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On the first weekend of April the 23rd edition of the annual Techno Classica once more broke every record. More than 175.000 visitors came to Essen to see the biggest Classic Car Show in Europe with more than 2500 cars spread over the full 18 halls with about 110.000 sqm exhibition space plus the outer area for the private car market. 1200 exhibitors had almost everything on offer one was looking for: tools, spares, accessories and cars for most wallets.

When looking on some of the price tags one could see that the price level is still high and there is still a lot of money coming into the market. If you are looking for a bargain Essen might not be the best place to be as dealers and clientele are clearly aware of the cars value and with that number of cars prices are comparable easily between the dealers. Being a German trade fair almost every type of Porsche and Mercedes is for sale in a good quantity, especially the 300 SL either as Roadster or Gullwing is very well presented relative to their production number.

This leads directly to the works displays of the large manufacturers. With the depression still in mind the companies are going flat out again with huge displays in separate halls. Hall No.1 is traditionally occupied by Mercedes-Benz. This year Mercedes celebrates 125 years of the automobile with a large arrangement ranging from the first Benz Patent Motorenwagen over several milestones like the supercharged 6 and 8-cylinders, the Gullwing and the Ponton to the latest technology of alternative drive technology. The inner circle was surrounded by the numerous club displays and the own classic department with a few restorers in the periphery giving a good insight in the long history of the marque.

Hall No.7 is the home of the Volkswagen AG with many of its subsidiaries. VW itself  showed some design studies rarely seen outside their Zeithaus, a trio of Italdesign studies were joined by some Karmann prototypes and some early examples of the popular Golf, Scirocco and Passat line. Even without the other marques of the group VW spans a wide range with cars like the sportive W12 Nardo that never made it to production to the Bulli with a very loyal fan community.
Skoda celebrates 110 years of motorsport with some races ranging from the beginning to the latest WRC Rallye cars.
The premium companies Bentley and Bugatti were located in the back of the hall with a small display of the current models and a matching classic. The new Bentley Mulsanne was joined by a 8 Litre Saloon by Mulliner that was once owned by W.O.Bentley himself and the Veyron was joined by a sportive T57 Torpedo.

BMW is located on the other side of the fair being the first hall to see when entering from the entrance at the Gruga Halle. After some years with smaller exhibitions during the construction of their new museum in Munich the display is back to old strength. This years feature was dedicated to 75 years of the 328 Roadster, the companies most important pre-war sportscar and 50 years of the “Neue Klasse” (New Class) with the 1500 and 2000 tii to name a few.
Further displays were dedicated to the history of the Mini that has become an important part of the group and Rolls-Royce.

Opel took a look into the future with the company celebrating 150 years in 2012. Opel started as a manufacturer for sewing machines before they turned to bicycles and later cars. Opel was the first company in Germany to start producing their cars on a assembly line. Several examples of the early history were present in Essen including a reproduction of RAK2, a rocket-driven record breaker of the year 1928.

Other factory displays included Volvo, Porsche, Fiat and Alfa Romeo. After the centenary last year the Milanese company continued to show their rich racing history with some of their most successful models including the Alfetta, the P3 and the T33. The small booth of their mother company Fiat showed the infamous Mefistofele with its 21.7 Litre Fiat airship engine capable of 235 km/h back in 1924, although the chassis was already 16 years old by then.

Ferrari was represented by the German Ferrari Classiche dependance Eberlein with an original 250 GTO (3809GT), a 250 GT SWB (2269GT) and a new 599 GTO to name a few.
Other Ferraris were mainly found on the booth of high end dealer Lukas Huni whose display was once more one of the highlights of the show. Especially those who missed the Retromobile earlier this year were amazed by the selection of cars and the presentation on the entirely black carpet.
But when thinking back of the Retomobile one became aware that something was missing at the Techno Classica as some of the major dealer stayed at home this year. Hall&Hall for example was always a guaranteed crowd puller but they were missed as was Porsche specialist Benoit Couturier. RM Auction, who had a large display for the last years Monaco auction did not show up with an own booth as well although the auction at the Villa d´Este is just around the corner. Just one of their main lots, the 1938 Talbot-Lago Teardrop was presented at the center stage of the SIHA.
Further absentees were Klaus Werner and Axel Schütte. The later had a booth at this years Retro Classics in Stuttgart a few days earlier showing that the Techno Classica has lost its “monopole”. Certainly there are enough other dealers more than willing to take over the free space but all the mentioned above were a guarantee for quality. Instead of presenting a few cars in the highest price level most of the replacements are more in selling mid priced range in a large quantity so most of the booths were stuffed with cars to keep the costs as low as possible. At some booths even opening a door might have become a problem and even expensive cars look cheap in that way of presentation.

