Words and photography: Alexander Boucke
Cars and Lifestyle in one show? For a show running well into its third decade it seems to be a winning combination. However, it is not the overload of Union Flags in every possible shape which make the show attractive – the large variety of UK metal on show makes it a great day out for the continental car fan used to a diet of sports and luxury cars seen on most typical events.
The show held in the exhibition centre ‘Autotron’ near the small town Rosmalen right in the centre of the Netherlands is a good season starter for the Dutch British car clubs. AROnline’s UK readers will probably find the combination of a British car show with British lifestyle a little bit amusing – in the end, they’re surrounded by such things, day in day out. Car shows dedicated to British cars only are not that rare, so what is this all about?
There are, of course, plenty of owners of classic British cars here in central Europe, the archetypical roadster and luxury cars of all ages are held in high regard. But why the lifestyle bit? From my own long experience in the classic car scene, also backed up from talking to others, it seems that the typical owner of a British classic – as well as a modern British car – tends to have an Anglophile touch, loves to travel across the channel, drive on the wrong side of the road and enjoy British lifestyle – at least what is perceived as such over here in continental Europe.
That said, this is mostly not ‘Cool Britannia’, but more like Jaguars of the old days: wood and leather, handcrafted ‘olde worlde’ charm. And while the cars are still mostly a male thing, the rest is very much a family affair – making this show a nice day out for everyone, and therefore, pretty unusual.
The variety of British car clubs in the Netherlands is numerous, and close to the number found in the UK – on a smaller scale though, but covering all sorts of types and makes beyond sports cars from MG and Triumph. A walk along the club stands on the upper gallery reveals many exhibits you’ll hardly ever see on the large continental shows like the upcoming Techno-Classica. A Crayford Cortina convertible or a Dutch-bodied MG TD restoration project were among the highlights.
Among the more interesting exhibits was also a Lagonda chassis featuring an alloy Diesel engine. In the 1930s Gardner developed a new small Diesel engine and bought six new Lagondas as test bed and promotion vehicles. While not very powerful compared to the original petrol engines, it was very economical according to a 1935 road test. Later on, a development of the same Diesel engine was used in the Royal Navy’s mini submarines during WW2.
The small scale show will certainly not set any trends for car sales and prices, but the amount of cars on offer with ‘POA’ written on them does not indicate that they would be particularly cheap. Our favourites included a late Triumph GT6 MkIII in beautiful finish (€15,000), a one-owner 1991 Daimler Double Six with low mileage and really excellent, unrestored condition (€10,000) or an original 1969 Corniche Coupé that was shown on the 1970 Brussels International Car Show, before being sold to its first and only owner (€30,000).
Anyway, after grabbing the inevitable bag of fudge – something which is really difficult to find over here – we were back on our way home after an enjoyable day out.