Automotive

Techno-Classica Essen: The world's biggest classic car experience ... plus a disruptive new technology

Part museum, part used car lot: The breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields on display in Essen augurs well for an industry that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades and while its ultimate destiny is still unfolding, when viewed through the prism of this event, the future for the classic car industry appears bright.
Part museum, part used car lot: The breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields on display in Essen augurs well for an industry that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades and while its ultimate destiny is still unfolding, when viewed through the prism of this event, the future for the classic car industry appears bright.
View 201 Images
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
1/201
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
2/201
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
3/201
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period.
Jaguar Classic went to enormous lengths at Techno-Classica to show the quality of its services.
4/201
Jaguar Classic went to enormous lengths at Techno-Classica to show the quality of its services.
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period. This was a sign on the wall of the Jaguar Classic booth.
5/201
Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in the day. It's very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period. This was a sign on the wall of the Jaguar Classic booth.
One of the landmark media notifications at Techno-Classica was Land Rover Classic's announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars are available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a CKD (Knock Down Vehicle) despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a large farm in Queensland (where large farms are the size of small countries) and based on it's experience with this car the Pentland property eventually grew it's own fleet of a dozen Land Rovers. Despite a close inspection of the vehicle, I found it impossible to distinguish it from new.
6/201
One of the landmark media notifications at Techno-Classica was Land Rover Classic's announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars are available to the public. The show car (pictured) began life as a CKD (Knock Down Vehicle) despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a large farm in Queensland (where large farms are the size of small countries) and based on it's experience with this car the Pentland property eventually grew it's own fleet of a dozen Land Rovers. Despite a close inspection of the vehicle, I found it impossible to distinguish it from new.
The underside of the Series 1 Land Rover was perfection. Almost certainly better than new.
7/201
The underside of the Series 1 Land Rover was perfection. Almost certainly better than new.
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was sitting in the little-used Western foyer of Messe Essen, and I passed it a dozen times on my way to and from the press room before I spied the name on the door. This was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Even before he joined the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He ultimately became President of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974, and its Honorary President for Life in 1987.
8/201
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD service wagon was sitting in the little-used Western foyer of Messe Essen, and I passed it a dozen times on my way to and from the press room before I spied the name on the door. This was the service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Even before he joined the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He ultimately became President of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974, and its Honorary President for Life in 1987.
The paint on the Series 1 Land Rover restored by Land Rover Classic was also perfection.
9/201
The paint on the Series 1 Land Rover restored by Land Rover Classic was also perfection.
Land Rover Classic's restored Series I models are now available to the public.
10/201
Land Rover Classic's restored Series I models are now available to the public.
Land Rover Classic's restored Series I models are now available to the public.
11/201
Land Rover Classic's restored Series I models are now available to the public.
Land Rover Classic's stand at Techno-Classica showcased one of the cars from the famous 1955-56 Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition
12/201
Land Rover Classic's stand at Techno-Classica showcased one of the cars from the famous 1955-56 Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD was a service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Even before he joined the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He ultimately became President of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974, and its Honorary President for Life in 1987.
13/201
This quaint 1954 Mercedes-Benz 170 SD was a service truck from Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires. Even before he joined the Mercedes Formula One team, Fangio had acquired the Argentine Mercedes concession. He ultimately became President of Mercedes-Benz Argentina in 1974, and its Honorary President for Life in 1987.
One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there's now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems.
14/201
One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer, is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there's now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems.
More than 220 classic clubs turned up this year to display their enthusiasm and enrol new members and the levels of enthusiasm was contagious - car clubs are part of the social fabric of German society and it only takes a quick glance at these images to see the camaraderie involved.
15/201
More than 220 classic clubs turned up this year to display their enthusiasm and enrol new members and the levels of enthusiasm was contagious - car clubs are part of the social fabric of German society and it only takes a quick glance at these images to see the camaraderie involved.
The clubs contest the "Techno-Classica Club Grand Prix" for the best booth presentation and competition was fierce with the winning stand taken out by the Fiat 500 club, which created a model kit car theme for the stand. Just how many hours were involved in choreographing this grand schema is almost beyond imagination.
16/201
The clubs contest the "Techno-Classica Club Grand Prix" for the best booth presentation and competition was fierce with the winning stand taken out by the Fiat 500 club, which created a model kit car theme for the stand. Just how many hours were involved in choreographing this grand schema is almost beyond imagination.
