Schloss Bensberg Classics 2013: Best of Show

After four years of glorious weather, the fifth edition of Schloss Bensberg Classics fell victim to meteorological statistics; but the participants didn’t allow themselves to be put off by grey clouds and rain while celebrating a joyful (if damp) festival of automotive culture.

It’s clear that in the boardrooms of Volkswagen sit not only sharp, calculating technocrats, but also some passionate ‘car guys’. How seriously they take their own brand history and, indeed, the entire history of the automobile is obvious from what goes on in Wolfsburg and at the Schloss Bensberg Classics – one of the few German classic events with an international standing. Even if the concours doesn’t yet come up to Pebble Beach standards, the variety and quality of the cars this year was extremely impressive. We pick a few highlights…

50 years of Lamborghini

No other brand in the Volkswagen portfolio stimulates emotions quite like Lamborghinin – hence the Italians were prominent at Bensberg, enjoying their 50th anniversary. Swiss collector Albert Spiess brought the first Lamborghini sports car, the wonderful 350 GTV from 1963, as well as a whole range of exciting concept cars such as the (currently in restoration) Marzal, the edgily compact Bravo and the unique Miura Roadster. Impressively, there was also the jet-fighter-meets-UFO study Egoista, the birthday gift of VW design boss Walter de Silva; and we were happy to discover a 1969 Islero GTS on the lawn – a car that recently found a new owner on Classic Driver. The jury chose a Miura SV from 1973 for the prize in this category.

50 years of the Porsche 911

You can’t deny it: 50 years on, and the Porsche 911 is more successful than ever. The large group of 911-lovers (and there are indeed a few car enthusiasts who do not count themselves in this category) were brought almost to tears of joy by the Bensberg selection: the spectrum ranged from a 1964 901 and Steve McQueen’s 911 S 2.2 from the opening scene of the film ‘Le Mans’, to the famous racing and rally machines with their Martini and Rothmans liveries. The class concours winner was a 1972 911 S 2.5 – one of just 21 built.

100 years of Aston Martin

There was a separate concours class in honour of Aston Martin’s 100th birthday which, in addition to a DB4 GT Zagato, saw one of the rare DB5 Shooting Brakes. However, the award went to the DB2/4 Cabriolet of Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.

100 years of Frua

Today, the design studio of Pietro Frua is little known, but it once sat alongside Pininfarina and Bertone as one of the great names of Italian design. The 100th anniversary concours class attracted some of its most beautiful creations, including those for Glas and AC. The concours award for Frua’s finest went – quite rightly – to the 1962 Maserati 5000 GT Frua.

Best of Show

The jury didn’t find it easy to select its overall favourite this year. Ultimately, it chose not the golden Lamborghini 350 GTS or two-tone Mercedes 300B Pininfarina, but a 1939 Talbot-Lago T120 Cabriolet by Piet Janssen. From the same year came also the ‘Best of Show’ by public vote – the Horch 930 V Roadster.

Photos: Jan Baedeker