Our Suzuki Samurai passed the “contrôle technique” with flying colours…

The technician at the “contrôle technique” puts a broad smile…

Indeed, this is the second part of a very happy story. As we said earlier, we took our faithful runner to the “Point S” station, and got the oil and filter changed, and the brake system cleaned and brake fluids replaced. In the meantime, the slight brake friction we had felt on the left front wheel had already disappeared.

We first went to “point S” for a checkup…

The next day we presented it to the “Securitest”, and as expected, it passed the test without a hitch. “C’est une très bonne voiture!” acclaimed the man who checked the car. We photographed him in front of our Samurai at the end of the test, after he had put the small sticker with the test validity date on the window.

Indeed, it is immediately visible for anyone in France whether the car is properly insured and has passed the MOT test, as it is obligatory to put both the insurance and the MOT test sticker on the window. Very clever!

The validity date of the last “controle technique” is put on “la carte grise” or the grey card, which are the car’s identity papers.

Contrary to Belgium, the control is valid for a period of two years instead of one, which is far more logical if you consider the present state of technology of our modern cars.

Our 1988 Samurai passed…

Indeed, even with the soaring heat wave temperatures well above 30 degrees we are experiencing at the moment of writing, our youngtimers, the 21 year old Mercedes A Class and this 31 year old Suzuki, perform perfectly without the slightest hint of overheating or whatsoever. It proves again how much superior car technology is and has been since more than thirty years ago, compared to present day public transport trains and their infrastructure, if one reads the horrible stories of thousands of people stuck in overheated, defect trains and rail infrastructure this week. Quod erat demonstrandum!

We are now enjoying our Suzuki, driving it along vineyards and historic villages with good places to eat, and are now putting things in place to get it registered as a “voiture de collection”…

More to follow!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

A scenic drive through the Ardennes, followed by a royal garden party…

Stopping under the tree shadow, in front of the church at Humain…

Summer has arrived, and therefore it is time to get our cars out for long drives. We didn’t hesitate when the invitation dropped in our mailbox from her Royal Highness Princess Léa of Belgium and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Belgium to get our BMW up and ready for a drive to her Château in Humain (close to Marche-en-Famenne), where we would start for a 120 km long trip through the scenic Ardennes roads and enjoy a subsequent Garden Party and dinner at the grounds of the castle.

Our BMW was of course fit for the trip, and we enjoyed its smooth pulling power and excellent road manners on the winding roads through dramatic countryside’s and historic village centres.

Magnificent vieuws, like the Tombeau du Géant at Bouillon…

As this was a touristic drive with no emphasis on performance or speed, we adopted a more leisurely driving style, and our BMW with its 140 HP 2 litre petrol engine rewarded us with an average consumption over the 443 km trip of a good 6,6 litres/100 km, which goes a long way to demonstrate that also more than 20 years ago, engine thermal efficiency was not an idle word.

On our afternoon 120 km circuit, we stopped for coffee at the Hostellerie Le Charme de la Semois, at B-5550 Alle-sur-Semois

Don’t forget, this engine has double overhead camshafts, ideally shaped combustion chambers with 4 valves per cylinder and electronic multi-point injection, just like its present day brothers. For refinement, it also has a balancing shaft, so this rather big four is smooth as a straight six both at low and high revs, which brings of course even more pleasure at the wheel…

We just let you enjoy the photos, with understandably, for reasons of discretion, no photos of the royal castle and its grounds…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Citroën is celebrating its 100th anniversary

Citroën is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and therefore is launching #BornAndré, in tribute to its founder, André Citroën.

Any child born on June 4, bearing the name André(e), will receive a present…

The Brand is putting people at the centre, and this it underlines with its ‘Inspired by you’ signature. And when they are ‘Inspired by you’, why are they not giving their customers a present?

So said, so done: if a child born on 4 June 2019 bears the name of André(e), Citroën will give them an exceptional present: a C3 Origins, the collector’s edition launched for the centenary.

Therefore, Citroën is inviting its community to help it find the baby André(e), by making this appeal, which you can find out more about online: https://youtu.be/PCF1EUIs6MQ.

Promoting the ideal city car, to increase your business appointments per day, using this nimble car, costing three times less than a large one, and being just as useful…

In the meantime, just have a look at some historic material, sent to us by their dynamic PR department…

There are some remarkeable ideas about cars ideal for the city, and how mass production was achieved in those days…

The timid beginnings of a production line, which was not exactly rolling yet, but things were close!

Last but not least, a picture of a proud owner and his mount, so useful in improving urban mobility…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

We spoke with Charlie Cooper, the grandson of one of the founding fathers of modern motorsport…

If there is a man who played a pivotal role in the evolvement and development of Formula One and motorsports as we know it, then it is John Cooper, who founded the Cooper Car Company with his father Charles, just after the Second World War.  The company started regular production of rear-engined 500cc cars in 1948.

It was Moss’s victory in the 1958 Argentinean Grand Prix that would really put the company from Surbiton firmly on the map. Moss was contracted to the Vanwall team for that year, but delays in adapting their engines to run on new fuels caused them not enter the race. Moss accepted the offer from Rob Walker to drive his privately entered 2.0-liter Cooper in the event.

In the end, the small Cooper’s good handling and the driving skill of Moss, saw them finish ahead of Luigi Musso’s Ferrari by just 2.7 seconds after 80 laps of racing. The racing world was surprised, Ferrari and Maserati had been defeated!

