Techno Classica Essen, the empire strikes back

Techno Classica Essen has been maintaining its European supremacy for 25 years and I would say planetary in the galaxy of salons dedicated to classic cars. Supremacy recently confirmed having celebrated its quarter century of existence from April 10-14, 2013.

Speaking of Retro Classics Stuttgart As its most serious and direct rival, we publish some figures that can serve as a reference when comparing them with those that we now indicate for Techno Classica, also provided by the organizer:

[su_quote] → Useful surface of 95.650 square meters inside (to which are added two large exterior patios);

→ Flow of visitors in the order of 185.000 from 41 countries (181.500 counted in 2011). The first edition, twenty-five years ago, was inaugurated with 30.000 visitors, the number has increased six-fold;

→ About 1.200 exhibitors (from 30 countries);

→ More than 2.500 vehicles exhibited;

[/ su_quote]

Maserati A6GCS splendidly presented with a giant photo of a similar model
Maserati A6GCS splendidly presented with a giant photo of a similar model (in gallery)

As we can see, the figures, coldly contemplated, are very similar in terms of useful surface, exhibitors and exhibited vehicles.

Where a difference in Essen's favor stands out clearly is in its number of visitors, which far exceeds the 77.000 registered in the last edition of Retro Classics.

This circumstance can be explained by three reasons. First of all, Techno Classica is the pioneer show among those who cultivate the culture of classic cars in Europe. Secondly, as a determining factor, the population density of the Ruhr area, with two of the most populated cities in Germany nearby, such as Düsseldorf and Cologne, facilitates the massive arrival of visitors who do not have to face long journeys to Go to Stuttgart, a less populated region with few major cities nearby (except Karlsruhe). A third element is added on an accessory basis, such as the longer duration of Essen, which opens its doors for five days, compared to the three and a half that the Stuttgart show lasts.

View of the central pavilion ...
View of the central pavilion ...

Techno Classica makes History

Having attended more than twenty of its massive editions, I recognize that it is convenient to speak of the Techno Classica phenomenon from a historical perspective.

Twenty-five years ago, classic cars already had their place in Europe as the center of attention and concerns of thousands of enthusiasts, generally gathered in clubs that practiced and enjoyed their favorite activity. But an international trade fair was necessary capable of differentiating and specializing the content compared to novelty motor shows, such as those in Geneva or Frankfurt.

Would it be profitable to take the step? The challenge of organization and initial expenses for the rental of Messe Essen (trade fair means fair in German) was of scope. It was necessary to involve a public limited company with the necessary material means -Siha-, but also to have the approval of numerous national and local authorities. The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the city of Essen welcomed the initiative, which would prove to be successful in the long run.

Before, the decoration of Pavilion No 6 changed in each edition
Before, the decoration of Pavilion No 6 changed in each edition

The first editions of Techno Classica displayed a changing and renewed imagination. Although it was always the same activity, as is the trade in the classic car sector, the organizer gave the impression of presenting something different each time. For instance, the central pavilion, the already world renowned Hall 6, Each time he created a different set, very close to a papier-mâché film set, but equally effective, with memorable recreations of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Parliament tower in London, the Brandenburg gate in Berlin or the typical Italian rural buildings The latter very useful when it came to putting around a good assortment of Ferrari brand cars.

Subsequently, a similarly dismountable structure was built, but it is invariably used year after year.

The organizer has been kind enough to provide us with some images from its archives relating to past editions that registered greater public success and repercussions in the media, which may be interesting for readers who, in general, have not had other news from Essen previously.

Aerodynamic De Soto from 1936
Aerodynamic De Soto from 1936

The present of Techno Classica

To celebrate its silver anniversary, Techno Classica paid special attention to the word Silver, of historical connotations in German motor racing (Silberpfeil stands for Silver Arrow, after the color of pre-war German racing cars).

Months before opening its doors, the organizer put up the "Complete" sign, with no spaces available for rent for merchants or clubs.

A quick look at the incentives shows the scale and ambition of the program, with little room for disappointments or absences:

[su_quote] ♦ 25 car factories participated in an official capacity, presenting news and historic vehicles.

♦ Special exhibition titled Automobile Masterpieces (automotive masterpieces).

