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Great Wall Classic Rally – 2018

Starting at the Kempinski Hotel the day after the Concours D’Elegance, this rally is a fun couple of days whereby the teams are not stressed to the limited but have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as well. With a very clear road book with pictures and the well know pictograms, the stints of 70 to 150km are over good roads and can be followed also by those who are less familiar with these kinds of regularity rallies. With staff around that speaks English, any question can be answered and since there are a lot of volunteers as well, I’m sure the organization can even find you an on-board translator/guide if you would like to have one.

The first day brought us to the Mutianyu Great Wall – To the northeast of Beijing in the Huairou district. Mutianyu Great Wall measures 2,250 meters in length, with an elevation of 535 meters. Studded all along the wall are 22 turreted-fortresses, and the Mutianyu section is accessible by cable cars from below. On the southeast side, there is one general gateway platform connecting three towers together, which is quite rare in the whole Great Wall, and on this platform, a reception was given for the participants, press, and others. The organizers of the Rally also provided a cheque to the chief restoration architect of this section of the Great Wall in order to support the restoration.

The area of Mutianyu has some interesting villages and the organization managed to secure a number of villa’s that are off-site hotel-rooms of a local hotel that was to small and could no accommodate the many participants. Bus transport for both dinner and breakfast was organized, so one is not left out in the wilderness and a direct telephone line between the villa’s en the main hotel provided extra comfort.

Sleeping in one of these converted farmhouses is a nice experience and they show a good mix of traditional style and modern comfort with WiFi, coffee machine and comfortable and large bathrooms. Compliments again to the organizers!

The next day brought us to Gubei Water Town. Gubei Water Town surrounds the beautiful Mandarin Duck Lake Reservoir and leans against the Simatai Great Wall, the most dangerous and majestic section of the entire Great Wall. Gubei Water Town boasts a combination of mountains, water, and ancient villages. The town is characterized by the northern architectural style and the history and culture of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and the Republic of China (1912-1949) historic period. Although looking old, the whole village is a reconstruction and a combination of several examples of water towns that can be found around China. If you are in for a short stay in China, visiting Gubei gives you a good impression of such towns without having to travel too much.

The day was closed off with a roof-top dinner serving a typical Chinese dish called ‘hot-pot; a dish whereby you cook your own, thin-sliced, meat and vegetables in a soup and eat this with a sauce you can make to your own taste with spices and oils. While the night was setting in, a spectacular view on the lit part of the Simatai Great Wall made this a fairytale setting, topped with a marvelous display of multiple drones equipped with LED’s flying in different formations.

The next day was a day off, so all participant could spend time visiting the town and looking at the different culture- and craft shows that are given. For those who rather refresh themselves (we found out that many of the female co-drivers used this opportunity), a full spa is available in the hotel and complimentary tickets where provided by the organizers! Unfortunately, around noon that day, yours truly had to leave for other business in China but the rally continued for two more days, no doubt all in good spirit and with the same level of comfort as during the earlier part of both events.

Despite the challenge of having to miss you vehicle for a considerable time if you ship this to China and back, I can wholly recommend participating in both events. They have a playful character, things are not taken too seriously and creature comfort is taken in high regard considering the hotel accommodations booked. Foreigners should not be scared by the language either, most road signs around the Beijing area have English as well and many lunches and dinners are buffet style, so you can pick those dishes you feel comfortable with but do try this other dishes too, you might be in for a very positive surprise!

There is plenty of staff that speaks English and should you run into a technical issue with your vehicle, there are mechanics available too and for the more serious cases flat-bed trucks too! Having witnessed the great comradery between all participants and the factory teams from Jaguar-Landrover, Audi and Skoda, who occasionally also helped other participants, the YanQi Island Concours D’Elegnance and Great Wall Classic Rally can be nothing than a long-lasting and very positive memory for all who participated!

Thanks again to the organizing team, Auto Bild China, the many individuals, the volunteers, and other staff!

