The Maastricht Interclassics is growing by the year, nevertheless the classic scene isn’t without worries. Robbert Moree went out to see what it’s all about.

Here in the Lowlands, the Maastricht Interclassics is the official opening of the classic car season. A compact show, with even more extraordinary cars this year, just to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the even, a choice of dealers with a wide and more divers palet than in ever before and a record breaking number of visitors. Maastricht once again shows us what mobile heritage is all about. Over 34.000 visitors are welcomed to this edition of the show. For whom the most beautiful cars of the past 24 editions have been gathered. A very special Le Mans winning D-type Jaguar for example, and the Aston Martin DB5 that was genuinely used by the inevitable Mr. Bond in the movie Goldfinger. But lets not forget the clubs. They put all their creativity and enthousiasm in creating beautiful stands and putting the nicest examples of their brand on show. Like the Austin Healey Club, that shows the bright red XOH-276, the only Works Rally Sprite Donald Healey ant the BMC Competitions Department actually prepared for the Monte Carlo Rally to name just one. The Works Sprite has now been completely restored and is shining ever so brightly at the stand.

Alls well that ends well, but its the way there that raises some questions. Owners of classic automobiles start asking themselves and each other who will be the specialists to keep their old bangers going in the future? Who will make sure that our aging cars will still be on the road say twenty years from now? Will there be sufficient knowledge of the classic engineering, of hand crafting body panels for instance? Do youngsters have enough interest in automotive heritage? A slight panic meanders along the classic car scene. It is sad to see that young people tend to loose interest in classic cars and working on them in particular. Adjusting a carburetor, petrol pump of valves. Repairing parts instead of simply replacing them like on modern vehicles. The same goes for bodywork, panel beating, creating no longer existing spares from scratch. What do we do?

The Dutch Federation of Historic Automobile Clubs (FEHAC) and automotive journalist Aart van der Haagen are planning some action. That’s why here at the Interclassics they have organized a number of lectures to sound the alarm bells. At this spot, where enthousiasts, trade and restoration businesses yearly gather, the message should land. Old fashioned craftsmen lecture on their beautiful jobs with pride, Emphasizing on the necessity to start working on sufficient numbers of skilled young personal in this economically important branch. A thought that is broadly shared. The idea that it’s just crippled old men with zimmer frames slowly moving around our old cars, as I read on the internet, luckily isn’t shared by most. Nor by me.

And when you wander around the Interclassics on a lovely Sunday like I do, you see a very varied public. Young and old, man and woman. Many a father carrying theirs sons on their shoulders, enjoying the show. But there is also this mother and her two young daughters slowly discovering the beauty of the classic world. So there is hope for the future. That future might need a bit of help to consolidate itself, so this initiative and most of all the involvement of the contemporary branch leaders will have to wake up young people and create enthousiasm for these beautiful metiers that will have to keep our heritage on the road. Time for some action, for sure, but no time for dispair.
Robbert Moree