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Essen, 21th - 25th of March

Just before the start of the European outdoor season Essen featured the world biggest classic car fair in its 24thedition. This years Techno Classica was expected with some attention as it was held on the same weekend as the second biggest German show in Stuttgart, the Retro Classics. Although there were different opinions what let to this overlapping it was interesting to see how spectators and exhibitors would react on this situation as not few of them visited both shows in the past. Whereas visitors could go to both fairs during the weekend the dealers had to choose or split their stock.

To make things short: when walking through the 20 halls during the first two days one did not notice significant differences to the previous years and the official visitor number of more than 180.000 emphasized this impression. All the major manufacturers were back in full strength including Mercedes-Benz and Porsche who set up a display both in their hometown and in Essen.

When entering the fairground from the south Mercedes welcomed the visitors in hall 1 with their center display and the associated marque clubs. This year celebrates the 60th anniversary of the legendary 300 SL that brought the company back to the race tracks after the war and founded the base for the successful roadster series that still carries the SL-name after all those years. Whereas the Retromobile in January focused on the Le Mans history with the first win in 1952, the Techno Classica was chosen to introduce the newest model (Type R231) together with its predecessors starting with oldest surviving W194, the recently restored chassis no.2.

Following the race-prototypes the street version W198 formed the myth both with the Gullwing and the Roadster version. Being a German fair the 300 SL was always a big theme with several examples at the various dealer booths but one does rarely see one of the 29 alloy versions, one of these was sold earlier this year at Gooding&Company´s Scottsdale sale for remarkable 4.62 Mio $. Beside the expensive W198 later models include the smaller 190 SL that became famous in the hands of prominent owners (including Grace Kelly or Rosemarie Nitribitt) and the Pagode. Since these days the SL also became a rally car (R107) or the official pace car of the formula 1 (R230).

On the other side of the fairground BMW was located with its affiliated marques Mini and Rolls-Royce traditionally in hall 12. This year BMW rejoins the German Tourenwagen Championship (DTM) and the all new M3 DTM was displayed together with significant touring cars from the past. This included the 2002 Turbo and the M3 that dominated the original series in the 1980s.

Other cars included the 327 Cabriolet, the lovely Isetta, the Barockengel and the legendary M1.

Hall 7 was the hall of the Volkswagen Group with the display of the Zeithaus, the museum in Wolfsburg that shows the history of the numerous marques of the concern plus some important developments in the automotive history. This included the design icon Cisitalia 202 that is the first car to be shown in the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art or the DeLorean that became famous with its movie appearance in “Back to the Future”. Bentley and Bugatti, the luxury brands of the concern showed the latest Supercars aside their classic counterparts, the Bentley Continental R-Type and the Bugatti T57 Atalante.

Lamborghini brought the Countach prototype and one of the rare LM002, the company´s SUV that came long before this type of cars became popular.

One of the most successful marques of the group is without doubt Audi that established itself on the sportive side of the premium market aside BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Audi became famous for its quattro concept and this year the display featured the 25th anniversary of the legendary Pikes Peak victory of Walter Röhrl. The Audi Sport quattro already won the hill climb in previous years in the hands of Michele Mouton and Bobby Unser but it was Walter Röhrl who took the S1 to the next level when he set an new record under 11 minutes with its win over the Peugeot armada. This year the quattro S1 will return to the Pikes Peak and the car was central point of the display and Walter Röhrl was expected to pay a visit on Sunday to be reunited with his car after he run up the hill in Goodwood in 2009. But Audi and the Auto Union were linked to hill climbs long before the quattro and the C- Type on display featured the rear twin tires just as in the 1930s when Hans Stuck was hill climb champion for the Auto Union.

The 16-cylinder was designed by Ferdinand Porsche leading to the newest acquisition of the Volkswagen Group. After the failed takeover Porsche lost its autonomy and so the Porsche display moved from its former place in hall 3 to hall 7 including two 1970s RSR models. The 3.0 litre version of 1973 was the winner of the Targa Florio, the 2.1 Litre version of the following year was in the medias a few weeks ago when a sister car was auctioned in Amelia Island by Gooding&Company for more than 3.2 Mio $.

But not just the quality of the factory displays is a good indicator for the importance of the Techno Classica as these are not the main reason for the international visitors to travel to Germany. Most of the serious collectors are there during the opening day to visit some of the premium dealers and the high quality cars shown there, an offer that might just be reached by the Retromobile. Just like in Paris Lukas Hüni and Hall&Hall have to be named with an impressive line-up of blue chip cars, some of them for sale and some of them to give an impression of what they usually deal with.

