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Featured Presentation:

Classic AutoRAI 99: post-war cars

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Between the 30th of April and the 2nd of May 1999 the second "Classic AutoRAI" was organized in the Amsterdam RAI exhibition center. It was a great venue for classic car enthusiasts, with more than 800 beautiful cars on display on an exposition area of 20,000 square metres.
The first Classic AutoRAI in 1998 attracted over 30,000 visitors, so the organizers thought the 1999 show would be an even bigger success. Unfortunately they were wrong. Just about 15,000 people attended the venue this year, mainly due to bad timing. The 30th of April is a national holiday in the Netherlands and this year it was on a Friday, making the following weekend into a long one. In addition to that it was beautiful summer-like weather all three days, so most people went on small holidays or indulged in outdoor activities. This, and the comparatively high entrance fee, took a heavy toll on the number of visitors and the organizers of the Classic AutoRAI hardly broke even.

Nonetheless the exposition itself was of a very high standard and very enjoyable. The visitors that did came were very interested, cared a lot about cars and treated them with respect. And just because of the small number of people all cars could be viewed unobstructed and the exhibitors could be addressed directly. It's a pity that venues like these have to have masses of people attending to make them feasible (not to say profitable), I rather liked this event the way it was in 1999.
Although I received quite a number of messages from people that had attended the show and agreed with me, the organizers felt that this format didn't work and had to be changed. In 2000 the RAI-organization moved the event from Amsterdam all the way down to the city of Maastricht in the extreme south-east of The Netherlands. By doing so they hoped to attract people from the neighboring countries Germany and Belgium too, but I don't think it worked. For most Dutch (including me) it was too far away and Germany and Belgium already have a rich tradition of great classic car shows of their own for which this show wasn't any competition. By the looks of it the "Classic AutoRAI" will wilt away, but fortunately it seems to have inspired other classic car enthusiasts in The Netherlands to organize even bigger and better classic car shows, of which you'll see some proof on RitzSite in the near future....
In this feature RitzSite shows you some of the best post-war cars that were on display; click on the image maps above to go to this featured presentation, or click this link.

© André Ritzinger, Amsterdam, Holland

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