Quality pays off: Masterpieces Concours 2017
Around 65 highly original classic cars of astonishing beauty and authenticity recently competed at the Masterpieces Concours at Schloss Dyck in Germany. The impressive list of participants reflects the outstanding preparatory work done by head of the selection committee Marcus Herfort. The competition, held in the beautiful gardens of the romantic moated castle in western Germany, was of an extremely high level.
Masterpieces Concours: An uncompromising concept
The focus on quality was also evident in the judging, with participating cars assessed by around 40 judges. And since the timetable allowed around one and a half days to inspect all the cars, some entrants were visited by the judges several times. Each car owner was given a specific time on the field for inspection, but it seemed wise for them to stay near their cars throughout, in case the judges made an unexpected return.
Inspecting a class winner: Dr. Harry Niemann, Ben Erickson and David Cooper having a look at a Fiat 8V Rapi Serie 1.
Christian H. Kramer has been the Chief Judge of the Masterpieces Concours since it was first held. He adheres to the voting process stipulated by the International Chief Judge Advisory Group (ICJAG), which ensures that the cars are judged transparently and with a special focus on authenticity. The same judging process is used at most other top-level Concours d’Elegances, most notably Pebble Beach. It’s no surprise that Kramer sticks to the method: he also happens to be Director of Technology at ICJAG.
Strict selection pays off
From the oldest car – a Napier T21 60 HP Brooklands – to an immaculate Ferrari F50 built in 1996, every car participating in the Masterpieces Concours was in very good condition. And each represented a fascinating chapter in automobile history. The juxtaposition of certain cars provided some of the most interesting moments outside the Concours competition itself.
A good example of this came with two cars brought in from the Czech Republic. Nearly the same age, the 1936 Tatra 77 Streamliner and the 1933 Horch 750 were both built for travelling great distances; but they are based on completely different concepts. The Horch is a beautiful testament to the luxurious car engineering of its time. Next to the lush Horch, the Tatra – only three years younger – appears much more forward-looking (but maybe a little too sober for some), with its streamlined body, rear-engine layout and modern interior design.
Flamboyant Years – the classic 1933 Horch 750 Tourenwagen and the modern 1936 Tatra 77 Streamliner.
Another duo provided less of a contrast. One of Germany’s biggest classic car traders and collectors brought along two cars rarely seen on European turf: a pair of Packards, both with Phaeton bodywork by Dietrich. The 1929 645 and the 1926 Eight 236 impressed onlookers with their size and with the originality of their condition. The Concours enjoyed strong sun throughout the weekend, prompting the Phaetons’ drivers to keep their roofs closed. Too bad, as it would have been great to see the classic lines of the Dietrich bodies and enjoy an uninterrupted view of the original interiors.
Impressive Duo of US pre-war grandezza: 1929 Packard 645 Phaeton Cabriolet and 1926 Eight 236 Phaeton.
Perfect time machine: Maserati Ghibli
On Saturday evening, while all the other Concours participants were still stressing about the results to be announced on the following day, one car collector was able to relax: the owner of a Maserati Ghibli Coupe (Tipo AM 115) had already received a design award for his car. The design jury especially wanted to honor an impressive witness to a new era in sports car manufacture: built in the late ‘60s, the wedge-shaped Ghibli foresaw how other cars would look in years to come. The icing on the cake is this particular Ghibli’s orange/brown metallic body and light brown interior. The car feels like the perfect time machine for travelling back to one of the most exciting ages of automotive history.
The first winner of Masterpieces Concours 2017: Maserati Ghibli Coupe (Tipo AM 115).
Masterpieces Concours 2017 – celebrating a Ferrari year
Every year is a Ferrari year for the real Ferraristi, of course, but the Masterpieces Concours celebrated this year’s 70th anniversary by devoting a special class to the Italian legend. Marcus Herfort managed to assemble some exceptional examples of the iconic sports car brand. Two Vignale-bodied models from 1952 were particularly outstanding. The 212/225 S Tuboscocca Berlinetta resembled Ferrari’s early racing Berlinettas, with a remarkably beautiful two-tone design. The 250 Sport Coupe had slightly more modern looks and Ferrari’s characteristic red paintwork. Both cars proudly wore their historic Mille Miglia starting numbers.
