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Camels in St. Moritz? This weekend, it won’t be a fata morgana!

For its 30th anniversary edition, the British Classic Car Meeting is evoking the spirit of safari in St. Moritz. So don’t be surprised if a caravan of Land Rovers and British classics, verified rally warriors and even the occasional camel crosses your way in the heart of the Swiss Alps.

Sometimes the foreign gaze on a country can be more truthful or romantic than the self-reflection of the actual inhabitants. After all, you can eat the best Neapolitain pizza in Tokyo, Wes Anderson has captured the French bourgeoisie with more precision and admiration than any director from Paris – and the Old British Empire is kept alive by the nostalgic jetsetters of St. Moritz. After all, it was the British who put the alpine village on the map as a glamorous travel destination for the elites more than 150 years ago. And while the English, Scottish and Welsh have arrived in the 21st century, you can still ride down the ice canal at the Cresta Run in your knickerbockers before steering your Bentley to Suvretta House for your five o’clock tea without any interference from the real world. 

The greatest celebration of Britishness in the Swiss Alps is certainly the annual British Classic Car Meeting – or BCCM – that attracts distinguished Classic Drivers from all over Switzerland to pilot their Aston Martins and Austin Healeys, Range Rovers and Rolls-Royces across the mighty Julier Pass for a weekend of old-fashioned automobilism on the world’s most beautiful alpine roads. Hosted by Peter Egli, director of the time-honoured Suvretta House, the BCCM has paid tribute to different aspects of British motoring culture every year – and next weekend, it will be Safari time in St. Moritz. After all, the British are famous for their adventurous spirit and we all vividly remember the go-anywhere Land Rovers that explored the world on the Overland Expeditions or during the notorious Camel Trophy.

But that’s not all that Vice-Chairman Fabrizio d’Aloisio, rallye-master Andrea Klainguti and the team have put together for this year’s event. Besides a line-up of Landys, guests will have a chance to marvel at rallye-prepped British classics, listen to anecdotes from the rallying professor Rauno Aaltonen (who famously drive a Mini Cooper S to victory at the Rallye Monte Carlo in 1967), participate in a 'Quarter Mile Test' at Engadine Airport – or simply show off their coolest Safari outfits at the grand anniversary party on Saturday night, dancing to tunes from DJ Duccio Lopresto. Naturally, Classic Driver will capture the coolest cars and most memorable moments of the 30th British Classic Car Meeting, so stay tuned! 

Photos by Pietro Martelletti