Historical past of the Lenzerheide Motor Classics

With one of the first Swiss mountain races, Lenzerheide experienced an absolutely impressive event in August 1951 on the track Tiefencastel-Lenz-Lenzerheide. The big poster, on which in the foreground the "Alfetta", which was unbeatable at all races and in the background the Lenzerhorn, was impressing me as a young boy.

Against 80 vehicles from Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Cisitalia, BMW Veritas, Porsche 356, MG, Jaguar 120 and the now unknown Jowett Jupiter, we touched dignified on the occasion of the car inspection at the Hotel Kurhaus.

The absolute highlight was the great hero Willy Peter Dätwyler and his Alfa 412. This 1939 car was not only in its form the racing sports car itself, equipped with a four overhead camshaft V12 engine (a construction of Bruno Trevisan). This unbeatable vehicle, which was not only seen and heard, but also absorbed as its burned methanol mixture from the exhaust almost like a drug, was controlled by Willy Peter Dätwyler.

In 1957, in collaboration with the ACS, another international mountain race (at that time counted as European Championship) took place. As an adult guy I was allowed to experience this race even closer as volunteer of my father, chief of the medical service. Of course, we also admired our local hero Willy Gruber, who bravely balanced his small Ford over the track rather than driving fast. Many of the cars that we can now admire again at the Lenzerheide Motor Classics: Porsche 356 Carrera, MGA, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce, the small, fast Fiat Abarth Zagato, Lancia Aurelia B20, AC Bristol (base of the Cobra), Mercedes Gullwing, Triumph TR3, Aston Martin DB2, and many more.

The exciting big fight for the European mountain championship between the Porsche (a RS Bergspyder, who each time hit a huge jet of flame from the middle pipe exhaust) of the famous race director Huschke von Hanstein, the Borgward RS (the then mythical Ferrari with Ludovico Scarfiotti) of Hans Herrmann and the Maserati 200 / S of Willy Peter Dätwyler, who finally won the European Championship, was an unforgettable experience.

Have fun and enjoy the Lenzerheide Motor Classics.
Marc-Andrea Durband

> Europameisterschaft Bergrennen Tiefencastel – Lenz –Lenzerheide 1957 (pdf)

Copyright Photo below: Fotograf Max Pichler Wilerzell