NOTE: While not a CLC Grand European Meet, this Event is Supported by CLC”
Sixty years! Cadillac La Salle Club Celebration
29 Aug. / 2 Sept. 2018, Richelieu, France
By Dirk Van Dorst, President, Vintage Wheel events and director of European affiliates, CLC, France, Richelieu
In 2005, Dirk Van Dorst, Director of European Affiliates CLC, founded the concept of the CLC Grand European (GE). In 2006, the first GE came to the Belgian coast; 2008 Germany; 2010 France; 2013 Holland; 2015 Switzerland; then we had the sad cancellation of the 2017 GE in Denmark.
As the CLC has no GE plans set for the future, a separate, non-profit European organization has been created to contract with the CLC for such future events. The Vintage Wheel Events (VWE), based in France and created by your Northern Affiliates Assistant Director, Anders S. Wald; Western Assistant Director, Sigrid Hofmann; and Director, European Affiliates Dirk Van Dorst, decided to organize an international Cadillac meeting under the French sun to celebrate 60 years of the CLC. This event will be a very special trip for every Cadillac aficionado.
For our overseas friends and family, you can take a flight to Paris and then a city trip; your family will thank you. From Paris, the fast train brings you to Tours in one hour; there is also a cheaper way by highway bus (Flixbus). In Tours, we pick you up, bring you to your car and accommodations.
Wednesday evening, everybody arrives in a resort-style forest, where all cars are parked in front of the “chalets” (wooden houses). Here, we start with a big BBQ and the first meeting with CLC members from all over the world. Our sponsor is Honest John of Texas, and we have participants from all over the USA and Europe, Australia and even Rio De Janeiro.
Richelieu is located on the Loire River and has the biggest castles of Europe. We start in southern France, which means sun, dry weather, wide-open roads and friendly people. Everybody speaks English!
Thursday morning, we drive on a (60 km trip), following a scenic road to the birthplace of where all the ideas about forming CLC affiliates in Europe and the GE were born. Then, Chateau De Planchoury, home of the Keyaerts sisters and the biggest Cadillac collection in Europe---V16s, 12s, over 60 cars! What better place to celebrate 60 years of CLC? Here, we park all cars on the wide lawns of the castle garden and have lunch under the shady trees. If you don’t bring a car, we’ll arrange a ride for you.
Afternoon, we’ll drive back to the resort, the roads are made for a Cadillac, rolling hills, wide views, blue sky. From everything I have seen during my life-long travels, we decided this was the place to live… with our Cadillac. At the resort, you can rent a “costume” for the evening masked ball ….you all will play a castle resident, king, queen, knave or knight.
Friday morning, you can go to the local market of Richelieu, a 16th century hall, or terraces in the sun. Around noon, we drive out for another scenic road trip (60 km) for a boat ride on the Loire. After the boat ride, we continue the trip, following the river and ending up at a Champagne vintner on top of a hill. Here, we visit the wine caves, have dinner and live jazz music while overlooking the valley of the Loire, and our Cadillacs parked at ground level.
Saturday is the beginning of another French experience for our car buddies from all over the world. The cars will be lined up under the shady trees in the beautiful park of Richelieu. You all are invited for a drink at the music kiosk by the town of Richelieu.
From Saturday on, all sorts of vehicle clubs come to join us in the park. WWII vehicles (they will create a tent camp), classic trucks, caravans, motorcycles, all brands of cars you can imagine. Bring all your car related stuff as you can sell out of the trunk of your car or rent table space in the park.
Saturday evening, when temps are going down and the air gets cool, we dance and eat under the stars, as the whole park is equipped with lights, music and catering.
Sunday (if you are still able to get out of bed…), we have a big ride out together with all the vehicles in the park---Renault, Citroén, Peugeot, Panhard, Corvette, Mustang, Italian offerings. Back in 2016, we held a similar event and counted over the weekend 4,000 people.
A Special Note for All our Cadillac Friends.
The world of Cadillac owners is shrinking, people are too old to travel, and young people have other interests (reading, European sports cars, Mustangs, Corvettes).
I think this 60-year CLC celebration in France will be one of the last big ones. For this event, you still have the chance to meet famous Cadillac people from all over the world and their cars. Several of them know it will be their last big trip. A farewell party of sorts.
For the GE: I received an email from several CLC Affiliates that they are no longer able to organize a GE (group too small, and old) and, I believe, there is no future GE in the making. If you are a Cadillac lover, if you want to meet the International world of the CLC, if you want to have a car vacation with your family under the French sun, the car trip of your lifetime (besides Route 66, which you already did), then don’t wait for the next big CLC meeting in Europe.
The goal of a meeting like this is to have car people from all over the world together in one big party under the sun. FRIENDS! For us, Western / Southern European car guys, it is a must to have people from all over the world on board.
TIP! For every Club: bring all your club items for sale. All you can carry, as I know from experience everybody wants to have something from “that other” affiliate.
I’m sure CLC Finland people would like to have a T-shirt from CLC France.
The team of VWE will support you in every way to bring you all an unforgettable Cadillac summer. If you want to extend your stay, we have several options, including a stay on our own property, or a nearby B&B owned by our VWE treasurer. Please feel free to contact me for further info.
Hope to meet you this summer in Richelieu for the 60-year CLC celebration
Dirk Van Dorst and the VWE team.
Dirk Van Dorst
3 247 578 5348