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Stuttgart, 22nd - 25th of March

This years Retro Classics was already the 12th edition of the classic car trade fair in the hometown of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche and the fifth time at the all new exhibition center near the airport. Within these years the Retro Classics established itself as the most important show in the south of Germany and as the second biggest behind the Essen Techno Classica. As already mentioned in our report on the Essen show the dates of these two big show collided this year for some reasons and everyone speculated in the weeks before how this would affect the number of spectators and the quality.

Now, when looking back one did not have the impression that this affected either the Techno Classica nor the Retro Classics in the way some sceptics feared and the official figures just proof that. With about 65.000 visitors the Retro Classics was as successful as in previous years and it shows that the two fairs are too different to harm each other. Although the organizers of the Retro Classics point out the increasing internationality of the show it still is more local than the competitor in Essen that attracts almost 3 times as many visitors from all over the world. But this is not a downside as the catchment area is the well-financed border triangle of south Germany, Austria and especially Switzerland, but also the eastern neighbours and some Russians who just discover the booming classic car market.

But this is not the only difference as it seems that the average value of the exhibits in Essen is far higher and not few thought that this is a development that exceeds the means of most classic car fans making some of the cars more an investment than a usable hobby.

In Stuttgart this blue chip cars were located in the premium hall 1 as well but the price range is wider including youngtimers and American classics who had their own featured hall instead of being banned to the outside or less frequented areas of the fair grounds.

Together with the car club displays they were very well frequented especially by a younger public who are introduced to this hobby with affordable models. Whereas most of the classics exceed their means the car clubs have to open themselves to cars like early VW Golf I respective Opel Kadett or Ascona to avoid overageing of their members. A little bit less affordable but the childhood dream of many visitors was the display of Martini livery rallye Lancias including the HF Intregrale. Back in 1980s these were the epitome of the sports coupé but being not easy to maintain just a few really good examples are left in collectors hand.

In Stuttgart the liaison of the established and upcoming classics works perfectly also with the American cars who attract a different audience with a different lifestyle and own clubs, especially the hot rod scene becomes more and more popular and many of these cars are build with great skills, creativeness and self- initiative.

This does even more apply to the exhibits of the hall of utility vehicles and tractors. Most of them are less valuable and less in focus than sports cars but a restoration is no less a challenge because of their size and rarity. Beside a special display of fire engines built on car chassis like a Horch 853, Mercedes-Benz or even Rolls-Royce in the auditorium many different lorries could be seen. One of the most popular exhibits was the huge trailer of the ADAC (General German Automobile Associaton) and the famous Lanz bulldogs, several tourist buses, dump trucks and wreckers gave an impression what the streets looked like in the middle of the last century. Children could learn the function of stationary engines and steam engines in various demonstrations by the proud owners.

But certainly Stuttgart does also attract many common classics on the various dealer booths. As already mentioned Stuttgart is the hometown both of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche and so it is no surprise that these two marques were very strongly represented. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL celebrates its 60th anniversary and the factory showed a small selection of cars from the different eras ranging from the 1952 prototype to the recently released new model, other Mercedes could be found on several restoration and sales stands. Porsche had a small museums display with a 356 Le Mans coupé and a 908 LH. As already mentioned in our Essen report one could see in Stuttgart as well that prices of early 911 are going up and more restored examples come to the market as the value starts to be worth a proper restoration.

Although in “enemy country” of the Swabian rival obviously many BMW were shown, in particular several pre-war 327/28 both in coupé or cabriolet form but star of the show was without doubt one of the original 328 MM roadsters. Built for the 1940 Mille Miglia this Touring bodied example was a sister car of the famous “Bügelfalte” that was sold two years at a record price of more than 4 Mio $. This particular car spend most of its life in the USA before it was brought back to Germany awaiting a complete restoration. The car was displayed with its body stripped from paint showing the original metalwork including some rough repairs during its race career. The goal is a very sensitive restoration to keep it as original as possible, executed by specialist Tom Fischer who has a lot of experience due to his work on the Bügelfalte during its time in Germany.

The highlight of this years Retro Classics was without doubt the special exhibition in the hall dedicated to motor sports. After displays of Ferraris in 2009, Alfa Romeo in its centenary in 2010 and a Dino display last year this years featured marque was Maserati. Ferrari and Maserati historian Björn Schmidt brought together a superb selection both of race and street cars and he could persuade several collectors of the trident to bring their gems to the state capital.