Part of the fun of restoring a car is getting it as close as possible by hunting down the correct key and fob, switch, knob, door handle, badge, carpet and seat material, tool kit, fuel line, rubber trim, ad infinitum, or replacing items that have perished to the point of detracting from your masterpiece with exactly the right patina.
17/201
Part of the fun of restoring a car is getting it as close as possible by hunting down the correct key and fob, switch, knob, door handle, badge, carpet and seat material, tool kit, fuel line, rubber trim, ad infinitum, or replacing items that have perished to the point of detracting from your masterpiece with exactly the right patina.
This automotive key specialist worked close to every minute of the show
18/201
This automotive key specialist worked close to every minute of the show
Every stand was worth exploring
19/201
Every stand was worth exploring
Dutch Classic car radiator specialist Blaak can repair or restore any classic radiator, and can even build complete radiators from drawings or photographs.
20/201
Dutch Classic car radiator specialist Blaak can repair or restore any classic radiator, and can even build complete radiators from drawings or photographs.
Interior restoration services for the elite classic car are now a highly-specialised art form
21/201
Interior restoration services for the elite classic car are now a highly-specialised art form
Specialists come in many forms - the correct tool kit is a key component of any restoration
22/201
Specialists come in many forms - the correct tool kit is a key component of any restoration
Bramsche-based Alexander's Oldtimer ElektrikAlexander's Oldtimer Elektrik will supply almost any electrical need for any make or model of car or motorcycle.
23/201
Bramsche-based Alexander's Oldtimer ElektrikAlexander's Oldtimer Elektrik will supply almost any electrical need for any make or model of car or motorcycle.
Think of it as a giant "trash & treasure" market except there's no trash. Everything is very valuable to someone because it's the part they've been looking for. Whatsmore, the dealers really know their stuff. If German is not your language, nealy everyone speaks English and a translation app on your phone will bridge any gaps - much like the auction price coffee table books in Talian and German, you only need a few words to explain what you're looking for because model designations are a universal language
24/201
Think of it as a giant "trash & treasure" market except there's no trash. Everything is very valuable to someone because it's the part they've been looking for. Whatsmore, the dealers really know their stuff. If German is not your language, nealy everyone speaks English and a translation app on your phone will bridge any gaps - much like the auction price coffee table books in Talian and German, you only need a few words to explain what you're looking for because model designations are a universal language
Speedometers, tachometers, fuel gauges ...
25/201
Speedometers, tachometers, fuel gauges ...
Specialists of every hue
26/201
Specialists of every hue
Every era, every style,
27/201
Every era, every style,
Chapal began as a family-run tannery in1832, becoming a globally recognised luxury brand more recently.
28/201
Chapal began as a family-run tannery in1832, becoming a globally recognised luxury brand more recently.
An open car, particularly a fast open car with a low windscreen, requires eye protection. Any style, any colour, and you can tell when you're going really fast because your cheeks start to flap : )
29/201
An open car, particularly a fast open car with a low windscreen, requires eye protection. Any style, any colour, and you can tell when you're going really fast because your cheeks start to flap : )
The WW1 flying helmet certainly found an unexpected marketplace as the automobile became commonplace. Between the wars, they were the only option.
30/201
The WW1 flying helmet certainly found an unexpected marketplace as the automobile became commonplace. Between the wars, they were the only option.
Motoring head wear
31/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
32/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
33/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
34/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
35/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
36/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
37/201
Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear
38/201
Motoring head wear
Sporting jackets by Sigrid Axthelm
39/201
Sporting jackets by Sigrid Axthelm
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of all of the clothing available at Techno-Classica is the array of overalls on offer. It's part of the job description of professional race teams to look good at all times, but in the real world of club and classic racing, that's somewhat harder to achieve when you're elbow deep and racing the clock to get the damned thing going for the next event. Salvation is at hand, because amongst the outlier suppliers were stands with every team mechanic uniform ever seen inside Parc fermé. Look closely at the image below and you'll see the uniforms of dozens of teams, many long since extinct. If you're going period racing in style, you can get what you need here.
40/201
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of all of the clothing available at Techno-Classica is the array of overalls on offer. It's part of the job description of professional race teams to look good at all times, but in the real world of club and classic racing, that's somewhat harder to achieve when you're elbow deep and racing the clock to get the damned thing going for the next event. Salvation is at hand, because amongst the outlier suppliers were stands with every team mechanic uniform ever seen inside Parc fermé. Look closely at the image below and you'll see the uniforms of dozens of teams, many long since extinct. If you're going period racing in style, you can get what you need here.
