The Montreux Grand Prix is one of these unmistakable and historic automotive swiss events. The first edition, which took place in 1934 was quite a success and thanks to its typical city racing track was later nicknamed the « Swiss Monaco ». The 2014 edition commemorated the 80th birthday of the Montreux Grand Prix and was composed of three main distinctive events : a rally on the first day, a closed road hillclimb on the saturday, and the Grand Prix in Montreux on Sunday. Mickaël had been to two previous editions, back in 2002 and 2012, and had excellent souvenirs of the first one I had been to. In fact, there was a great Grand Prix atmosphere in 2002, with all the cars racing in the city, and was hoping for just as good this year. In 2012, there was only the hillclimb because the organizing committee didn’t have the possibility to close the city for the Grand Prix. Text : Mickael B. & Luca W. © Images : Mickael B. & Luca W. ©

Part 1 : Introduction – Luca W.

The first Montreux Grand Prix was in 1934 and was set… in Montreux, a beautiful town in French Switzerland. We haven’t seen the GP these last years. In fact, the event is not regular in time. Actually it depends on many factors, and sometimes, you had to wait more than 10 years for the event to come back again. In fact, Switzerland has very unusual laws about racing organisations. First of all, I guess you’ve never heard of a Swiss Grand Prix in Formula One or in any racing department. In Switzerland, they don’t have racetracks, they don’t have any competition, nothing.

To understand why, we have to go back to 1955, not in Switzerland but in France. 1955 was the darkest year of automobile, and it happened to Le Mans, the 11th June 1955. The race was really popular at that time, especially because of the rivalry between two car makers : Jaguar and Mercedes. Whatever you can think, it was more than the simple car competition. The two enemies from World War II (England vs. Germany) were still fighting, but in another way. Because of this huge rivalry between countries and so car makers, this time was a step forward into automobile science : the progress was just fabulous. Imagine the tension on that place at that time. Imagine you’re a pilot, driving for one of these teams, a war-driver. Jaguar had won Le Mans in 1953, and Mercedes joined to the legendary race after 3 years of abstinence to beat the English.

Jaguar D-Type #6 followed by Mercedes 300 SLR #19
Jaguar D-Type #6 followed by Mercedes 300 SLR #19

The race was really full of tensions, and Pierre Levegh (#20 Mercedes 300 SLR French driver, basically a jeweler), just before the straight line, was behind Mike Hathorn’s #6 Jaguar D-Type, that was about to pit. It was the best occasion he had to overtake the Jaguar. But there was a car between those : Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healy, which sadly didn’t see the fast Silver Arrow by overtaking the Jaguar. The crash occurred, with Juan Manuel Fangio as a spectator, right behind the apocalypse. Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes parts flew into the crowd, killing 82 people, including children and more than 120 injuries. Since then, Mercedes withdrew their entire motorsport department. The automotive world had to wait 49 years to see Mercedes back in racing.

The crash
The crash
The consequences
The consequences

This is why anything that deals with car racing is banned from Switzerland. I guess for the last minutes you still don’t see my point, but I’ll ask you to wait a little bit again.

Back to the event. The Montreux GP 2014 was divided up in 3 days : one rally day, then an hill climb for next one, and a race in the town – like in Monaco – for the last day.

We’ve decided to follow the incredible cars on the rally day, up to the Mountains of Switzerland, starting from Gruyères, by Gstaad to finally end in Montreux Castle. The journey with the cars, which were in their element in this amazing landscape was utterly beautiful and unforgettable. The first step for us was in Gruyères, which gave its name to the famous cheese. I’ve never been to this famous village, and as a first time, I was really amazed by the atmosphere. The car park near the entrance of village was incredibly surprising. Especially the number of Ferrari F12s, the Luxemburgish 911 Turbo and of course, the unique Ferrari 365 GTB/4 NART Spider #15965, in its original colours of Le Mans 1975. Moving in the village, it really got more serious. The preserved, picturesque village welcomed the old ladies. The prestigious cars were taking a nap in one of the beautiful place I’ve ever been to. The sun was shining, the bodyworks were perfectly reflecting its light and just punched – hit is too kind – my eye. We had a small prelude of the Montreux Grand Prix. Honestly, I’ve had enough already. I was really filled with emotion… Seeing all these cars that made history, all these men working hard to make the perfect car. If you’d added a Hans Zimmer or Steve Jablonsky song I probably would have cried. To summarize it was exactly like this : the perfect cars in the perfect place.

Following these cars for the rally was good, the only thing is that we could follow them with a VW Golf and that’s abnormal. Maybe the drivers simply didn’t have the occasion to after some instructions from the planners.

Part 2 : Friday 05.08.2014 – Mickaël B.

