Events : Stuttgart and Essen show reports

A warm March weekend in Germany, and two giant classic car shows went head-to-head. In the northern corner, the Techno-Classica Essen – a UK favourite – and in the south, Retro Classics Stuttgart.

And we visited both…

Words: Keith Adams, Pictures: Keith Adams, Alexander Boucke

A very German affair

Most UK readers will be familiar with the Techno-Classica Essen show. It’s a giant classic car gathering in its 24th year, and through 20 halls and a number outdoor sales arenas, there’s literally something for everyone. It’s an easy four-hour drive from Calais, which makes it an appealing classic car weekend for plucky Brits, determined to give their cars a good work-out. But beyond that, Essen gives people the opportunity to see many cars they’ve not seen before – or at least not regularly.

Retro Classics Stuttgart is appreciably further from the UK, and makes most sense when attended in conjunction with a £50ish (if booked early enough) budget flight ticket. And on that basis, the eight-hall classic motor show is a convenient delight – it’s held in the Messe Stuttgart, which is literally two minutes’ walk from the airport, and offers just as much variety as Essen (if less autojumble) and more space around the cars.

So in short, Essen is a driving weekend, and a bit of an adventure; Stuttgart is a flyaway budget weekend. And both are seriously amazing for petrolheads.

The mix of cars in both shows is very Continental, which can be refreshing for fatigued UK show-goers – but there’s still plenty of British car action to enjoy, as the gallery below clearly shows. Here’s a selection of the cars that caught our eye in Germany over a very long weekend. But remember, you’ll find plenty more to see if you make the trip yourself in 2013. Both shows promise to be even better next year…


Keith Adams


  1. funny how even the Germans spell centre the American way er instead of re (mini pick-up), other than that it looks a grand place to visit.

  2. Some lovely machinery in those pics. Far too many to comment on individually, but the Fiat 128 Coupe looks awesome, and what is the car with the BL TestWagen sticker on the back window?

  3. Fantastic photos, Keith. Memories flooded back of how common a lot of these cars were on our roads in my late teens – I had forgotten half of them existed.

    Interesting to see a 3-door 2.0 litre Sierra L. Like the Cortina, the Germans always seemed to offer the 3-door option further up the range than just the base models like they did in the UK.

    Looks like a pair of great events, must try and visit at some point in the future.

  4. Wonderful pictures. Particularly liked the citroen SMs and the mark 1 Granadas.

    Of course the real interest is in vehicles I haven’t got a clue as to what they are.

  5. Some great examples here! I particularly like the Mini Clubmans, Granada Coupe, Capri’s, MK1 Cortina and the Datsun 280ZX (still got a brochure for that). Good to see a Granada in “Sahara beige” too

    Thanks for sharing the photos with us Keith & Alex

  6. What’s the RV8/Healey-esque green and white car behind the Morgan three-wheeler in the main photo?

    Great photos Keith!

  7. Alex and Keith your spoiling us, especially as my mum ran an orange Peugeot 104 when we were kids… is that an Alan Mann cortina in there too?

  8. Shame we didn’t get more variations of the 3 door Sierra here. If that car had been a UK spec RHD model, odds on it would have been a Cossie replica long ago. All we got was the Sierra base in 3dr. That has an injected Pinto on the L spec! Not even the GL was injected on the Mk1

  9. 20 year’s ago we were restoring old cars just because we liked them, now we’re keeping them because their the only cars that work properly!

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