Jackets and overalls - couturier and proletarian
41/201
Jackets and overalls - couturier and proletarian
Jackets of every persuasion
42/201
Jackets of every persuasion
Jackets of every persuasion
43/201
Jackets of every persuasion
Jackets of every persuasion
44/201
Jackets of every persuasion
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
45/201
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
46/201
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
47/201
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
48/201
Jacket clothing of every persuasion
Hats, jackets and boots, and everything in between
49/201
Hats, jackets and boots, and everything in between
Hats for the ladies
50/201
Hats for the ladies
Watchbands and other adornments, color matched to perfection
51/201
Watchbands and other adornments, color matched to perfection
Pacto Store. Vintage handmade racing helmets from Costa Rica. There's a store in San Jose too.
52/201
Pacto Store. Vintage handmade racing helmets from Costa Rica. There's a store in San Jose too.
The Grandprix Originals booth
53/201
Greycar.com/ specializes in period clothing and accessories
54/201
Greycar.com/ specializes in period clothing and accessories
Writing a description for the diverse offerings here is challenging. Sadly, I can't work out what his web address is because the show has closed and I've lost his card. Any suggestions?
55/201
Writing a description for the diverse offerings here is challenging. Sadly, I can't work out what his web address is because the show has closed and I've lost his card. Any suggestions?
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
56/201
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
57/201
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
58/201
Automotive clothing of every description and price range
Chapal again, and a lovely period race suit
59/201
Chapal again, and a lovely period race suit
Beautiful stuff, but again, can't find the web site.
60/201
Beautiful stuff, but again, can't find the web site.
More German leather wear
61/201
More German leather wear
More German leather wear
62/201
More German leather wear
Moetefindt does a wonderful range of towable transport options for beautiful cars that double as showcases for the contents with heavy duty curtains that can be drawn back
63/201
Moetefindt does a wonderful range of towable transport options for beautiful cars that double as showcases for the contents with heavy duty curtains that can be drawn back
Beautiful artifacts, and not just automobilia, of every type were on display
64/201
Beautiful artifacts, and not just automobilia, of every type were on display
A mechanical objet d'art
65/201
A mechanical objet d'art
A stunning array of beautiful things for boys
66/201
A stunning array of beautiful things for boys
A stunning array of beautiful things for boys
67/201
A stunning array of beautiful things for boys
Another stunning array of beautiful things for boys
68/201
Another stunning array of beautiful things for boys
More beautiful auto things
69/201
More beautiful auto things
More beautiful auto things
70/201
More beautiful auto things
Another Arte in motion coffee table, this one without the cylinders and heads
71/201
Another Arte in motion coffee table, this one without the cylinders and heads
Arte in motion furniture
72/201
Arte in motion furniture
Some extraordinary promotional art from a century ago
73/201
Some extraordinary promotional art from a century ago
BMW showed it's origins on the BMW Classic stand
74/201
BMW showed it's origins on the BMW Classic stand
A Porsche-themed coffee table - probably 180 kW in its heyday
75/201
A Porsche-themed coffee table - probably 180 kW in its heyday
Key fobs and wrist adornments to finish that outfit
76/201
Key fobs and wrist adornments to finish that outfit
Steve McQueen is still near the top of the list for celebrity association
77/201
Steve McQueen is still near the top of the list for celebrity association
More gorgeous boys toys and adornments
78/201
More gorgeous boys toys and adornments
This stand was superb with some very desirable objects. Dead centre is a periscope.
79/201
This stand was superb with some very desirable objects. Dead centre is a periscope.
More desirable objects
80/201
More desirable objects
Almost every prop imaginable to set the mood
81/201
Almost every prop imaginable to set the mood
The art of Ferencz Olivier is beautiful in any setting.
82/201
The art of Ferencz Olivier is beautiful in any setting.
The art of Ferencz Olivier is beautiful in any setting.
83/201
The art of Ferencz Olivier is beautiful in any setting.