We could only afford to join the first part of the 2014 Montreux Grand Prix on the friday afternoon, and knowing that the participants would be having lunch in Gruyeres, we headed there from Lausanne. On the road, Philippe Camandona was bringing his Ford GT40 replica to Montreux on its trailer. I had seen this car a few weeks ago in Lignières and was persuaded that his owner would be driving perfectly this car on the twisty roads. Although without license plates, the car would only be participating to the hillclimb and the Grand Prix.

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We arrived in Gruyères, and started searching for the cars, and I had a guess thinking the cars might be around the city castle. We parked our car and went to the first parking, which confirmed my guess. Most of the cars were impeccably lined up, with a vast choice of modern Ferrari, including a few F12s, 458 Italia, Spider, and Speciale. The famous Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona NART Michellotti Spyder, which I had never seen before was very notable amongst the others, as well as the only LaFerrari participating in the rally. As in 2012, the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo Arese was greeting the Montreux Grand Prix and had honored the event from a few cars, encouraging other Alfa owners to join the event…

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The Montreux Grand Prix is very furnished with italian cars, thanks to its three guests : the Ferrari dealerships from Lausanne and Sion, Maserati, and the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, but all brands are accepted. From Great Britain, there were a rather loud Jaguar 3.8 with a bunch of E Types, an Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark 3 very neatly driven, a modern 4.3 V8 Vantage, a McLaren MP4-12C and a few typical british roadsters such as a Triumph TR4.

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As there wasn’t quite just as much cars as announced on the official list, we asked where were the other participants cars parked, and found out there were inside the historic village itself. Gruyères is a typical charming swiss village, with the local cheese museum, and all the amazing classic cars which were at rest inside contributed to increase even the incredible atmosphere. Looking at the cars, it was obvious that only the finest automotives had been authorized to park here. Ferrari 250s, Maserati barchettas, the best Alfa Romeos, and the pre-war cars.

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The Ferrari 250s were massively represented with no less than three GT Short Wheelbase, a GT Lusso and a GTO replica by Favre. A few meters away, one of my favorite pre-war Aston Martin was there, a 1934 Mark II, looking absolutely fantastic in its Le Mans Red original livery. Right in the village center, the finest racing french automotives represented by this Type 35 and 37 Bugattis accompanied by a Dino 246 GT and a massive Lagonda V12 were cooling down while their respective owners were enjoying their lunch.

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This Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase is owned by famous swiss Ferrari collector Jean-Pierre Slavic, and was in an absolutely as new restored condition. He has owned numerous Ferraris, including the ex Chris Evans, one of three 1964 Pininfarina 250 GTO, a GT Spyder California, an original 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder, and the extreme F40 LM, for instance. In this light grey over red interior, it looked absolutely fantastic, and needless to say, with the keys on the dashboard, we had to resist the temptation upon having a little ride…

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Another car which had seen at almost every automotive events we had been to was the Maserati Type 26. In 2014, Lignières, Passione Engadina, Maserati International Rally and Ollon-Villars classic hillclimb in 2013, it seems that the owner of this highly original example enjoys taking his car to almost every event ! Parked in the opposite way along four of its most ferocious competitors at the time, Bugatti Type 35s, it was still a real pleasure to see it again. Finally, the only not so extraordinary car to be parked inside the village, was this rather standard Jaguar E Type Coupé, which had received though a little racing treatment including a roll-cage.

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Considering all the cars announced officially by the organizing committee a few days before the event, I was surprised about the small quantity present here in Gruyeres. Thinking that maybe not all the cars were participating to the rally or the hillclimb, I decided to wait for the last day before deciding a final opinion on the subject. We decided to get on the move, fearing the participants would soon be hitting back the road. Without any road-books, but knowing thanks to the Montreux Grand Prix official websites a few of the rally strategic points, we headed to the first mountain pass the participants would be going to in the afternoon. Around 40 minutes drive from our starting point, the Jaun pass takes you inside three swiss provinces or « cantons » as we call them in French. Gruyeres is in Vaud, and you have to cross a small part in the “Canton de Fribourg”, to finally end in the Bern province, one of the biggest of Switzerland.

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I had never been to the Jaun pass although living around one hour from there and knowing very well the « Pays d’en Haut » region, and two other of its famous mountain passes, the Col des Mosses, and the Col du Pillon. We stopped around one kilometer from the top of the Jaun pass, thinking we would have around half an hour to wait before the first participants to arrive. So imagine our stupefaction when we saw this Alfa Romeo Sprint GTA replica arrived as we were getting out of our car ! Just the time to grab the camera, our food, and we ran a few meters away, installing ourselves comfortably… It was quite a sporty lunch, with a few moments of calm to savour our sandwiches between the participants passing by, but it was fun. Arriving next, was a Ferrari 308 GTB, which was in the same color than our member Bertrand, although he owns a Vetroresina, one of the very few with the fiberglass body, which report you can find on : http://automobili-eleganza.com/drives/long/vetroresina/. Then was an Ultima GTR, a typical british kit car, assembled by its owner, which looked like escaped from a racing track.

