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

BMW507sm

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

 

The Alpine A110 will be at the start of the ZOUTE GT TOUR®

Alpine A110 – Goodwood Festival of Speed
Alpine A110 in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will also be in full swing on the Knokke boulevards…

Alpine presented its stylish new A110 at the latest Geneva Salon in March this year. Since then, the A110 participated in a row of prestigious events: at the Concours d’Elégance in Apeldoorn in the gardens of the Palace Het Loo and the Supercar Run during the Goodwood Festival of Speed (UK).

Next weekend, on October 8, the A110 will participate at the ZOUTE GT TOUR® in the 8th edition of the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®

Alpine A110 – Goodwood Festival of Speed
Alpine A110 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, showing off its characteristic shape, reminiscent of its famous ancestors…

At the wheel of this gleaming A110 will be Michel  van der Sande, Managing Director Alpine.

The A110 will otherwise be on show in the streets of Knokke, amids other prestigious cars and thoroughbreds which will also adorn the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®

See you there, and we will just show you here some photos of the A110 in action at the Goodwood festival of speed!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

An exclusive four wheeled star will turn heads for charity in Knokke Zoute…

Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet ;*Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 17,0 l/100 km, CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 397 g/km Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet; *Fuel consumption combined: 17.0 l/100 km, CO2 emissions combined: 397 g/km
Mercedes-Maybach G 650 Landaulet

The famous auction house Bonhams will offer a new masterpiece of automotive engineering – The Mercedes-Maybach G650 Landaulet, one of only 99 built – at its Zoute auction on October 6th.

Bonhams is waiving its fees and returning proceeds of the sale to Laureus Sport for Good, a charity of which Mercedes-Benz is a global partner. The foundation focuses on helping children and young people overcome violence, discrimination and disadvantage through sport.

In the run up to the events surrounding the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX®, we just tell you here somewhat more about this unique SUV, and let you also enjoy the photos…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “An exclusive four wheeled star will turn heads for charity in Knokke Zoute…”

We visited the Oro Tempo show in Brussels: watches and jewellery for car lovers…

sel6generalsm

The end of year festivities are approaching fast, and therefore it is high time that we bring you some suggestions to spoil you and your partner or spouse with memorable and timeless gifts. So when Pascal Dewulf, press and communication officer of the Oro Tempo show at the Heysel, invited us to attend the event, we grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

This report marks also the start of a regular column on the lifestyle section of our site, where we will report regularly on watches, jewellery, and all the finer things which enhance your personal style.

Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “We visited the Oro Tempo show in Brussels: watches and jewellery for car lovers…”

Holiday delights: we drove our Volvo to the French Midi…

selA5256sm

Driving through the scenic valley of the Doubs, home region of the famous painter Gustave Courbet, here parked in front of an old brick manufactory. 

Our faithful Volvo 850 has some busy times lately. After the Swedish trip, it was time to take it to France, enjoying it driving through historic towns and mountain passes. The Volvo needed little preparation. Oil consumption is nil, so no topping up was necessary. We just had the rear windscreen wiper changed, and that was it. We already mentioned we had the car cleaned, with some more thorough valeting of the interior. Of course we were careful to check the tire pressures before the trip. Here follows our (travel) story…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

selA5223sm

Inside beautiful Besançon, cars are prevented from reaching the city centre…

With our faithful TomTom set up, we headed south, and decided to have a first stop at Besançon. We were so fortunate to have the good idea to avoid Luxembourg completely and drive from Brussels via Longwy, immediately entering France. Driving leisurely at the legal speed limits, which were mostly set at 110 km/h, consumption hovered between 7 and 8 liters of 95 octane fuel. Of course it runs sweetly on the new formulated “Euro” 95 fuel, Volvo’s can do this since…1977! Being totally in the holiday mood, we decided to stay on the Routes Nationales after Nancy. It proved to be quite a relaxing drive indeed, appreciating the good quality of the RN’s, well maintained and usually in excellent condition.

We had booked a fine hotel in the historic centre of Besançon, which is a stunning renaissance town with Vauban defense walls around it.

SelA5233sm

Unfortunately, a “braderie” or flea market was going on in the centre at the moment of our arrival, and the hotel proved that day totally inaccessible by car. In our modest opinion, European and National politicians are eager to make city centre’s car free, but then fail to provide adequate provisions for tourists who happen to have luggage and are not 19 year old athletes. So gentlemen politicians, why not provide for the unfortunate few hotel owners who are the victims of these draconic,  albeit temporary measures, a couple of nice electric golf cars with the city logo on it, which can be used as luggage shuttles? Or some healthy young students? Now the poor hotel owner, manifestly going literally a (very) long way to satisfy his clients, came personally to haul our luggage on his shoulders and carry it a few hundred meters to his fine hotel. We suggested he should have a good conversation with his mayor. The local politicians should provide solutions for their hotel businesses for these special days when the city centre is locked off for a special event. “C’est l’Europe”,  the hotel owner answered. Well, it is not. Europe issues a directive with aims to alleviate the city centre’s from car traffic, but it leaves the national authorities and local politicians the free choice on the ways and means to implement it.

