The finale of the season you could say, and what a one! Since 2019, you can go to the Pre-War days in Kortrijk. In short, paradise for the Pre-War enthusiast.
Pre-War Days is an international classic car fair specialising in pre-war cars and everything related to them. With over 60 exhibitors from eight countries and over 150 vehicles, every Pre-War enthusiast can really indulge here.
The total area is over 6000M² and apart from the cars, you can also find numerous stands with books, parts (specifically to pre-war), documentation and various automobilia.
A handsome stand with clothing and footwear tailored to the cars we can admire here is also present.
Belgium was once a very important player in the production of automobiles and special attention was paid to this during this edition.
For instance, it was Father Ferdinand Verbiest who wrote about the first steam-powered vehicle in 1677. This is considered by some to be the world’s first automobile.
In the period before World War I, Belgium counted around 200 different car manufacturers. The most famous is probably Minerva but also Imperia, Pipe, Exelsior (shown above), FN and numerous others provided a decent production of which even almost 75% was exported.
Darracq 12-HP Genevieve
Automuseum Louwman was present with two special cars. The most eye-catching is undoubtedly the 1904 Darracq 12-HP. This car played an important role in the 1953 film Genevieve. The film was about the London to Brighton run. Coincidentally, the car was also just now returning from this famous rally. Since 1990, it has been a regular and welcome participant.
Lincoln V12 Continental Convertible Coupé
That you can find more oddities in Pre-War cars than in contemporary cars probably won’t surprise anyone. Regulations had largely yet to be established and many manufacturers were designing away. The designer of this Lincoln must also have been in a mad mood when he put this on paper.
With only 738 examples built, it has apparently not been much of a hit. However, this car is special. Where most Americans have a fat V8 in the front, we encounter a V12 here. The car was completely hand-built and positioned itself in the upper end of the market.
Even though the cars walk with the most attention, the various stands with accessories and memorabilia are also important. They bring a piece of the atmosphere and sometimes offer genuine gadgets.
Unprecedented level of finishing
What is striking about Pre-War cars is the sometimes unprecedented level of finishing. The frequent use of wood, chrome and other special materials typifies the different periods in which the cars were produced. Were one to have these items made today, they would have become quasi-affordable.
Of course, many interiors are no longer in such good condition after 70 or more years. Carefully restoring or preserving the original upholstery helps preserve the historic character of these classic vehicles. Some companies specialise specifically in this market. They go really far in this and try to work with the materials of the time as much as possible.
Customised miniatures always attract anyway. This Talbot Lago T26c is a fine example. The builder Antonio Martinez-Fresneda really builds gems with very good attention to detail.
If you are a pre-war enthusiast then this is an event you cannot or should not miss. The cars exhibited are all of a high standard with the occasional special among them. We will definitely be back next year!