The 1952 Ferrari 212/225 S Tuboscocca Berlinetta had a beautiful bi-color body produced by Vignale.
The supercars: a look into the future
Four models from the 1980s and ‘90s showed how differently the supercar concept can be approached. Looking at the black Lamborghini Countach on show at the Masterpieces Concours, it was obvious why the car’s lines, designed by Marcello Gandini, were so controversial back then. This love-it-or-leave-it look was as loud on the Concours field as the car’s V12 engine. The Porsche 959 looks like a shy scholar in comparison. However, the unrestored red model shown at Masterpieces Concours was a specially factory-tuned car with double turbo and WLS tuning, boosting its top speed to 300 km/h.
The unique 1984 Invicta Jaguar XJ 13 was a breathtaking but unsuccessful attempt to reanimate the British sportscar brand. By contrast, the 1996 Ferrari F50 showed how a successful brand can produce a high-tech, carbon-fiber driving machine with style. Fans of the F50’s design were able to congratulate its designer in person at the Masterpieces Concours: Lorenzo Ramaciotti was part of the design jury.
Legends of Tomorrow: the class of Super Sports Cars.
(Concours) cars need to be driven
A few entrants in the Masterpieces Concours were clearly determined to show that they were no “trailer queens” by sporting recently acquired rally stickers. On Friday, for example, a beautiful 1933 Alfa-Romeo 6C Zagato was seen still wearing the sticker from this year’s Trofeo Gianni Marzotto. The rally in Bassano del Grappa (Italy) had only ended a couple of days before, so the owners must have worked hard to remove the traces of life on the road.
Similarly, a Daimler-Benz 710 SS Rennsport SS, once owned by racing driver Sir Malcom Campbell, wore the Mille Miglia’s red arrow with pride. The current owner is the head of a family that has been dedicated to preserving and racing compressor Daimlers for decades. Cars are meant to be driven, and a final highlight in this regard came for us on the Autobahn near Schloss Dyck on Saturday morning, when a 1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Coupé 2 + 2 Touring overtook us just two hours before it was due to be judged at the Concours. It is always a great pleasure to yield right of way to a car like this.
Wearing the Mille Miglia flash with pride: the Daimler-Benz 710 SS Rennsport once driven by Sir Campbell.
The group genius of the Masterpieces Concours
Many think that a Concours is just a catwalk for cars, but the Masterpieces Concours showed that such events can also be laboratories for developing automotive history. The classic car collectors who came to the Masterpieces Concours had the opportunity to share their cars’ stories with a highly knowledgeable group of judges, who were often able to add their own interesting insights.
It was especially enlightening to stand in front of a 1970 Porsche 917/001 CanAm Spyder wind-tunnel prototype. A crowd of onlookers were speculating about the reason for the tape on the car’s body when racing driver Jürgen Barth came by. He had come to Masterpieces primarily to present a 1970 Porsche 908/3, but having driven a Porsche 917 in the early 1970s, he was able to explain to the gathering – which included German race driver Jochen Mass – that the tapes helped the engineers test the car in the wind tunnel. Such insightful conversations are only possible at events like the Masterpieces Concours!
Photo © Peter Singhof.
And the winners are…
The Masterpieces Concours has quickly joined the ranks of top-level Concours. In only its third year it has already become a leading event in the German-speaking classic car scene. On Sunday, after intense examination and debate, the judges announced the three winners of the Concours. The 1952 Ferrari 250 Sport Coupe Vignale was selected as the best post-war car in the competition. One of the two Packards, the 1929 645 Phaeton Cabriolet Dietrich to be precise, was awarded the prize for most original car. Marcus Herfort underlined the fact that the organizers regard this as the most important prize in the competition. The best-of-show prize, however, went to the impressive 1930 Daimler-Benz 710 SS Rennsport. A close competition with some fantastic winners. We can’t wait to return!
The winners of Masterpieces Concours 2017.
We have published an additional posting with all class winners of Masterpieces.
All photos of Peter Singhof courtesy of Masterpieces.