The annual Concours d'Elégance Paleis Het Loo was won last weekend by a beautiful Lancia Astura Series II. A record number of visitors saw how the unique Lancia won the cup.
Until now, the Concours d'Elégance always stuck on just about no 25.000 visitors. Although the organization has not yet announced the number of visitors to this year's edition, it is clear to everyone who was in Apeldoorn that there were more visitors than ever. Sunday in particular, when the sun broke, was considerably busier than previous years. This has not escaped the notice of car manufacturers and importers, as there were also new cars from brands that have a warm heart for their classics. For example, the Mercedes-AMG GT R, McLaren 720S and various models from Mazda and Tesla were on display. Mazda also took part in the Competition with a car, while Mercedes had the special C111 come to Apeldoorn.
Sometimes there is a bit of a sour reaction to the presence of new cars, but we don't think that is justified. In the first place because the sponsors largely pay for the party. Secondly, because recognition of car manufacturers for a classic event like this is a good sign. And third, because the brands present did not dominate. A classic example of how things should be done is the position of Renault and Alpine. The French brands showed new models, including the new Alpine that was on display in the Netherlands for the first time. However, they also brought classics and tried to involve brand clubs in their presence.
Those who were nevertheless not interested in the car brands present, could go to enough other places. One of our favorite parts is the classic parking space, where you always see a large variety of cars. In addition, there was a Ferrari car park in another location, because that brand celebrated its 70 anniversary (also) in Apeldoorn. There was also plenty to see on the sales square, while lovers of books and brochures were more than happy.
The highlight of the event is of course the international competition itself, whereby the jury is also becoming increasingly international. It was great that this year Giovanni Bianchi Anderloni was on the jury, the grandson of Carrozzeria Touring founder Felice Bianchi Anderloni. It was at least as much fun that the organization tried to rejuvenate the jury, partly due to the presence of a special junior jury.
Nicer than Villa d'Este
Whoever studied the list of participants before the start of the Competition, would not have been surprised by the final winner, a Lancia Astura Series II. Last year the same Lancia won the Coppa d'Oro, the public award, at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. The car has a beautiful bodywork from Castagna and was quite versatile in the 30 years: in 1935 the car appeared at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este and a start of an 24 hour race in Pescara within a month and a half.
For the owners of the Lancia, Ton and Maya Meijer it was undoubtedly special to win at Het Loo. In recent weeks, they were mainly in the news as the new owners of Paleis Soestdijk. Of course we asked them what was more special: participate at Villa d'Este or win at Het Loo. Ton Meijer: “The level at Villa d'Este is undeniably higher and it was fantastic that we won a prize there, the Coppa d'Oro. But the atmosphere there is much more formal. In Apeldoorn it is more fun, more festive, so we are incredibly happy with this prize. ”
And are there already plans for a competition at Soestdijk? Meijer: “There is no room for two such events, so not in that sense. But a renovation will soon start at Het Loo, and if that did not work out in the coming years? Then the Competition is more than welcome with us! "
Photos: Luuk van Kaathoven
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