Autoworld, the Brussels automobile exhibition hall, is back with a couple of exciting exhibitions, one about the celebration of the first hundred years of the famous Belgian race track at Spa Francorchamps, and another which displays a spectacular number of “super cars”.
On the race car front, there are a few cars from the seventies on display.
This was also the occasion to revisit one of their crown jewels, epitomy of the over-the-top, gas guzzling, American boulevard cruiser.
But the most interesting part was the one devoted to the “Supercar story” side.
The display starts with the prime brand of sports cars until World War II, famous for its horseshoe radiator, and this model is an absolute classic, both for the brand and of all times.
This color version complements the first shot.
Incidentally, as close observers will have no doubt noticed, these are two different cars…
The collection of vehicles goes on to the early 1950s, with this Alfa Romeo Disco Volante, whose front is quite spectacular especially for the period.
Next one selected is arguably one of the most famous models featuring the prancing hose, the 250 SWB.
Whether you look at it from the front or the back, it is one of a kind.
This car was introduced both in a race and road versions. The race type competed in the very early 1960s at the Le Mans 24hour race, and is the predecessor to the most coveted car of all times, the Ferrari 250 GTO whose price hovers in tens of millions of Dollars/Euro whichever currency you may prefer.
Contemporary to that car, coming from the UK, is of course an Aston Martin, this one featuring an Italian body made by famous “carrozziere” Zagato.
Moving on, you will find another Italian thoroughbred, that one a road car from the late 60s.
I could not escape from featuring it since it is the favorite of one of DS’ regular contributors.
To close the chapter of the 60s, nothing could be more suitable than a brand not yet featured, which started a revolution by introducing the mid-engine concept to sports cars.
When one recalls that Ferruccio Lamborghini was originally a tractor manufacturer, one realizes that the brand has come a long way. Tired of what he called the unreliability of his Ferrari, and after chastisising Enzo Ferrari a number of times about it, he got fed up and started his own manufacture.
The Miura is his second attempt at the “Super Car” segment after the 350GT; it created a big stir since, again, it was the first super car to feature a centrally placed engine, like contemporary racing cars.
He did not stop there, and come the 1970s, launched a car which, today, still looks like a spaceship.
All Lamborghinis bear the name of a famous bull, in line with the brand’s emblem.
Come the 1990s and things really took off (or became totally crazy, depending on your appreciation of the matter).
As a for example is this model, of which one belonged to Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson).
The McLaren F1, while over thirty years old, has performance which is quite comparable to that offered by modern siblings.
But not all the safety trappings, which meant that Mister Bean had one bad experience too many, leading to his disposing of his McLaren.
The F1 has one amusing feature in that there are three front seats, and the driver sits in the middle one, avoiding the development cost for both right and left hand drive versions.
Access to said driving seat is another matter…
The response from Stuttgart was not long to arrive as they introduced the simply named GT1.
This is no longer a road car but a wolf in sheep’s clothes, a race car made street legal for homologation purposes.
The exhibition also features a number of show prototypes.
If you care for a drophead, or rather an all-season open car, this one is for you.
Another interesting prototype also comes from Italy, where, unfortunately, so many famous design studios have disappeared (Pininfarina, Bertone, Giugiaro…)
Remember the Aston Martin Zagato featured above: these people now offer this car…
I could not end this display of very special cars without showing the one that, at this moment and time, closes the case as to which one is the fastet. This is THE one. Period.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a beast, a monster.
Now owned by the VW group like Lamborghini, Bugatti has produced the most radical car to this day, the Chiron, with 1.500 BHP, all coming from a petrol engine. No hybrid.
Whether you are interested in cars, or not, this car looks the part, as if coming straight from some kind of sci-fi movie.
I wonder what they will come up next??
Due to its success, this exhibition will now remain open until February 27th instead of January 23rd should anyone be interested.
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Interested? I am absolutely mesmerised!
