Review: Antwerp Classic Salon
From Ferraris to hovering VWs – this show had it all
It was anniversary time for the Classic Salon in Antwerp, Belgium as the show celebrated its 40th year as one of Europe’s leading indoor classic car exhibitions, enjoyed by more than 20,000 visitors.
This year’s event did nothing to tarnish its increasingly strong reputation, with the main themed display inevitably celebrating Ferrari’s 70th anniversary. A mouthwatering line-up of 16 competition and production cars kicked off with a 1949 Touring-bodied 166 Inter Coupé, plus some outstanding models including a 1952 225 S Vignale Berlinetta, 1957 250 GT LWB California Spider and Gerhard Berger’s 1987 Formula 1 car.
Away from these dream machines, a wealth of local Belgian classic car clubs staged some genuinely imaginative displays featuring more attainable vehicles.
A few stand-outs included the Belgian Volkswagen Cabrio Club which imagined how the 2117 Antwerp Classic might look, with a pair of hovering silver VWs, surrounded by dry ice! The Belgian Peugeot Club went for a more traditional display with two red 404 Cabriolets on its all-white stand to evoke an image of Pininfarina’s 1960s motor show displays.
The Opel Club remembered the Antwerp-built Ranger marque, a shortlived General Motors range of Opel Rekord-based models, adapted for the Benelux and Swiss markets.
Fiat Club Belgio celebrated 60 years of the 500 with a variety of cars based on the bambino, including an Autobianchi Eden Roc, Vignale Gamine and Moretti jeep. The Flemish English Car Enthusiasts Club accompanied the façade of a British pub with members wearing bowler hats and Union Jack waistcoats to accompany the Mini Cooper and Rover P4 display.
The overall consensus of the 40th edition of the Antwerp Classic Salon was that it was one of the best for some years, and worth a return visit in 2018. Gary Axon
ÕIt was one of the best for some years, and worth a return visitÕ
Micky Pattinson and Claire Underwood with the rare BMC JU250 camper many had said was unrestorable. The couple proved them wrong and have toured Switzerland in it. Both of these modified Minor Travellers were restored by JLH Minor Restorations. Richard Hobbis’ metallic blue example now sports a Rover K-series engine and many other upgrades, since which it has done 40,000 miles. Mike Dean, right, was so inspired by Richard’s car that his 1969 Traveller is now powered by a 1275cc MG Midget engine. Anne-Marie Eddington travelled from Kent to the Scottish Highlands to collect her 1983 Mini City… and then took it on a 200-mile British tour. ‘I just fell in love with the car after hearing about it through friends, she says. Partner Terry Ainger ‘just loves anything BL.’ Though his Austin Maxi has been repainted in Ford Rosso Red! A marvellous pair of Maxis – on the right is the oldest known 1750 Maxi, owned by Martin Chamberlain. Chris Munley’s 1972 example has just reached 100,000 miles. Bring on the prancing horses – the main themed display marked 70 years of Ferrari. Displays included hovering Volkswagens (top) and down to earth Minis (above).