Wayne’s working wanderings

The beginning of August was a busy time for FMM’s curator Wayne Harley as he had a busman’s holiday in Germany as a working guest of renowned international auctioneer house, Coys of London. Wayne was invited by the CEO of Coys, Chris Routledge, to help out at the company’s first visit to the annual Schloss Dyck ‘Das Klassiker und Motorfestival’, one of Germany’s most glamorous and well-respected historic motoring events. Chris acts as the overseas consultant to the museum and invited Wayne to take part in the set-up and running of Coys first auction at the venue, in the process experiencing the organisation of such a major event.

Schloss Dyck is situated in the municipality of Jüchen in Rhein-Kreis Neuss, around 15 km south-east of Mönchengladbach, and is one of the country’s most important water castles. Similar in some ways to the Festival of Speed and Revival meetings held at Goodwood in the UK, Schloss Dyck provides a magnificent backdrop for a motoring festival that as well as the prestigious auction includes a concours d’elegance and demonstration runs around the grounds of the castle. The weekend event attracts a crowd approaching 50 000 people on each of the days, but attendance control was “first rate,” says Wayne, “even to marshalling people over the bridge over the moat that involved queuing for about 10 minutes. Everyone was patient. No traffic jams getting in and out and the grounds were always spotless – no litter, no over-full bins. All the activities on the event’s programme began on time. Everything was organised and run efficiently in typical German fashion,” he adds with a smile.

Over 80 classic and sports cars came under the hammer in the auction, which was a success with 85 per cent of the lots sold. Of the many interesting vehicles to be auctioned, the ones that caught Wayne’s attention were a 1954 Porsche 356 pre-A Cabriolet once owned by the Swedish Royal Family, a 1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sprint Le Mans Berlinetta and a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace car with just 198 miles (316 km) on the odometer. As an indication of the range of vehicles on view was a 1957 Messerschmitt KR200 alongside a 1972 Ferrari Daytona with just 500 km on the odo after a comprehensive restoration. Different strokes for different folks…

“The concours was exceptional,” says Wayne, “with categories for practically every type of vehicle. And each participant was treated exactly the same, irrespective of whether their vehicle was humble or majestic. The demonstration runs around the 3,5-km ‘circuit’ were also a feast for the eyes. Because of strict safety measures and the fact it was on cordoned-off public roads, the runs were not at high speed but, as a result, spectator vantage points were close to the action and afforded some excellent photographic opportunities.”

Naturally, such events attract many famous motoring personalities and Wayne was delighted to be able to meet and chat with one of his heroes, Walter Röhrl. The 69-year-old German’s racing and rallying career included works drives and numerous victories for Fiat, Opel, Lancia, Audi, Porsche, Ford and BMW. Amongst his many successes, Walter was European, African, World (twice) rally champion and won the over 3,0-litre GTP category in the 1981 Le Mans. “A very pleasant and easy guy to talk to,” says Wayne. The brief meeting was a photo opportunity not to be missed.

Wayne thoroughly enjoyed his trip despite hurting his knee while helping lay carpet in the Coys pavilion, and took the opportunity to extend his stay with Chris and the pair visited a few other museums in a road trip away from Germany through Belgium, Holland and France on their way back to England. MM

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