The competition of the Techno Classica and especially the Retro Classics in Stuttgart will become even more aware by the fact that they will be held both at the same weekend next year looking like an upcoming power struggle for the dominating position. Neutral observers agree that there will be just losers in this game. Both fair attract a huge number of visitors, the Techno Classica more from the north and the Dutch region, the Retro Classics more from the south and Switzerland so they might both keep their visitors number at almost the same level. But some exhibitors might become in trouble as some have already announced that they have to split their efforts to both shows to secure their ancestral place in the halls. They will certainly reduce the size of their booth to keep costs within reasons so this will affect both fairs. One have to wait an see what will fill up the space or whether they have to reduce the used space (what is unlikely for marketing reasons).
More interesting will be to see how the manufacturers will react on that. Most of them might keep their place in Essen but Mercedes and Porsche have to think twice whether they will pass an exhibition in their home city. As Mercedes is very strong represented on both fairs they might be in a position to influence both parties to avoid those collision in the date in the coming years.

The next Techno Classica will be from 21.-25.03.2012.

Text&images: Peter Singhof

Cars of particular interest
(Export of keywords assigned to the images)
AC Ace Bristol s/n BEX268
AC Bristol s/n BEX261
AC Cobra 289 Roadster Competition s/n CSX2229
Adam Opel
Alfa Romeo 1600 Touring
Alfa Romeo 33 TT12
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS s/n 10814400
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Pinin Farina Sport s/n 915201
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Ghia Cabriolet s/n 915592
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Turismo s/n 913176
Alfa Romeo RL Targa Florio
Alfa Romeo T33 Daytona
Alfa Romeo Works Display
Allard K2
Allard Palm Beach MKI
Aston Martin 6-cylinder engine
Aston Martin DB 2/4 Vignale
Aston Martin DB2 DHC s/n LML/50/223
Aston Martin DB2 s/n LML/50/30
Aston Martin DB2 Saloon s/n LML/50/83
Aston Martin DB2 Vantage DHC s/n LML/50/403
Aston Martin DB2/4 MKII s/n AM/300/1187
Aston Martin DB2/4 MKIII s/n AM300/3/1414
Aston Martin DB2/4 MKIII Saloon
Aston Martin DB4 s/n DB4/411/R
Aston Martin DB4 Serie 2 s/n DB4/296/L
Aston Martin DB4 Series V s/n DB4/1023/R
Aston Martin DB5 Volante s/n DB5C/1653/R
Aston Martin MKII LWB
Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato s/n V8ZHL/20044
Audi 80 quattro 2.5 DTM
Audi Coupe GT Tourenwagen Gruppe 2
Bentley 3 Litre s/n 963
Bentley 3 Litre s/n SR1421
Bentley 4.25 Litre Malcolm Campbell Design s/n B119GP
Bentley 4.5 Litre "Bluebell" s/n RL3439
Bentley 4.5 Litre s/n MF3162
Bentley 6.5 Litre Short Chassis Tourer s/n KD2115
Bentley 8 Litre Mulliner Saloon ex W.O.Bentley s/n YF5002
Bentley R-Type Continental Fastback Coupé s/n BC42LC
Bentley S1 DHC by H.J.Mulliner s/n B155AP
Bertone X1/9 Club Germany
Bitter SC
Bizzarrini 5300 GT s/n IA30293
BMW 1500
BMW 1600-2 Alpina Gruppe 2
BMW 2000
BMW 2000 tii
BMW 327 Coupé s/n 87282
BMW 327/28 Sport-Coupé
BMW 328 Sport Cabriolet Autenrieth
BMW M1 Procar "Wirtshausauto"
Borgward Display
Borgward Isabella Coupé Cabriolet
