Juchen, Germany -- They call it Germany’s biggest automotive garden party, and it’s just like Pebble Beach, really. Except there’s a castle and no beach. And there are a lot more 1958 Plymouths. And certainly way more rockabillies dancing to American music of the 1950s.
You don’t often see a faux American ’50s diner perched beside a medieval German moat, and this one embraces that whole poodle skirt, jukebox, and pink Cadillac vibe with something approaching religious conviction. The proprietor seemed overjoyed just to hear I was genuinely from the States.
Then he asked where in particular. “Ja, really? Tennessee?” he replied with a shout. Heads turned and a grinning gent stepped up, whooped “Tennessee!” and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Graceland! Elvis!” he beamed, and then started singing “The Tennessee Waltz” while people shook my hand and snapped photos. Ah, sweet celebrity.
It would seem that Sgt. Presley and his fellow GIs left quite an impression during their hitch in Deutschland during the Cold War of the 1950s and 1960s, since Germans evidently now harbor a fetish for the rockabilly and Route 66 lifestyle. Even here at Schloss Dyck Classic Days, Germany’s finest and most exclusive concours d’elegance, this American diner had a live band, a dance floor, and an adjacent collection of chrome-era Detroit iron that set a new standard for kitschy Americana. There’s also a familiar American feel to everything about this event, in fact. Even the souvenir program and German-language Website officially call this “Classic Days,” not “Klassische Tage.”
For all this, Classic Days Schloss Dyck is the finest concours in this country, and it combines the presentation of exquisite and interesting historic cars like Pebble Beach, with a little opportunity for a thrash of historic racecars like the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Revival. Like Monterey Week, it happens every August and takes place in scenic circumstances, specifically on the manicured grounds of a castle (Schloss) in the Rhineland near Düsseldorf.
To be fair, there’s a noticeable British influence here as well, which is not unrelated to the Brits’ own military service in this country, plus the Germans’ well-known love of upper-class British living. Here at Schloss Dyck, there are certainly plenty of those big, old pre-war Bentleys, and some Brits insist that this event has been patterned after the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Somehow, however, Schloss just doesn’t seem so intense. Besides, the live band ain’t playin’ the Beatles, is it?
Unlike Pebble Beach, the scale of Schloss Dyck must yield to physical realities as far as event space is concerned. While the concours ground is a big space by European standards, it’s a tiny one by California’s measure. Entry for the concours (“Jewels in the Park”) has been limited to around 50 cars, because that’s what the castle lawn will hold.
Pictures and more here.
The Incredible Cars of Germany's Classic Days Schloss Dyck