Automotive-themed art and furniture
84/201
Automotive-themed art and furniture
Prints for all purposes from Dilling Fine Art
85/201
Prints for all purposes from Dilling Fine Art
Prints for all purposes from Dilling Fine Art
86/201
Prints for all purposes from Dilling Fine Art
That's a real, period velocipede in the centre - you could spend hours of ferreting for THAT object on many stands
87/201
That's a real, period velocipede in the centre - you could spend hours of ferreting for THAT object on many stands
Something to delight everyone ... unless you're a polar bear
88/201
Something to delight everyone ... unless you're a polar bear
Something to delight everyone ... unless you're a tiger
89/201
Something to delight everyone ... unless you're a tiger
It just didn't seem to end ... a treasure on every flat surface
90/201
It just didn't seem to end ... a treasure on every flat surface
If this automobilia doesn't make your blood course a little faster, you're probably at the wrong show
91/201
If this automobilia doesn't make your blood course a little faster, you're probably at the wrong show
All tastes catered for
92/201
All tastes catered for
Americana everything from the fifties and beyond
93/201
Americana everything from the fifties and beyond
Authentic Mercedes-Benz racing wheels past their use-by date are now turned into coffee tables at EUR500 a shot
94/201
Authentic Mercedes-Benz racing wheels past their use-by date are now turned into coffee tables at EUR500 a shot
Before the days of transponders and mobile phones, they used stopwatches. Seriously, people relied on these things for accurate lap times and there was a human needed to press the button, beautiful but ...
95/201
Before the days of transponders and mobile phones, they used stopwatches. Seriously, people relied on these things for accurate lap times and there was a human needed to press the button, beautiful but ...
More period timekeeping gear
96/201
More period timekeeping gear
The older the object, even with mundane things, the more comely it became
97/201
The older the object, even with mundane things, the more comely it became
Jukeboxes. Not really automobilia, but somehow appropriate
98/201
Jukeboxes. Not really automobilia, but somehow appropriate
American-flavored couches and adornments
99/201
American-flavored couches and adornments
Period gas pumps
100/201
Period gas pumps
For the man with everything ... a miniature steam engine
101/201
For the man with everything ... a miniature steam engine
Prints of every imaginable automotive facet
102/201
Prints of every imaginable automotive facet
Wall hangings ...
103/201
Wall hangings ...
Models of almost every car ever made
104/201
Models of almost every car ever made
and still more models
105/201
and still more models
More prints, with motorcycling throughly catered for too
106/201
More prints, with motorcycling throughly catered for too
Automotive books, records, posters ....
107/201
Automotive books, records, posters ....
Two of the cars which competed in the 1955 Mille Miglia, then and now. A Mercedes 300 SLR which needs no introduction, and a Porsche 550 Spyder, one of around 100 built with Wendler bodywork. The 550 had just 1500cc of boxer four engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.
108/201
Two of the cars which competed in the 1955 Mille Miglia, then and now. A Mercedes 300 SLR which needs no introduction, and a Porsche 550 Spyder, one of around 100 built with Wendler bodywork. The 550 had just 1500cc of boxer four engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.
Showing signs of mishap along the way, a Porsche 550 during the 1955 event. Used 550 Spyders now sell for around 400 times their price when new. Last month Gooding sold Jerry Seinfeld's unmolested 550 at Amelia Island for $5,335,000.
109/201
Showing signs of mishap along the way, a Porsche 550 during the 1955 event. Used 550 Spyders now sell for around 400 times their price when new. Last month Gooding sold Jerry Seinfeld's unmolested 550 at Amelia Island for $5,335,000.
Fangio's 300 SLR and the trophies await the judges decision.
110/201
Fangio's 300 SLR and the trophies await the judges decision.
Fangio's Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. A close relation of this car held the world record for a car at auction not long ago. This one lives in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart most of the time.
111/201
Fangio's Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. A close relation of this car held the world record for a car at auction not long ago. This one lives in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart most of the time.
The only Maserati 300S to start the 1955 Mille Miglia retired after five hours with transmission failure but Sir Sterling Moss drove one to victory in two 1956 events and was quoted as saying " this is one of the most beautiful, most balanced and easiest to control racing cars ever built."
112/201
The only Maserati 300S to start the 1955 Mille Miglia retired after five hours with transmission failure but Sir Sterling Moss drove one to victory in two 1956 events and was quoted as saying " this is one of the most beautiful, most balanced and easiest to control racing cars ever built."
The Porsche 550 Spyder had a 1500cc boxer four-cylinder engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.
113/201
The Porsche 550 Spyder had a 1500cc boxer four-cylinder engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.
One of just 114 Fiat 8V (actually they had V8 engines, but Fiat were under the impression that Ford had copyright on the term) cars produced, of which just 30 were produced with an aluminum Zagato body and were hence some 90 kg lighter than the factory steel-bodied cars.
114/201
One of just 114 Fiat 8V (actually they had V8 engines, but Fiat were under the impression that Ford had copyright on the term) cars produced, of which just 30 were produced with an aluminum Zagato body and were hence some 90 kg lighter than the factory steel-bodied cars.
