The Automotive Gems Exhibition is currently probably the most prestigious veterans’ holiday in the Czech Republic, which although it does not reach the size of the former Concours d’Elegance at Loučeň Castle, it is at least equal to it in terms of the cars presented here this year. The award-winning Talbot was the star, but the rare Hispano-Suiza deserves at least the same recognition.
Rare veterans from all over the Czech Republic gathered on the fresh green lawn of the golf course in Hostivař on the last Saturday in April. Although the participation was not monstrous, there were forty machines on display, but one was rarer than the other.
“Right before the event, about ten cars were canceled because of the weather. It rained in the morning, but the weather was beautiful in the afternoon, and according to our estimates, about 1,500 people came,” says Jiří Martinka, organizer of the Automotive Jewels exhibition.
The event took place after a break that ended up lasting four years, mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic. Already in 2019, it was included among the unique events for enthusiasts of rare vintage cars.
The intention of the organizers is to gradually make it one of the most prestigious exhibitions in the Czech Republic. “Our idea is for the mood to be similar to the famous Concorso d’Eleganza at Lake Como in Italy. For it to be on a level and to present automotive beauty and exceptional elegance,” explains Jiří Patočka, who is in charge of selecting the cars on display.
These were exceptionally rare this year. Apparently, never before in the Czech Republic have two machines, which previously received standing ovations at the most prestigious car shows in the world, come together at the exhibition.
They were Talbot T26 Grand Sport from 1948 and Hispano-Suiza J12 from 1931. Talbot is owned by father and son František and Robert Kudel from Chropyn. They went to the American Pebble Beach Show of Elegance in 2018, and their meticulously restored car won an award in the category of post-war touring cars and was among the trio of cars crowned with the title of Best of Show. Subsequently, he was also shown at the Elegance Show in Chantilly, France, where he also won a prize in his category.
The Hispano-Suiza J12 was also awarded in its category at the Pebble Beach show in 2017. The owner of the rare car is not publicly known, but the exhibitor is the Hispano-Suiza Club, which brought a second Suiza to Hostivar, a black H6C from 1930.
“Mr. František Kudela’s car, the Talbot, is unreal in person, it looks cosmic, as if from another world. That’s why a huge crowd of people formed around it all day. It won the title by a large margin in the audience vote, receiving about twice as many votes as the second car in order,” the exhibition organizer Jiří Martinka evaluates the results.
The Talbot T26 GS on the golf course also won a prize in the category of post-war cars, but the title of Best of show from the expert jury went to the exceptional Hispano-Suiza.
Visitors could also admire other no less rare machines, for example Ivo Smutného’s Lancia 30 HP, Karel Kupka’s Sénéchal Super Sport, Zbrojovka Z4 III. series, Volvo PV36, Tatru 87 Diplomat, Škoda 440 Karos by Pavel Kalina from the Cabrio gallery in Dobřenice, Porsche 959 from the Engine Prague collection by Radek Pokorný, Bugatti 44 by Jakub Stauch, who is the president of the Czech Bugatti Club, and many others. Check out the gallery.
Jiří Martinka would like the event to take place every year, also because he received many positive responses. “We would like the cars to vary as much as possible, but we are not completely strict that anyone who has already exhibited a car is out of luck the second time. After all, also because the Czech Republic is a small country and the oversupply is not enormous. Even so, it turns out that on given our circumstances, we have many truly unique cars here, right in the world league. And we will be happy if we manage to present them at the next year of the Automotive Gems,” concludes the organizer.
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