SelA5245sm

It must be said that the overnight tariffs for the parking house in the city centre are very low indeed, and that the next morning the hotel was totally accessible by car, once the flea market was over. Here you see our Volvo parked in front of the Hotel Vauban the next morning. Loading the luggage proved a breeze…

We had the same problem in the historic centre of Ventimiglia, but that is another story, of which more later…

SelA5251sm

The fortified city of Besançon offers some stunning perspectives…

The next day, we set our sails to Ornans, the birthplace of Gustave Courbet. A smaller characteristic town, dubbed “Venice of the North” as it has the Loue running through it. He painted with love the region around this town, in the valley of the Doubs, and indeed it is beautiful.

SelA5264sm

Our Volvo was in very good company on the market square of Ornans, with an Alpine Berlinette parked next to it, which was taking part in a local “Rally des Doubs”.

selA5271sm

We drove through the impressive “Forêt de la Joux” or the forest of the Joux via Champagnole to Les Rousses,

SelA5295sm

and then went on to Gex via the magnificent Col de la Faucille, which offers truly stunning views on the Lac Léman.

SelA5322sm

Of course, Geneva and the magnificent view from the Col de la Faucille was tempting us, see the photo below,

SelA5306sm

 

but we stopped short of it and visited Ferney Voltaire, where the château of the famous French philosopher Voltaire offered us a grand view over its gardens, with Geneva in the background. Certainly a magnificent backdrop for all the philosophical thoughts one might have…

SelA5343sm

From there on, it was heading further to our holiday house, via Grenoble and Valence.

There our Volvo was happy to meet its brothers, amongst others the shining black New Beetle Cabrio, which was taking us further around during our holiday in the French Midi, and driving us through the Alps to the Italian Riviera and back, but that is another story. Stay tuned!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Recalculate your life, but never lose Compass…

170601_Jeep_Nuovo-Spot_01

The ink of our latest post on the new Jeep Compass was just dry, when we heard about a gripping TV commercial, starring the new Compass. We could not miss this, and give here some further info and the link…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Today, Saturday June 3, hundreds of millions of TV viewers worldwide will watch the final of Europe’s top competition, as Juventus takes the field. The Jeep brand has been supporting the team all the way to the big match and uses the occasion to show to the  main European markets their  new  “Recalculating” commercial, starring the new Jeep Compass immediately after the digital preview on June 2.

“Recalculating” is a 60-second commercial that offers a creative take on the sat-nav voice applying it to the important decisions and tough challenges encountered in one’s real life instead of road directions.

The characters are shown making headway and tackling the obstacles that come their way – be it professional opportunities or game changing events tied to family.

Life is unpredictable and throws many a curve, but in the film this offers the characters an opportunity to strengthen their spirits, further work on their identity and grow as a person. Indeed, wherever life leads you, in the new Compass you would never miss the right path to reach your goal…

We insert the spot here… enjoy!

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Our 850 Volvo visits the Swedish Torslanda factory, and is driven on the assembly line!

sel4sm

Editor and Press manager of Volvo Car Corporation Annika Bjerstaf photographs our Volvo 850 on the Torslanda plant assembly line…

The trip to Sweden with our faithful Volvo 850 proved to be a wonderful, comfortable and restful experience, and leaves us with many sweet memories, which we will present to you in various reports. But first of all, the highlight of our trip: the visit to the Volvo Torslanda factory, near Gothenburg. We were received by Editor and Press manager of Volvo Car Corporation Annika Bjerstaf and her colleague, communication manager of the factory, Anneli Ericsson. They had prepared a magnificent surprise for us…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

sel2sm

The new XC60 is now rolling off the assembly line in Torslanda…

They showed us proudly the facilities and the finishing line of the cars built in Sweden’s largest workplace. The production now includes for instance the second generation XC90 and the latest XC60, which rolled off the production line for the first time in April 26 this year. The XC60 is the fourth model based on Volvo’s in-house developed SPA vehicle architecture, following the introduction of the top-of-the-line 90 series in recent years. SPA actually stands for Scalable Product Architecture. No doubt, we will tell you more about this and present and drive the new models for you soon.

sel5sm

…and so was our 850! 

Production shows state of the art techniques, as you can expect. Bodywork welding is of course fully robotized. The paint shop is one of the most modern in the world.

IMG_3114small

Here you see Ms. Anneli Ericsson on the left, introducing Lena Nihlmar to the right, one of the factory employees having worked two decades ago in Torslanda on the 850. Soon more about her working experiences then and now in a following report…

Miss Annika Bjerstaf and Anneli Ericsson had organized meetings with factory colleagues who had worked in the Torslanda plant at the time the 850 was built. We will present them soon in a following report, where we will tell you also more about Volvo’s human centered production techniques. They will appear as proud premieres in our new series “men, women and cars”, shaping and creating our automotive world.

sel3sm

But this was not all. “We will take your car inside the factory”, said Anneli Ericsson, with a meaningful smile on her face. She asked me for the keys, and drove it inside. “Sorry, you will still have to wait a bit here, as the car is very wet and dripping. Just a few minutes patience.” But soon enough she asked me to sit on the passenger seat of my faithful Volvo, only to see a charming Volvo employee getting behind the wheel, and… drive it on the production line behind a sparkling V90!