Jos Theuns

See the pictures here

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YanQi Island Concours D‘Elegance – 2018

The YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance is held on a peninsular island in the manmade Yan Qi Hu or YanQi lake at the grounds of the Kempinski Hotel. The hotel and lake have been used for the G20 Energy meeting in China in 2016 and several other high profile meetings and hence should be regarded as ‘top of the bill’.

Located about an hour north of Beijing and close to the Chinese (or Great) Wall, the end of September timeframe is ideal for this venue. The temperatures are nice, in the mid-20-ies, while a nice cool-down in the evening refreshes things for the next day.

Three ‘factory teams’ brought cars to the venue, Jaguar – Landrover, Skoda, and Audi while some new vehicles where speckled around the grounds such as the brand new Bentley Mulsanne, a Lamborghini URUS and several new Jaguar models. It underlines the importance of the event and shows that a number of brands see the value of bringing their history under the attention of potential customers.

Unfortunately, 2 special vehicles were delayed due to a hurricane that hit the Shanghai area just before the event. The SS-1 and XKSS Jaguars could not be unloaded due to the hurricane and the resulting high pressure on the port authorities with hundreds of ships waiting to load- and unload once the hurricane was over. We are sure these vehicles would have added to the whole event but nature cannot be forced but they were dearly missed.

Vehicles were brought to the event from Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as local collectors living in or near Beijing that came along. Being a car collector and driver of a historic vehicle in China is not easy. Several laws prevent the use of older vehicles on the road and importing older vehicles fall under the category of ‘used vehicles’,  something that the Chinese law does not allow. A recent change in the law now allows for the import of vehicles that are 100 years and older as cultural items, however, the full extent of this law is not yet clear so if this also includes usage on the road is not confirmed yet.

Despite these issues, we were treated to some very nice examples such a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Seville, 356 Porches, several Ford Mustangs, 2 Citroën VC2’s, Nissan Skyline, etc. Maintaining and driving these cars can be a challenge in every country, in China, the added difficulties of finding spares and qualified mechanics add a whole new dimension to our hobby.

With 3 factory teams participating, the judges had a hard time awarding the prices in the many categories. Should we take into account the local situation versus the easier access to spares and knowledge of the factory vehicles or not? This question played a role during the judging but we are happy to say that despite this, the final outcome of the whole event found approval amongst all participants during the prize-giving ceremony. Best of show was a 1972 Audi Coupe-S with less than 100.000km on the clock, still with original paint and interior so it would have been a contender for a FIVA preservation award! The YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance was closed with a nice dinner in the Kempinski hotel, on the evening of Mid- Autumn as you can see from the picture of the full moon rising over the lake.

Should you consider participating in this event next year, do consider to stay a little longer and join the Great Wall Classic Rally that starts the day after the YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance, see more on this further down. Bringing your vehicle to China sounds more difficult than it is, several companies are specialized in the temporary import of your vehicle, providing services for short-term insurance and a quick roadworthiness test. These companies will also organize transport from Shanghai to YanQi Island. A Chinese driver license will be needed to operate your vehicles during the rally but excellent connections between the organizers and the authorities make this a smooth process too.

J. Theuns

Concours under a September Moon

Pictures here

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Classic Car Club of Ceylon did it again!

A two-day motoring festival in Sri Lanka received a lot of press coverage and large publications in the local press. Compliments to the PR-officer of the Classic Car Club of Ceylon that apparently has a very good connection with the press!

It looks clear that the Sri Lanka Government has a different view on historic vehicles and that the issues owners and clubs face in some other areas are dealt with in a different, may we say, more realistic way. The enthusiasm described in the press clippings shows that ownership is really taking care for the next generation and while doing so, sharing this with the outside world is a good thing!

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Tragedy in Greece

The death toll of the bush-fire tragedy in Mati and Rafini, Greece, is still not clear but it is safe to assume it will be well over one 100 people with both locals and tourists having suffered in these unbelievable fierce fires.

Patrick Rollet, on behalf of the General Committee, wrote to our friends in Greece extending our heartfelt sadness and deepest sympathy over these horrific recent events in Mati and Rafani that the Greek people have so bravely endured. We would like to extend FIVA’s moral support and that of the whole historic vehicle community at large, to recover from this ordeal and overcome these most difficult times.

