Stuttgart, April 03,2001
Stuttgart - The cradle of the automobile
The idea to organise the first true Classic & Vintage Car Motor Show in Stuttgart –
the birthplace and hometown of leading marquees like Mercedes and Porsche -
was born last year when a small vintage car display at the AMA, another modern
automobile exhibition, created a lot of public interest.
It seems strange that a city like Stuttgart, which will always be remembered
because of its important automobile industry, and in which automobiles play such a
big role for the people of this region, has never had any outstanding Classic Car
A reason for this could be Daimler-Chrysler’s own Automobile Museum in
Untertuerkheim, which is one of the best, albeit devoted to one manufacturing
group, which would be difficult for any Car Show to beat.
Anyway, ‘overdue’ was the most commonly used word for the Retro Classica, which
was held for the first time over the weekend of 30th March / 1st April 1st 2001. No
other town in Germany, if not the whole world, could be more predestined for a
Vintage Car Show !
Mainly local automobile clubs and vintage car dealers showed their gems and
exceptional automobiles in five halls. Represented were cars ranging from a
Heinkel ‘Kabinenroller’ and Isettas to real thoroughbreds like Mercedes 300 SL or
Mythos Solitude resurrected
Tobias Aichele, the man behind the Mythos Solitude Events, resurrected the old
glory of Stuttgart’s once great race track – the Solitude, which was closed in 1965
because of security reasons and general traffic problems. He kept his promise to
organise an impressive exhibition of unique and original race cars, such as the
one-off Holbein HH 49 or the AFM Intertyp, both based on a BMW 328 chassis and
once raced the old Solitude track.
Not only cars, but a dozen ex-Solitude race drivers visited the Mythos Solitude stand
to sign autographs, or an exclusive print under a facsimile of the Solitude race
tower. Paul Ernst Strähle, Herbert Linge, Paul Pietsch and Hans Hermann to name
but a few, took the opportunity to be reunited with their old cars and to recall the old
times when racing was so much different from today.
Ursula von Hanstein, the widow of Huschke von Hanstein, remembered that she
and her husband often accommodated a lot of drivers, i.e. Dan Gurney or Innes
Ireland, when they came to Stuttgart to race at Solitude in the 50’s and 60’s. In
comparison to today’s motor sport there was more real friendship and passion for
racing, and money played a much lesser part then.
One of the many highlights of Saturday’s evening gathering was the presentation of
old Solitude race films made by Justus Pankau, who chatted about his career and
the circumstances in which he made racing films during the 50’s in a discourse
with Ursula von Hanstein and Tobias Aichele.
Occasions like this will be a treasure of the Mythos Solitude for eternity !
Vintage cars of particular interest
As expected, mainly German vintage cars were on display at the Retro Classica
2001. Kienle, the expert Mercedes restorer, showed an amazing exhibition of some
of Mercedes’ greatest milestones. A wonderful Mercedes 540 K together with a 500
K, plus at least five 300 SL Coupes and Roadsters and a Mercedes 600 Pullman
crowned Kienle’s stand as the best of all.
One of the 300 SL Coupes was an ultra-rare alloy version (only 29 built) restored to
perfection by Kienle in contrast to the unrestored but running highly original
example next to it. Bless God that I’m in no position to make a decision to choose
which one I would take….
Besides Kienle’s display Horst Koch from Heilbronn offered his stunning metallic
blue Fiat Otto Vu for 780.000.- DM together with a Maserati Ghibli Open Cup, Fiat
Dino Spider and two Ferrari 328 models.
The Classic Car Center offered a Maserati Ghibli SS, a Jaguar XK 140 and a nice
Alfa Romeo 1300 GT Junior ‘Kanenhaube’, freshly restored for 18.500 .- DM.
As already mentioned real Solitude racers were gathered on the Mythos Solitude
stand. One of the race cars displayed was Paul Ernst Strähle’s well-known Porsche
356 Carrera – registered ‘WN-V 2’, in which he won his class in the Mille Miglia
1957 together with Herbert Linge.
Other remarkable results of ‘WN-V2’ were class-wins in the 1000km Nuerburgring
race 1957, in the Tour de Belgique 1957, in the Bolzano-Mendola hillclimb 1958, in
the Schauinsland hiclimb 1958 etc. etc..
Paul Ernst Strähle even races his Carrrera in today’s Historic Race events like the
Kitzbühel Alpenrally or the Ennstal Classic. It seems some cars will never retire.
Retro Classica - Promising future
In the next six years the Retro Classica event in Stuttgart will always be held over
the last weekend in March. If the organisers continue the concept they’ve started
now, I’m sure everybody with interest in Vintage cars should plan a trip to Stuttgart
in spring for this event.
Additionally, Tobias Aichele from Mythos Solitude Events has concrete plans to
create a Solitude Revival event on the old Solitude race track in 2003. He will invite
all surviving Solitude race cars and motorbikes for an unique and unforgettable
Gentleman start your engines !