The year 2021 is over. Despite the pandemic gloom that characterized the past year, everyone involved knew about Auto Motor Klassiek manage to create twelve magazines and countless stories for you. I contributed regularly to the magazine and online. Thanks in part to the various reports, I experienced many beautiful moments. Together with the unsurpassed photographer Bart Spijker I went out into the wide world to record beautiful stories and make beautiful trips and reports. Plus, I chose my classic of the year.
I started the reporting year 2021 with the completion of the double stroke about the Belgian years of Toyota Team Europe. I was so captivated by that that I decided to write another series online about this illustrious history. I just couldn't say goodbye to it, and when I finally did, it hit me hard. Men like Ron Moës and Benny Heuvinck fanned the fire. They kept it burning and that made TTE retroactively a part of me. It still feels that way. For example, when I see a Toyota Celica TCT, I know why. I was allowed to be there and write about it, this has become a part of me. Another thing that instinctively belongs to me: the Bremen Classic Motor Show. In February I did not walk through the exhibition halls of Bremen. Due to the pandemic, Frank Ruge and his people provided an online show, the Messe Bremen and the ÖVB Arena remained closed to the public. The German organization did provide a great show, but it could never beat the feeling of being there.
Back in Leek
2021 was all about meetings with old and new acquaintances. Not only driving and talking about classic and older younger cars is part of my job, of my editorship. The contacts with the owners, the supporters and other acquaintances from the world are the fuel for me, which give even more sjeu to the making of the stories. I noticed that in October in Leek. There they greeted countless acquaintances during the Oldtimer & Classic fair, it was as usual at a time when life was back to normal.
Rally with the Giulia of Frans de Groot
In that somewhat surreal atmosphere it was fun, suddenly it was all possible again. Anton Rosema and his people traditionally ensured an extremely successful event. This qualification also applied to the anniversary broadcast of the BNR Petrolheads in Zandvoort, which we also paid attention to online and in the magazine. The RRR MFA Sexbierum rally was really cool, another highlight. I was there at the invitation of Sicco Dijkstra and it was fantastic. On that June Sunday, in the midst of the most beautiful youngtimers and classics, I drove the route with the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300 Super, which Frans de Groot allowed me to use for a weekend. I lived a dream for a weekend.
From 1300 to 2000, a beautiful process to follow
I saw Frans regularly in 2021 and also got to know his wife and his adult children. Frans is a household name in the national Alfa Romeo world and a nice person, moreover. He converts his son Koen's Giulia 1300 Super into a 2000. I follow this beautiful process full of precision mechanics extensively. When Koen's Giulia is ready, there will be a double report about it in the magazine. And that in 2022, the year that the Giulia celebrates its sixtieth birthday.
Love for the Giulia
Durk Tinga, Bart Spijker and I took Koen's Supertje with us for a day last summer. Still as 1300, and this Giulia was good for a day of fun and admiring glances. I enjoyed both Giulia's. Every second they revealed new details. Every second they crawled under the skin. And they told me why the Giulia is my favorite classic. And why love cars. De Giulia I am eternally grateful to Frans and Koen.
Traveling abroad and Hans' first car
In 2021 I also recorded beautiful experiences from others. The adventure that Egbert and Roy experienced with their Baja Bugs during their trip across Europe was very impressive. It became a story that not only gave new goosebumps to the protagonists in the report, but also to me. And what about the experiences of Joost and Buby during the Mille Miglia 2021, which they completed with verve with the Peugeot 203A. We were there for a day and got completely into the atmosphere of the illustrious and prestigious rally. The stories were countless, the rally was still completely in the system of equipe 183 and the dust from Italy was still on the Peugeot from 1951. Beautiful, so beautiful in fact that we got the idea that we had been there. Anyway, it was a very special day.
Toyota people together
That also applied to the day at Hans de Jong in Groningen. Long ago he saw how his father became the first Toyota dealer in the Northern Netherlands. I was together with Ron Moës - who made the contact - and Jan Hendriks with Hans. He bought a Toyota Celica TA1980 in 40. New, his first car and he still has it. The car is the center of a series of surprising historical stories that emerged during our visit, and which you will soon find in Auto Motor Klassiek. And Toyota people among themselves, it remains a beautiful and dog-faithful company. You can count on them in every way, just like you can count on any Toyota.
Colorful DAF and Volvo day
Every story was special and every report in 2021 had its own character. The colorful double report with the DAF 66 1300 Marathon Coupé and the Volvo 66 GL Combi of respectively Cor and Ane was also a gem, which arose by chance. Cor had just received his DAF 66, a day later we did a round with the coupé. On our way to Leeuwarden we met Ane with his Volvo 66 GL Combi. We drove one after the other and half an hour later the appointment was made for a report.
Enjoy in Sexbierum
The always warm and hospitable Sicco Dijkstra introduced me to the enchanting and comfortable Ford Granada 2.0 V6 (a fine travel car and a rarity in the Netherlands, because it was never delivered here with this engine) and the MG ZT 190+, which was impressively good and drove . The MG is a sports saloon as a sports saloon should be today. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Not only about the car, because it is also very pleasant to visit Sicco and his sons.
Every car had its story and made it. The almost virgin Renault Mégane Coupé of Marco van Rangelrooij showed why he is a dark horse in youngtimerland, I thought and think that is a very nice and totally underrated car. I also drove a 2 Rekord E1.8 1983S. It showed its good-natured travel qualities in a nice way. And made me realize that 1983 really is a long time ago.
Kadett, Amazon, Cathedral and a beautiful Oval Beetle
The extremely sympathetic Opel Kadett B Coupé F from 1971 provided a Kadett chronicle in the magazine. Theo's Volvo Amazon showed why this type of Volvo - especially when you relate age to daily usability - is one of the best models ever. A title that can also be effortlessly associated with the 400 Mercedes-Benz 1992 SE (Baureihe 140) that is impressive in all respects. The Cathedral was the home base for a day full of camaraderie, which I experienced with owner Richard Steenbergen and Peter van Wijk, among others. And speaking of the best: Thomas de Roy's beautiful 1200 VW 1956 Export showed why the Beetle was on the rise during the 65s. There was little or nothing that could compete with and within his class. This unique Oval also drove remarkably easy for a XNUMX-year-old car. And again it was striking how good, logical and solid Volkswagen always built the Beetles. It was a pleasure to be on the road with this Beetle.
The Renault 4 GTL in an air-cooled nest
A few months earlier we drove the Renault 4 GTL of Thomas' father, Peter de Roy. The Renault is a young cuckoo in the very cozy air-cooled nest of the de Roy family, whom I have known for years. Peter's 4 GTL was delivered new in the Netherlands in 1986 - the last Dutch delivery year. This French evergreen revealed why it was and is excellent in all its simplicity. And why the GTL with its excellent 1108 cc engine and excellently tuned technology helped the striking Renault 4 for years to come. He uncovered a dividing line that revealed that brilliant simplicity is really different from limitations.
Classic of the year
The Renault 4 exposes all facets of automotive and economic usefulness. And likes to submit to you. “Take everything with you. And go, go with me into the wide world. You can always count on me.” That's what a Renault 4 has been saying for sixty years. Millions of new car buyers embraced him. And many millions of used car buyers too. Because for sixty years he showed his cuddly versatility and reliability in a comfortable, charming and economical way. In all his simplicity, he also continuously provided a smile on the face. And you can still use it every day without any problems, especially in the GTL version. You don't really need more to enjoy the journey. He is still underappreciated. But he is fantastic. The Renault 4 is my classic of the year.
A beautiful, healthy and happy 2022!