♦ A look back at Audi's 80 years of history, including luxurious Horch vehicles.

♦ A Autostadt or automobile city, reviewing 125 years of automobile history in a ZeitHaus or temple of time. [/ su_quote]

The Bugatti 57 seems to relaunch the debate between restoration or preservation
This Bugatti 57 relaunched the debate between restoration or preservation


♦ BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini occupied an entire pavilion (traditionally number 12), looking in particular at the 90th anniversary of BMW motorcycles and the 50th anniversary of the Mini.

♦ Joint presentation of a Bugatti and Bentley stand, with historical and modern vehicles.

♦ Citroën turned its attention to the growing interest in the DS, through its convertible models.

♦ Celebration of the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford, founder of the brand, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Escort.

♦ 50th anniversary of Lamborghini. [/ su_quote]

The rear hood of the Lamborghini Miura can be seen as a work of art
The rear hood of the Lamborghini Miura can also be seen as a work of art


♦ Mercedes-Benz, one of the brands that participated in the first edition of Techno Classica, contributed a careful selection of significant vehicles, such as the Simplex 60 from 1904 that was owned by Emil Jellinek.

♦ Presentation of the Opel Cascada, with nine other convertibles of the brand.

♦ Peugeot in competition, with Michèle Mouton's 205 Turbo 16.

♦ Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911. [/ su_quote]

Exemplary restoration of a 911 1964
Exemplary restoration of a 911 1964


SEAT 600. Example of a city car and exhibition of the last copy off the assembly line.

♦ Skoda. Rapide, name and tradition, cars from before the war.

♦ Volkswagen, 7 generations of the Golf, with special attention to the GTI.

♦ Volvo, presentation of 6 selected historical copies. [/ su_quote]

Viotti bodywork for a FIAT 600 from 1959
Viotti bodywork for a FIAT 600 from 1959

Before visiting Techno Classica Essen, the first recommendation I make to those who ask me is not to go if they are not in good physical shape. A little preparation days in advance based on long walks would be very useful.

The second and important recommendation is that they wear comfortable shoes. At Techno Classica it is very easy to end the day having traveled between ten and fifteen kilometers at a good pace, and not realize the effort made until the feet start to hurt and the stomach to faint. That is why it is advisable to take an intermediate break in any of the many beer and local food stalls, rich in calories.

The visit may well last eight hours, equivalent to an intense working day.

As a practical aspect, an orientation can be useful to the visitor, depending on their intentions. If you are a buyer, it is advisable to explore the show on Wednesday (special day for buyers and journalists) or Thursday, before others have anticipated in the trophy hunt. If you are a visitor, with the sole objective of admiring the vehicles on display, it is preferable to go on Sunday, which is the day when there are fewer queues and traffic jams.

Authentic scrapped aircraft parts
Authentic scrapped aircraft parts for a bar counter ...

Ready to face the challenge of taking a visual, and even emotional binge, full of surprises and pleasant shocks, let's go on without further ado to describe the historic twenty-fifth edition.


Year after year, the brand with the star resolutely turns to Techno Classica, with a pavilion of extraordinary dimensions and content in accordance with the quality traditionally expected from the collaboration between the factory and the Stuttgart museum, to which is added the participation enthusiastic about the many owner's clubs that loan selected vehicles.

Although it seems like a detail, I consider it worth highlighting, with gratitude to the makers of the pavilion, not only its design, decoration and content, but especially its floor. The visitor, who arrives with tired feet, receives as a reward the sensation of sinking into a soft and soft carpet, of an incredible thickness, on which he really rests when walking.
The cleanliness, presentation and attention to the public with all kinds of information, provided individually in several languages ​​by the museum staff, are exemplary..

In a sacred place, the chapel of the Benz-Prinz from 1910
In a sacred place, the chapel of the Benz-Prinz from 1910

The packaging in which the museum presents its cars is not an empty shell. On the contrary. For the 25th anniversary of the show, Mercedes-Benz prepared a space that was an individual chapel within its great sanctuary to receive only one car, the 1910 Benz Prinz-Heinrich. With its 5.715 cc and 80 hp, it reached the speed of 126 Km / h. The set was a model of how to present a historic car in public.