We just show you the film below, as indeed, we did not believe our eyes: our 22 year old Volvo on the production line in the Torslanda plant! Here follows the link:

Actually, this was also a first for the Swedish plant, as the station wagon version of the 850 was exclusively built in Ghent. Only the sedan version of the 850 was being built in Torslanda.

sel7sm

It brought sweet memories to the older employees on the production line, and awe and surprise to the younger ones, with one of the younger women on the line responsible for inspection of the flush fitting of the doors also performing a quick checkup on our 850!

sel8sm

As the car was then carefully driven off the line, we met with Lucinda Dimiz, one of the women who was responsible for finishing the doors on the 850 at the Torslanda plant. As one of the covers of the illuminated reflector lights inside the rear doors had gotten loose, this was a job miss Dimiz could tackle with ease, we thought. I quickly grabbed the loose cover out of the centre console where I had carefully kept it, and yes, and she installed it again on our Volvo 850 in the proverbial few seconds. “When I took the cover in my hand, I immediately remembered again how to fit it”, she said with a broad smile.  Thumbs up, as you see on the accompanying photos…

Soon more about the Torslanda plant and is people, which I will present further in the new series. But the tale of this wonderful production line experience surprise had to come first!

sel1sm

Our Volvo in front of the Torslanda factory, ready for a further thrip through Sweden, before heading home…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

 

A timeless icon on the roads in France: the new limited edition Fiat 124 Spider Europa steals your (and our) heart…

170424_Fiat_124_Spider_sweeps_France_01

It is the dream of every car enthusiast: driving a stylish two seater roadster on the legendary roads of Europe. This time it was a journey from Paris to Deauville, along the banks of the Seine…

Yust dream away with the pictures…as we do, as surely we would like to take one in the second half of September to the Maserati factory and an unforgettable trip in the Italian Modena surroundings…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Continue reading “A timeless icon on the roads in France: the new limited edition Fiat 124 Spider Europa steals your (and our) heart…”

A stylish Insignia Center and Opel memorabilia…

acen1s

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…

acen4s

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

Continue reading “A stylish Insignia Center and Opel memorabilia…”

It takes two Guy’s to go racing…

It has grown into a tradition now: Europarlementarian Guy Verhofstadt returns every year to classic historic racing behind the wheel of one of the very fine Abarths coming from the formidable collection of Guy Moerenhout.

abs7sm20

Two Guy’s meet every year again to go racing: Guy Moerenhout (left) meets Guy Verhofstadt (right) at the reception of his premises… getting ready for the official team presentation at Guy Moerenhout’s Abarth Museum in Lier. 

He will participate also this year at the same race, the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, with is expertly organised by Pierre Delettre.

abs1sm20

This year Guy Verhoftsadt will have another “Guy” as team mate, namely Guy (Guido) Devreker. His car stems of course from the l’Abarth Squadra Storica Team of Guy Moerenhout. This time he will not be driving his usual Fiat Ritmo 125 TC, but instead an equally pristine Lancia Beta Coupé. You see the team and their Lancia here on the photo on the left.

On the right, you see on the photo Guy Moerenhout shaking hands with his co-driver Filip De Munck, standing beside their 124 Abarth Spider.

abs8sm20

Your servant was kindly invited to the reception at the vast premises of Guy Moerenhout, where he houses the largest collection of historic Abarths in the world. It is truly stunning what meets the eye there, we just show you here some photographs, but we will come back later with a full report.

abs3sm20

The collection is breathtaking, as this photo shows, and what to think of not less than four-in-a-row pristine 2300 S Coupés, neatly composing  a full bloodied “Abarth Squadra corse” team? Just look at the photo below… 

abs4sm20

Besides the engines and the marvelous sound, Abarth driving was also all about admiring the instruments… you find them all at Guy Moerenhout’s Abarth Museum… 

abs9sm20

Guy Moerenhout, a man who remains enthusiastic as ever for his brand with the Scorpione, participates also in the race of course, driving his Fiat 124 Abarth Spider together with Filip De Munck. Not less than four cars are entered by the l’Abarth Squadra Storica Team of Guy Moerenhout for this Legend Boucles @ Bastogne, to be held on 17, 18 et 19 of February. Another Fiat 124 Abarth Spider is entered, for the team Eric Vlaisloir et Jeroen Nys. You see that car here slightly in the back on the photo below.

abs6sm20

The photo shows indeed here the  fourth car, a pristine and completely “as new” restored Fiat 124 Sport Spider , with Dirk Vermeersch at the wheel, and Christel Bauwens as the co-driver. We had a very interesting conversation with Esther de Bièvre, the PR agent for Dirk Vermeersch. Having been a successful racing driver in his early career, Dirk now owns his own vineyard in French Rhone valley, in Suze La Rousse, she explained.

abs11sm20

We tasted his excellent Le Plan GT (Grand Terroir) wine at the reception…

abs10sm20

We will tell you all about this later in more detail, we just let you enjoy here the photos!

Hans Knol ten Bensel