The Nürburgring in August. CineCars is at the German Oldtimer Grand Prix. A grand event with a wide range of classic races on the historic tarmac.
Long before I can even see ‘The Ring’, I know I’m in the vicinity of something special. There are BMW’s in every stadium of tuning. Ford’s with beefy exhausts, racy Porsches and even an Aston Martin. An elderly gentlemen unleashes his brand new F-type with a howling exhaust. In between all this modern mayhem there are plenty of classic vehicles. Fast ones and less competitive examples, it is quite clear, I am at the pièce de résistance of German historic motorsport: The German Oldtimer Grand Prix. Home here at the 90 year old Nürburgring since like forever.
Nick named ‘The Green Inferno’ the Nürburgring is a nasty piece of work. The very bendy and laborious track is right in the middle of a nature reserve, amidst dense woods. A green surrounding often assures a good chance of rain and well, this Saturday is no exception. Good thing the next day brings plenty of sunshine and spectators. Besides the beautifully preserved and restored 1927 ‘Fahrerlager’, the Ring is a circuit with a modern feel and the obvious white gazebo’s in the inner areas. That is where the teams and their participating cars reside, besides the most beautiful examples of what the different clubs have on offer. In the paddock we see the trusty scene of car maintenance, testing and last minute tinkering.
This year the Oldtimer Grand Prix is host to a great number of rally cars. Wolfgang H. Inhester, former German rally champion is here with his Porsche 911 SC RS. Or rather an exact replica of it. ‘There are only three of these in the world’, he explains, whilst lighting his pipe after presenting the impressive car to the crowds. ‘One in the factory museum, one in France and one for sale in the US for 1.9 million Dollar.’ This car is exactly the same as the factory car Toivonen and himself won the Monte Carlo Rally in. Inhester enjoys the public interest in these historic rally cars, but he loathes the slow parade behind the leading track car.
Skoda is here, presenting a great number of sport- and rally-Skoda’s, amongst which quite a few I have never seen before. For example a Skoda 440 Spartak Plexikla Roadster built in 1956 and recently restored. It is a one-off to a design by Otakar Diblik from 1955. The car is built by the Sodomka Coachbuilding Company, shortly before the factory was nationalised and renamed Karosa. The unique prototype wandered around the factory at first, before it got in the hands of several consecutive private owners. In the end it was bought by a collector from Hradec Kralove, who fully restored the car for us to enjoy. Just as rare, a Skoda 1100 OHC. This 1958 car really has the most gorgeous polyester bodywork. Under the bonnet we find a 92 bhp four cilinder engine. The car was built to race at Le Mans, but for unknown reasons that never happened. This is the only roadworthy example in the world.
The pre-war Grand Prix racers are my personal favourite at this event. What a beastly raw racing cars they are. And what beguiling shapes they have. It is a sight to see how these cars lack a reverse gear, thus having to be pushed back into the paddock by man power once they return to the pit lane. Such a contrast with the moment when they brutally ‘jump’ forward, straight into the claws of ‘The Green Inferno’. An inferno that shows his favourable face to the participants this year. Just for the best, whilst although we love a bit of spectacle, we do prefer to see all these beautiful machines arrive at the finish line in one splendid piece.