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Friedrichshafen, 3 - 6 June, 2010

The weekend of the 3.-6.June saw the third edition of this classic exhibition in Friedrichshafen. Being the home town of Maybach and ZF, Friedrichshafen is not just linked to the automotive industries but also to the famous Zeppelin airships. This and the nearby Bodensee makes no surprise that this show is not just dedicated to classic cars as many others but to all things mobile on the road, the air and at sea. On 80.000 sq. m. cars, bikes, lorries, tractors, ships and planes were displayed during the 4 days. With such diverse exhibits they were sorted by themes in the 12 halls making it easier to find what one was looking for.

The two main halls at the main entrance where called Automobile Salon and therefore dedicated to the classic cars. This included the works booth of Mercedes-Benz and Audi. Although already known from other exhibitions the set-up of Mercedes-Benz is still very impressive and features the work of the classic car department. This year’s display featured a 300 SL Roadster on the classic side, a 350 SL (R107) as a young classic and the W124 Cabriolet as a coming classic. In the perimeter of the works booth several restorers showed their skills on classic Mercedes, “Mechatronik” on the 300 S in different stages of restoration and the “Alte Sterne Manufactur” on the 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster.

The booth of Audi was quite small with just 2 cars but pointed to the themes in other halls with a Quattro for the 30. anniversary of the Audi Quattro and the e-tron to the special exhibition of electric cars.

Of special interest was the Lamborghini display at the “Klima-Lounge” stand. With three Miuras in different colours and executions, a set of Countach, a 350 GT and a Diablo a good part of the company’s history was present.

Several dealers showed their offers in all price categories including high prices as a Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider (s/n 14365) and a few Aston Martin to name a few. But one could see that the sale of cars is not the main theme at this fair as the dealers are not as numerous as on other shows although the Klassikwelt also attracts customers from nearby Switzerland.

A special display was called “The belle epoche” featuring several cars of this era, but especially a very beautiful early Jaguar SS1 drew attention. This two-tone open tourer has some very interesting features and was restored over many years with much attention to small details. This important car was shown on several concours and serves the factory (although privately owned) on many presentations of the new models.

Another hall featured the American classics. On the entrance a nice garage display welcomed the visitors, furthermore a display of the very popular quarter mile races, several hot rods and muscle cars could be seen here. This included a Ford Torino (known from the same-titled film with Clint Eastwood) in Gulf-livery. When wandering though this hall one could see that the fans of these cars are dedicated to the whole era of the 50s and 60s in America making the cars just a part of their lifestyle. It could also be seen that this theme attracts even younger people and other fairs and even general car clubs should think about opening themselves to this trend to get “fresh blood”.

This leads to another highlight of every fair, the hall with the club displays. Many clubs are very inventive to present their cars in a charming setting and individual initiative often substitutes the lack of money. To be mentioned is once more the display of the Auto Union Club with a street scene including some pavement princesses standing under their lantern. The Italia Classic Club featured a trio of Vespas in Italian colours and the typical Topolino.

As already mentioned above the Audi Quattro Club got some help from the factory to show up an impressive collection of quattros including a S1, Sport quattro and Group 4 racers.

Another hall was dedicated to lorries, tractors and fire trucks. Unfortunately one had the impression that this hall and the hall for the motor bikes was less frequented than the car halls but they are still a good addition. So if someone is purely interested in classic cars, other trade fairs might have more to offer but these halls make the visit more family friendly as there is something to anyone. Today not everyone knows that Porsche once build diesel tractors or how a fire truck looked 50 years ago so this give an aha experience to some visitors.

Very popular indeed was the avionics part of the show. This could be seen as during the outdoor demonstrations the halls were almost empty. Lifting off from the close-by airport the planes could not just being admired in static display but also in the air.
The static display of the boats seemed to be smaller then in previous years but a few very elegant Riva yachts showed their immaculate finish.

New this year was a special exhibition dedicated to 111 years of electric transport. Beside the legendary Detroit Electric some developments from the last 100 years could be seen. This included an electric moon vehicle, some early experiments of the car industries to put an electric engine in ordinary cars as Golf or even an Opel GT, but also the latest developments as the already mentioned Audi e-tron or the very sportive Tesla Roadster.

After the 4 days more than 42.000 visitors proved that the concept of the show is the right one using the advantages of this area to make the show different from other classic car shows. With the static displays and the outdoor action including small races on a course inside the fairground and the air shows there is much to be seen making this worth a visit for the whole family.

Text & images ... Peter Singhof