area via these two "entrances", you also can name "chokepoints". Only drivers, VIPs and (what a luck) reporters are allowed to pass. But EVERY time, I passed those entrances, the young ladies were discussing with visitors who wanted to ignore those security-guidelines and mostly not in a friendly way. It was really a shame and the ladies always stayed calm, friendly, but regulatory. So please bestow them a medal for their patience! It must have been horror to stand against all those panjandrums like Gandalf against the Balrog!
Text and Photos: Hubertus Hansmann

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