Keith Adams and Alexander Boucke
The Techno-Classica Essen once again cemented its postion as the biggest and best European indoor car show by continuing to grow in 2014. As well as offering a unique selection of club, dealer, auction and manufacturer stands, there was all the autojumble and currywurst you could ever possibly want.
Topping the bill were the ‘95 Years Zagato’ and ‘100 Years – La Tradizione Italiana Sportiva 1914 – 2014’ exhibitions, which starred Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lancia, and Maserati’s finest, the Zagato-bodied specials ever created. Interestingly, there were more than 2500 classics on sale this year, although the mainland European prices asked (and realised by many cars) will have been an eye-opener for the show’s British visitors.
Once again, with more than 1250 exhibitors from more than 30 nations, 220-plus classic car, spread across 20 halls and a number of outdoor arenas, this was not a show for those who suffer from aching feet. The stars of the show for the British contingent were legion, with Jaguar Heritage putting on a great display and the number of British sports, luxury and day-to-day classic cars on display was still rather healthy considering the sheer volume of Porsche 911s and Mercedes-Benzes which were on show from the home team.
The show was visited by around 190,000 visitors during the five day event, a very slight rise over last year. As one of the world’s most significant trading places for classic cars, Essen clearly reflected the further and accelerated move to higher prices for the best-condition cars – expensive classics are currently enjoying a proper boom as investments.
The combined stand of the Mini clubs and MINI/BMW/Rolls-Royce not only featured Paddy Hopkirk’s famous Monte-winning Morris Mini Cooper S, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, but also a complete line-up of all generations of the Mini saloon from Mk1 to Mk7. Also there were the R50, R56 and the recently-launched F56. Immediately next to the Mini area another exhibit showcased the early connection of both companies – the BMW 3/15 was originally launched as a licence-built Austin 7 by the Dixi car company.
Despite plenty of highlights being available, even seasoned show-goers with limited interest in sports and race cars stopped in awe when entering the Mercedes stand. Mind you, to call it a stand is the understatement of the year – it was more like a make-shift museum. To illustrate 120 active years in motorsport Mercedes brought no less than 34 race and rally cars to Essen. From a 1904 Simplex race car to recent Mercedes-McLaren Formula 1 cars, this comprehensive collection would have been worth spending more time on than most visitors will have had.
Prices asked for cars were generally high, often significantly over those listed in the price guides for Germany. Despite this, trade was brisk – particularly in iconic cars such as the Porsche 911 or Lancia Delta Integrale. The time to find a well-priced, useable classic at this show seems to be over.
British Car Gallery (except Mini)
General Impressions and Autojumble
Gallery of other interesting cars
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.