In addition to the Benz Prinz, it should be noted the Simplex 60 hp from 1904 already mentioned, numerous 300SLs and other series production models that are getting old enough to be included in the list of candidates for classics.

In the Mercedes-Benz estate, a 60 Simplex 1904
In the Mercedes-Benz estate, a 60 Simplex 1904


Another of the brands revered by the German and international public is Porsche, which, as we have been repeating in articles dedicated to other European salons, celebrates the 2013th anniversary of the 50 in 911. For a brand that has so many models to choose from, it will be difficult to decide for those who should be part of the detachment sent to Techno Classica.

On this occasion, the museum came with a first-generation 911, as well as the first 911 SC cabriolet Studie, a copy presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1982, which was then sold for 64.500 marks. Porsche classics showed its good work with a 356 Carrera and with a 911 of the very first series, manufactured in 1964 and sold in 1965. The car, in the process of restoration, serves to present the new range of remanufactured parts with the blessing of Porsche to facilitate that the old 911s are still on the road.

The Porsche Museum presented its calendar of events for 2013, including a special exhibition 50 Years of 911, taking place from June 4 to September 29 in Stuttgart.

Two unrestored 356 Speedster from 1958
Two unrestored 356 Speedster from 1958

In addition to the official representation, numerous specialists of the brand were present. So much so that anyone intending to purchase a classic Porsche should go through Techno Classica first, to observe the ways of working and restorations of the highest level. Priced accordingly.

Care could be highlighted stand of the firm Early 911S, with its motto "Perfect down to the smallest detail", which presented a palette of copies in different stages of completion, from cars as they are entrusted to others ready to be delivered to the customer. Restoration work could be followed in particular on a 2,0 coupe from 1968, # 118001178 and on a 2,4S Targa from 1973, # 9113310582.

In fact, a "Porsche Special" could almost be crafted with the abundance of vehicles on display. To make room for other brands, we will close this section by mentioning two 356 Speedster in original condition, without restoration, both from 1958.

The curiosities were also frequent. The author can guarantee that a coffee tastes better if it comes from a coffeemaker installed in the trunk of a 928.

If it comes out of a Porsche 928, a coffee tastes better
If it comes out of a Porsche 928, a coffee tastes better


The Ferrari Deutschland Club always has a large and careful representation of its members' cars, joined by those of the Maserati brand. Among the latter, an impeccable A6GCS, presented at the 1954 Turin show by Pininfarina, attracted attention.

I had the opportunity to speak with Matthias Bartz, who, as we know, is the author of the book Dino Compendium, on the evolution that the "little" Ferrari is having in recent European shows, with prices that remain on the rise. In scoop, Matthias confided to me that a red 246GTS had just been sold by the Eberlein firm as soon as Techno Classica opened its doors, for the price of 300.000 euros, which includes several tuning work still to be done.

On the other hand, as a curiosity for Spanish fans, During our talk, a member of the club came to give us the news that that same afternoon he would receive in Germany a yellow Dino with a Gran Canaria license plate bought in the fortunate islands days before.

Originality pays (Ferrari 275GTB)
Originality pays (Ferrari 275GTB)

The aforementioned firm Eberlein also exhibited a 275GTB, the prices of which continue to evolve upward. There is news of the realization of replicas that subsequently make up ambitious collections, a practice that occurs when there is a lack of resources to acquire an original. Unfortunately, this practice ruins the originality of the base model when, after all, the result is not authentic..

Originality is something that will always raise the price of cars that are offered for sale in international auctions. It is the opinion of the Canadian firm RM, which announced with a 250GT Lusso the auction that will take place in Villa Erba next May.

Ferrari 250 Lusso announces Villa Erba auction
Ferrari 250 Lusso announces Villa Erba auction


At the SEAT factory, they have understood the importance of being present at international shows held in the field of classic cars, as a complement to the dissemination of their image, which will increase the sales of new production vehicles. Indeed, SEAT has been officially present at Techno Classica for some editions.

Last year, SEAT brought the Panda Group 2 with which Carlos Sainz started his career to Essen. On this occasion, SEAT was exhibiting a historic vehicle, since it marked the end of the popular 600's race. It is the last produced copy of the L Especial, which closed the illustrious dynasty of the car that powered Spanish society.