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First pre-war car to pass by was the rather enormous Lagonda V12, with its typical rear tail, and distinctive sound. It remembered me the V12 noises made by second world war planes, just as grave and rauque. Following was one of Porsche’s future collector, a 911 GT3 Type 996, the first of the GT3 series, and already a legend upon the Stuttgart’s fan. With its Speedgelb exterior color, its 3.6 liter water-cooled flat-six developping 360 horsepower, it is surely a very performant car which must have felt at home on these twisty sinuous roads of the Jaun Pass. Another typical british car arrived afterwars, although calling it a car maybe a little exageration. The Morgan Three-Wheeler has as its name tells, three wheels, and is probably one of the most caracterial modern cars, with its wooden chassis, and its front 1.8 liter twin-cylinder engine. Although developping « only » 110 horsepower, the performances of this funny machine are staggering with figures matching the GT3 we had seen moments earlier.

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2014 being Maserati’s centenary, I had imagined that a lot of automotive from the Tridente brand would be present at this Montreux Grand Prix edition, but was rather disappointed when I saw the final listing. Whereas the Passione Engadina had honored this legendary italian car manufacturer with a lot of traditionnal barchettas, including the 2014 Villa d’Este 450 S winner, old Ghiblis, with even one of the very rare Spyders, Boras, 3500 GTs, an original Birdcage, and two of four of the Touring Bellagio Brake based on the Quattroporte, the Montreux Grand Prix was not a great success. Apart from the 250 F from Juan Manuel Fangio, there weren’t much notable Maseratis. The first one to arrive was this 1964 Mistral Convertible, designed by Frua for the american market, and engineered by Michelottti, it was a very distinctive and recognizable sixties Cabriolet, although maybe not as elegant as Ferrari’s or Alfa Romeo’s rival at the time. It was followed by a modern Ford GT in its best livery upon my opinion, blue with white stripes, and a bright yellow 1985 Porsche 911 Carrera Turbo look.

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A rather simple V12 Convertible E Type passed by, in this grey over black leather interior configuration, still as charming as any convertible E Types and as beautiful. Didn’t Enzo Ferrari himself told this model was the best looking car ever made ? Talking about Ferrari, the latest berlinetta from Modena’s brand, a 458 Italia with its 4.5 liter V8 and so distinctive melody arrived. In a very similarly soft configuration than the E Type, grey over black interior, but with the very nice forged rims, Scuderia protection shields on the side and yellow brake calipers which made it instantly recognizable as a proper Ferrari.

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It was followed by the only Bugatti Type 51 of this 2014 edition of the Montreux Grand Prix. The Type 51, designed by Ettore Bugatti after his son Jean insisted for a successor to the legendary Type 35, was slightly more powerful than its predecessor, but much rarer with only 40 units built from 1931 to 1934. It was as well less performant than its german or italian rivals at the time and failed to impose itself in racing as its predecessor. Next up was another Bugatti, but a Type 37, which is instantly recognizable thanks to its spoked wheels, a characteristics of the Type 35 A as well. Motorized with a four cylinder engine only, which was actually a reworked version of the Type 28’s eight cylinder cut in half, it was still just as quick as the Type 35 thanks to its very light weight. The pre-war Bugattis seemed to be grouping themselves with a light blue Type 35 arriving with its team coming all the way from Japan.

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Ferrari 250s started arriving, with the grey Luxembourg 1964 GT Lusso leading off. At its time, it was Enzo Ferrari’s own car, and is considered as one of the most beautiful cars of the 250 series. It is as well one the second cheapest of the series, after the GTE 2+2, although a good example would cost you over 2 million euros. With 351 units built, the 3 liter V12 developped 240 horsepower which was enough to allow this car amazing performances at its time. It was followed by the only Rosso Corsa GT Short Wheelbase of the event, which main notable differences with the Lusso are the stiffer suspension, the 280 horsepower engine which could rise to 300 on the even more rare Competizione versions.

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Two more pre-war cars passed by, including the Maserati Type 26 which we are now used to, and the Aston Martin Mark II. The Tipo 26 M from its real name was the thirteenth model produced by Maserati for Grand Prix Racing. With a 2.5 liter eight cylinder in line developping over 180 horsepower in 1930 for a weight of 800 kilograms, needless to say it was one of the most performant cars at its time, winning numerous Grand Prix including Monza in 1930 and 1931, Rome and San Sebastian in 1930. With the Bugatti Type 51 and the Alfa Romeo Monza it was hard for the 26 M to compete in 1931 and therefore Maserati developped a better chassis with the 26 M Sport which succeeded. The 1935 Mark II, in its most desirable short chassis two seater configuration, with its 1.5 liter and 73 break horsepower issued from the famous Le Mans model looked a bit under powered suddenly although being more modern…

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Another very soft Ferrari 458 arrived, but in its hardcore, striped and lightweight version : the Speciale. Looking even more agressive and sharpened than the original 458 Italia, the Speciale seems to be one hell of an amazing driving experience and I really hope that I will have the opportunity to try one as soon as possible. Seconds later it was followed by the second Bugatti Type 37 of this 2014 Montreux Grand Prix. With a maximum power of 60 horsepower, less than a half of what the most powerful Type 35 could output, the 37 was more reliable and still capable of a top speed of over 150 km/h, which back in 1931 was very fast.

