Retro Clas­sics’ or­gan­iser ex­plains why a buoy­ant clas­sic mar­ket is hun­gry for events

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Mur­ray Scul­lion

Fol­low­ing 17 con­sec­u­tive suc­cess­ful Retro Clas­sics at Stuttgart, the show’s or­gan­is­ers have re­vealed plans to in­crease the size and breadth of its ap­peal – by branch­ing out into other cities.

Retro Clas­sics opened its sec­ond show in Nurem­berg last year, and will house its first event in Cologne on 24-26 Novem­ber. Both of these shows are much smaller than the Stuttgart based af­fair, which now wel­comes close to 90,000 vis­i­tors, whereas Nurem­berg’s first show at­tracted 26,544 and or­gan­is­ers be­lieve that Cologne will house around 40,000.

Karl-Ul­rich Her­rmann, man­ag­ing part­ner of Retro Clas­sics, at­tributes the growth in his busi­ness to the growth in the clas­sic scene. He says: ‘ We would be fully jus­ti­fied in say­ing that there is cur­rently a boom. The his­toric and clas­sic cars mar­ket has grown steadily over the last 17 years since the first show opened its doors in Stuttgart.’

And it would ap­pear that Her­rmann is right – the num­ber of reg­is­tered his­toric and clas­sic cars has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in Ger­many in re­cent years. The to­tal num­ber of mov­ing ve­hi­cles in the coun­try is now around 700,000 and there are an­other 400,000 non-reg­is­tered his­toric and clas­sic cars. Of the reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles, ap­prox­i­mately 350,000 ve­hi­cles have a reg­is­tra­tion num­ber.

Er­win Mayer, head of BMW branch in Stuttgart, thinks that man­u­fac­turer par­tic­i­pa­tion is here to stay. He says: ‘ We did Stuttgart for the first time in 2017. It’s a great way to show­case what we do. We’re in in­tense co-op­er­a­tion with BMW in Mu­nich, and we have ac­cess to more than 50,000 parts.’

The clas­sic car scene is chang­ing cul­tur­ally, as well as in size. Mod­ern clas­sics hold the largest share in the Ger­man mar­ket, some­thing that is ob­vi­ous from Retro Clas­sics Stuttgart. Some 17 years ago, pre-war cars com­prisedf around 50 per cent of the show. In 2017, it ac­counted for just five per cent.

Karl-Ul­rich Her­rmann adds: ‘ Young his­toric and clas­sic cars, cars which I my­self bought as new ve­hi­cles in the 1970s and 1980s, now rep­re­sent the largest share of the mar­ket. And so it’s clear that the term ‘clas­sic car’ is also chang­ing. Whereas two decades ago only pre-war mod­els were con­sid­ered to be his­toric and clas­sic cars, now Young­timers are very much on the rise and we clearly must adapt to that.’

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