Techno Classica: overview

The Techno Classica show in Essen has long been a rite of passage for classic car fans from across Europe, not least Brits. And though you might think of it as an event for tweedy car collectors and restoration fans, there's actually plenty to keep a PHer interested.

'Youngtimers' a growing part of Essen show
'Youngtimers' a growing part of Essen show
Specifically, there is the German appetite for what they refer to as 'youngtimers', the post-1981 cars many of us here enjoy. And, local tastes being what they are, this means old Mercs, BMWs, Porsches and a smattering of Audis, VWs and others.

There's serious support from the big German brands too, all of them tying up grassroots club displays with pukka, corporate sponsorship and glitzy motor show stands. If you ever needed evidence of how much the Germans love their cars, Techno Classica is it. And it's a broad church, with silver-haired millionaires in shooting jackets laying down six-figure sums on Gullwings at one end and stands of guys laying out a van full of old BMW indicator lenses and random window seals on a table at the other.

You won't go far without tripping over a 911
You won't go far without tripping over a 911
It's a big show mind, the sprawling Essen Messe a serious test of stamina and shoe leather. Sausage and/or beer-based sustenance is never far away though, providing opportunity to refuel, catch breath and partake in that other Techno Classica tradition: mullet spotting. Truly, there are some spectacular examples out there.

It's not about tyre-kicking either. Iif you're serious about buying a car or simply looking for a few bits to tidy up your pride and joy and have the time to indulge in rifling through boxes of old bits this is the place to come.

Amid the glitzy stands there are areas set aside for private car sales, the courtyards in the show grounds thriving trading areas with constant wheeling and dealing. There's a definite Essen tax, however, so bargains are few and far between. That said, if you're after something like an E30 M3, rare Alpina or similar German-market rarity there's more choice than you'd get back home. A good example would be the 964 RS - we saw a couple of very good ones for less than 80,000 euros which, while hardly a bargain, is competitive with what they're going for back home.

Looking for that last widget?
Looking for that last widget?
Getting there is easy enough too - it's 250 or so miles from Calais and Dusseldorf airport is in easy reach and serviced by various budget airlines. The show runs until Sunday and is open every day from 9am until 6pm - full info here. Tickets are 20 euros apiece. And if you're driving out it's not a million miles out of the route to divert past acertain German racetrack either...

More in-depth stories from the bigger Essen stands to follow shortly - stay tuned!



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Comments (45) Join the discussion on the forum

  • dave stew 22 Mar 2012

    I'd love to go to this. I used to go to a trade show in Hannover (CeBit) and it was on very grand scale.

    Did you spot any Ascona/Manta 400s there out of interest?

  • LotusOmega375D 22 Mar 2012

    I'm so decrepit, I remember going to a couple of the first ones in about 1989 - 1991. It was an enormous show even then. Strangely this year a rival organisation is putting on another big classic show down in Stuttgart at the same time.

  • arkenphel 22 Mar 2012

    Lord, I must go next year....

  • typezerora 22 Mar 2012

    arkenphel said:
    Lord, I must go next year....
    My sentiments as well, amazing amazing machinery

  • typezerora 22 Mar 2012

    If I had any influence I would vote to get shows like this done more regularly and have children and young people attend to learn the history of automotive cars and see what real engineering is (not the plastic fantastic mass produced crap you get now).

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