My Opel GT roadtrip To Anderstorp-Sweden

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4th of June 2017 – The idea

The idea for my GT road trip to Sweden started at the Opel GT Europatreffen 2017 in Sevenum.

During the gathering of the Opel GT Dachverband, Jan Perdén of the Swedish GT club presented their annual meeting that would be held in the first weekend of September on the Anderstorp racing circuit.

“Anderstorp”… this name sounded like music in my ears! I had seen a documentary some time ago about theBrabham F1 “fan car” that took victory in the one and only race it had ever raced. This was in Anderstorp in 1978 where Niki Laudaoutclassed his competitors with thisexperimental racing car that had mounted a big fan on the

back in order to suck the car to the ground for more grip (see picture). The system proved to be extremely efficient, resulting in very fast (and dangerous) cornering speeds. Therefore the car was immediately banned after the race.

I definitely wanted to visit this place once and the club meeting of the Swedish GT drivers at Anderstorp presented itself as the ideal occasion to do so!

Olaf Moldzen, the chairman of the Opel GT Dachverbandtold me that he was also going to attend this meeting and he suggested to drive together to Sweden with some other German GT’s as well. That sounded like a plan and so our GT road trip to Sweden was born!

31th of August – Departure to Germany

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After checking out the GT one last time, a last-minute replacement of the starter, inflating the spare wheel and loading the tool box (just in case ...) it was time for departure. This first day of my road trip would bring me from Vorselaar (Belgium) via Eindhoven and Arnhem (Netherlands) and the German cities of Osnabrück, Bremen and Hamburg finally to Ratzeburg. This meant almost 600 km of mainly highways, but still I was having driving pleasure in my GT. I was realizing that I had not much used the GT this year and enjoyed every single moment in it. Alone in the car and without radio I listened to the soothing noise of the engine and got a spontaneous sense of happiness and connectivity with my classic beauty. A love affair…

In the early evening, I arrived safely at Olaf’s home in Ratzeburg. And there was already another GT parked in front of the house: GordenThies had also arrived. After a hearty greeting and checking out Olaf’s collection of miniature cars and other Opel GT memorabilia, we went out for dinner in the old town of Ratzeburg. There the first glasses of beer were lifted on the days to come in Sweden!

1st of September – GT convoy to Sweden

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After a refreshing night we started our trip to Sweden.From Ratzeburg we drove with 3 GT’s to Lübeck: Olaf used his yellow-white racing GT, Gorden in his white GT/J and I in my cream white GT A/L. In LübeckMichaëlPriamus and Bernd Callsenjoined our convoy in their gray GT. Together we drove further to take the ferry that would bring us to Denmark. From there on we headed for Sweden, passing on the way a lot of nice sceneries and beautiful bridges. After a short stop to take some pictures we continued our drive towards Kopenhägen were we took the famous Sont Bridgeto Malmö (Sweden). Thisbridgewith a length of 16 km’s connects Denmark with Swedenand is known from the TVseries 'The Bridge', where in the opening part of the series a dead body is found precisely on the geographical boundary between both countries.Nice to have been there.

Once on Swedish soil, we continued our journey towards Sjöbo, the living place of Jan Perdén of the Swedish GT club. When we arrived there, we were warmly welcomed by Jan and his wife Helen at their farm. Jan had already parked his GT in the colors of the Greder rally team on the yard. We parked our cars behind Jan’s car. The convoy counted now already 5 cars and soon after a sixth GT arrived: Christian Engelhardt and his friend Jürgen Meier in their gold GT A/L.

In the meantime Jan invited us to take a look at his collection of oldtimers. The farm counted several stables and these were all taken by classic cars. Incredible! After a quick lunch we jumped again in our cars and continued our drive to the final destination of the day: hotel Nissastigen inGislaved, near to Anderstorp.

Along the way Jan had another surprise: we stopped to visit the private car museum of Ake Karlsson. Ake turned out to be a car mechanic of respectable age that has been working on cars for more than 60 years!Throughout the years he has collected a large number of classic cars, most of them being Opels. There was achartreuse yellow GT in his collection, as well as a very rare Opel Record 6-cylinder, a pre-war Kadett I, a Kapitän, some Commodores and other great cars out of Opels rich history. It was charming to see this old guy talking about his cars with a lot of passion and sense of detail, but unfortunately we didn’t had so much time. After thanking Ake for the guided tour in his marvelous museum, we continued our way for the last part of our ride.

By the evening we arrived at the hotel. Here we met some members of the Swedish Opel GT club who had already arrived. We had traveled 640 km that day, so the dinner was well deserved! Nevertheless, after the long day we still had some energy left to organize a small ‘GT-party’ in Olaf’s hotel room. To be clear, the initials ‘GT’ were this time NOT referring to our cars, but to Gin and Tonic! The drinks followed each other quickly and the ambiance was great. That promised for tomorrow...