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Chasing each other, the only Ford Mustang, a 1967 Fastback Coupé, the same than in Bullit, Jean Pierre Slavic’s grey Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase and a Giallo Modena Ferrari 308 GTS were nicely competing on the twisty roads of the Jaun pass. The Mustang was prepared with the Shelby GT500 decals and made a huge and prepostrous noise, but had some difficulties to keep its lead, probably because of its rear independent suspensions. Two other Ferraris were not very far away trying to keep up with the front trio : another 308 GTS, Rosso Corsa this time, and a LaFerrari in one of its most basic and popular configuration red with black roof and rims. I couldn’t believe the 963 horsepower latest Ferrari supercar couldn’t overtake the 240 horsepower 2 liter V8 from its ancestor in the front…

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Alone in his Bugatti, the second Type 35 owner of this Montreux Grand Prix edition was enjoying the sights of this very typical region, and certainly as well the sound and smells of his straight eight cylinder engine. In the characteristic Bugatti blue exterior color, it looked absolutely fantastic and couldn’t help thinking what an amazing journey it must have been for him. On the opposite, in much more comfort, the owner of the Ferrari F12 following must have been in quite a few cold sweats throughout the very narrow roads, especially as there was roadworks at almost every village, with sometimes no tar. I had wondered while coming to the pass how the LaFerrari or the other low sitting cars would go through it. This F12 was probably one of the most special configurations I had seen before, with its white exterior over chocolate brown leather interior, but very beautiful.

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The only barchetta of the event arrived, which was the 2 liter straight-six 150 horsepower Maserati A6GCS. With only sixty car produced, this 1954 Fantuzzi example is surely one of the most beautiful of its era, and an icon upon the Tridente brand. I think it would have been better with other barchettas, like a few 250 or 300S, and why not one of the ultimate 450S, which is probably the best looking Maserati barchetta of all time. In fact the most beautiful A6GCS upon my opinion are the 1953 Pininfarina Coupé, which are very rare as well with only five units ever built.

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Then came an other alone car in its category : the only replica of this rally was the Ferrari 250 GTO made by Favre, which is based on the original four seater of the 250 Series, the GTE 2+2. Although most people thought this was a true Ferrari 250 GTO, a well-informed eye could tell this was a replica because of its too short proportions, its front galbs which should be in a more pronounced manner, and its rear which had some missing details as well. It was very closely chased by another Bugatti Type 35, roaring its eight cylinder throughout the end of this superb mountain pass. Next up was another Alsatian creation from Molsheim’s magician Ettore Bugatti, a Type 57 Galibier. This car, launched in 1933, was the most luxurious four-door sports saloon at its time, succeeding to the Type 49, which is still considered amongst specialist as the best pre-war Bugatti ever produced. The Type 57 had numerous bodyworks fitted : Galibier, Ventoux, Stelvio, Atalante, Aérolithe and Atlantic, the last one being the most desirable. The Galibier body was named after the famous mountain pass in France and was a pillarless suicide style rear door coupé. Time for another timeless classic, a Dino 246 GT, its owner probably enjoying the nice sound of the six cylinder engine and the clinking of the gearlever on the aluminum grille. When I was younger, as a teenager, I really never appreciated the Dino, especially the design, but with time passing, I started to understand the subtlety of this superb car and today I would really like to own one without the chrome bumpers.

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Some more italian madness at this 2014 Montreux Grand Prix edition was brought by the sublime Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase Passo Corto from the Perego family. Although being grey, the italian flag stripe does add a certain additional appeal to this already stunning car ! I remember the first time I saw this car, back in April 2011. It was featured at the Galleria Ferrari and had just undergone a superb restoration process by the famous Ferrari Classiche department. Not knowing it was actually a swiss car, I had been very impressed by the livery of this car, and it has been an immense pleasure to see this car in various local events and of course at Perego Cars in Etoy. It was followed by its successor, a nice 1967 275 GTB.  In a very original burgundy red, it showed, like the 250, that these over fourty year old cars can still show some high performance nowadays, using their Colombo V12. Last car of the group was an Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce Zagato, from 1957. With only sixteen units which went out the Zagato factory between 1956 and 1959, this is one of the rarest Alfa Romeo ever built.

