We had an interview Sebastian Mackensen, Senior Vice President of MINI: “we sell a lifestyle…”


At the recent Brussels Motor Show we talked with the Senior Vice President of MINI. Born in The 46-year-old Sebastian Mackensen with a master’s degree in business administration and economics joined the BMW Group in October 2013 and brought with him many years of international sales experience in the automotive premium segment. He started as head of worldwide MINI Sales. In March 2015 he then succeeded Jochen Goller as Senior Vice President MINI…

Just read on!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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FCA Heritage returned in style to the Paris Rétromobile Show

We travelled on February 7 to a very snowy Paris to see the classic Italian gems which FCA Heritage brought over to the Rétromobile Autoshow, held in the equally iconic exposition halls at the Porte Versailles. Indeed, nothing could stop us.


Stunning cars were on the show, like this Abarth Allemano 2400 Coupé…

On their 350 square meter stand we stood eye to eye with four remarkable cars, notably an elegant Lancia Appia Coupé, a Fiat Dino 2400 Coupé, an Abarth 2400 coupé, and last but not least an impressive Alfa Romeo SZ.


We tell you here in this post more about FCA Heritage and its mission, and focus then on the Abarth 2400 Coupé Allemano , the personal car of late Carlo Abarth, and our meeting with his wife Anneliese Abarth.

In a following post, we will present a portrait of Roberto Giolito, now head of FCA Heritage, but previously Chief designer of Fiat. He is most widely known for the Fiat Multipla, and the 2004 Fiat Trepiùno concept — precursor to the Fiat 500. His latest design is the Fiat 500L, which we tested for you recently.

In a further post, we will tell you more about the other remarkable cars FCA Heritage brought to the show, and of course on all the beautiful and interesting cars on the Retromobile Show, which will be a following separate post. A lot to see and read!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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A 1937 Škoda steals the jury’s hearts at the Zoute Concours d’Elégance®


We promised you, dear reader, that we would come back to you with more reports about the delightful 2017 edition of the Zoute Grand Prix®.

The cars presented at the Zoute Concours d’Elégance® certainly turned heads, and there was one little gem, brought from the Škoda Museum, a 1937 Škoda Popular “Monte Carlo”. A rare car indeed, lovingly restored to former glory by the craftsmen of the museum, as engineer Michal Velebný explained us. We show him here with the car in the following two films, and some photos, and treat you to an interesting story…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Sven Nys, twice world champion in terrain cycling, will be at the wheel of a BMW 507 at the ZOUTE Grand Prix…


After Matthias Schoenaerts in 2015 and Adrian Van Hooydonk, director of the design department of the BMW Group in 2016, this year, the king of offroad cycling will have the honour and the pleasure to enjoy classic motoring in a BMW at the Zoute Grand Prix.

elvis BMW

At the two last editions of the Zoute Grand Prix we saw a BMW 328 Roadster and a year after the 328 Touring Le Mans. This year BMW Belux, with the support of BMW Classic will participate with a BMW 507 from 1957, as this car celebrates its 60th birthday. An exceptional car indeed.

Elvis voor BMWcrop

Elvis Presley was also an admirer of the BMW 507 at its introduction… 

Sven Nys will have Dr. Peter Henrich, President & CEO of BMW Group Belux as a co-driver.  “It is an honour and pleasure to put a car with this historical pedigree at the disposal of an athlete which has marked the history of offroad cycling. I am convinced that Sven Nys, with his talented skills as an offroad champion, will find his way and be well at home behind the wheel of this BMW 507”, according to Peter Henrich…

We will see both men in action around Knokke!

Hans Knol ten Bensel


A stylish Insignia Center and Opel memorabilia…


At the presentation of the new Insignia, we could admire the stylish Insignia Center in Zaventem, which for the occasion was also adorned with a magnificent Opel Admiral, dating back from 1937, and the Opel Monza Concept car from 2013.