Five Fiat 8V Zagato Coupes started the 1955 Mille Miglia and four finished, with a best of thirteenth place. Today, they are one of the most coveted collector cars from Fiat.
115/201
Five Fiat 8V Zagato Coupes started the 1955 Mille Miglia and four finished, with a best of thirteenth place. Today, they are one of the most coveted collector cars from Fiat.
The only factory-entered Ferrari 750 Monza to compete in the 1955 Mille Miglia was that of Sergio Sighinolfi who drove alone and finished sixth of the 279 starters. Four privately entered 750 Monzas also started for a best of 27th place.
116/201
The only factory-entered Ferrari 750 Monza to compete in the 1955 Mille Miglia was that of Sergio Sighinolfi who drove alone and finished sixth of the 279 starters. Four privately entered 750 Monzas also started for a best of 27th place.
The 750 Monza Ferrari today is a highly sought after collector car, with the highest price yet achieved being $4,070,000 at RM's Monterey 2013 auction
117/201
The 750 Monza Ferrari today is a highly sought after collector car, with the highest price yet achieved being $4,070,000 at RM's Monterey 2013 auction
Only 31 Ferrari 750 Monzas were built in 1954 and 1955 and they achieved 55 significant race wins in the ensuing years.
118/201
Only 31 Ferrari 750 Monzas were built in 1954 and 1955 and they achieved 55 significant race wins in the ensuing years.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W196S) was derived from the all-conquering W196 Formula One car, bored and stroked to three liters and boosted to 310 bhp (230 kW). It won the 1955 World Sportscar Championship but was part of the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans tragedy where a 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh flew into the crowd killing 84 people in the most horrendous accident in motor racing history. Mercedes-Benz cancelled it's racing program in the aftermath of the tragedy and the 300 SLR never raced again.
119/201
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W196S) was derived from the all-conquering W196 Formula One car, bored and stroked to three liters and boosted to 310 bhp (230 kW). It won the 1955 World Sportscar Championship but was part of the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans tragedy where a 300 SLR driven by Pierre Levegh flew into the crowd killing 84 people in the most horrendous accident in motor racing history. Mercedes-Benz cancelled it's racing program in the aftermath of the tragedy and the 300 SLR never raced again.
The Maserati 300S is quite sought after and very rare these days. In a Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013, a 300S sold for £4,033,500
120/201
The Maserati 300S is quite sought after and very rare these days. In a Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2013, a 300S sold for £4,033,500
The Official Formula 1 Opus is a book of 852 pages, half a meter square, weighing 37 kilograms. It is the biggest book on Formula One racing ever produced, lovingly hand-bound in the finest leather and silk, and will make any coffee table look good. There are a two editions, with the "Champions Edition" limited to 100 copies and personally signed by every living F1 champion. You could buy both editions at Techno-Classica, with the "Champions Edition" normally retailing for €25,000 at a special show rate of €18,750 and the "Classic Edition" which normally goes for €3,750, available for €2,950.
121/201
The Official Formula 1 Opus is a book of 852 pages, half a meter square, weighing 37 kilograms. It is the biggest book on Formula One racing ever produced, lovingly hand-bound in the finest leather and silk, and will make any coffee table look good. There are a two editions, with the "Champions Edition" limited to 100 copies and personally signed by every living F1 champion. You could buy both editions at Techno-Classica, with the "Champions Edition" normally retailing for €25,000 at a special show rate of €18,750 and the "Classic Edition" which normally goes for €3,750, available for €2,950.
This 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was one of more than 2500 classic cars on sale at Techno-Classica, having made the journey across the channel from Vintage & Prestige Fine Motorcars in Essex (U.K.). Available for the princely sum of GBP£1,600,000 (EUR 1.996 million), the 107 year-old car came with a complete history and attracted constant interest throughout the five days of the show. We presume it now has a new owner.
122/201
This 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was one of more than 2500 classic cars on sale at Techno-Classica, having made the journey across the channel from Vintage & Prestige Fine Motorcars in Essex (U.K.). Available for the princely sum of GBP£1,600,000 (EUR 1.996 million), the 107 year-old car came with a complete history and attracted constant interest throughout the five days of the show. We presume it now has a new owner.
A 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost on sale for GBP1.6 million
123/201
A 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost on sale for GBP1.6 million
The heart of a 1930 Bentley 6 and 1/2 litre Speed Six, plus one of it's many admirers. The asking price was EUR 2.0 million.
