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…