Last revised: 26-1-2009

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Car of the Month - October 2005

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Bugatti T57 C - roadster body by Gangloff - manufactured in 1938

The 6th edition of the Concours d'Élégance Paleis Het Loo, held in Apeldoorn, Holland in early September this year, saw an obvious but justified winner: the wonderful Bugatti shown above. This Type 57 with unique roadster bodywork and compressor engine had already won prices at recent editions of the Ville d'Este concours in Italy and the Goodwood Festival of Speed (Cartier Luxe and Style concours) in Britain and was now shown at Holland's most prestigious classic car event by its proud Dutch owner. It was part of a special Bugatti Type 57 class of the concours and was ultimately awarded with the "Best of Show" title.
The bodywork of this car was inspired by a Delahaye-design of French coach builders Figoni & Falaschi, renown for extravagant and expressionist styling. The man who ordered this car wanted a similar design on the Bugatti T57 C platform and contracted Swiss coach builder Gangloff to create this custom body at their shops in Colmar in the Alsace, near the Bugatti factory, where they also made many of the Bugatti "factory" bodies. It remained a one-off and a bit of an anomaly in the line of Gangloff creations which usually were less decorated and exuberant. None the less it is a striking and pleasant design which convinces by its well-chosen proportions. It truly is a natural concours winner with all the qualities you'd like to see at an upper-class classic car event: pedigree, character, unusual, appealing and pleasantly aged without being staid.

Unfortunately quite a number of the entrants at the concours didn't have all these qualities, which was a bit disappointing, as was the actual number of entrants. The organizers repeatedly claim this concours to be on the same level as other well-known international concourses in the world, but in reality it isn't. It really is an enjoyable and large classic car event which I wouldn't like to miss, but its importance is limited to Holland. That can be deducted from the limited number of nationalities amongst the entrants, the number of entrants which were there before and the number of entrants which can be encountered regularly at other local car shows. There were not that many surprises for enthusiasts who regularly visit car shows at this year's event.
But there were also lots of positive points: it was very well organized, there was a pleasant additional national concours organized by a popular car magazine, many visitors brought their own classic car along which could be parked in a manner that they were part of the show and also a number of classic car clubs were present. There was plenty for all to see on both days of the concours, and the warm sunny weather helped a lot as well.
It would be great if the organizers, which by now have re-established this event in Holland, would add attracting more international and interesting entrants and displays to their list of top-priorities, which seemed to be aimed more at providing proper facilities, logistics and financial backing this year. This would take the event to a higher level, improving from pleasant to impressive, which it once was. The potential is there, no doubt about that.

If you want to see more Bugattis Type 57 you can check out the "Bugatti Type 57: the crown on the myth" segment on this website. There is also an impression of the first (and still best) Concours d'Elegance at Paleis Het Loo edition present on this site which you might enjoy.

© André Ritzinger, Amsterdam, Holland

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