The last 600 manufactured received all the honors
The last 600 manufactured received all the honors

The person in charge of the stand was very kind to this chronicler and showed him the car down to its last details, without forgetting the chassis number, which will be noted by historians and followers of the 600. It is # BG029267.

On the other hand, a private dealer sold a 600 SEAT 1968D of those exported to the Netherlands, in perfect condition and with only 14.000 km.

Speaking of the 600, the outstanding versions built in Italy on a FIAT basis deserve special attention, being particularly attractive for their elegance, worthy of higher category cars. We will highlight a Vignale from 1956 with Nardi preparation, baptized as APPOINTMENT and a Viotti Granluce of 1959.

Elegant FIAT 600 Vignale from 1956
Elegant FIAT 600 Vignale from 1956


Audi is one of the brands that has been loyal to Techno Classica since its first editions, always attending officially, both as a factory and represented by its detachment from the Ingolstadt museum. Like Porsche, Audi Tradition it also communicated a rich calendar of activities for 2013, including the 75th anniversary of Bernd Rosemeyer's accident or the 30th anniversary of the Hannu Mikkola world championship.

Among the cars from his museum, an R8 stood out for the atmosphere created around them Crocodile, with its racing history from 2000, and a much older vehicle, an aerodynamic Horch 930S from 1939, equipped with a 8cc V3.796 engine. The license plate of the car caught my attention, believing that it was a car registered in Valencia.

The person in charge of relations with the press, whom I approached to ask about the origin of the car, brought a museum historian who clarified to me that it was not the V of Valencia, but the number 5 expressed in Roman numerals. . In the XNUMXs, German cars were registered according to their region of residence and the number assigned to each of them, using Roman numerals, I, II, III, etc.

Horch 930 from 1939. The registration is not from Valencia
Horch 930 from 1939. The registration is not from Valencia

Another brand in the group, Lamborghini, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a luxurious stand presided over by a Miura SV, whose separate pieces can be considered sculptural works.


Occupying an entire pavilion To house its main and related brands (Mini), BMW brought racing cars and a large display of historic motorcycles from its museum.

BMWs were also not lacking among independent dealers and the visitor found several 328, M1 and 503 in their path, which can be admired on rare occasions.

The price of the 328 BMW 1939 is around 400.000 euros
The price of the 328 BMW 1939 is around 400.000 euros


In contrast to the impeccable condition of the Miura presented by Lamborghini, you could find totally rusted or incomplete cars, Offered for sale as part donors or as restoration projects. This was the case of an Iso Rivolta, parked in the outer courtyard where individuals and, in case of lack of interior space, also merchants are allowed to exhibit.

A lack of space that is already evident in Techno Classica. The entire usable area is rented from one year to the next, and to meet the demand for new exhibitors, every extra space available is used.

As an anecdote, a restaurant and the press room (except in its minimal expression) had been vacated to house the cars for the traditional auction held on Saturday.

Opel is another of the brands concerned with the preservation of its historical heritage (1899)
Opel is another of the brands concerned with the preservation of its historical heritage (1899)

Opel was overturned presenting its rich history, starting with its ancestors in 1899, while Skoda surprised again with a model Rapid Sport type 939R worthy of admiration.

One of the cars that most caught the attention of British journalists with whom I had the opportunity to exchange views was a curious 1953 Ockelbo with Volvo mechanics, which was coming back to life after a long and expensive restoration.

Among the clubs vying for the best stand trophy, Borgward brand vehicle owners displayed an excellent sense of humor by presenting Isabella's bathroom in a large bathtub with all the necessary elements, soaps, towels and beauty articles, made to the scale of the original.

1953 Ockelbo-Volvo
1953 Ockelbo-Volvo

As a prestigious brand, Bugatti he couldn't be absent. Numerous Molsheim cars were scattered here and there, such as the 57 Gangloff cabriolet from 1939 in the central hall which has previously been seen in numerous exhibitions. However, we would like to highlight a less known and preserved model without restoring to preserve its originality. It is a closed-body 57 Ventoux, sold new in 1937 for 103.000 French francs.


