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Masterpieces 2018 ... the best kept secret in the classic car calendar

C48 Bugatti T57 SC Atalante Jean Bugatti s/n 57542 1937

C48 Bugatti T57 SC Atalante Jean Bugatti s/n 57542 1937


Neuss, 28th - 30th of June, 2018

About one month upfront the most popular car event in Germany, the Schloss Dyck Classic Days, the elegant water castle served again as a picturesque background for a superb concours. For the fourth time the Masterpieces Concours invited many important collectors to one of the best kept secret in the classic car calendar. Once initiated by the organizers of the crowded Classic Days as a more private counterpart the Masterpieces are held in a much more familiar atmosphere of likeminded enthusiasts showing their treasured collector cars to a selected audience following the English saying “not crowded but the right crowd”.

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65 cars and their owners arrived on Thursday during the day for a check of the numbers and registration for the days to follow. The familiar character of the event is also shown by a very relaxed barbecue to welcome old friends and new in the gardens of the historic surrounding.

Friday morning the cars are set up in the orangery that also hosts the concours during the Classic Days, a very skilled and international jury took their time to look at the cars in every detail. With a strict guideline the originality is in the main focus as the major awards are presented to the best preserved examples of the field.

The Masterpieces featured many interesting cars and two marques were in the focus, Bugatti on the vintage section and Isdera on the more modern side as future classics also add to the concours scene in near future. This modern approach was also shown by a class of SUVs that is not a common sight on the lawn.

The class of the oldest cars on the field featured the sports racing cars of the 1920s and 1930s including a couple of very interesting supercharged examples of BMW, Mercedes and Bugatti. Led by the Nuerburgring opening race winning Mercedes-Benz 680 S of Rudolph Caracciola seven cars were lined up and the small Nibbio of Count Lurani contrasted the white elephant both in size and engineering. But not only one of the supercharged 6-cylinder by Ferdinand Porsche could be admired but also a very uncommon example of the 680S with bodywork by Fleetwood. Coming from a long time ownership the car was just recently brought back to running condition whereas the Sindelfingen bodied 680S was a common sight at various Mille Miglia retrospectives by its careful owner who also serves as a long standing marque expert for these vehicles. Also just on the way back to its former glory is a small BMW KR6 whose owner just found the original supercharger recently.

Next to the racers was the most admired class of the weekend with no less than 6 examples of the Bugatti T57. Considered as the most advanced luxury tourer ever leaving the Molsheim factory the car was built both in standard and in low chassis configuration. Although the Type 57 S with the low radiator is more sought after today marque expert and Bugatti historian Julius Kruta pointed out during the winners parade that not every new owner was happy with the new chassis as the low ground clearance brought many problems in time for the exhaust system on less than perfect roads.

Only one of the vee-shaped Type 57S could be seen in between 5 different coach built Type 57 but this was a very remarkable example. Many Bugatti in the time were upgraded with a supercharger by the factory but only few were actually delivered with one new, this one is believed to be the only genuine Atalante in SC configuration. Furthermore this has a superb history being part of the famous “sleeping beauty” collection and today in a very sympatric restored condition keeping as much of the original character as possible including the 1930s interior. Although the other examples bodied by Graber, Gangloff, VanVooren, Letourneur&Marchand and the factory itself were admired the entire weekend the SC Atalante certainly stood out and finally took the best of show award deservingly.

The runner ups for the BoS were a superbly restored Mercedes 500 Nürburg and the Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 BMM Cabriolet Graber that just arrived from Coppet where it won the Swiss Concours the weekend before very much to the surprise of the owner.

On the other end of the spectrum the very small company of Isdera manufactured only a few handful of cars and no less than 4 examples from Eberhard Schulz were shown in Dyck. The most famous might be the dark green Imperator and the following Commendatore from the early 1990s.

The so-called Autobahnkurier forged the bridge from the classics to the modern cars as it featured a twin-engined modern chassis with a vintage-inspired body.

Further remarkable cars included a very rare Pegaso coming all the way from Spain and a duo of racing Jaguars. In particular the highly original D-Type featuring most of its original paint, interior and even the tires and was presented in style as the curator of the car even brought the original stetson hat of the first owner as seen on period pictures. The car unsurprisingly won the preservation award against the Graber bodied Bugatti T57. Also an interesting story was the Cricklewood Bentley 4 ½ Litre by Victor Broom that made its second appearance in Dyck. Several years ago the car was found in pieces in the attic of a London town house and after a first concours round being reassembled in unrestored condition it now made its way back to Neuss in completely restored condition. 

After the very secret first editions the Masterpieces finally open a little bit more to the public and a few selected publications are spreading the word about this special event. The collector scene becomes more and more aware of the concours and cars coming from the US (like the T54 from the Mullin Collection) giving it a more international flair. One can hope that this trend is continuing and that a few more people can admire the great selection of cars in the years to come. With a lot of events around a small and high-class concours like the Masterpieces certainly has a bright future.


Report & images ... Peter Singhof