essen, germany, 10 april
This is one German show that won’t have disappointed anyone expecting bangs for bucks – 21 halls and seemingly every patch of outdoor space available was taken up by cars from across the classic spectrum. There really was something for everyone.
Manufacturers pull out all the stops at Essen and this year was no different. BMW celebrated its centenary in some style, dominating one hall with cars from clubs and its own museum. Youngtimers also played a key role, with modern classics like the 850 sharing floor space with 2002s, which turn 50 this year.
One major theme that was particularly evident on the BMW stand, but also throughout the show, was the role tuners and modifying has to play in not only classic circles, but in wider manufacturer histories. This meant that not only did Alpinas form part of the display, but there were also examples of Baur and Diana creations; even some of the club displays were on aftermarket wheels.
This could also be seen on the club stands, from a 165PS-at-9000rpm Fiat Panda to Volkswagen Polo with a toilet for a passenger seat.
Mercedes-Benz provided a huge display with a primarily convertible theme to reflect new product launches (S- and C-class, in case you were wondering). The highlight here was a cutaway SLK, a Mercedes that in itself is celebrating its 20th birthday.
Volkswagen-Audi Group had an entire hall to itself, with prominent displays from Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen itself, to celebrate the Golf GTi’s 40th birthday. Porsche was keen to show off its classic parts selection, with a great display demonstrating its latest classic car restoration success – the 911 Jurgen Barth took to a class victory at Le Mans in 1972.
Alfa Romeo put on a big display, using the release of the brand new Giulia range to show off hot fourdoors from its past, from a 1955 Giulietta Ti to a 75 Turbo Evoluzione.
High-end classic car dealers dominated stand space, and even the outdoor areas didn’t yield a plethora of options for those on a tighter budget. However, the clubs – as always – put on a great show, with our highlight being the Volkswagen T3 having a bath. Rub-a-dub-dub, we’re told.
Techno-Classica Essen has so much going on, a weekend doesn’t seem long enough – we’re booking the entire week next year; and with flights from Heathrow only taking an hour plus half-an-hour’s train ride from Düsseldorf, it’s something you really have to do at least once. Nathan Chadwick