Borgward Isabella TS Cabriolet
Bugatti 16.4 Veyron Fbg par Hermès
Bugatti T13 Torpedo Repl. s/n 506
Bugatti T35 C Grand Prix Special Monoplace s/n 4894
Bugatti T38 Lavocat & Marsud s/n 38400
Bugatti T38 Roadster s/n 38260
Bugatti T40 Roadster s/n 40868
Bugatti T57 Torpedo s/n 57300
Bugatti T57 Ventoux s/n 57119
Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Continental
Citroen Autochenille C4 Croisière Jaune
Citroen Prototype C60
Clement-Bayard Typ 4M2
CMC Scale Modells
Costin Lister Jaguar s/n BHL122
Delahaye 135
Delahaye 135M Saoutchik
Delahaye 135M Worblaufen
Delahaye 235 Coupé
Diatto 18 HP Limousine con bagaliera
Dino 246 GTS
Facel Vega HK500
Ferrari 166 Inter s/n 063S
Ferrari 250 GT
Ferrari 250 GT Boano s/n 0567GT
Ferrari 250 GT Ellena Coupé s/n 0785GT
Ferrari 250 GT SWB s/n 2269GT
Ferrari 250 GTE s/n 4207GT
Ferrari 250 GTO s/n 3809GT
Ferrari 275 GTB/4 s/n 10757
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 s/n 8997
Ferrari 365 GT s/n 12935
Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider
Ferrari 512 BB s/n 24693
Ferrari 512 BB s/n 40509
Ferrari 512 BBi s/n 45997
Ferrari 599 GTO s/n 174555
Ferrari F40 s/n 89385
Fiat 110 Barquetta
Fiat 110 TV Padovan Aerodynamica
Fiat 600 Club - Love is....
Fiat 8V Supersonic
Fiat Dino 2.0 Coupé Bertone
Fiat Mefistofele
Flajole Forerunner
Ford Escort RS
Ford Tin Lizzie Ames Racer
Frazer-Nash Type 40
Gold Nugget Saloon Special
Hanomag 2/10 "Kommißbrot"
Healey Silverstone
Heinkel Display
Hispano Suiza H6B Million-Guiet
Hispano Suiza K6 Cabriolet Letourneur & Marchand
Horch 500 B s/n 55011
Horch 8/24 Sport-Phaeton s/n 2161
Horch 830 BL
Horch 853 A Sportroadster s/n 854402
Horch 853 Special Roadster Rebody
Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet s/n 853351
Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet s/n 853440
Horst Lichter tries the Renntransporter
Isotta Fraschini Type 8AS Landaulette Imperiale
Italdesign Aspid 1988
Italdesign Aztec 1988
Jaguar E-type Low Drag
Jaguar MKIV
Jaguar MKIV 3-position DHC
Jaguar SS 2.5 Litre Tourer
Jaguar SS100
Jaguar XK150 Roadster s/n S831024DN
Kadett in Heaven
Kadett in Hell
Karmann Cheetah
Karmann Ghia Typ 34 Cabriolet
Kieft MG
Lacroix & Delaville
Lagonda 2 Litre Supercharged Low Chassis T3 s/n OH10056
Lagonda V12 Cabriolet
Lagonda V12 DHC s/n 14017
Lancia Aprilia Francis Lombardi "Woody"
Lancia Aurelia B24 S s/n 1328
Lancia HF Delta Integrale
Lincoln Continental V12 Convertible
Lola T290 s/n HU10
Lola T70 MK2 Spyder s/n SL71/45
Lot 208 1971 Porsche 911 S Targa s/n 911 310345
Lot 214 1966 Alfa Romeo 2600 Touring Spyder s/n AR192714
Lot 215 1953 Jaguar X120 / C-Type Evocation s/n "XKC044"
Lot 216 1965 Lancia Flaminia Zagato Super Sport s/n 826232002045
Lot 217 1937 Jaguar SS100 2.5 Litre s/n 18083
Lot 218 1930 Bentley 4.5 Litre Tourer s/n FS3616
Lot 219 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Series III s/n DB4/674/R
Lot 222 1960 Rejo MKIII s/n MK3/01/60
Lot 224 1934 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Three Positon DHC by Mulliner s/n GWE56
Lot 226 1972 De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 s/n 874A/2344
Lot 227 1937 Delage D6/70 Cabriolet s/n 51386
Lot 230 1955 Porsche 356 Pre A Speedster s/n 80876
Lot 233 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster s/n 8500116
Lot 234 1967 Iso Rivolta Breadvan GTO Competition
Lot 238 1987 Porsche 959 s/n WPOZZZ95ZHS900068