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Inheriting the genes of the legendary E Type, which Enzo Ferrari himself qualified as the most beautiful Jaguar ever produced, the F Type had surely quite a challenge to meet. The E Type bequeathed so much to the british brand, becoming to itself one of the most significant british motoring icons, that I could barely imagine the F Type would arrive to have the same impact. And considering the limited sales success, I think I might have seen true. This V6 S version from one of the accompanying staff from the Montreux Grand Prix might be the best of the different versions of the F Type but it has really nothing in common with its predecessor. Next to arrive was a 1924 Alfa Romeo Targa Florio, designed and built to race and win the eponymous race, which was last raced in 1977. Although Alfa Romeo had won the Targa Florio in 1923, it lost against the Mercedes-Benz PP a year later, making the car we saw a second finisher to this legendary race. It was closely followed by a typical english roadster, and one of the most desirable one upon my opinion, a Triumph TR2, produced from 1953 to 1955, at 8636 units. Costing at its launch only 500 pounds, it was weighing less than a ton and could claim some honorable performances at the time thanks to its 2 liter four cylinder engine which developped 90 horsepower. Finally a 1965 Series 2 Giulia Veloce 1750 passed by, in an almost « Verde Inglese » exterior color. The original Bertone design from the 1300 Giulia Junior Coupé had been slightly modified with the introduction of a second pair of front lamps, larger rear lamps, and a car which looked a bit bigger than its predecessor. The most famous – and yet desirable as well – is surely the GTAm racing version, which the Autodelta team could provide with three displacement configurations and could produce up to 240 horsepower. Considering the price of an original GTAm, or even a 1300 GTA, acquiring a standard 1300, 1750 or 2000 Coupé of the 105 / 115 series would be the reasonable and entry-level choice for any Alfa Romeo enthusiast.

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Another italian car arrived, with its name full of history, a Ferrari 599 GTO. This legendary name upon Ferrari enthusiasts had only been used twice before the apparition of the 599 limited edition. And maybe Ferrari shouldn’t have resurrected this name, and here’s why. The first GTO, for Gran Turismo Omologato was based on the mighty 250 and is today upon the most valuable cars in the world, thanks to its impressive racing records, and its stunning look built by Sergio Scaglietti. It was designed as a racing car, which could then be fitted to the road. The Ferrari GTO, sometimes called 288 GTO, had the same design process, from the racing to the road. Ferrari wanted to enter the group B rallying category back in the 1980s and Enzo had engaged the best engineers to develop this car, with Nicola Materazzi as chief manager. Materazzi had proved his skills with the Lancia Stratos HF, which won the world rally championships in 1974, 1975, and 1976 consecutively. He started with the 308 V8 engine, put it longitudinally, added two turbos which gave the 288 a final output of 400 horsepower. Sadly, the group B category was ended prematurely and the racing version of the 288, called the Evoluzione, never had the occasion to prove its abilities. In comparison, the 599 GTO was never designed for racing, because it was just an improvement from the standard 599 GTB HGTE. It was lighter, more performant, but never inherited that racing gutts which flows in the veins of every GTO. A more appropriate name would have been, upon my opinion, the 599 Daytona for instance. We talked earlier about the famous Targa Florio italian race, and the car which arrived next was a homage to this epic race. The Porsche 911 Targa was named after the italian race, which Porsche has won several times, in various cars such as 906 prototypes or 911 Carrera RSRs, for instance. This 1976 example was very original in this orange over black leather configuration and comparing it to the latest 991 Targa, we can clearly state that the real Targas are back, compared to the previous 997, 996 and 993 generations.

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The Ferrari 330, although being technically a successor to the 275, shared the same short wheelbase chassis and rear suspension. It always seemed to me much more smaller, narrower and compact at the same time. It abandoned the big round rear headlights of the 275, for much more discrete linear lights, and reintroduced the straight front uncovered headlights. With only 598 GTCs produced and only 100 GTS built, it is as well more exclusive than its stepsister. A lot of people consider the 330 was the first relatively easy to drive Ferrari, being more comfortable and quiet, with its 4.0 liter Colombo designed V12. Next to pass by was its successor, the mighty Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, which was a proper man’s car, launched after the incredible Lamborghini Miura. It was surely one of the most significant duel during the 1970s, with both cars being the two greatest supercars at the time, both of them powered by legendary V12s, both being design icons, with the Daytona representing the traditionnal front-engined Grand Tourer, and the Miura the newcomer rule breaker innovating rear-engined V12. Not to forget as well Porsche, which had introduced in 1973 its now legendary 911 2.7 RS to keep up with the two V12s mad italian supercars, proving that a simple flat-six engine could still battle with much bigger, but much heavier engined cars.

