Back to the Future

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Just two weeks after the historic festival at Silverstone, Germany played host to the ‘Oldtimer Grand Prix’ at the Nürburgring many of the cars present having been trailored there straight from Northamptonshire.

Less family-orientated than the British event, the schedule of the three day meeting was packed with practice and racing – not for the Germans the pansy demonstrations so successfully staged at Silverstone. The pleasure was to be had from the racing.

Highlight of the weekend, as at Silverstone, was the Mulberry 100 Mile race for Historic Grand Prix cars, and it turned out to be a cracker. Needless to say Willie Green was in the thick of the action in the Maserati 250F, challenged by Chris Drake’s Lotus 16 on the Saturday and Peter Hannen’s Connaught on the Sunday. Green ultimately won both heats, but he was made to work, much to the enjoyment of the spectators who were enthralled at the sight of this exotic machinery being hurled around a track with gay abandon.

The Coy’s of Kensington race for 1950’s sports cars was also another entertaining event. This developed into a race between a couple of ‘Bob Tail’ Coopers and Chris Drake’s D-Type Jaguar. In the first race, a good battle was spoilt when Michael Lauer’s Cooper had his nearside rear wheel collapse having just got the upper hand over Drake’s D-Type thereby handing the Jaguar driver victory, but giving him a nasty moment in the process. But Lauer was avenged in the next race when William Tuckett drove his similar Cooper to a convincing win ahead of the battling Jaguar.

The trouble with the event at Nürburgring was that there is too much to see. Apart from the marvellous racing, the whole circuit was a venue for a huge turn-out of cars. There were the inevitable Ferraris, Jaguars, Porsches etc but there was a great gathering of the Opel clan, the BMW fraternity and the Alfa Romeo family. Needless to say British sports cars from all over Europe were to be found in huge numbers. The biggest surprise, and perhaps the greatest source of mirth, once one had got over the shock, was the stately parade of Volvo estates around the circuit.

Encouraged by their success last year, Coys held their auction at the circuit on the Saturday evening. A source of good entertainment watching all the millions of pounds being spent, the preview beforehand had been a chance to inspect some cars at close range that one would never otherwise see. A 1974 Cologne Capri and a BMW CSL ‘Batmobile’, a March-produced BMW M1, a Brun Porsche 962, a Williams FW07B and a variety of Maseratis were just some of the interesting cars to be seen. Auction houses may be criticised for their hype, but they don’t half attract great machinery to one place.

There was more of a flurry and buzz in Sunday’s paddock than had been seen at the WSPC race at Silverstone in May which led this observer to believe that he had seen the future and it lay in the past. WPK

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