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First Days of Elegance Concours hits the bullseye

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The Dutch classic car show organiser Interclassics decided to branch out and organize a first Concours on the outskirts of Maastricht, their home base. With a 1935 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Roadster, the Days of Elegance Concours had a fine first ‘best in show’.

Days of Elegance settled down in Chateau St Gerlach, a former monastery now transformed into a luxury hotel and restaurant. The Chateau opened up its gardens to the inaugural edition of the Concours d’Elegance. Even though the country suffered from a heatwave all along the weekend, the Concours saw good crowds. They were lured by a neat selection of classics on the show field, flanked by dealers who showed their impressive inventories.

1907 Zust Targa Florio. Photo Dirk de Jager

Zust

For its first time, the Concours had assembled an impressive field of 36 cars, divided into five categories, including one Racing Legends class with eight spectacular entries. The oldest entry was a 1907 Zust, a former Targa Florio entrant. Zust was a Swiss engineer who founded his brand in Milan (1905-1911). He managed to make around 90 cars, of which now remain just three known survivors. Of this car, the chassis and engine were discovered. The coachwork, however, had been lost and was recreated using pictures from that Targa Florio.

1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial Pininfarina Spyder chassis 0414MD. Photo Dirk de Jager

Mille Miglia Mondial

The rare Zust was flanked by a Ferrari 500 Mondial that had its most important outing in the 1954 Mille Miglia. A Grand Prix car remains a rare sight during a Concours, but one of the most beautiful Grand Prix cars ever made showed up in the form of the Talbot Lagot T26C. This particular chassis won the 1949 Grand Prix de Paris.

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C2300 Touring Long chassis Spider, chassis 2211064. Photo Dirk de Jager

Alfa at Le Mans

A Concours is never complete without an Alfa Romeo. In this case there where three present, including one in the Racing car category. With an 8 C 2.3 on the field, you are always bound to attract attention. This Touring bodied car ran at Le Mans in 1932. As is typical for many old racing cars, this one has lost its original body, but has since been brought back to its correct body style.

1965 Lola T70 Spyder chassis SL70/01. Photo Dirk de Jager

It was interesting to note that in the racing category just three postwar cars were present. Besides the Ferrari, the two others were an Alpine and a 1965 Lola T70 Spyder that was campaigned that year mainly by John Surtees, Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti. Although this was not the most successful year for the Lola, it still managed to get a race win with Surtees behind the wheel.

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1954 Ferrari 250 GT Europa, chassis 0373GT. Photo Dirk de Jager

Gendebien Ferrari

The Gentleman’s Thoroughbred class also featured some sports cars with racing pedigree. The Ferrari 250 GT Europa that was delivered new to Jacques Swaters and Garage Francorchamps in 1954, raced the Liege-Rome-Liege rally in 1956 with non-other than Olivier Gendebien behind the wheel. In that gruelling non-stop 5064-kilometre rally, Gendebien did manage to make it back to the finish and scored a third-place overall.

The Best in Show award went to the 1935 Lancia Astura Pininfarina Roadster, a one-off bodied example that was presented during the 1935 Turin Concours d’Elegance.

Despite the high temperatures, the turn-up was good. The grounds still offer plenty of opportunities to expand the Concours show field. We for one are looking forward to next year’s edition to see what this new show can come up with.

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