The Concours d’Elégance Het Loo is one of the most prestigious garden parties in Europe. Three days of automotive beauty in one of the most staggering decors.
Garden parties in the gardens of luscious palaces or castles, where the fine fleur of automotive Europe gathers. To enjoy the magnificent shapes of stunning classic automobiles and where there is ample room to see the cars in action. At ‘Het Loo’ this is in the form of a classic pre-war sprint taking place on the driveway of the palace. Outstanding versions of cars from long gone era’s perform a short sprint, followed by a braking exercise, another sprint and some more braking to make it through the hairpin leading back to where they came from. Small and large engines howl, growl and bang like there is no tomorrow, just to hurl these beautiful creations from the past around this primitive circuit.
Loud bangs they’ve heard before in locations like these. Not just from opening bottles of Champagne, but from the regular hunting party as well. Those who are in the know do realise that here at Het Loo there are once again some stunning examples to be seen of what we know as the Shooting Brake. In days when sex was safe and driving a car quite hazardous, automobiles, usually the more expensive ones, were reshaped by gentlemen coach builders into more practical three or five door versions, offering more space for loading ‘guns & game’. Unique creations that quite often did not exceed production number one. Hand built and just that little more exclusive than series cars like the similarly practical MGB GT, Volvo P1800 ES or Reliant Scimitar.
Amongst all this classic shebang here in Apeldoorn we also find Niels van Roij’s latest creation. Commissioned by Floris de Raadt he embarked on turning a highly modern Tesla 85D into a classic Shooting Brake. Taking the Tesla as a base, he drew, tinkered and tested until he got a result to please his customer. RemetzCar, specialist in stretching luxury limousines, built the car. De Raadt wasn’t after a car with maximum loading space for his luggage, he wanted a sporty and elegant Shooting Brake. Well, that is surely pulled off. When you see the car next to a pre-war Rolls Royce Shooting Brake you still find similarities. Chrome elements make sure the car does not look to massive, managing to obtain a classic but modern look. British Racing Green would have been to much for this car, so it was opted for a unique shade of green with just that touch of gold. Following the press release in London, Het Loo gets the first public outing of the vehicle. The men are overwhelmed with positive comments from the press. The pressure is turned up to take it into production. Al as, it is decided, no more than 20 cars maximum will be build. After all, it should remain a true Shooting Brake.
Back to the actual Concours d’Elégance, where once again some stunning cars are on parade. A beautifull BMW 507 in Elfenbein Weiss, a red Datsun 240Z, allegedly by the same designer, but also a nice Benz, A Ferrari Dino and much more from the candy store. In the end there is always just one winner, this time the Fiat Otto Vu Vignale with its magnificent Michelotti design. Former Mille Miglia contestant in 1955, where it did not finish by the way. Was the 2017 episode of Het Loo rather dreary and wet, this year perpetual drought and dust tortured the participants. After a day at Het Loo cars and people are covered in a thick layer of dust. It means we can all go home satisfied, be it a little dusty.