The Schloss Dyck Classic Days ... a smaller version of the Goodwood Events ?

49 Lotus Eleven 1957 & 54 Lotus 17 1959

49 Lotus Eleven 1957 & 54 Lotus 17 1959


Jüchen, 31th of July - 2nd of August  

Already for the tenth time the Classic Days at Schloss Dyck were held on the first weekend in August. What started in 2006 as the idea of some enthusiasts became the most important event of its kind in Germany over the last years. With its programme consisting of demonstration runs on a closed of road including an alley, a Concours d´Elegance in the Orangerie and a lot of atmosphere in the infield created by the visitors themselves the Classic Days are often termed as a smaller version of the Goodwood events. Although it might not keep up with what has grown to the two biggest car events in Europe it is still remarkable what the volunteers at Schloss Dyck achieved in the last decade. Looking back at the previous editions it always attracted several highlights both cars and drivers as international top stars like Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Hans Herrmann or Jacky Ickx could be welcomed just as the former elite of German racing including Bernd Schneider, Jochen Mass or Klaus Ludwig. Every year several works museums opened their treasury to bring their gems to the Classic Days and certainly the jubilee edition was no exception.

Early at Friday morning the first cars and drivers could be welcomed in the park and although there were no activities on the “track” not few visitors took the chance to have a first look at the entrants before the rush of the weekend. Those coming early were rewarded with autographs of this year’s stars Sir Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann in their MM jubilee year, former Jaguar driver Norman Dewis, regular guest Jochen Mass as well as former DTM driver Ellen Lohr and Dieter Glemser. Whereas the autograph tent was overcrowded the following days one had the chance to chat with the drivers and especially Moss had a lot of great memories to share on the vintage race pictures he had to sign. Over the day the paddocks filled with again about 30 Bentleys from the Benjafield Racing Club prominently displayed at the infield, the usual colorful mix of pre- and post-war sports cars in the two paddocks and display in the Orangerie although for the first time since the introduction of the Classic Days this was not held as a proper concours anymore. With the ever increasing amount of visitors the owner of these expensive cars started to worry more and more about their cars every year and the volunteers had a lot of work to control the stream of visitors on the restricted area of the Orangerie so this year the concours was separated from the Classic Days into an own event earlier this year and the space was used for some special displays instead. Some visitors might have missed the concours cars that always have been a highlight but with the cars shown that weekend the organizers found a very suitable compensation.

Two special displays were dedicated to the history of the British manufacturer Bristol and the French Facel Vega with a great selection of the production line spanning seven decades on one side and just one on the other.

Bristol started building sportive upper class cars in the late 1940s and due to the takeover of Frazer-Nash (who were building BMW-Models for the British market by that time) the first Bristol where BMW powered and used the typical BMW grill. The oldest Bristol on the field was the 400 based on the BWW 327 but with a coachwork by Farina giving it the post war touch needed to sell the pre-war technique. The 400 was then succeeded by the 403 and 404, a 5-seater coupé and the sports coupé that did not show the BMW front anymore and the 403 was designed by Touring. The most important Bristol-Model might be the Arnolt-Bristol Bolide, the most sportive version of the 404 available. In the early 1960s Bristol moved on with the engine layout and a Chrysler 8-cylinder took over the part of the former BMW -6. Following the 400 series the Bristol became even more a niche product and the Brigand and Blenham where very much unknown by most visitors.

More glamorous was the short story of Facel Vega who started producing body parts for other manufacturers before Facel finally started own models powered by Chrysler-Engines. The HK500 founded the good reputation of Facel and the Excellence without B-pillar might be the most interesting model of that period. Celebrities like Stirling Moss drove them before the cheaper 4-cylinder version was introduced with the Facellia. Unfortunately the later models were not built in larger numbers anymore so Facel disappeared in the mid-1960s after leaving a strong mark on the market being mentioned as the best French car available during this period.

Apart from these single marque displays the VW group with his “Autostadt” had a great display of three of the main models of their top marques headlined by the imposing Bugatti Type 41 Coupé Binder Royale and the Bentley 8 Litre alongside the Rolls Royce silver ghost of 1911. Unfortunately the cars from the Autostadt were displayed in a narrow pavilion that did not bring these spectacular cars to live being barely visible in between the posts. Also brought over by Bentley Motors was the famous Blue Train Bentley of Captain Woolf Barnato for its owner Bruce McCaw. Fresh from the Concours in Bensberg two weeks earlier where it won the Best of Show award the low roof Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé was display right in front of the Castle. Although regularly seen the last couple of weeks both the story and the appearance of the car still amazes the spectators even when not knowing the background. Barnato was one of the famous Bentley boys and he did not just win Le Mans twice but he was also a major investor in the marque Bentley. In return Barnato had several speed six and had this one shaped after his own design. Still impressive today one could only imagine how the people went wild seeing it in period. The car was later believed to have run against the Blue Train from South of France to London and although today it is proven it was not this car driven against the train it is still referred to this story.

Just as impressive was the reconstruction of the Mercedes 540K streamliner at the entrance of the Orangerie, a car that was first shown at Pebble Beach after the chassis being hidden in the factory collection for ages before reconstructed to its former glory as a test car for tires at Dunlop.  

But not only the high profile cars drew attention but also the very popular themes of the car of the German economic miracle ranging from the small Goggomobile to the Mercedes Adenauer in a display named “lovely heroes” as well as the commercial vehicles of this time or the “nostalgic journey” showcasing the old camping car and caravans of a time the Germans became mobile again after the lost war.

But it is not only about cars at Schloss Dyck but also the people add much to the atmosphere as one could see every year at the charm & style display were the owners match their outfit and presentation to the car setting up some nice picnic tables. Beside the more British interpretation of the theme there was also the American sector named “stars & stripes” were the American cruisers were lined up in front of the show stage with Rock´n Roll band and dance company and were one could enjoy a cold coke in style at the typical diner.  

Saturday and Sunday finally the action came to the track nearby the castle with the demonstration runs of the different groups. Sorted by age again cars and bikes were shown as in previous years but this time without any time keeping taking off the competition of the last years. Most cars were cruised around the track although the guys from the Benjafield racing drivers club knew how to push their green monsters in style. This also leads to the special runs either by a manufacturer or jubilee like the Mille Miglia run including the class winning ex-Fitsch Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing as well as the 180 D diesel class winner. Further cars of particular interest were the Lancia D50 and the Auto Union D-Type driven by Hans Stuck´s son Strietzel wearing the original goggles of his father.

As one could see there was a lot to see these days and for those that could not get enough the nearby parking in the fields provided endless rows of classic cars to wander in between making this a very eventful sunny weekend.  

Report & images … Peter Singhof