2nd of September – Scenery tour with arrival on Anderstorp circuit

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After breakfast we gathered at the parking of the hotel. 16 cars were waiting to start a scenery tour of 40 km with arrival at the Anderstorp circuit. There were 12 classic GT's, 2 modern GT's and 2 Speedsters participating. After a welcome word and some explanations by Lars Kleppe, the president of the Swedish GT club, we started our engines. The tour was pure enjoyment on these winding roads and allowed us to discover the beautiful nature of the region. Dense forests, big lakes, some authentic villages, we passed them all. It was also a beautiful sight to see that long string of Opel GT’s twisting like a colorful snake through the Swedish nature.

Upon arrival on the circuit we parked our cars on the grass and considered it was time for a group picture. After that, we went on exploring the circuit. We visited the paddock to take a closer look at the cars and when the races started we looked for a sunny spot on the tribune. There we saw a lot of racing spectacle and some crashes.

The Swedish prince Carl Philip was also participating in the races in a Volvo GT prototype. A very beautiful and fast car, but unfortunately the prince was driving it quite uncontrolled. In front of us he spun the car into the gravel, managed to get it back on track, but only to go off again in the following corner. It was ‘game over' for the prince!

After a pleasant first day on the circuit, we drove back to the hotel where we took dinner with the members of the Swedish GT club. This was a good opportunity to get to know better our Swedish GT friends. I sat at the table together with JesperMalm and Jan OlovSäfvelin, two very amusing Swedish guys that were – like myself – passionated by motorsport.Jesper also appeared to be a musician. Soit, enough topics to talk about all evening long and to be the last ones to close the bar.

3th of September – AnderstorpRacing Festival

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After a refreshing morning shower, we were ready again to drive our GT’s to the circuit. It was Sunday and this was the main day of the race weekend, which was named the ‘Anderstorp Racing Festival’. This was immediately noticeable to the large number of public that was waiting to go in. They were attracted by the races but also by the additional activities on the program, like a F1 demo, drifting sessions and even an airshow with a stunt plane!

There were also several other car clubs attending the meeting (BMW, Porsche, Lotus, ...). It was also announced that a trophy would be awarded by a leading Swedish car magazine to the club that could present themselves best.

We installed ourselves again on our favorite tribune of the day before. Today it was a bit colder and more windy, but the exciting races provided enough warming. Between the races in, the speaker announced suddenly that the Swedish Opel GT club had been awarded the club trophy. And this in front of the clubs of the renowned sports brands! The jury appreciated the fact that the GT club had come to the meeting with an international delegation. A special mention was made for the German and Belgian GT driver(s). In honor of the ceremony, the president of the Swedish GT club and Olaf Moldzen, president of the Opel GT Dachverband, were asked to drive their GT’s to the paddock where they were handed a beautiful trophy.

 

After another amusing day time had come to say our Swedish GT friends goodbye and get back behind thesteering wheel ourselves. We drove back towards Sjöbo and arrived there in the evening. Our hotel was very charming and typically Swedish. It was a wooden house in an idyllic location on a lake. After being installed we gathered in the bar and ended the day with some refreshing beers. We toasted on the beautiful moments we had shared during our stay in Sweden.

It has been a very pleasant road trip on which I have visited a beautiful country and made a lot of new friends. My good old GT has also delivered agood job, with no significant technical failures. This is an experience that I will remember for a long time. I’m already looking forward to the next GT road trip!

I would like to thank the Opel GT Club Sweden for their friendly welcome, and my German traveling companions for being good company. It's nice to see how our love for the Opel GT opens the way to new friendships and foreign adventures, this all under the wings of the Opel GT Dachverband.

4th of September – Cruising along the coast

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Our last day in Sweden! After a short stop at the farm of Jan and Helen to say goodbye, we drove with the 3 remaining GT's (Olaf, Christian & Jürgen and myself) towards the coast to visit the famous 'Ales Stenar' (similar to Stonehedge). It required a short climb to reach this historic monument but the view on top of the cliff was incredibly beautiful. Moreover, the peace that you experiencedover there stood in huge contrast to the roar of the engines on the circuit. We enjoyed the fresh breeze blowing through our hair. This really was healthy sea air! After this energizing visit to the stones, we continued the last part of our tour. We followed the coastal road towards Malmö, which offered beautiful views over the Baltic Sea. Once we arrived in Malmö we took "The Bridge" again towards Denmark and further on the ferry to Germany. In the evening we arrived in Ratzeburg and I stayed overnight at Olaf’s home before starting my last 600 km back to Belgium.

It has been a very pleasant road trip on which I have visited a beautiful country and made a lot of new friends. My good old GT has also delivered a good job, with no significant technical failures. This is an experience that I will remember for a long time. I’m already looking forward to the next GT road trip!

I would like to thank the Opel GT Club Sweden for their friendly welcome, and my German traveling companions for being good company. It's nice to see how our love for the Opel GT opens the way to new friendships and foreign adventures, this all under the wings of the Opel GT Dachverband.

Written by Philip Copmans, Belgian Opel GT Club vzw