Martin Philippo takes a trip down memory lane with a visit to the IAMS, the all new interpretation of the International Amsterdam Motor Show.
Once upon a time our dads took us to the large automobile exhibitions. We stared at the latest Rover, waited patiently for our dad to round of his conversation with the Vauxhall importer and scavenged the fair for brochures. Mainly that. Actually the gathering of car brochures was the main goal of our visit. Stacks and stacks of them we carried home. Volkswagen leaflets, and Opel’s and if we are lucky we might even get one from that nice man at Chevrolet. After all, those were the ones to have here in Europe. We collected our stash in plastic bags we had found somewhere near the entrance of the building. Carried them around all day long. At night in our little boys room we read them, devoured them. Later in bed we dreamt about the cars we collected. When I grow up, I’m going to buy that one. And that one. And that one too!
Now, forty, maybe fifty years later even, we enter that same exhibition center. The exhibitions have changed, the building hardly differs from back then. The advertising pillar still showing the sign of our national car brand, the entry of the building reassuringly recognisable. Something else that remained the same are the boys and their plastic bags, stacked with brochures. Some things never changes and it feels damn good.
Inside the building it becomes pretty clear that the old fashioned car exhibition as we knew them no longer exists. No more importers showing the latest version of their family saloons. No rotating platforms displaying the top of the range model flanked by scantily clad young ladies. Might they have been the reason dad was so interested in these cars? The fair we visit today is brand new, it’s a giant celebration for car lovers to indulge themselves in the most beautiful automobiles known to mankind. Details on performance, economy and usability is no longer of any importance. We are here to enjoy ourselves, the whole fair is here to make us happy. An intense experience is the only reason we enter the fair ground. A lovely eclectic mix of old and new is shining underneath the lamp light. For those who love cars, this is the Valhalla. Rare Ferrari’s and Bugatti’s, American muscle and Italian thoroughbreds on display. Stuff for aging men and women, but gear for young people just as well. We see dragsters, Dakar rally cars and modern Japanese muscle power.
Has everything changed then? No, we’re happy to say it didn’t. The dream remained. We no longer carry around plastic bags full of brochures, but we didn’t stop dreaming. We stop at the most wonderful automobiles, imagine how it would be to crawl behind the steering wheel of one of those supercars just for once. How amazing it would be to race that ridiculously beautiful Alfa Romeo in the Mille Miglia. How fantastic it would be to boulder around a track in a vintage racer. We might have grown up, gotten a little older and silver haired, but we can still dream. That is what this fair is meant to accomplish, that is why we leave the premises with a broad smile on our faces. And darn, we even managed to gather a plastic bag full of dreams. To take home with us.