The center of the Movendi stand was chaired by a 750 Autobleu 1954, unrestored, in the state that ended the Mille Miglia of the same year and that was sold immediately.

In the style of the 1939 Horch, but in a more striking color, a De Soto Airflow of 1936 was offered for sale for 45.000 euros.

The 750 Autobleu 1954 was sold on the spot
The 750 Autobleu 1954 was sold on the spot

Techno Classica is not a motorcycle show. However, apart from the presentation of historical motorcycles in the BMW museum, this time a Clyno Sprung Eight De Luxe, with sidecar, from 1921, stood out in a better setting than the BMWs themselves.

Curiosities are not lacking around every corner, such as pieces of aluminum from scrapped airplanes accommodated to other uses, or samples of works of art in painting and sculpture.

We will not close this chronicle without mentioning one of the Spanish pioneers in the classic car market, not only in Spain, but also in his participation in Techno Classica, which are already part of its traditional calendar of activities. Francisco Pueche and his sons are prominent figures in Hall 6 and if last year they came with a Pegaso Touring for sale, in 2013 they congratulated themselves on the excellent reception of a 6 Hispano Suiza H1922 Torpedo Sport, on frame number 10.371.

Representing motorcycles, a 1921 Clyno
Representing the few motorcycles, a 1921 Clyno

Pegasines in Essen

When it comes to Spanish fans, it won't be necessary to go back long to find the edition that was dedicated to a Spanish brand - indeed, last year Techno Classica organized a special exhibition devoted to Pegasus. As the occasions in which several Pegaso sports cars can be admired at the same time and under the same roof, either within or outside our borders, are extremely rare, it may also be of general interest to include some photos and comments on the subject in this article. The simple fact of having dedicated an exhibition to Pegaso in pavilion number 6, which we referred to above, the nerve center of the organization, where Siha establishes its headquarters for public events, awards ceremony, official announcements and reception of personalities, can be considered an international accolade for our flagship brand from the XNUMXs.

Gathering 16 Pegaso sports cars is an international milestone that will be remembered in the chronicles dedicated to ENASA products. It is true that there was one more example, with which there were 17 cars of the brand, but it was outside the exhibition itself, although in a very close place, exhibited by the well-known dealer Pueche de Madrid, a regular participant of Techno Classica .

Appearance of the Pegaso exhibition in 2012
Appearance of the Pegaso exhibition in 2012
To the 16 examples mentioned were added a recreation of the exhibition frame that was intended to pass as authentic, as well as a Pegaso speedboat built on plans of a project that ENASA did not carry out. The followers of the Pegaso brand who traveled to Techno Classica called by the additional attraction of the monographic exhibition, they were satisfied to admire in one place and taking a brief walk through the central block of the pavilion all 17 Pegasi and the aforementioned replicas.

However, there were numerous criticisms that were made when that unique occasion had been allowed to pass without complementing the meaning of Pegasus in the historical context of the fifties.. Indeed, the presentation of the cars was very simple, aligned one next to the other without any order or criteria, without highlighting the design work of the different bodybuilders and with no other complement than simple handwritten posters in a hurry where the information essentials were conspicuous by their absence. For not counting the errors in the description of the cars.

Too bad a 102 Z-1956 Touring couldn't compete at Monaco in 1952
Too bad a 102 Z-1956 Touring couldn't compete at Monaco in 1952
Thus, the # 0171, an ENASA originally with a coupe bodywork and later converted into a cabriolet by simply removing the roof, was presented as the authentic example presented at the 1951 Paris Motor Show. More serious still was than the # 0156, from 1954 and with Touring bodywork, it was described as the car with which Joaquín Palacio participated in the Monaco Grand Prix of 1952, when, as we know, the Palacio car was bodied by ENASA itself (see the descriptions shown to the public on the posters that On the other hand, in the exhibition there were no photos or period documents, nor was any catalog published including the Pegasus, descriptions and history, which would have been highly appreciated by visitors and followers of the brand.



Full-size images (1.280 px. Approx.)


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Mario Laguna

Written by Mario Laguna

Mario Laguna, author of the book "The Pegaso Adventure", scholar and observer of the history of motor racing, brands and characters. Regular visitor to automobile competitions, whether of current or historical categories, international contests of elegance, lecturer ... View all


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