Three days, five countries, 1,700 kilometers of driving, four museums, a factory and a couple of classic car shows. Whew!
The phone call was from my good friend and American car collector extraordinaire Scott R Bosés. His latest find was ready to be shown publicly and that would happen in Europe early in 2018. Since his wife would not be joining him, I volunteered to be his guide on a whirlwind tour of European car museums as part of his visit to the Continent.
However, with only three days between the two Dutch shows he wanted to attend, our tour time was limited, but that only added to the challenge — and the experience.
We met at the Aircooled Winterfest, one of the bigger indoor Volkswagen events in the Netherlands, where Scott was showing his Rometsch Beeskow Coupe.
If you have never heard of this car, it’s rare and really rare. This is a coachbuilt alloy body on a VW bug by a Berlin company, but only five coupes were known to survive. However, last year, Scott tracked down a sixth survivor, which had not been seen for over 50 years.
As soon as the event ended, we stormed toward Cologne for the first overnight stop. A Dutch collector, who also happens to own the Porsche & Porsche Classic Center Gelderland dealerships, kindly lent us a Cayenne V8 Diesel to use as a swift and comfortable road trip car.
Monday we headed to the Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim. Although my American friend is usually well informed, this place was an unknown and great surprise to him.
The last time I had visited this collection myself was about 15 years ago, so it struck me again how many gems are hiding in here. Here you’ll find a huge collection of pre-war cars, sports cars, racing cars, but also military vehicles and an impressive amount of planes.
Tuesday we drove to the outskirts of Stuttgart, to a small town called Sindelfingen. Of course, this is the holy grounds of Mercedes-Benz. Here we where greeted for a private tour of the Center of Excellence, usually reserved for upper clientele who order V12’s, AMGs or a collection of classic cars. But since both Scott and I have cars with three-pointed stars for our daily drivers, we felt such a visit was appropriate.
We also got a private tour of the factory, seeing the production line of the S-series and the robotics hall. Very impressive sights and informative.
In the afternoon, we went back to Stuttgart to see the Mercedes-Benz Museum, one of the best factory museums you’ll find. Considering the broad scope of Mercedes history, and that the company already had started its collection during the interbellum, it’s no wonder that it can fill seven floors, of course with all cars neatly presented.
In the early evening, we drove into Switzerland for a good night’s rest before our morning drive into France. Our first stop there was at the Peugeot factory and the company’s car collection. We were virtually alone in the museum, and were impressed by how well presented it was and its good representation of the marque’s rich history.
Unfortunately, we did not have much time since we had to hustle off to one of France’s Holy Grails — the Schlumpf Museum in Mulhousse.
Here we marveled at the rows and rows of cars from the turn of the century up through some postwar models.
After a few hours, a little bit before closing, it was time to head out and drive back to Maastricht in the Netherlands, where the 25th edition of the Interclassics show opened the following morning.
So, in just three days, we drove 1,700 kilometers, visited a factory and four museums in five countries, and started and ended with classic car showcases.
But it was so much fun that we’re already starting to plan another such road trip.3 comments