The formula 1 display span the history from two very early Tipo 26 to the most famous Type 250F that gave Juan Manuel Fangio his last world championship. The Tipo 26 M on show was even more interesting for being the first Maserati ever to be sold to Germany.
The Schlumpf Collection might be better known for their Bugattis but the collection also includes some Maserati and being a friend of the organizing Retropromotion they brought 3 cars, a 4CL- 1500, the 250F and a 300 S sports racer. But when these cars were built the Maserati-brothers were long gone as the sold their own company in 1937 to form later OSCA, the display also featured a rare OSCA G-4500 V12.

The formula 1 display was lined up in a stylized corner with red- white curbs and was a real crowd-puller all over the weekend.
But the display did not just feature single seaters but also a representative cross section of the sports and streets cars. The sport cars featured the already mentioned 300S and its bigger brother, the 450S from the 1950s but also a Barchetta from the 1990s.

The oldest street car in the display was a beautiful A6 G-54 with burgundy Allemano body, at the booth of dealer Peter Wiesner there was even an older example of a Tipo A6-1500. Further cars included a duo of 3500 GT with Touring Coupé and Vignale Spyder body, a Mexico, two Ghibli in open and closed form and a later Bora, Khamsin and Karif. Beside the different coupé versions Maserati is known for their sport limousine, the so-called Quattroporte that is now in its fifth version.

So when looking back the Retro Classics were a big success. The comparison with the Techno Classica showed that the show in Stuttgart does not have to hide, maybe it will never become that big but it should be self-confident enough to go its own way further instead of copying the Essen concept of an elitist sales show. Surprisingly the overlap was also an advantage as several foreign visitors used their trip to Germany to visit both fairs and many first-timers were pleasantly surprised by the modern exhibition center and the size and quality of the fair.
Lets hope that this was a one-off overlap and at least next year the two shows will be separated by 4 weeks with the Retro Classics staring the 7th – 10th of March 2013 in its 13th edition.