We have received thanks from the different Greek members for the above including some pictures of the recent events. Although not comparable to the loss of lives, shattered communities and the long time it will take to rebuild the region, we still share these as a sign of warning. If confronted by such fires, be wise and do not try to save your vehicles, as you can see in one of the pictures, even the aluminum of a cylinder head is partly melted, indicating the extremely high temperatures in such fires.

Once again, all the best to the people in these regions and our friends in Greece!

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Nantes, one of the nicest, historically rich, lively and innovative cities in France, hosted this year’s FIM Europe Congress, which took place from the 28th to the 30th of June. MC FIVA delegates, Palmino Poli (chairman MC), Nataša Grom Jerina (secretary MC) and Bjorn A. Hvaleby (member MC) had the opportunity to follow the Congress. The topic for this year was: “Electric Mobility: from Racing to Riding the Roads,” dealing with the development of electronics and technology. After the welcome speech of Mr. Jean-Pierre Moreau, Chairman of Public Affairs Commission, FIM Europe, 2nd Vice-President Mr. Silvio Manicardi explained ‘Why a Conference on electric motorcycles in Europe?’ The speech was followed by Mr John Chatterton Ross’ speech on ‘Current issues facing motorcycling from Brussels;’ Mr. Sébastien Poirier, the Directeur Général of the Fédération Française de Motocyclisme talked about the situation of motorcycling in France. The Chairman of the Board of Energica Motorcycle Mr. Franco Cevolini spoke about electric superbikes and Mr. Umberto Uccelli Managing Director of Zero Motorcycles Europe illustrated the developments of the company specialized in electric motorcycles for road use.

Before the Congress itself the representatives of FIM, FIM Europe, FEMA and MC FIVA met for a meeting on use of old and historic vehicles in cities, which was now incompatible with air quality control, as well as the issue of riders wanting to use vehicles for long distance touring or just for cultural reasons, for shorter distances. There was a discussion as to whether if it would be possible to have a uniform approach by authorities on the age for registering old motorcycles and historic ones. To further improve the collaboration in-between the organisations, it was proposed that each organisation sent a delegate to the respective General Assemblies.

Members in attendance:

  • Jean-Pierre Moreau, Chairman
  • Francesca Marozza
  • John Chatterton-Ross
  • Marleen Renoy
  • Dimitris Margaritis
  • Ioan Alexe
  • Silvio Manicardi, Vice President FIM Europe
  • Adonis Christofidis  CYMF
  • Panagiotis Kalaizis AMOTOE
  • Damiano Zamana FIM Director of Programmes
  • Dolf Willigers FEMA
  • Dr Poli Palmino FIVA
  • Natasa Grom Jerina FIVA
  • Bjørn Hvaleby FIVA
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FIVA World Rally – 2018

The entries for this event are filling up quickly, so if you want to participate, please go to the website quickly!

Starting on Aug. the 28th from the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, the FIVA World Rally will bring you to places like Llyn (Lake) Brianne, Rhayder, Aberystwyth and other spectacular villages and countrysides.

The FIVA World Rally finishes with a Gala dinner back at the Metropole Hotel.

More info here

Entry form here

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The Wanderer that Contributed to India’s Independence

The Wanderer that Contributed to India’s Independence (1937 Wanderer W24)

As many of you may know, the very beginnings of the German Wanderer marque go back to the year 1885, when Johann Baptist Winklhofer and Richard Adolf Jaenicke founded the company ‘Chemnitzer Velociped-Depôt Winklhofer & Jaenicke’, registered to sell and repair bicycles. Not long after, they were manufacturing bicycles and, by 1902, had graduated to the manufacture of motorcycles. The first car from Wanderer, the 5/12hp Type W1, was shown at the 1911 Berlin motor show and, by 1913, series production of the car had begun.

Under pressure from the Dresdner Bank, which granted Wanderer loans of over 5 million Reichsmarks, Wanderer sold its licence for the manufacture of motorcycles to the Czech engineer Dr. Fr. Janecek, who founded the motorcycle brand Jawa, and then in 1932 merged with Audi, DKW and Horch to form Auto Union. This explains the logo of the group: the four interlinked rings that remain the logo of the only surviving brand among these four today, Audi.

