For Classic Car fans this was a busy weekend, with the Practical Classics and Restoration Show in Birmingham and the relatively new Retro Classics in Stuttgart – two major shows tried to claim visitors from the 30th Techno Classica in Essen.
For clubs, traders and also manufacturers having multiple shows on a single weekend is certainly not a good thing. At AROnline we opted for the default choice and went to see the classic among the big classic car shows in Essen.
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke
In its best years in terms of visitor numbers, the Techno Classica managed to attract nearly a quarter of a million showgoers. In this respect, this year’s total of 188,000 visitors may seem a little short. However, considering that the large Retro Classics in Stuttgart was happening on the same weekend, it is more than just a respectable result.
Techno Classica can still claim to be the world’s leading event of its kind. On the floor of the show it looked pretty crowded over the weekend. On our Saturday visit, the number of already sold cars was high – many of the more interesting cars had already gone to new ownership.
When going to the European Classic Car show in Essen you either need to plan for multiple days or make a list of preferences, we decided to see the individual club stands first. As usual many of the clubs spent a lot of effort to create stunning and inviting displays.
Gallery of Club Displays
Among the car manufacturers the halls from VAG and Mercedes were the most interesting. Mercedes used the launch of the new G-Class model to celebrate the outgoing model. VAG and Porsche, joined by the Zeithaus Museum from Wolfsburg, as usual put up a display equalling a small museum on its own, showing a very wide variety not only limited to own products.
Gallery of Manufacturers’ Displays
More than two halls were dedicated to sales of spares, automobilia and services around the hobby. The traditional autojumble part is getting smaller, with trade moving more and more online, but presentation of all kinds of services from re-chroming to insurance is increasing.
After many claims about the end of the hype on classic cars, it was interesting to see the cars on sale. Indeed, certain models – Porsche 911s of all kinds, Jaguar E-types, VW Microbus models among them – have stabilised in price. Now people pick rare colours or unrestored original examples.
As usual for Essen the variety of cars on sale was as large as the price range from €2500 to more than €1.5 million. In addition to the halls with mostly expensive, high-quality classics, there were multiple outside areas very well stocked with a wide range of mostly affordable cars at sensible prices. Again here the amount of unrestored and rare versions was huge with cars like Opel Rekord estates, basic Mercedes-Benz 280SEs in W116 guise causing great interest. Pre-war, American or British roadsters proved very affordable compared to many German 1970s and ’80s cars.
At lunchtime, we found that VW’s most popular product was available again – the famous Currywurst (a fried pork sausage with spicey sauce) from their own production. It has to be said that not only the hunger for cars is well cared for in Essen, the choice of food is nearly as good!
We will, of course, be back in Essen for next year’s show – from 10-14 April 2019.