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In a much more modern chapter, an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, one of only 500 Coupés passed by, in the traditional Rosso Alfa exterior color. This car, described by petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson as the most beautiful car ever built, was designed by Wolfgang Egger, and built in Modena in the Maserati factory. It was actually fitted with the Granturismo S 4.7 liter V8 reworked to develop 450 horsepower. It kept typical Alfa Romeo sport’s car features like the gearbox which was fitted on the rear axle of the car to keep the best balance of this front-engined rear wheel drive Grand Tourer. It could achieve sensible high performances with a 0 – 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 292 km/h, but its most impressive feature was surely the V8’s sound. Even though Maserati V8s are already amazing from the sound point of view, especially in the Granturismo S which I personally often compare to an opera on wheels, the 8C Competizione growls in the graves, bursts to life at higher revs in a very singular way, and can be heard miles away… Then came Ferrari’s latest V12 Grand Tourer, the F12 Berlinetta, with its 6.2 liter engine producing no less than 740 horsepower all going to the rear wheels through a dual-clutch flappy paddle gearbox. It is upon my opinion probably the best V12 car on the market actually, thanks to the amazing work of all the Ferrari engineers, this car is capable of outstanding performances and behavior. The only thing really missing in the F12 is a proper manual gearbox with the traditional aluminum grille, but Ferrari has stopped proposing this option since the introduction of the F12, considering how few 599 had been delivered with a manual gearbox. Still, if I had the opportunity to buy an F12, no doubt I would surely ask the Tailor Made or the Special Project at Maranello for a very special one-off, and I would doubt that a few purists haven’t maybe already asked for such an option. Finally another rare Alfa Romeo arrived, a 1973 Junior Zagato 1600, with only 402 units built. This actually means that this particular model is more exclusive than a Ferrari LaFerrari for example. Its ancestor, the less powerful 1300 Zagato version of the Alfa Romeo Junior was a bit more common with 1108 units built. The 1600 was of course more powerful, a little heavier, and was recognizable because it was 10 centimeters longer than its stepsister.

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We finally joined back our car, starting to wonder which car we should follow for the rest of the rally. We went for the 1959 Aston Martin DB2/4 from François Messere who was driving his car very neatly throughout this twisty mountain pass. It was preceded by a 1975 dark red Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, a Jaguar XK 150 and a 1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale. We followed the four cars convoy on the descent of the Jaun pass but were a little bit disappointed because we were stuck all the way down behind some army trucks which didn’t let the drivers fully express the performances of their cars. Still we took advantage of this situation to simply enjoy the beautiful views over the alps, which was only improved by the beautiful shapes of the cars in front of us. The DB2/4 impressed me more because of its very sporty driving from its owner, rather than its design, as I always preferred the Mark 3 DB2/4, finding them much more elegant. The Daytona meanwhile was a confirmation that I will try to own one, if I have an opportunity in the future, because I think that there might not be any better other seventies supercar alongside my future Miura. I might buy the Lamborghini first though, because I find it just even more amazing to look at, and the fact that the Miura is probably even more important than the Daytona in the motoring history.

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While some of the participants were stopping for a control check, we followed the Daytona and the DB2/4 and caught up with another group of cars, just as impressive as the first one. The car we ended up following was Jean-Pierre Slavic’s grey 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase, a british green MG B Roadster, and in the front was the Perego family, with the grey 250 GT Short Wheelbase with the italian flag we had seen earlier, and the 1967 burgundy red 275 GTB/4. From Zweisimmen, underneath the Jaun pass, we went through the En-Haut land as it is called, along Gstaad towards Chateau d’Oex. The cars were taking another mountain pass to join back Montreux : the Col des Mosses, with a typical very small charming ski station at the top, so we decided to stop around two kilometers away from the Chateau d’Oex village, to let a few cars pass and catch with another group of cars to change. Chateau d’Oex is mostly famous for its hot air balloon festival which is held once a year, and was the village from which Bertrand Piccard started his hot air balloon world tour.

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We found a nice spot and saw a very nice 1962 light blue E Type Series 1 Jaguar pass by with another MG B, red this one. The differences between the two typical british roadsters struck me, with the E Type looking much more massive, but much more elegant, and in a certain way much more Grand Tourer as well. I never appreciated the MG B, or almost every MG roadster, preferring the Triumphs, such as the Spitfire or the TR2, which is upon my opinion one of the most beautiful english roadster ever built. Amongst other notable sixties british roadsters that I really appreciate are the series 1 E Type Jaguar like the one which had just pass, the Austin Healey 100S, and the Aston Martin DB2/4 Mark 3 roadster. The design of the MG roadsters has never been enough just as timeless as all of the cars mentioned above, because of its numerous edges. After a very short time a group of modern Maserati and Ferraris passed by including a very loud 430 Scuderia and we rushed to the car trying to follow them to the top of the pass and then downhill on the way to Montreux. Trying to keep up with an F12, when you have a four door hatchback which has less than five times the power of the Ferrari was truely a challenge, but luckily the cars were sporadically slowed down by traffic and we had the opportunity to catch them up a few times. The ugly duckling of this convoy apart from our 2013 Volkswagen Golf was surely a black McLaren MP4-12C, which didn’t seem at the right place in the middle of this 100% italian convoy. Especially the sound difference between all the atmospheric engines and the turbocharged V8 from the british sports car was quite impressive under heavy accelerations.

