Europe’s biggest classic car show, the Techno-Classica in Essen has opened its doors – by closing time on Sunday, over 200,000 visitors are expected to have seen the vast display of clubs, car manufacturers and trade stalls.
This year’s special exhibition will celebrate the 1957 Grand Prix of Monaco showing a selection of race cars taking part – including the winning Maserati 250F from Juan-Manuel Fangio and the Vanwell VW5 from Tony Brooks, which finished second.
Juan-Manuel Fangio’s Maserati 250F
In addition the visitors of the Techno-Classica Essen can take a look back to the future: about 120 years ago, the automobile was at a crossroads – exactly as today. Which kind of drive will carry through: internal combustion-engine or electric motor?
In a special exhibition, the classic world fair recalls a most extensive forgotten fact: already, in the years 1900 up to 1920, there were an astonishing number of cars with electric motors – just as from the year 1912 the petrol engine began to carry through finally in the car manufacturing after the invention of the electric starter. Previously the petrol cars had to be cranked up by hand with great exertion.
The 1915 Detroit Electric
The first battery-electric driven car in the world, an Ayrton & Perry from 1882, will be on display as will a Detroit Electric from 1915, a Stanley Steamer steam-car from 1919 and a Mercedes Simplex from 1903 – this illustrates impressively the state of technology of different driving mechanisms in the automobile early times.
As the industry is currently moving into design and manufacture of electric cars with force, the heritage departments remember the odd electric car from the manufacturers past. Volkswagen, for example, shows two versions of historic electric Golfs, a Mk1 (see below) and a Mk3.
Comparing these with the Detroit Electric show that there was hardly any development in the electric car between the early days and the 90s, when lead-acid batteries were still the default choice. A new Opel Ampera on display close to the 102 years old ancestor does show however, that the development of the electric car has finally gained speed.
In addition car manufacturers and over 220 car clubs will have set up their often elaborate displays, making the visit worthwhile for those not on the hunt for tools, spares are a new classic to fill the gap in the garage.
A first look around the exhibition shows the amazing variety of this event. Granted, there are still plenty of various Porsche 911 models on sale, but seemingly less dominating compared to recent years. Judging our quick first glance, prices are still on the rise, but slower than before.
There is also a very distinct lack of the classic British roadster (E-type and club displays apart), probably proving our impression that this type of car is falling out of favour with European customers.
Some cars are repeatedly shown, so obviously have not sold over the past year, including a factory new (80km) Mini Moke offered for €30,000.
AROnline will visit the show and update with pictures and special finds over the next few days.