Aeroplanes and motorcars, two completely different disciplines with a common place in history. Classic Wings & Wheels combines them successfully. Fly like and eagle, sting like a bee in optima forma.

Air base Gilze Rijen is the home of the Dutch Defense Helicopter Commando. Modern war machines have their base here for defending the air space. A small part of the air base is reserved for the oldies. A number of old style hangars are the home base of the Royal Air Force Historic Flights, that keeps 23 historic airplanes in the air. No wonder it’s the ideal spot to organise a meet between classic cars and vintage airplanes.

This meeting has been on the agenda for quite some years now under the denomination Classic Wings & Wheels. Higher goal of the event being a fundraiser for charity. The Rare Disease Foundation and Lymph & Co are the beneficiaries this year. Founder of the last is Benhard van Oranje, royal and known for his role as driving force behind Circuit Zandvoort. Not a bad combination. Lymph & Co uses the donations to fund fundamental research on lymph node cancer, a nasty disease that in this country alone touches 4.000 new patients on a yearly base. Despite intensive treatment over a thousand patients do not survive the disease, again in The Netherlands alone and on a yearly base. More than enough reason to raise funds for more research.

On the programme we find demonstration runs by Team FORZA, bringing vintage Formula One racers roaring along the runways. A sound so off limit it must be noticeable in the far surroundings of the air base. Besides the Formula cars, the Touring and Gt classes go about doing their stuff, as do some Bugatti’s, BMW’s, historic monoposto’s and many more. New this year are the sidecar motorcycles. CineCars has been to Classic Wings & Wheels before and to be honest, that last report doesn’t differ all that much from what we see here today. The organising Rotary Club Oosterhout in collaboration with the Royal Air Force Historic Flight found a successful formula and rightfully continues to soldier on on that base.

On entry our tickets are checked by uniformed sentinels of the Royal Air Force, we must not forget we are on military grounds here. Our host goes a long way to make our stay as comfortable as possible, serving drinks and snacks, the main course being a magnificent air show. The caprioles of a formation Fokker S11’s, a biplane Antonov with extraordinary control on slow flight and so much more. The ultimate bang being the performances of a Spitfire and a P 51 Mustang. During these demonstrations most visitors are on the stands, the neck bent, looking up. Something you don’t see much at an ordinary car show.

The automotive part of Classic Wings & Wheels is created around the 40th anniversary of the Lotus Club Holland. They bring a large field of exclusive motors to the event. Including the Lotus 63 and 72, two former Formula One racers. Kees van der Grint brings his Eleven, class winner at the 1957 Le Mans race. Of course there are many more cars to be found on the greens behind the stands. Most owners though are to be found in the hangars that are temporarily transformed into bars and restaurants. Crowdes places, where we can imagine the bulk of the fundraising is being performed. We can’t but accept that this means forgetting about the cars a little. Last year a sum of 50.000 euro was gathered for the victims of fire injuries, we’re pretty sure that everyone involved in this eight’ edition of Classic Wings & Wheels did everything they could to top that this year!
Martin Philippo