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Finally we arrived to the official end of the rally at one of the local and most famous tourist attraction of the Swiss Riviera, just a few kilometers outside Montreux, the Chateau de Chillon. Most of the cars were arriving and were being parked by their respectful owners in the castle’s courtyard. We had to park outside this medieval castle which is actually in the lake’s waterfront, and found ourselves head to head with the second Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione of this 2014 Montreux Grand Prix edition. This black coupé, looked absolutely perfect with the castle in the background, and letting us have a look to its absolutely magnificent curves. Looking at it stand still, I was impressed how the time had had little effects on this car, because if it was presented as a 2014 car in about any motorshow, I would find it completely normal and would not have been surprised. Upon my opinion this car was, from the day it was revealed to the public, a timeless classic, and one of the future modern collector car, with the BMW Z8 as well as both cars have not aged a bit !

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We found back the 1924 Alfa Romeo RL in the castle’s courtyard, with the driver wearing a few typical period clothes such as his cap, driving glasses and gloves. With most of the cars parked, I started taking a few pictures of all the different car’s interiors, because I hadn’t done that too much before and would sense it could be a fun idea comparing all these places in which their respectful owners had passed hours driving on the very nice roads of the rally. I started with one of the E Type, a black 1963 version with the 3.8 liter straight-six owned by Barthélémy Lombard-Allard and the grey 1933 Bugatti Type 51 from Humbert Jaunin. I was amazed to see how much the car environment had changed in thirty years. The Bugatti coming all the way from the automotive pioneer era had very little comfort element, with its main focus elements concentrated on the driving features, with the driver being exposed to all the mechanical elements. The E Type Jaguar, in comparison looks much more civilized, with to start a simple feature : doors ! And it has windows and a windscreen too, actually ! The interior had a very nice leather upholstery which of course didn’t exist on the french car, but there was similar feature on both cars apart from the leather seats : the aluminum center console panel.

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Time to admire the different car lined up starting from the 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Coupé, the 1934 Lagonda M45 Le Mans, the 2011 Ultima GTR, the 1933 Bugatti Type 51, the 1963 Jaguar E Type, and an Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider. Thinking of which I would have willingly taken back home was a tough choice between the Mustang and the Bugatti Type 51. The Mustang, especially in this 1967 Fastback configuration is a legend, featured with Steve McQueen behind the wheel in the movie Bullit, it introduced chase scenes and cars as one of the main important features in movies. On the other hand, the Bugatti Type 51, is a more powerful Type 35, but sadly it never had the racing success of its predecessor. This is what I would maybe have gone home with the Mustang, but if the Bugatti had been a Type 35 I would have chosen the french automotive pioneer. Looking on the opposite direction, there was a Ferrari 458 Italia with another Jaguar E Type Spyder, and the latest Ferrari 458 Speciale. I was surprised how few real differences there was between the standard 458 and the Speciale once they are side by side from the front. Everything is in the details just as if Ferrari didn’t want to change the original design of Pininfarina. From the rear the differences are more important with two exhausts placed higher instead of three and a rear spoiler increased. Finally the only De Tomaso Pantera GTS of the rally arrived, in a very nice yellow exterior color and was searching for a parking spot.

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Time for us to concentrate ourselves back again on the Maserati A6 GCS and have a look at this very special barchetta. The interior itself interested me a lot because it was so bare with the main center panel being only a simple aluminum plate fitted with a few but useful counters. The tubular chassis is visible and the thin aluminum door panels wouldn’t protect the passengers from much trouble. On the exterior, you feel the same simplicity, probably to gain weight, as there are very few frills, no bumpers, no added chrome parts, and the only extravagant elements like the visible fuel cap are art elements which deserved our attention alone. Even the boot handle had undergone a lightweight treatment with small holes drilled at a regular distance.

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In comparison the DB2/4 Interior was a palace compared to the A6 GCS. There is leather almost absolutely everywhere coming from the greatest british manufacturer, Connolly. The atmosphere is much more in the grand tourer spirit, but keeps some typical oldtimer sports car elements such as the wooden steering wheel, the aluminum panel and very large counters in order to ease the driver’s work while driving. We then went to have a look at the end of the alley where all the cars were parked and found the Bugatti Type 57 Galibier with much more modern italian berlinettas. Both Ferraris, a 458 Spider, and the loud 430 Scuderia we had seen before, were painted in the traditionnal Rosso Corsa. The last car was a Maserati Gran Cabrio Sport driven exclusively by a 100 % women team, proving that modern italian sports cars are not a man’s exclusivity. I really appreciated the contrast the Bugatti brought to the three modern italian cars, reminding us of all the heritage that lead to the modern era.