Hall&Hall is specialized in sport and race cars and their display featured a duo of Lolas, a lovely OSCA MT4 and an Arrows. The Jaguar D-Type, the Porsche 962 and the Auto Union D-Type were already shown in Paris but it was nice to see them again, especially the Auto Union that was restored by Crosthwaite & Gardiner who had their booth just opposite of the hallway.

But most interesting was the little known Ruggeri Grand Prix project of a mid-engined grand prix car in the 1950s that was never finished by the two Ruggeri brothers due to financial problems leaving a sole running chassis with a spare engine that could be seen in Essen.

A few meters away the booth of Lukas Hüni in the corner of hall 1 is always a show-stopper and this year was no exception. With a duo of pre-war Alfa Romeo works racers, a Talbot-Lago Monoplace and the Jaguar Supersonic it featured some cars from the Retromobile that were complemented by a few new ones including a Ferrari 250 Europa and the great looking 250 LM in the colours of the British Maranello Concessionaires team. But the display did not just feature race cars but also a very elegant Lagonda V12 Rapide and a Lancia Astura with Boneschi Cabriolet bodywork.

After some years of absence Axel Schütte was back in Essen this year even with a bigger stand than in the past. In earlier years he was located in the dealer hall 11 but now he took over the space that became available in hall 3 since Porsche specialist Benoit Couturier left.

Schütte showed an impressive display of cars from some of his clients and a few from his current stock including two supercharged pre-war Mercedes, both in 6- and 8-cylinder form. The 680S with factory tourer coachwork was of the same era as the also displayed Bentley 8 Litre VdP Tourer and came from a time when these huge 6-cylinder cars dominated the long distance race.

The later 8-cylinder Mercedes were pure street cars with heavy coachwork, the 540 K Special Coupé was just auctioned by RM Auctions last year in Monterey aside several other supercharged 8-cylinders.

Other cars of particular interest were the Fiat 8V with Vignale body and a duo of Ferrari Spiders, an open headlight 250 GT SWB California (4095GT) and the last 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider (17073) in its original gold colour.

This also leads again to RM Auctions who had the second Daytona Spider (14415) on show as part of their preview of the forthcoming Monaco sale. Being part of the Monaco Historic GP weekend this sale is held biannual in alternation with the Villa d´Este sale. Two years ago this auction was extremely successful and this year should be just as good with several important cars already consigned. In Essen RM showed the early 166 Inter Spider Corsa, a lovely Dino 206s and the Ferrari powered race-boat with an 375 engine. Beside the cars this years auction will also feature an important Ducati collection.

RM was located in the SIHA-Hall with the center display of the organizer SIHA. This year the pavilion was surrounded by a spectacular line-up of no less than 21 Pegaso Z102 with various body styles and even a Pegaso driven powerboat. These cars are rarely seen but this gathering might be unique and maybe the single chance to see all these cars in one place.

But not only extremely expensive cars are on offer during the show. Numerous of smaller dealers are selling cars in very different price ranges although the average value of the cars is still high. Many years the Techno Classica was dominated by British cars like Jaguar, Austin Healey and also Aston Martin in recent editions but it seems that the amount of Porsche went up this year. Especially the early 911 from the late 1960s and early 1970s could be seen on every corner and with the record breaking sale of Steve McQueens 911S particularly the stronger S-Version seems to be hyped although the E and the T models are apparently the better drivers outside the race tracks. Many of the dealers tried to use their given space the most efficient way and cars were lined up that close that it was even difficult to inspect the cars closer, a trend that could be already seen in the last years. One can understand that they try to maximize the chance of selling some of their cars to get in their expenses but sometimes the intended exclusivity (and therefore the price range) of the cars are subverted by the amount of cars shown. It might be difficult to explain the significance of exactly this car when you have 5 more on the left or the right side.

But this is the only downside of the Techno Classica, the fact that there is to much to see during a visit and some of the potential buyers might be overwhelmed by the offering but one can still see many “sold-signs” at the end of the day. Although not all of them might be really sold during the fair most of the exhibitors are still very satisfied with the results and although there is always a small fluctuation amongst them most of them will be back in 2013 when the Techno Classica is celebrating its silver jubilee on the weekend of the 10th to 14th of April in Essen.

