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2017 Interclassics Brussels
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For the third time, the vast Brussels Expo exhibition centre hosted the annual Interclassics Brussels. Filling four of the large halls to capacity, it has already grown out to become the largest classic car show of the Benelux area. Accordingly the around 400 exhibitors hailed mainly from Belgium and its surrounding countries. Having travelled much further and especially longer was the Argentinian Zapp family, who officially opened the show. They are on a roundtrip around the world in a 1928 Graham Paige that started 17 years ago. Having visited all other continents, they are now completing the journey in Europe and plan to return to Argentina in 2018. Despite being close to 90 years old and having covered over 360,000 km, the family's tried and trusted Graham Paige is still going strong and will be shipped back to Argentina in great style; on the deck of a sailboat.
We were also on hand on the opening morning of the 2017 Interclassics Brussels with this 110-shot gallery as the result.

The big five
The main of theme of this year's Interclassics Brussels was the 'Big Five', which in this case referred to the five large national automobile museums in Europe. These are Autoworld in Brussels, the Louwman Museum from The Hague in The Netherlands, the Schlumpf Collection from Mulhouse, France, the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, England and the Museo dell'Automobile from Turin, Italy. Each of the five museums brought three masterpieces that represented the various key elements of the collections. Headlining the National Motor Museum line-up for example was the Lotus 49 Cosworth, which debuted exactly 50 years ago this year and introduced the all-conquering Cosworth DFV V8 to Formula 1. The other four museums also brought a car from their collection with a particular racing pedigree like the Cisititalia 202 Nuvolari Spyder from Turin and Louwman's Porsche 718/2, which was campaigned by Carel Godin de Beaufort. The Autoworld Museum brought a Belgian Minerva that also featured Belgian coachwork and was originally owned by King Albert I of Belgium.

Cycle Cars
From the 1910s, mostly small manufacturers started producing stripped down cars to make motoring more accessible for those with less means. Often produced in glorified barns or backyards, this small machines did very often feature simple cycle-fenders, which earned them the nickname 'Cycle Cars'. Stripped down also meant light weight, which made these cars great fun to drive. After the Second World War, these specialist manufacturers quickly disappeared and with them many of the Cycle Cars. Fortunately some of them did survive and around two dozen were displayed in a long row at the 2017 Interclassics Brussels. Among them were examples produced by better known companies like Morgan, Amilcar and BNC but it were the creations of the likes of Tamplin, Bedelia and Bignan that also grabbed our attention. Another interesting machine on display was the Peugeot Bebe or Baby, which was developed for the French manufacturer, who incidentally also built bicycles, by none other than Ettore Bugatti.

Further highlights
At a show like this, we also scour the halls to find something special amongst the many more familiar cars. In that way our job is similar to the specialist judges employed by the event to pick the 'Best of Show'. Their choice this year was an immaculate Ferrari 275 GTB brought and restored by local specialists Gipimotor. Our eye was also caught by other rarities, including the one-off Bizzarrini BZ 2001 from 1992 and shown by LM Classic Cars. Based on a crashed Ferrari Testarossa, it was developed by the great Giotto Bizzarrini for an American collector, who had intended to produce a small batch. Ultimately, the car remained a one-off. Belgian dealer Marreyt Classics is also always one to visit and this time they brought some very unusual machines including a large Cisitalia Coupe, a tiny and suitably dubbed Le Micron cycle car and a Lancia Aurelia bodied by Beutler. As a preview for the upcoming Paris Sale, RM Sotheby's displayed a one-owner Lamborghini 400 GT that had been delivered new to The Netherlands.

Final thoughts
Spread over three days, just over 23,000 visitors attended the third annual Interclassics Brussels. This was short of the 25,000 target but yet again an improvement over the previous edition. For 2018, the show will move to different and larger halls to accommodate the high demand for floor space. Next up for the organisers, however, is the 25th annual Interclassics Maastricht in January.


Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com