While DKW, with its two-stroke engines, was to focus on the cheaper end of the market and Horch aimed right at the top, Audi and Wanderer models were developed to address the midsection. Thus, under Auto Union management, the Wanderer W21, a direct competitor to Mercedes-Benz’s 170, was launched in 1933. The six-cylinder W21 evolved into the W23 in 1937. The same year, Wanderer launched the W24, which was a smaller four-cylindered derivative of the W23 and the latter shared with the former several drivetrain and suspension components, as well as body and chassis parts. The new model policy enabled the brand to achieve its greatest commercial success. The W24 became Wanderer’s best ever seller, with more than 22,000 built over a three-year period.

Available with a variety of body styles – basic two- and four-door saloons, as well as two- and four-door convertibles – the W24 sold well in Germany and Continental Europe. However, very few came to India and, in all likelihood, the car that you see here is the only one extant in India today (though several DKWs do survive in the country). But more remarkable than the rarity of the car is its historical significance.

This is the car in which India’s most charismatic freedom fighter, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, ‘escaped’ from his residence at Calcutta’s Elgin Road to reach Gomoh railway station under cover of darkness, during the night of 16-17 January 1941. This was despite full-time surveillance by the British, who were aware that Netaji’s escape could create problems for the Raj. With Netaji’s 21-year-old nephew Sisir Kumar Bose at the wheel, the Wanderer covered the 300km to Gomoh in a few exciting hours, so that Netaji could catch the Kalka Mail to Delhi. From there he found his way to Peshawar and thence to the Soviet Union through Afghanistan.

Bought new in 1937 by Netaji’s elder brother, Sarat Chandra Bose, but registered in the name of Sisir Kumar Bose, the car was in regular use till 1957, driven mostly by Sisir Kumar Bose, when it was donated to the Netaji Research Bureau. Since then it has been immobile for the best part of five decades. The decision to have the car restored was taken in June 2016, in time for the 75th anniversary of Netaji’s Great Escape, and the task of restoration was given to Pallab Roy. Roy and his team worked flat out for seven very short months – and the result was highly impressive.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose didn’t survive WW II, breathing his last in a Japanese military hospital in 1945, after the plane carrying him crashed near Taipei. Yet this Wanderer, a touching testimony to the memory of one of India’s greatest freedom fighters, lives on as the key exhibit at the Netaji Bhawan Museum in Calcutta.

  • Gautam Sen
  • Photo credits: Shreya Goswami
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RAC 1000 Mile Trial: Blue Passion

The 2018 Royal Automobile Club 1000 Mile Trial took place from Sunday 8th until Friday 13th July and was enjoyed by 35 crews in a wonderful variety of Vintage cars. The route ran from Woodcote Park, the home of the RAC Club, into mid-Wales for two full days of competition before finishing north of London near Watford. During the six days, as well as some very keen competition, there was plenty of time for socialising and the traditional high-jinks that make the Royal Automobile Club 1000 Mile more than a motorsport event, it is an occasion.

At the end of the Trial two nice pictures: one of a magnificent vehicle in an equally magnificent environment of mid-Wales and one of a very happy Father-Daughter pairing from Switzerland, Mr. Urs Mezger (driver) and his daughter Maxime (navigator).

Their Lagonda M45 Rapide received the FIVA Best Preserved Vehicle award during the 2018 RAC 1000 Mile Trial and received the 1.5kg bronze plaque from FIVA Vice-President Tony Davies at the end-of-event Awards ceremony.

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Concours d`Elégance SINAIA 2018

The last day of the June was held in Sinaia, Romania 8th edition of Concours d’Elégance. On the Peleș Castle, former summer residence of Romanian kings, displayed 28 classic cars. Vehicles were divided into 6 categories. In pre-war group were two categories, Limousines and Cabriolets. The international jury decided that the most interesting pre-war limousine was Fiat 520 from 1928.