Report & Images Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de

Cars of particular interest
Abarth Osella s/n SE021
AC 428 Fastback Coupe
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS Touring s/n 108143226
Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 SS MM Spyder s/n 0312867
Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Pininfarina Cabriolet
Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Botticella
Alfa Romeo 8C Monza s/n 2211055
Alfa Romeo Barchetta
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Alfa Romeo Giulia SS prototipo
Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super
Alfa Romeo TZ1 s/n AR10511750030
Alfa Romeo Vittoria Prototype Castagna
Arrows A3 s/n 4
Aston Martin DB 2/4 MKII
Aston Martin DB2 s/n LML/50/278
Aston Martin DB6
Aston Martin DB6 MKII Vantage Volante
Aston Martin International 2/4 seater s/n S73
Aston Martin Le Mans
Aston Martin MKII 4-seater
Audi 14/35 HP Typ C "Alpensieger"
Audi 80 Tourenwagen-Europameister
Audi Sport quattro S1 Pikes Peak
Austin Swallow
Auto Union D Type s/n 019
Auto Union Type C
Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Oxborrow&Fuller Tourer VdP s/n B1FC
Bentley 3 1/2 Litre Saloon
Bentley 4 1/2 Litre "Bluebell" s/n RL3439
Bentley 4 1/4 Litre Park Ward Coupé "The Honeymoon Express" s/n B30MR
Bentley 6 1/2 Litre Engine
Bentley 6 1/2 Litre s/n KD2115
Bentley 6 1/2 Litre s/n WB2565
Bentley 8 Litre
Bentley Le Mans 8 Special
Bentley MK VI DHC
Bentley R-Type Continental
Bentley S2 Continental H.J.Mulliner FHC s/n BC39LAR
Benz Type 11/40 HP
Bizzarini P 578
Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada s/n IA30247
BMW 2002 Cabriolet
BMW 2002 Gruppe 2
BMW 2002 Turbo
BMW 315/1 Sportroadster s/n 66509
BMW 320 i Gruppe 5
BMW 3200 L
BMW 327/28 Sport-Cabriolet
BMW 507 s/n 70115
BMW M3 Gruppe A DTM 2.5
Brabham BT23 s/n BT23-5
Bugatti 35 B s/n 4706
Bugatti T23 Brescia
Bugatti T35 B s/n 4874
Bugatti T40 Gangloff Cabriolet
Bugatti T46 Petit Royale by Freestone&Webb s/n 46533
Bugatti T57 Galibier s/n 57806
Cardi Curara
Chevrolet Testude
Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport
Citroen Rosalie 10 L Cabriolet
Citroen SM Espace
CMC Race Transporter
Cord 812 S/C Sedan
Cord L29 Roadster
Dagrada Lancia Formula Junior
Daimler 57HP 9.4 Litre Hooper Lomousine s/n 19119
Delage D6
Delage D6 3 Litre
Delahaye 135 MS Ghia-Aigle
DeLorean DMC-12
Facel Vega Facellia Serie 1
Fael Vega FV-2B
Ferrari 166 Inter Spider Corsa s/n 012I
Ferrari 206 S Dino
Ferrari 246 GT Dino s/n 02622
Ferrari 246 GT Dino s/n 02952
Ferrari 246 GT Dino s/n 04626
Ferrari 246 GTS Dino s/n 05780
Ferrari 250 Europa s/n 0333EU
Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina s/n 1169GT
Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider s/n 4095GT
Ferrari 250 LM s/n 5907
Ferrari 275 GTB/2 s/n 7991GT
Ferrari 365 GT2+2
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona s/n 14157
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider Conv. s/n 14805
Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder s/n 14415
Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder s/n 17073
Ferrari 500 Mondial s/n 0438MD
Ferrari 512 BB s/n 24771
Ferrari F1 1991 s/n 129
Ferrari F40 s/n 90508
Ferrari Hydroplane Arno XI
Fiat 1100 TV
Fiat 1100 TV Padovan Aerodynamica
Fiat 600
Fiat Topolino Trevisan Barchetta
Fisson 1898
Ford GT40 MK V
Ford Mustang Station Wagon
Ford Taunus 15M G4B
Franklin B12-B Airman Limited
Glas 1004
Heinkel Scooter
Horch 780 Gläser
Horch 830 BK
Horch 830 BK Cabrio
