Words and photography: Keith Adams
The British cars might have been thin on the ground at the Retro Classics Stuttgart Show, but it’s still a fantastic event. This year, the show looks like it has attracted a record number of visitors, with more than 70,000 car enthusiasts making the trip to the show. With nine halls packed full of classic cars, dealers, clubs, lorries, buses and autojumble stands, this really is a treat for car enthusiasts looks for something with a German slant.
Inevitable comparisons will be made with the legendary Techno-Classica at Essen and, in terms of size and sheer number of cars on show, there’s little to choose between the two. Essen probably still has the edge for British fans – it’s closer and has more UK dealer presence – but Retro Classics is located in the heart of Swabia’s car building area and has true manufacturer presence from Porsche and Mercedes-Benz – it’s catching up fast.
The show itself is spread across nine halls and is impeccably organised, with special, themed displays. The stand-out areas are Hall One, which was packed with upmarket dealers, and Hall Seven, which offered private individuals the opportunity to sell some pretty interesting cars, and Porsche and Mercedes-Benz’s offerings via their own museums.
Once again, it’s not hard to be impressed by the quality of the cars on show at Retro Classics Show. All were immaculate, aside from the obviously patinated barn finds and cars designed to look mucky for artistic purposes, and are a rolling testament to the German Government’s policy of supporting the classic car industry with its own taxation and usage class for all cars older than 30 years.
A continuing highlight of the Retro Classics Show is the reserved parking area for visitors’ classics. Without doubt, this impromptu open-air motor show, which anyone can enjoy, is a genuine pleasure – this year, we saw all manner of Young- and Oldtimers on show, attracting a not-insubstantial crowd.
The Retro Classics Show makes the perfect flyaway show. You can literally fall out of your budget flight, walk to the exhibition halls and then stroll over to one of the complex’s near-by hotels. It’s clean, appealing and spacious and certainly something different for enthusiasts with Essen or NEC fatigue, and from what we’ve seen over the past three-or four-years, Stuttgart is only going to get bigger and more popular in the future – it’s now an essential fixture in the classic car event calendar.
More at www.retro-classics.de.