The further exhibits also included an Opel sewing machine, and even a bicycle…


Opel built sewing machines until the outbreak of WWI. This one dates from 1909.

Just look at the photos and read the further comments…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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Sweet memories: our drive with the 5 cylinder Audi 80 5E Quattro in Sankt Moritz…




When we were telling you the long career of Audi’s 5 cylinder engine, we told you how your servant remembered a drive behind the wheel of the Audi 80 Quattro with this magnificent engine.

Well, we delved in our vast archive, and besides the historic pre-war motor sport photos which we rediscovered, we also found the pictures of the memorable test drive of this Audi 80 5E, on 8 and 9 December 1982.

Here they are…


The drive is vividly remembered. We were rushed from the Zürich airport by train near to Sankt Moritz. On this train, we had a lavish luncheon, with the cars on the same train in freight wagons. They were nicely unloaded for us, just to enjoy a further mountain drive to St. Moritz.


Look at how spartan the cars then really were. No light alloy wheels, just steel ones with plastic covers. Only ONE side view mirror…

But how wonderful this car drove. You had to rev it high to deliver its power. What beautiful staccato, and what a superb road holding and accurate handling thanks to the Quattro drive.


We stormed through the mountains, redlining the engine in second and third gear. It was the sound of pure motorsport, still ringing in our ears until this day, more than 30 years later…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Unique historic moments…

Dear reader, we like to take you back regularly with some rare photos to the earlier days of automobiles, motorsport, and the famous men and women who made history. Just enjoy!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Love on and off the track…


After a masterful victory in the German Grand Prix in July 26th 1936, Bernd Rosemeyer kisses his young wife Elli Beinhorn. They were married just two weeks earlier, and were a famous couple indeed. She was the famous female aviatrix, and he was the talented Auto Union driver, the first to have mastered truly the rear-engined racing car.

Auto Union had a new car called the C type for the 1936 season. The volume of the V16 engine was increased to 6 litres giving 520 BHP.

There had also been several modifications to better the handling of the cars including a ZF limit slip differential. Dr Karl Feuereissen took over from Willy Walb  as team manager.

The driver line up for 1936 was Hans Stuck, Achille Varzi and Bernd Rosemeyer as senior drivers. , with Rudolf Heydel, Ernst von Delius and Rudolf Hasse selected as junior drivers. Pietsch and zu Leiningen had left the team.

These cars were truly fast. The fastest lap of Rosemeyer on the Nürburgring, then not less than 22.810 km long, was 9.56,3. Remember, tires and brakes are a far cry from what we have today.

The race itself was held in rain and fog. Here Rosemeyer showed himself the true master. Bernd proved 40 seconds quicker per lap than everybody else, and won the race by not less than 4 minutes. He was crowned as 1936 European Champion in only his second season as a GP driver. He was nicknamed “Nebelmeister”. For good reason…

Elly Bernhorn flew her husband later in the season to the South African Grand Prix. They used the trip also as a belated honeymoon…


Tazio Nuvolari and the Auto Union

The Italian was from early on in a family well acquainted with motor racing as Arturo and his brother Giuseppe were both bicycle racers – Giuseppe was a multiple winner of the Italian national championship.

Tazio had raced for Alfa, but in 1938 went to Auto Union, which was in search of talented drivers. Here he is seen pictured at the training of the German Grand Prix 1938. Dick Seaman was to win that race at the wheel of a Mercedes. But Nuvolari that year was to win for Auto Union the Grand Prix at Monza and the Donington Grand Prix in England.

Hans Stuck reaches 313 kmh…


In 1936 the famous record speed drives were held on the Autobahn Frankfurt-Darmstadt. Hans Stuck here reached 313 kmh for “normal” racing cars. Indeed, the streamlined record cars were another matter. They were faster, but also more dangerous. Bernd Rosemeyer was at the wheel of the Auto Union Typ R (Record car) and after having reached for one kilometer a speed of 429,491 km/h, a wind gust pushed him off the track, and he was killed on January 28, 1938.