LAHR september 13-14-15 2002 update:17-08-03
Accompanied by Ro80 drivers Rob de Hartog and Wilco Boer the Webmaster went for a weekend to Lahr in Germany, Black Forrest. A Hundred years ago Felix Wankel was born. Appently enough reason to organize a big party. Every body with interest in the Rotary(Wankel) engine was invited to come to Lahr and if possible with a rotary engine driven car or motorcycle. At the so-called Schlachthofgelande (slougtherplace) outside the center of the city they planned the Treffen. The Webmaster and companions arrived late in a nearby place Friday evening. The program said that there was a tour. So we went early and it was beautiful weather, into Lahr. It was strange that we found nothing of a Wankel-exponent in town. Was it the right weekend? A small sign (a4) at a supermarket was giving us a little bit of hope. Driving across the enormous parking place of that supermarket we came at a facility where something was happening. Still no Mazda or Ro80 so still in doubt. First of all walking around see what is going on.
At that moment a motor carrier arrived with a Ro 80 behind it. It was strange, because that ro 80 was in a bad condition. If this will be what to expect………At the place between some buildings a Mercedes C111 was standing all alone (4 pictures) that was at least something. The man on the background was not willing to step aside and was sweeping the street and possible not aware of what was standing in front of him.
Our problem- where is everybody?- was solved soon. In the near distance en at the end of the street was a low sound and a well-known sound. A long row of Wankel driven cars where driving happily through the main street of Lahr. We drove direct behind them. Fist making some pictures (above) Unfortunaly we did not had a Ro 80 with us, so we where directed to the end of the row. And because we had no idée what was going on, we drive with the flow (the police was very helpful) We where the last in a long row, driving A Toyota Avensis. It seems that Toyota once had a wankel engine, but this was a real turbo diesel On the pictures you can see that we tried to keep pace with the rest, but we lost them. Only a small traffic light was enough.
Without a route map it was difficult to follow the rest of the cars. Luckily there where more cars who could not follow. Behind 3 –871- Ro80’s we could drive to Lahr. 871 stands for the type of engine used in those Ro’s. According to one owner only 12 Ro80’s with that engine are made and no more than 20 engines in total. It was the planned next engine for the Ro80. The Webmaster became a heavy headache because of the smell of the gas from all the Wankel engines. As you know it is not pleasant to drive behind a Ro80 and even worse behind 3. Aspirin helps to like the Ro80. Luckily after 60 km we sighted Lahr. And in a small street we could view the total amount of wankel cars. The people living in that street where not happy with all those cars parking in their street because they could not reach their houses.
On the pictures next to Ro’s -mainly our attention - several Mazda’s. The Webmaster is very fond of the latest model RX 7. The already crowded place became a very pleasant market with lots of stands with food, cars and Wankel-parts. And the Lonely Ro 80 we saw in the morning was the first price of some sort of lottery, that’s why it was loaded on a carrier. We looked around a lot and bought some nice booklets. We where surprised to see so many orange, yellow and red Ro’s around and it combined very good with the graffiti on the walls around the plaza.
We almost bought a model of the Graupner aeroplane-wankel-engine, (left). We decided to look around in the center of the city. Lahr was preparing for an evening happening on the market. With some beer and a bite of food back to the Wankel plaza. They’re are a lot of very beautiful Ro 80’s and Mazda’s to see.
We spotted some old friends and shake hands the wankel-way, most of the time followed by the well-known technical chat. The Webmaster arranged some weeks ago a meeting with Serge Menichetti by e-mail. It was suppose to be in front of the city Hal, but there were two City Halls. But by pure incident they found each other on the Plaza. Menichetti is an active member of the Ro80 club in France and drives rallies with his Ro. We made deal that he would take care f the translations into France on this site. His friend (the man in the magazine from Dunekerq) had a Citroen M35 with him. The Webmaster also got some magazines with resent Wankel stories. And last but not least finally the 71 Ro’s in front of his camera and took a lot of pictures
We heard from Jaques van Kempen (Belgium); Mazda specialist (with the red Cabrio) that the last type of Mazda RX 7 often gets to hot with all the problems with it. We have to wait a little.. Also our steam-injection was part of a hefty discussion. It could be interesting for Mazda as well. We are going to to look for a power test stand. The red engine is an American RX 7 Cabrio. A beautiful build engine.
The evening was filled with the musical happening on the market place. 4 drummers with background projection, as far as we thought, it was a little bit to trendy for the public. Later on a band with 60ties and 70ties repertoire was playing. That was a lot better. There was even a firework at midnight with a lot of smoke. Was there not enough smoke already in Lahr from all the cars???.
The Webmaster and his palls by then were of to Molsheim to see the presentation of the new Bugatti (1000.000 euro) but it failed, we had no invitation to visit the Bugatti Castle. It was a pity because we were very close to the castle. Even Wilco Boer had to withdraw behind the fens.
There was a Bugatti driver with a motorcarrier and on that was an old bugatti. At a non-spotted parking place he unloaded his Bugatti and wrapped some scarves around his face and a leather helmet like on old pictures and drove up to the castle as if he drove all the way from Berlin. Strange people those Bugatti drivers. At a Renault dealer we saw the new Megane, nice car to see, a daring design.
In Mulhouse we visited the famous national car-museum from the Schlumpf brothers, we had to drive another 100 km more south. It was not what we expected because there were only a few 1960 cars to see. But a looooot of Bugatti’s. Sunday was realy a Bugatti-day.
The Ro 80 is much more rear than a Bugatti but we already knew that. Now we only have to level the prices. We got back in the car and slowly we went of home at a speed of about 200km per hour .
Jan Hullegie- Rob den Hartog- Wilco Boer (translation by Eef Sluiter from Amsterdam)
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