We spoke with at the celebration of 60 year MINI at the BMW stand on the Brussels Show with Charles Cooper, and you can read here more about this great conversation we both had.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We spoke with Charlie Cooper, the grandson of one of the founding fathers of modern motorsport…”

The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…

This year’s edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® proved once again magnificent, and not alone because of the truly beautiful weather. There was a lot to see, enjoy and drive during the four days from 4 to 7 October.

As it is becoming a wonderful tradition now, not less than four events were organized, and besides this general (pictorial) review of the 9th edition of the global ZOUTE GP® event here on these pages, we will come back to you soon, dear reader, with separate reports on each of the venues. We also participated ourselves in the ZOUTE GT TOUR® with an Alpine A110…

So stay tuned…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX ® 2018: Sun, sea and purest car pleasure…”

120 years of Renault is celebrated this summer at Brussels Autoworld.

If you visit Brussels this summer, know that Europe’s capital has something in store for car lovers. Indeed, the Brussels Museum Autoworld has opened its doors every day of the week until September 2 to show you the magnificent history of Renault.

Pre-war glory: A 1937 4,1 litre 6 cylinder Vivasport… just dream away behind this sporting version of the Renault Vivastella sedan

We were present at the opening reception, and show you here some photos of the formidable and iconic cars which are on display, and we lift a brief veil on their history…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “120 years of Renault is celebrated this summer at Brussels Autoworld.”

The genius who designed the D Type Auto Union: Robert Eberan von Eberhorst

We treat you this time, dear reader, on a following story about famous men who changed motorsport and/or made such an important contribution to the development of the automobile, that the automotive world has never been the same again since then. Such a man was the Austrian nobleman Robert Eberan von Eberhorst. He made his mark as a formidable engineer not only before WW2, but also throughout the war and also in the fifties, and one of his post-war creations, the Aston Martin DB3 sports racing car, is still raced in historic sporting events, right until this day…

But there is so much more, just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “The genius who designed the D Type Auto Union: Robert Eberan von Eberhorst”

The first ‘Collection By Vermant’ Rally proved a success…

I would have loved to participate with my pristine BMW Z3 youngtimer to this event, but the last sequels of my torn muscle prevented me, alas. Things are now rapidly improving healthwise, and I really can hardly wait to drive my Z3 roadster into the sunshine again, just another few weeks of patience…

In the meantime, this rally proved a success. The route went through the Flemish Limburg fruit region, and was indeed fully subscribed with 50 participants. Undoubtedly, next year the number of participants will be still larger…

The Collection by Vermant concept, which as faithful readers know was launched three months ago at the Antwerp Classic Salon, has literally a flying start.

The workshop under the direction of specialist and operational manager Ruben Bosch is humming along, and the enthusiast with a warm heart for classics can discover now in the brand new showroom at the Generaal De Wittelaan in Malines an exquisite collection of cars for sale.

Bringing together passionate classic car lovers and clients is wat the Collection by Vermant wants to do. Just have a drink at the bar in the showroom and discover what they can do and mean for you…

We show you here the photos of the event, with some interesting cars indeed…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

New Skoda Kodiaq RS sets record lap at Nürburgring… and we compare it to racing history!

Sabine Schmitz, a born and bred Nürburgring driver, the daughter of the innkeeper/hotel owner at the famous Eifel circuit, who started driving/racing around the “Green Hell” as a teenager, went behind the wheel of the brand new RS version of Skoda’s big seven seater, and put her unique racing driver talents and Ring experience to work.

There is of course a magnificent You tube film about her 9:29.84 minute drive, of which we give you a link in this column. We decided to put this performance in an historical perspective, and more specifically how does this compare to the performances of the Grand Prix and sports drivers and cars of the fifties?

Read more and be surprised…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “New Skoda Kodiaq RS sets record lap at Nürburgring… and we compare it to racing history!”

Alfa Romeo wins historic Mille Miglia 2018

Here you see GIOLITO Roberto and GIUDICI David, Starting number 31, in their 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS… on the grounds of the Museo Storico, during the event.   

As we told your earlier, dear reader, Alfa was present in strength at the latest edition of this beautiful event. The course led even to the Museo Storico grounds, and the Alfa’s which participated were equally breathtaking. Indeed, the race caravan paid a celebratory visit to the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo at Arese, where time trials were held on the internal circuit.

But besides meticulous cars, it also pays of to prepare yourself thoroughly for this regularity event. Know the course and the stages very well, and train yourself in driving to the (hundreds of a )second.

Here you see my drawing of the winners, receiving the chequered flag . For a better view, press ctrl + to or pinch enlarge it… 

This is what the winners did, TONCONOGY Juan and RUFFINI Barbara, in their 1933 ALFA ROMEO 6C 1500 GS “TESTA FISSA”, starting number 85. You see them here on my drawing here joyously receiving the finish flag, with the second official presenting already the coveted champagne bottle. Miss Barbara Ruffini is already holding her left hand on the door to jump out of the car and collect her winner’s prizes.

This was not the only success of the formidable Alfa’s.

In second place, just eight penalty points behind the victor, there was the stunning 6C 1500 Super Sport dating from 1928, with coachwork by Stabilimenti Farina. This was an official car from the FCA Heritage collection, which is normally on display at the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, driven by Giovanni Moceri with co-driver Daniele Bonetti, with starting number 30. See here the photo above.

In third place, the 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS Zagato of Vesco-Guerini, starting number 39.

It is very touching to see that 50 years after their 1928 victory, an Alfa is again on the winner’s podium in this iconic Mille Miglia.

I couldn’t resist making a drawing of the glorious moment when the winners drove on the podium, and present you also some more photos of the other winners and Alfa’s in the Mille Miglia 2018…

Hans Knol ten Bensel