Unfortunately I can’t get there.
I drool at the sight of a type 35 – I could never afford one and my wife would never allow it anyway.
But I had,2 Hillman straight 8’s to start with – same car Sir Henry Seagrave had !
Later I had 3 MG’s
Then I managed to get a daffodil yellow Morgan – that was superb!!
So posting these photos was a bit like posting lovely ivory white necks in front of Dracula!
Great article – wonderful photos – thanks a million for sharing this with us
I did think having TWO type 35’s was a little bit greedy!
Thank you very much, Pete! Much appreciated.
To be honest Pascal, I am stunned to see you’ve only had comments from two of us.
Is there a holiday across the northern hemisphere?
Dear Pete, funny you would raise that. I raised that very question with Pascal J. when I presented my pics and proposed to write a post around them since previous car posts did not seem to raise much interest.
In any event, it’s not the number of comments, it’s the quality, and receiving yours and Sean’s already made my day. Thank you, Pete.
Nope, people are just too damn lazy to take 2 seconds to say thanks or comment …
Wow! That’s certainly a well presented overview and images of big-donk-testosterone that’s materialised in a range of superbly designed and crafted grunt. Grunt that’s not readily made available to us, the mere commoners. Sigh! 🙂 The images are wonderful, because to me, they focus on the ‘quintessence’ of the subjects, not just the fact they are motor vehicles. They’re more than that, aren’t they. 🙂
Thanks, Sean. When you are at least able to get close to those vehicles, while they are not yours, you may identify ;-). Thanks again for the kind words.
You bet! That’s why I loved my “Moggy” so much, and why I’ve always idolised the type 35!
Greetings my friend. Your reeditions are just superb. I love the shot angles. Best to you. You are indeed talented.
Thank you very much Peter, much appreciated.
Pascal is better at shots like this of cars, than I am. I’ve been reviewing my “car” shots lately & comparing them with Pascal’s, I’ve learned a great deal! !
Dear Pete, thank you for your kind comments. Just to add a little bit of information, I shot this series with three lenses. Namely, the race cars and the color Bugatti with a 35mm. It was relatively easy since that part of the show was not too busy.
I then went a second time to take a first glance at the supercar exhibition. My default lens is a 21 mm and did not see the need for a wider lens since again, there were not too many people, and I could take a step back for say the Chiron which I particularly like.
On my third visit, when I was somewhat more familiar with the content, I screwed a 14mm on my body which, with the extra pixel now available to me, allowed me to have a decent b&w of the 35 Bugatti even though it was far away.
But more importantly, it allowed me to have some more dramatic pics like that of the Countach which is also one of my favorites.
If I can say one thing that helped me make those pics somewhat interesting, it is the level at which I held the camera. Either with knees bent or at least at waist level. That changed my perspective.
But with three visits to prepare for the article, there was no excuse not to have decent material to propose to Pascal J.
Thanks again, Pete, I hope this helps, and would gladly see your own production. Delighted to now count you among the DS contributors photowise that is. Take care.
Thanks a whole heap, Pascal – for the encouragement, and for the tips. One you seem to be aware of already is obvious from the next post – “The Spitfires gather” – where detail shots throw fresh light on the subject. Maybe your next visit to Autoworld will yield a closeup of the dashboard of a Type 35 !
You’re quite right – a camera held down at knee level often gives a much better photo of these marvellous machines. But I learn most by “trial and error” – even though it sometimes takes longer!
Awesome! Pascal, you capture the essence, the soul of these cars so well. They were designed to be faster than the wind, than the blink of an eye even, and harnessed the power of thunder and lightning under their metal skins. That is what you show so well. Including the JokerMobile-esque Chiron, and the Diablolical Countach. Awesome, say I. Congrats!
Thank you very much, Philippe. Interestingly, this series was done with three different lenses (14, 21 and 35 and they all yielded comparable results). Thanks again!