Legends and jewels in
an inimitable setting.
Mercedes-Benz Classic at Dyck Castle Classic Days.
Dyck Castle Classic Days are rightly known as ‘Germany’s Goodwood’. The rural setting and wonderful atmosphere of this classic car and motorsport festival held in the grounds of a historical moated castle in Jüchen close to Cologne is reminiscent of the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Now in its seventh year, the event again attracted tens of thousands of enthusiasts and collectors from all over Europe. This year, for the first time, it was extended to three full days. “Three days to appreciate beautiful vehicles from a bygone age in a fantastic setting,” enthused Benno Edelmann, a member of the German Mercedes-Benz interest group (MBIG e.V.) and the 190 SL Club.
Alongside 200 cars from the official Mercedes-Benz brand clubs – which had around 400 members present – visitors could also admire a few vintage motoring treasures bearing the Mercedes-Benz star. They were presented by brand ambassadors and famous racing drivers from different eras of motorsport.
The SL – in the limelight for 60 years.
In the SL’s anniversary year, models from this great series dating back 60 years just had to be there. Exhibits included the 1952 300 SL no. 5, demonstrated by former racing driver Hans Herrmann.
And the SL 63 AMG safety car that saw action in the 2008/9 Formula 1 season, which was driven by his colleague Dieter Glemser as the pace vehicle for some of the special races. A few automotive bloggers were even allowed to ride as passengers in the safety car.
Guest of honour: living legend
Sir Stirling Moss.
Sir Stirling Moss, who was this year’s guest of honour, was given a wildly enthusiastic welcome by the crowd. The British driver, regarded one of the top racers of the 1950s, was delighted to be back in Jüchen. The former Silver Arrow driver signed autographs in his own drivers’ paddock surrounded by a selection of the cars in which he drove to victory. One of them, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (winner of the 1955 Mille Miglia), was driven round the site by the 83 year old. “How often do you get to meet a living motorsport legend in the flesh?” laughed Benno Edelmann.
A selection of Mercedes-Benz motoring gems.
Milestones in the Kompressor era.
The Racing Legends are a firm fixture on the programme, featuring laps for historical competition cars manufactured up to 1961. Motorcycles and side cars made up to 1949 also race against the clock on the 2.8 kilometre circuit near the moated castle. The starting flag was also raised in the following categories for sports cars and racing cars: Classic (1910 to 1925), Historic (1926 to 1949) and Modern (1950 to 1961).
Special races also included ‘Milestones in the Kompressor era’ for supercharged racing cars from the period 1920 to 1960, ‘Formula monoposto’ for open-wheel race cars built between 1930 and 1965 that competed in Formula racing, and Historic Grand Prix Cars for vehicles made between 1920 and 1965.
Motor racing legends:
Sir Stirling Moss,
Hans Herrmann, Jochen Mass
and Dieter Glemser
(left to right).
Jewels in the park.
The festival’s second glittering highlight was Jewels in the Park, an exclusive motor show. Again in 2012 it was ranked as a category A event by FIVA (Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens), putting it on an equal footing with the Concours d’Elegance at Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach. By special permission, just 40 rare – and therefore priceless – vehicles were showcased on the lawn in front of the castle. The programme at Dyck Castle also featured various special exhibitions and themed displays, including the classic car show in Miscanthus Field, named after the tall ornamental grass that grows there.
“A top-class event”.
Light commercial vehicles made at the Mercedes-Benz Düsseldorf plant, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, were a special attraction. The plant has produced around 3.5 million vans since opening in April 1962, so there were plenty of historic vehicles from a more modern era on display. Once playing a significant part in everyday life, they were admired by the many visitors who travelled to the Dyck Castle Classic Days event in their pre-war vehicles, wearing the clothes of that era. Experts praised the event as top class, with highly professional organisation and – last but not least – a fantastic reputation. “It is amazing to see so many historical racing cars going at top speed again,” was the unanimous conclusion.
The weather was not always at its best, however, but why should Germany’s Goodwood be any different to its great British role model?