InterClassics Maastricht 2019: a great exhibition to honour the Lancia brand
The 26th InterClassics Maastricht closed its gates on Sunday, so its time for a short recap. This event is one of the first car events of the 2019 calendar, and it is a well-known and important classic car event. The InterClassics dates back to 1994, and has evolved considerably throughout the years into a very comprehensive exhibition and trade show, with a spin-off event in Brussels, that proved to be another memorable experience in the past few years, that also made it to my top 10 events of 2018 list.
I still recall the highlights of the 2016 show, where the organizers secured support from the treasure chest of the 100-year-old BMW’s archives. It could not get close the real heavyweights, like Retromobile and Techno Classica, but it was a great way to spend a truly memorable day. Fuelled by the positive impressions of the Brussels sidekick events, I managed to pay a visit on a Sunday afternoon, that proved to be a bit if a mistake. As the show was in its highest gear, the parking lots were filled, and the halls were crowded with visitors. Thus it proved to be nearly impossible to take decent photos, which was still due to my timing (every car show I know is crowded on Sundays), but I guess I have to revisit my photos from Brussels, as the majority of exhibitors and many of the cars were identical at the two shows. If there is a way, I recommend visiting the event on a less crowded day of the four.
The 2019 theme: La Grandezza della Lancia
The Italian Lancia was in the spotlights during the 26th edition of InterClassics Maastricht. The highlights from the rich, more than 100-year history of the brand were carefully selected in cooperation with the Lancia Clubs of the Netherlands and Belgium and various museums (most notably Louwman, one of my favourite car museums).
Founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia, the Lancia car brand earned the reputation of being technically innovative. The 1922 Lancia Lambda, for example, was the first production car to feature a load-bearing monocoque unibody, and after the war, the brand presented the first production V6 in the world, the Aurelia, which is also considered the first Grand Tourer, a modern luxury sportscar. Lancia was acquired by the Fiat Group in 1969, the FIAT period is also represented by a few interesting specimen.
The pre-war models include many ground-breaking models, like the Kappa with one of the largest, a four-cylinder petrol engines ever made (with a 5000 cc capacity), that proved to be a great commercial success, with a total of 1,810 Kappas built between 1919 and 1922.
The 1935 Belna Eclipse was Lancia Augusta produced in France, between 1934 and 1936. The famous French coachbuilder Pourtout designed an truly astonishing coupé-convertible version of the Belna in 1934, the Eclipse. The model shown is one of two still in existence, and was brought to the Netherlands from the South of France in 1966.
Another beautiful Art Deco model is the streamlined Lancia Astura, the most luxurious model in the 1930s Lancia range. The young designer Battista ‘Pinin’ Farina signed up to the design the ‘Tipo Bocca’ series, equipped with an 85 hp three-litre V8.
The engine is very quiet, and the top speed of 130 km/hour can be reached comfortably. Named after a peninsula near the Lazio region in Italy where many Roman villas are located, the Astura model was produced from 1931 to 1939. Mussolini’s regime chose the Lancia Astura as the official government vehicle, which of course no longer provides advertisement for the brand.
The post-war Lancias also encompass every aspect of the once so great brand, from luxury GT’s and sports cars of the ’50s through the Rally champion Gr4 Stratos and Delta HF Integrale to the modern times, with the exotic Hyena and the 2006 Thesis in a Centenario anniversary special edition.
As for the rest of the show, it was not very easy to take decent photos, hence I will double my efforts to finalise the long-overdue second part of my InterClassics Brussels report.