At the antique car exhibition „Timeless Classic 2021″ held in Biržai last weekend, one could see more than a hundred of such “WOW” vehicles. The improvised exposition of historical vehicles set up on the around Biržai Aeroclub had at least two classic trumps knocking down museums. First of all, all the guests came at the exhibition (by the way, one of the largest and most solid in the Baltic States in recent years) organized on the initiative of the local Antique Automobile Club Klasika under their own steam. Bearing in mind that some of the vehicles were built as early as the beginning of the last century or in the interwar period, this fact alone forces us to raise our hats as a sign of respect. Secondly, there is often a story worthy of a separate novel behind each old-timer.
At the „Timeless Classic“ event, next to each exhibit stood its owner, as a rule, not only knowing the encyclopedic information or some technical details, but also being the one who had helped the car to arise from non-existence. Such people-wizards spent as many as almost four hours in Biržai under the siege conditions and communicated with the visitors of the exhibition with a smile even when it was raining.
The car that probably attracted the most attention and was the most photographed this time was the „Hansa G 12/36 Renntorpedo“, which saw the light of day for the first time in 1914, brought to Biržai by Aleksandr Obymach from Vilnius. The mesmerizing two-seater sports car was only custom-made in very small series. According to unofficial data, the unique specimen that came to Lithuania from Latvia about 15 years ago is generally the only one that has survived. Interestingly, the Hansa’s main designer was a Belgian of French origin living in northern Germany, therefore Renntorpedo has a lot of extremely original engineering solutions. For example, its engine consists of two separate blocks, each having two cylinders, however, without the usual engine heads. The valves are mounted on top and their ducts are embedded in the engine housing. Such a complex mechanism was brought to life only after many years of frantic hard work, with the help of specialists from several foreign countries. “In order for the engine to work, it was necessary to replace the cast iron pistons with a high expansion coefficient with modern ones made of lightweight aluminum alloy. Despite the use of modern technologies allowing to drive the car and a kind of adaptation to the 21st century, the fuel has to be as much as possible like the one used then – the low-octane, slow-burning fuel.
“Even A92 petrol is too good, so you have to add special lead additives or look for „Nephras“ (the name is constructed from the Russian words „neftenoi“ and „rastvor“) in the household goods stores”, said Mr. Obymacha when telling about the special features of the exotic power aggregate.
This car received not only the diploma of the oldest participant of the exhibition, but also the most honorable trophy – the Grand Prix Cup.
The most beautiful exhibit of „Timeless Classic 2021″ selected by an international commission of experts, was the Fiat 512 from Latvia, which also has an incredible history. “Our colleagues – lovers and collectors of antique vehicles have been speculating for some time whether this 1926 Fiat was hired to transport the President of Latvia in the interwar years. However, after long research, it was found that the highest authorities at the time used to travel on another model of this brand. At the start of the occupation, it was quite obvious that the luxury limousine was likely to be confiscated. To avoid unnecessary problems, the car found itself in a barn hidden under a layer of manure. When the front moved to the west, the opportunity to pull it out of the hideout did not appear, and when the old owner died, the car was completely forgotten,” said the owner of Fiat 512 Janis Oskerko. Paradoxically, the most difficult puzzle in restoring this old-timer was the search for original wheels and some components of the chassis: the Latvian found them in Australia. All the works, reminiscent of laying a large mosaic of miniature particles, took almost 20 years. There are only five such models in the world.
The prize for the „Best Restoration“ was taken away from the exhibition by an Estonian Indrek Sirk, who demonstrated in Biržai the ancestor of modern Audi, a 1935 convertible DKW F5 Front Luxus. Two more awards went to Estonia: „The Most Beautiful Classic“ and „The Best Antique“ (produced before 1946) cars. The first trophy was won by Tonu Magi, who drove a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II. The second prize went to Tarmo Uffert for the 1938 Packard Twelve 1608 Convertible. Convertibles of this model are also extremely rare. According to the car owner, there are less than two dozen of them.
The GAZ M-20 Pobeda was recognized as the „best Soviet“ car this time. The owner of the oldie produced in 1954 is Rolandas Kripaitis.
Summing up this year’s exhibition, the leader of the Klasika club and the organizer of the traditional event Mr Egidijus Einoris expressed his pleasure to have some extremely rare and enviably perfectly restored or repaired cars in the exhibition that can decorate the most prestigious old-timer forums. “We are trying to adapt all the best ideas of similar events in our own exhibition and so far, we have been quite successful. Our circle of friends is expanding every year, the number of exceptional cars is increasing, and the atmosphere is getting cozier and cozier every time. We put a lot of heart into this project, so we raise the quality level a bit every year.”
Article by Renaldas Gabartas
Dainius Nagelė photos
Tauras Zakrys photos
Vihelmantas Sereika photos