Report & images Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de

Retro Classics Cars of Particular Interest
Karl Kling bei seiner Siegesfahrt beim Preis von Bern für Sportwagen am 18. Mai 1952 auf dem Bremgartenkurs.
60 Years of the Legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL
70 years Lanz Bulldog 1924-1994
Abarth 750
Alfa Romeo 1750 Spider Duetto
Alfa Romeo 1900 Sprint Serie 1
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GT Castagna s/n 8613381
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Pininfarina Cabriolet s/n 915568
Alfa Romeo GT
Alta 2.0 Litre Supercharged
Alvis 12/70 Cabriolet
Army Show
Aston Martin DB2 Vantage DHC
Aston Martin DB2/4
Aston Martin DB2/4 MKII
Aston Martin DB2/4 s/n LML/830
Aston Martin Ulster MKII Ulster Spec.
Audi 100 Coupé S
Austin Seven Supercharged Special Racer
Austro Daimler ADR6 Sport Phaeton
Auto Union 1000 S
Barn Find Display
Bentley 4 1/2 Litre SC
Benz 8/20 Open Tourer
Benz Velo Comfortable
BMW 1800 TI/SA Renn-Tourenwagen
BMW 1802 Touring
BMW 326 Authenrieth Cabriolet
BMW 327/28 Cabriolet s/n 74692
BMW 327/28 Cabriolet s/n 74728
BMW 328 MM Roadster s/n 85463
BMW 328 Werkmeister
BMW 502 Autenrieth Sport-Cabriolet
BMW 502/3200 S
BMW 507 Roadster
Borgward B250
Bugatti T49
Bugatti T49 Beutler s/n 49427
Chevrolet Bel Air wagon
Chevy Street Racer
Chrysler Imperial Convertible
Cooper-Maserati F1 s/n F1-5-66
Daimler Motorkutsche
Delahaye 135 M Guillore
Deutz F1L612
Deutz MTZ120
Diner Display
DKW 3=5
Facel Vega Facel II
Ferrari 250 GTE s/n 3819GT
Ferrari 400 GT Cabriolet Straman s/n 23753
Ferrari 512 BBLM s/n 35525
Ferrari F40 s/n 85094
Fiat 615 N
Fiat Balilla
Fiat Bertone X1/9
Fire engine
Ford Convertible
Ford Five Window Coupé
Ford Model A Coupe
Ford Pick Up
Ford Roadster
Ford RS 200 S
Ford Sedan C400
Ford T
Ford T Firetruck
Ford T Ton Truck
Glas V8 3000
Goggomobil TL400 Pick up
Goggomobil TS 250 Coupé
GP Singapur
Henschel HS 120 AK
Hispano-Suiza H6B Spohn Cabriolet
Horch 853 fire engine
Horch 853 Special Coupé Rep.
Horch 853 Sports Cabriolet
Horch 855 Special Roadster Rep.
III. Carrera Panamericana 1952
Invicta 1 1/2 - 4 1/2 S-Type
Ladder truck
Lagonda 2 Litre
Lagonda M45 T7 Tourer
Lagonda Rapier "Phoenix Park"
Lagonda V12 Le Mans Rep.
Lamborghini Coutach
Lancia Aurelia B20 Serie 4
Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider
Lancia Delta Gr.A Safari Rallye
Lancia Delta HF Integrale Evo
Lancia Flaminia 3 C 2.8 GT2+2
Lancia Fulvia
Lancia Fulvia Sport 1600
Lancia Lambda 8e serie
Lancia Rally 037
Lancia Rally 037 Martini Racing
Lanz D1506
Lanz HL12
Maserati 250 F s/n 2511 (2506)
Maserati 26 B s/n 2010
Maserati 26 M s/n 2514
Maserati 3500 GT Touring Coupé s/n AM*101*268
Maserati 3500 GT Vignale Spyder s/n AM*101*995
Maserati 3500 GTi Touring Coupé s/n AM*101*2392
Maserati 4 CL 1500 s/n 1585
Maserati 4 CL-1500 s/n 1571
Maserati 450 S s/n 4502
Maserati 6 CM s/n 1547
Maserati 8 CM s/n 3010
Maserati A6 1500 Pinin Farina Berlinetta
Maserati A6 G54 Allemano Coupé s/n 2115
Maserati Barchetta s/n THBCMMLAA
Maserati Bike
Maserati Bora 4.7
Maserati Ghibli Coupé s/n AM*115*1062
Maserati Ghibli Open Cup Works Racer
Maserati Ghibli Spyder 4.9 SS s/n AM*330/49M005004
Maserati GranTurismo
Maserati Indy 4.7 America
Maserati Karif
Maserati Khamsin
Maserati Mexico 4.2 V8
Maserati Quattroporte III
Maserati Quattroporte s/n AM*107*2392
Maserati Spyder
Maserati V8 RI s/n 4503
Maserati WRE
McLaren BMW F1 GTR Le Mans
Mercedes 15/70/100 HP
Mercedes-Benz 15/70/100 Pullman Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz 170 S Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz 220 SE
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE
Mercedes-Benz 300 SC Roadster
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Prototype W194 s/n 194.010.00005/52
Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet B
Mercedes-Benz 630 Murphy
Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet fire engine
Mercedes-Benz LPS 328/36
Mercedes-Benz tow car
Mercedes-Benz Typ 770 (W07)
Monteverdi MBM SP 100
Neoplan NH6/7
NSU 1300 TT
NSU Max Police
NSU Rennmax
Opel Kadett B
Opel Steinmetz Commodore A GS/E
OSCA 1600 GT Berlinetta Zagato s/n 0082
OSCA G-4500 V12 s/n 2
Packard Sedan
Peugeot 202
Peugeot 301
Peugeot 402 Grand Luxe
Pontiac Bonneville
Porsche 356 1500 Super
Porsche 356 A 1600 Coupé
Porsche 356 A 1600 Speedster
Porsche 356 Geteiltscheiben-Coupé
Porsche 356 Le Mans Coupé
Porsche 356 Pre A 1300 S Cabriolet
Porsche 911 2.2T / 2.7 RS Spec.
Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Porsche 911 RS
Porsche 911 SCRS "Tribute Car"
Porsche Junior
Renault KZ
Rennsportwagen Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 SL (W 194
Retro Classics Club Hall
Riley Big Four Special
Setra S6
Stanley Steamer
Stanley Steamer Mountain Wagon 1913
Stationary engine
Steam Engine
Suixtil Booth
Unimog Design study
Veritas RS
VW 1200 Cabrio
VW Beetle Hot Rod
VW Pasat