Report by Zoltán Papp and photos by author and Zsolt Dékány
The Solitude Revival 2011 was held 22-24 July on the historic 12.7 km Solitudering circuit outside Stuttgart, Germany. One of the largest European oldtimer events of the summer brought together several important cars from the past hundred and a few years at a long unused racetrack.
This summer is dedicated to automobilism in Baden-Württenberg state in Germany. The 125th anniversary of the invention of the automobile is celebrated this year, that’s why there have been ongoing festivities for months, which continue until mid-September. Stuttgart’s neighborhood is stuffed with present day cars, factories and museums. Just think of Porsche, Mercedes-Benz or Bosch. That’s not a coincidence, as this is the place where the careers of pioneers like Carl Benz, Robert Bosch, Gottlieb Daimler or Wilhelm Maybach started.
One of the largest scale, and perhaps the most interesting, program is the 2011 Solitude Revival, held from the 22nd to the 24th of July. The famous Solitudering, close to Stuttgart, was used for racing last in 1965. Since then it is used occasionally for oldtimer races. This year more than 300 vehicles participated, plus the same number as members of groups like VW Beetles and buses, American cars, V8s, Porsche 356s, prestige cars, roadsters, British, Italian, French autos and so on. This was topped off by the 180-car troop of the Bosch Boxberg Classic oldtimer rallye.
A walk along the pit lane could match a very thorough lesson in automotive history. The 1935 Riley TT Sprite Sport and Riley Speed Adelphi, the MG N Magnette with supercharger, then the Alvis 12/70 Sport Special, the SS 100, Riley 12/4 Brooklands Special, the Lagonda Rapier, Aston Martin Ulster, Bentley Tourer, Railton Light Sports, Morgan Threewheeler and the really unique, fair white ERA B-Type R9B.
But let’s move on: the best of the Italians, French and of the Germans lined up waiting for the start: Alfa Romeo 8C 2600 Monza, 6C 1750, 6C 2500 SS, P3; Maserati 8CM GP; Delahaye 135S; Bugatti 35B, 37A; T59, Mercedes-Benz SSK, SSKL.
Besides several specimens of BMW CSLs, 2002s, Alfa Romeo GTAms, Ford Escorts, and NSU TTSs, there were Lancia Stratoses, Fulvias, Renault Alpine A110s, Porsche 914s and 911s, Austin–Healey 3000s, Ford Mustangs, Ford Falcon Rallye-s and Pontiac GTOs.
There was a wide choice of old formula and endurance cars at the 2011 Solitude Revival, including: Porsches, Jaguars, Coopers, Lotuses, Ferraris, Veritases, Cobras, Ford GT40, Lola T70, Maserati Birdcage, Mercedes SLS, Shelby Daytona Coupé.
Hardly anything could be seen of the Solitudering track, one curve or the short straight section at the start. Grandstands that you can see on old photographs are nowhere by now.
Of course, Solitude Revival 2011 was not a timed-race for these cars built for speed; neither the safety conditions nor the lack of timing made it possible to fight for the seconds. It was the show and the celebration that mattered.
Motorcyclist were in minority, but the greatest stars arrived on two wheels: Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Dieter Braun, Ralph Bryans, mentioning world champions only.
The beauty contest was won by the Maserati 8CM among the pre-war racing cars and by an Opel Commodore among the touring cars. The winners were the Cooper T56 F3 in the Formula-car category, and the Porsche 908 Spyder in the prototype category. The most beautiful car in the competition of the GT-classics was the Ferrari 250 GTO, while the winning motorbike was the Moto Guzzi Bialbero.
The American LaFrance Brutus was one of the specialities. It is a unique vehicle built more recently: the base frame of a fire truck was equipped with a BMW aircraft engine from the 1920s, and with a contemporary chassis. The total displacement of this V12 engine is 46.93 liters. Due to an intermediate transmission before the three-gear LaFrance gearbox the power was just controllable: it took the famous right-angle Glemseck-curve of the Solitudering with an easy drift amidst the cheering of the onlookers.
Solitude Revival 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
[Source: photo credit: Zoltán Papp and Zsolt Dékány]