The restoration of this car was finished by the occasion of a 90-year commemorative edition of the San Remo Rallye accompanied by Romanians drivers 1928 on the same model. Not only the most beautiful car of the pre-war cabrio, but Award The Best of the Show earned Mercedes Benz 540K Cabriolet A 1937. The car is from the Tiriac Collection, the biggest collection of historic vehicles in Romania. In the group of post-war vehicles were three categories; Cabriolets, Coupé and Limousines. As the winner of the post-war limousines was Citroën 11 CV. The production of this 4-door saloon started before the second war and finished in 1957. Ford Thunderbird 1964 – great body, nice slick paint, great chrome, was the winner of post-war coupé. Ghia 450 SS 1967 Cabriolet was produced by world-renowned automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro during his association with Carrozzeria Ghia in the mid-1960s. This rare vehicle earned 1st place in category post-war cabriolet.

Commendable is that organizer created also the category vehicles Made in Romania. In spite of the fact that Romania does not have a long history of the automobile industry, we saw 4 typical representatives of Romania. For the jury, it was not easy to work because all were nice. But finally, the jury decided that the winner of this category is Dacia 1300 from 1970.

The tradition of Concours d’Elégance vehicles began in Sinai, Romania, in 1934. The following year, the competition of elegance took place within the so-called Week of cars organized by the Royal Automobile Club of Romania. Short tradition has interrupted war events and then was no support in the post-war new political system in Romania. In 2011, event reestablished the tradition and Retromobil Club Romania (FIVA ANF) began to organize Concourse d’Elégance in the same place as the 1930s.

Concours d’Elégance Sinaia was the 4th time in FIVA calendar as an international event and all participating classic cars had a valid FIVA ID Cards. Experienced organizer, good organization with local government support and a beautiful surrounding is a guarantee for high levels of future events.

Report: Valentin Zbynovsky
Pictures: Dragos Savu.        

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During the days 21 to 24 of June, the FIVA WORLD MOTORCYCLE RALLY 2018 was held in Hungary. Four excellent days with great motorcycling activity and an excellent atmosphere favored by all the attendees and managed permanently by Laszlo Tomcsanyi and his team. A good tourist experience in a beautiful country.

With the arrival on Thursday 21 at the “Aqua Word Resort in Budapest” of all participants, the event begins. I counted representatives from 17 countries.

At night, travel to Godollo to visit the museum-school of restoration of old/classic vehicles (especially agricultural machinery) and opening ceremony with the presence of President Patrick Roller, the president of the motorcycle commission Palmino Poli, and the local authorities. Live performances and dinner. Finally, a spectacular visit by bus to Budapest at night and back to the hotel.

On Friday 22, the route starts in 4 predefined groups to travel 196 km. that takes us to Eger where the authorities await us in a spectacular square where we expose all the motorcycles to be admired by the citizens. After staying at the respective hotels, we pick up an “urban train” to take us to the restaurant where we will celebrate dinner and end of the day.
On Saturday 23, from route Eger to Cegled, 157 km., On the way we visit the “Okocentrum” a complex with zoo and a giant freshwater aquarium, located in Poroszló, and then campaign food to taste the famous “Goulash Hungarian”, continuing route to visit the” Jawa Museum “spectacular collection of old and classic motorcycles. Finally, arrival at the hotel, accommodation and visit the spa to relax. By the way, during the day we had the visit of the rain a few kilometers, nothing important. In the evening, dinner at the hotel and delivery of awards, where the plate of the Fiva was delivered to the organizer, Laszlo Tomcsanyi.

On Sunday 24, route from Cegled to Budapest to finish the rally, 158 km., To continue enjoying the Hungarian landscape and the motorcycling environment. Visit the famous “speed track of Gyón road” and then the flower delivery ceremony at the tomb of Eric Fernihough. Lunch in the same environment and return to Budapest not without first visiting the Dömsöd motorcycle museum, an excellent example of classic motorcycles with special mention to the Hungarian Pannonia, a sample of practically all the models that were manufactured in their time. Finally, I returned to the Aqua World Resort hotel in Budapest to end the rally.

Report and pictures by Joan Espelt, pictures here

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