Horch 855 Rep.
Horch 951A Sedan Cabriolet
Iso Grifo GL s/n GL650098
Itala 40 HP
Jaguar SS 100 3 1/2 Litre
Jaguar SS1 Coupe s/n 136346
Jaguar XK120 Ghia Supersonic s/n 679768
Lagonda M45 T8 Tourer
Lagonda M45 T9 s/n Z10XXX
Lamborghini Countach LP400 Prototype s/n 001
Lamborghini Engine
Lamborghini Miura SV Jota s/n 4840
Lancia Aurelia B24 Convertible
Lancia Aurelia B24 S Convertible
Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible s/n B24-1659
Lancia Aurelia GT B20 S IV
Lancia Flaminia GT 3C Touring
Lancia Flavia
Lola MK6GT s/n LGT/2
Lola T70 s/n SL73.130
Maserati 200 S s/n 2408
Maserati A6G 2000 Spyder Frua s/n 2183
Maserati A6G 2000 Zagato s/n 2189
Maserati Ghibli Spider
Maserati Mistral Spider s/n AM1095S091
Maserati Sebring Serie 1
Matra MS/120 F1
Maybach SW38 Spezial-Roadster s/n 1834
Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Mercedes-Benz 170 S Cabriolet A
Mercedes-Benz 170 S Cabriolet B
Mercedes-Benz 220 A Cabrio
Mercedes-Benz 220 Cabriolet A
Mercedes-Benz 230 SL (W113)
Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabrio
Mercedes-Benz 300 D
Mercedes-Benz 300 S Coupe
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Prototype s/n 194.010.00002/52
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster s/n 7500670
Mercedes-Benz 320 Cabriolet Prototype
Mercedes-Benz 320n Cabriolet A
Mercedes-Benz 380 Roadster
Mercedes-Benz 500 K Cabriolet C s/n 113625
Mercedes-Benz 500 K Roadster s/n 105380
Mercedes-Benz 500 Nürnberg Voll&Ruhrbeck s/n M84785
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL (R107)
Mercedes-Benz 540 K
Mercedes-Benz 540 K Spezial Coupe s/n 130944
Mercedes-Benz 60 Years of SL Display
Mercedes-Benz 680 S
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Cabriolet C
Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Cabriolet Thrupp&Maberly
Mercedes-Benz 770 K Pullman Limousine
Mercedes-Benz SSKL
MG SA 2.3 Litre Open Tourer
Mini GTM Coupé
Opel Doktorwagen
Opel Grand Prix Rennwagen
Opel RAK2
OSCA 1600 Fissore Cabriolet
OSCA 1600 S Cabriolet Pininfarina
OSCA Detomaso
OSCA MT4 AD s/n 1129
Packard Eight Roadster
Pegaso Boat
Pegaso Z102
Pegaso Z102 B "Thrill" by Touring
Pegaso Z102 B/.8 Touring Spyder s/n 0102*150*0301
Pegaso Z102 Competition
Pegaso Z102 Display
Pegaso Z102 Saoutchik
Pegaso Z102 Touring
Pegaso Z102 Touring s/n 0141
Peugeot 905 s/n EV13
Porsche 356 A Coupe
Porsche 356 B 1600 Roadster s/n 88127
Porsche 356 BT6 Coupe
Porsche 356 Carrera Panamericana
Porsche 356 Pre-A Knickscheibe
Porsche 550-1500 RS s/n 550-045
Porsche 550-1500 RS s/n 550-076
Porsche 718 RSK
Porsche 906 Carrera 6 s/n 906-104
Porsche 911 2.8 RSR Rec.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR Turbo 2.1
Porsche 911 E
Porsche 911 Race-Rally s/n 304841
Porsche 911 T
Porsche 953 Paris-Dakar
Porsche 962 s/n 962/161
Porsche RSR
Renault 40 CV
Riley 105 Transformable Coupé by Koeng s/n 58S-3358
Riley 9HP Brooklands s/n 8060
Rohr 8
Rolls-Royce 25/30 Sedanca DeVille Gurney Nutting
Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Barker Torpedo s/n 33PE
Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Binder DHC s/n 41GX
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Brewster Playboy Roadster s/n S360PL
Ruggeri Grand Prix
Seat Ibiza Bimotor
Skoda Popular OHV
Skoda Sagitta
Stutz 8 Speedster
Talbot Lago America s/n 15005
Talbot Lago Monoplace Decalee s/n 90130
Talbot Lago T26 GS
Talbot-Lago s/n 108
Techno Classica 2012
Volvo Amazon Police
Volvo Amazon Vox
VW Golf 1 GTI 35 Years edition
VW Typ 2 Doppelkabine