Just like last year, AROnline starts the new classic car show season early with a visit to Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands. The celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Jaguar name was the theme for one of the two central exhibitions and made the visit even more interesting for those with some British fuel in their blood.
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke
Surely, I will repeat my own words, if I claim that Maastricht is always worth a visit – there is much more to this town than just being the place where the EU treaties where signed. Like being the place where the biggest classic car fair in BeNeLux takes place…
Even though the space available was extended by adding a huge tent to the three halls used, the InterClassics cannot compete with the NEC or Techno Classica Essen in size, so do not expect acres of autojumble and hundreds of club stands – in fact, if these are your major reasons to visit a show, you should probably steer clear. However, if you were out to search for your next classic and needed some inspiration or were interested in one or both of the special exhibitions at the show, there was no reason to be disappointed – quite the opposite.
Gallery: Grand Prix Classics Exhibition
Let’s start with the special exhibitions – Grand Prix Classics was the name of the first. Starting with Tazio Nuvolari’s Alfa Romeo 8C from 1931 to Jean Alesi’s Ferrari F92A 17 classic Grand Prix and Formula one cars were on display – nicely displaying the leading role of British engineering from Cooper, McLaren or Lotus in motorsport. To the author the display to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the use of the Jaguar name on the cars from William Lyon’s Swallow Sidecar Company was the real highlight of the show. Jaguar Heritage and local clubs managed to put an exquisite collection on stage, really a little Jaguar museum within the show.
Gallery : Jaguar 80th Anniversary Exhibition
Two rare gems from 1935, a SS90 open Tourer and SS1 Airline, open the display, followed by a one off Mk IV DHC with Vanden Plas body, shown on the Brussels Motor Show in1948 and subsequently sold to the Rothschild family. Of course, Jaguar’s rich sports and rally successes were illustrated by showing the famous Alpine Rally winning XK 120 ‘NUB 120’, a C-type, one of the Le Mans-winning D-types and also the 1988 winner, XJR-9LM No. 2. The luxurious side of Jaguar’s history was represented by a 420G, an early Daimler Double Six and an XJ-S. Naturally, no Jaguar display is complete without a model of the iconic MkII – here a rather special MkII County, an estate based on a factory conversion built to support Jaguar’s rally and race teams, was shown.
Cars offered for sale were generally high quality and often expensive cars. As in the previous years the trend to un-restored or very careful partial restorations continued. Prices were interesting to watch, with iconic cars like a Jaguar E-Type, a VW T1 Bus and a big Austin Healey all recording strong asking prices – 100,000 Euros was easily topped. It is also worth noting that once common saloon cars of the 1970s and early 1980s, like Ford Granadas or early BMW E30 3-series seem to be gaining value quickly, while more common pre-WWII or early 1950s cars seem rather good value in direct comparison. It will be interesting to follow this development.
The organizers reported a slight drop in visitor numbers to just under 27,000, but it can be assumed that the horrible weather with heavy winds and rain played a significant role and this is no indication of a waning interest in classic cars.
With the next dates already on the agenda, AROnline will be reporting from British Cars and Lifestyle in Rosmalen (March 14-15) and Techno Classica in Essen (April 15-19).
Gallery: The Remainder of the Show