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Now some seventies interior, starting with the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and its very small steering wheel. This is upon one of the elements that always surprised me the most in this car considering the very heavy 4.4 liter V12 sitting in the front. This car had the reputation to be a very hardcore car to drive under the limits, but it was as well one of the fastest. One other point that always amazed me on the Daytona was the rear wheels width which never found wide enough to deal with the 352 horsepower delivered by the Colombo V12. Another interesting interior feature of this car was the now famous Daytona seat inserts which were introduced with this car and have stayed one of Ferrari’s most significant options on their different models since then. Looking afterwards to the 1973 Porsche 911 Targa interior, it looked much colder, less welcoming at least than the Daytona and in a certain way, very german. There were although the traditional element characteristics from a Porsche interior, like the key starter on the left of the steering wheel, the five big counters, which have disappeared in the Macan for the first time only on Porsches since the first 911. The rest of the interior is very austere but thanks to the extraordinary orange exterior color, to the flat-six engine and its global sporting behavior, it had surely brought a big smile on the owner’s face during this 2014 rally of the Montreux Grand Prix. I have never found that the Maserati Mistral was a particularly good looking car, from the exterior point of view, especially the front. The interior though is really charming, especially when the car is uncovered. Even in this full black livery it was stunning, with the wooden steering wheel, and the full leather upholstery main console.

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We went back closer to the castle, and found again the Perego’s family Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheelbase, and I couldn’t imagine one second not stopping again to take a closer look to this car, although I have already seen it many times, maybe too many… Ferrari 250s, especially in their Passo Corto configurations look absolutely stunning and have this ability to captivate your attention. Another captivating car was its successor, the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 but I was more impressed I have to admit by the very interesting color than by the car itself, preferring the 250. The 275 always seemed to me much more massive, and therefore more elegant, with more fluid curves, but less aggressive and less sporty. A very nice way to give the 275 a bit more sportiness is to take off the front and rear chrome bumpers, which in my mind lighten the car’s global design. Seeing another 250 GT Short Wheelbase, which was actually Jean-Pierre Slavic’s one that we followed from Zweisimmen to Chateau d’Oex, I had (again !) to take a closer look, at this light grey car, which was perfectly place for a nice photograph under one of Chillon main towers.

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Just behind the Jean-Pierre Slavic’s Ferrari was a car I had never seen before. This one-off very special prototype built by Michelotti and Conrero, nicknamed Goccia, for drop in italian acquired its actual body in 1961 although the chassis  and most of the mechanical parts come from 1957. Conrero tweaked the engine to 125 horsepower and thanks to a weight of just 750 kilograms, it allowed the Goccia one-off to achieve stunning performances at the time with a top speed recorded in Monza of over 220 km/h despite a four-speed gearbox. It was truely an amazing opportunity to be able to see this car in the flesh, and a real pleasure to admire this piece of Alfa Romeo history. Knowing our member Bertrand has an amazing blue Ferrari 308 GTB Vetroresina, I had to stop by this very similar car. I have to say that under this particular scenery at the Chillon Castle the blue exterior color helped even to improve the already stunningly beautiful lines of Leonardo Fioravanti’s design. I then went for a sneak peak through the Goccia’s interior which looked rather small, but charming and driving focused. Finally, a quick look at another one-off by Michelotti, the 365 GTB/4 NART Spyder, which was ordered at the Group 4 specifications for racing. Repainted red during its existence, it is finally back in its original white Le Mans livery with orange and blue stripes, thanks to its current owner Michel Abellan.

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We left the castle and went back to our car only to find the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione we had seen in the Jaun pass, who seemed a bit lost. On the road, we started to think about this first day and my opinion was mitigate. Surely, there were very nice and rare cars, but not as much as it was announced on the internet planning. At least 50 cars were missing ! We didn’t see the second LaFerrari, the Maserati MC12, nor Jean-Pierre Slavic’s Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Spyder for instance. I though that maybe these cars would be there on next day or the sunday for the Grand Prix, because maybe their respective owners didn’t want to do the rally with it. So I decided not to take in account this argument yet. As well, the fact that most of the owners didn’t push much their cars did disappoint me. You might argue that considering the value of their cars, the fact that most of the owners maybe didn’t know the way to go, the open roads, the touristic aspect of the rally, the speed limits, and the swiss repression against high speed offenses could discourage the owners and I would agree with you. But on the two mountain passes, where there was clearly the possibility to exploit the potential of their sports cars, most owners were very slow, and I do think it is sad not to drive these cars like they should be, like they were designed to be driven, hardly, with fast accelerations, not necessarily high speeds, revving their engines, doing the show, and perpetuating the dreams.

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