Lot 240 1967 ISO Griffo GL 300 s/n GL720-132
Lot 241 1996 Ferrari F50 s/n 105081
Lot 242 1949 Talbot-Lago T26 4.5 Litre Cabriolet s/n T26 100 400
Lot 245 1931 Chrysler Sedan CD De Luxe by LeBaron s/n CD7965
Lot 247 1959 Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Competition s/n 404X3134
Lot 250 1968 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 s/n 11293
Lot 251 1970 Tecno F2 s/n T00716
Lot 252 1964 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 s/n 6573
Lot 254 1963 King Cobra
Lot 260 1963 Citroen DS 19 Decaportable s/n 4251066
Lotus Elan 26R Replik
March Formel 1 191B
Maserati 250 F s/n 2507
Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spider s/n 1011021
Maserati A6 G54 Frua Spider
Maserati A6 G54 Frua Spider s/n 2183
Maserati Bora s/n 117466
Maserati Merak 3.0 SS
Maserati Sebring s/n 101.S10.415
Mazda RX7
Mercedes 22/50 HP
Mercedes Simplex 40 HP
Mercedes-Benz 170 V Polizeikübelwagen
Mercedes-Benz 190 SL
Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz 28/95 Sport Phaeton
Mercedes-Benz 300 D Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing s/n 198.040-6500179
Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster Rebody s/n 113688
Mercedes-Benz 680 S Saoutchik Roadster
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS "Black Prince"
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS s/n 36034
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS s/n 36041
Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK
Mercedes-Benz Factory Display
Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter Repl.
Mercedes-Benz Skulptur Aesthetics 125
Mercedes-Benz W112 Cabriolet
Morris Mini Cooper S Rallye Monte Carlo 1964 Winner
MRT Jaguar
Napier T23 Roadster
Nardi 750 Vignale Coupé s/n 100521126
Nostalgic DDR Camping
Opel 5/12 HP "Huxel"
Opel Diplomat A
Opel GT Electric
Opel Patent-Motorwagen "System Lutzmann"
Opel Racer 1903
Opel RAK2 Rep.
Packard 7th Series Roadster
Panhard 750 Sport Spider MM
Peugeot Escalle
Peugeot Typ 184
Porsche 356 A Speedster
Porsche 356 pre-A
Porsche 550 Spyder s/n 550-0045
Porsche 550 Spyder s/n 550-0089
Porsche 911 2.0 S SWB
Porsche 911 2.5 ST
Porsche 911 3.0 RS
Porsche 911 3.0 SC RS Rothmans Media Car
Porsche 911 Carrera RS s/n 9113601300
Porsche 911 S 2.0 SWB Softwindow Targa
Porsche 935 K4
Porsche 935 Works Racer Group 5 s/n 6980026
Porsche 959 Exclusive build for an Arabian prince
Puma GTS
Rambler Cross Country
Renault F1 Type RE60 s/n 04
Renault Typ AX
Riley Le Mans TT Sprite s/n 46A2614
Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Hooper Open Tourer s/n 31EU
Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental DHC s/n 42GX
Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Cabriolet Mulliner-Park Ward
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Boat-Tail Skiff sn.54PB
Rolls-Royce Woody
Scirocco Club
Siata Dina SS
Skoda 1101 Sport
Skoda 130 RS
Skoda Popular Sport Monte Carlo Coupe
Spyker C8 Double 12S
Stanguellini Formula Junior
Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Teardrop Coupe s/n 90112
Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé s/n 110102
Techno Classica 2011
Used car market
Volvo 1800E
Volvo P958-X1 Prototype
VW 1500 Variant
VW Beetle Hebmüller Cabriolet
VW Golf I
VW Typ T1
VW W12 Nardo
VW-Schwimmwagen Type Porsche 166 s/n 7012700
Wartburg building site