Elegant rarities on four wheels

Over 30 vintage cars take part in Oldtimer-Minsk-2013 rally
By Sergey Maximov

On June 1st, Minsk’s Oktyabrskaya Square hosted a vintage car rally: the fifth in a row. Clearly, Minsk residents and guests love classic cars; it’s a sight to behold when so many legendary cars gather in one place.

Oldtimer-Minsk-2013 brought together owners of the cars pre-dating 1970, in good working condition. Of course, these aren’t museum exhibits, since all beauties had passed technical inspection for use on public roads and were all worthy of display — offering a spectacular show.

Meanwhile, the competitions boast their own regulations which are obligatory for each entrant. When announcing the event, the organisers said that the participation of three-dozen cars is expected: from Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Poland, as well as Belarus. Among them were such Soviet classics as the Zhiguli VAZ-2101, and famous Volga cars, with figures of deer on the hood, a UAZ off-roader, and, even, a comical Zaporozhets. While everyone laughed at the time, many now regret how rare they have become. Of course, there were classic foreign vehicles too. Cleaned to shining, with glittering chrome and impressive beauty, those streamlined shapes and automatic transmissions had visitors sighing with delight.

The Oldtimer-Minsk-2013 rally saw crews of two (driver and navigator, with only the driver permitted to take the wheel if the navigator didn’t have a driving license). Each paid $100 to take part, being given start numbers, the event logo and advertising stickers. The crews which have passed registration were given routing documents: a checklist and a control card. Naturally, the entrants had to observe regular traffic rules when driving along public streets, without interference to other drivers. Passengers were permitted during the race, which took part on a 170km set route.

Additional competitions were envisages during the rally and accuracy and ‘speed’ prizes were awarded, with crews monitored by judicial time keeping and control points. Besides the top three speediest crews being awarded prizes, others were also offered for special events. For example, the ‘Contest of Elegance’ was also envisaged by the rally’s programme, for which the crew — either a driver or a navigator — took the microphone to give a two minute presentation on their car: technical characteristics, the story of its creation and history of acquisition, among other interesting facts. The judges evaluated the performance using a five-point system, including marks given for crew outfits suiting the spirit, style and time of their vehicle. There were three contest nominations besides the Grand Prix in the ‘Contest of Elegance’.

The first car set off from Oktyabrskaya Square at noon, honking and followed by the others at short intervals. Everyone had the chance to admire these rare cars in action while also taking photos: all for free. Despite the crowds, true enthusiasts had the opportunity to chat to crews before the race began and people’s enjoyment was obvious. Smiling faces said it all. The event was a resounding success.
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