124/201
The heart of a 1930 Bentley 6 and 1/2 litre Speed Six, plus one of it's many admirers. The asking price was EUR 2.0 million.
There was no price tag, but this rather unique 1934 Armstrong Siddeley 5000 Streamline managed to stop many a passer by, and it was for sale. Armstrong Siddeley also made aircraft engines and did so well enough to be purchased by Rolls-Royce which was more interested in its aircraft engine business than it's luxury cars. Sadly, this eventually led to the demise of the marque.
125/201
There was no price tag, but this rather unique 1934 Armstrong Siddeley 5000 Streamline managed to stop many a passer by, and it was for sale. Armstrong Siddeley also made aircraft engines and did so well enough to be purchased by Rolls-Royce which was more interested in its aircraft engine business than it's luxury cars. Sadly, this eventually led to the demise of the marque.
An incredibly rare short wheelbase 8 litre Hispano-Suiza Boulogne from 1925 is the only remaining example with a factory racing body. For sale, but they weren't about to say for how much to a member of the media. A unique opportunity if it's still available from Madrid-based dealer Francisco Pueche. That's the car as it was discovered in 1976 - quite some barnfind!
126/201
An incredibly rare short wheelbase 8 litre Hispano-Suiza Boulogne from 1925 is the only remaining example with a factory racing body. For sale, but they weren't about to say for how much to a member of the media. A unique opportunity if it's still available from Madrid-based dealer Francisco Pueche. That's the car as it was discovered in 1976 - quite some barnfind!
The HAGI index measures the value of rare cars as an alternative asset class and uses the type of rigorous financial methodology usually associated with more traditional investments. The breadth of HAGI's research enables it to publish market indices on rare Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz cars and it now tracks the entire rare car market globally. This comparison between the the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the S&P 500 (Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index of the top 500 American companies based on their share valuation on the NYSE and NASDAQ) since 1980 perfectly illustrates the initial bubble, the Tulip Mania moment and the subsequent sustained growth in values.
127/201
The HAGI index measures the value of rare cars as an alternative asset class and uses the type of rigorous financial methodology usually associated with more traditional investments. The breadth of HAGI's research enables it to publish market indices on rare Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz cars and it now tracks the entire rare car market globally. This comparison between the the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the S&P 500 (Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index of the top 500 American companies based on their share valuation on the NYSE and NASDAQ) since 1980 perfectly illustrates the initial bubble, the Tulip Mania moment and the subsequent sustained growth in values.
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 "blue chip" German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from December, 2008 to February, 2015.
128/201
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 "blue chip" German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from December, 2008 to February, 2015.
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from February, 2011 to the present.
129/201
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from February, 2011 to the present.
Techno-Classica is spread over such a large area that the crowd never seems that big. All these cars are for sale.
130/201
Techno-Classica is spread over such a large area that the crowd never seems that big. All these cars are for sale.
Part museum, part used car lot: The breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields on display in Essen augurs well for an industry that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades and while its ultimate destiny is still unfolding, when viewed through the prism of this event, the future for the classic car industry appears bright.
131/201
Part museum, part used car lot: The breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields on display in Essen augurs well for an industry that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades and while its ultimate destiny is still unfolding, when viewed through the prism of this event, the future for the classic car industry appears bright.
Just one section of the vast Volkswagen Hall with it's dream team of constituent marques.
132/201
Just one section of the vast Volkswagen Hall with it's dream team of constituent marques.
The throughfares between the halls were great fun. Beer stalls, good German nosh, good nature all round ... much merriment.
133/201
The throughfares between the halls were great fun. Beer stalls, good German nosh, good nature all round ... much merriment.
This Arte in Motion's coffee table was based on a seven-cylinder Jacobs aircraft motor. You can also buy coffee tables based on Continental, Lycoming or Pratt & Whitney motors - all coming in around EUR18,000 apiece.
134/201
This Arte in Motion's coffee table was based on a seven-cylinder Jacobs aircraft motor. You can also buy coffee tables based on Continental, Lycoming or Pratt & Whitney motors - all coming in around EUR18,000 apiece.
A bare Porsche 911 body shell took pride of place in the Porsche Classic section
135/201
A bare Porsche 911 body shell took pride of place in the Porsche Classic section
A Bugatti T35 in the Volkswagen Hall
136/201
A Bugatti T35 in the Volkswagen Hall
Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica
137/201
Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica
Pursang is a small company located in Paraná Entre Rios, about 450 km from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Essentially, if you want a car produced that was made pre-WW2, they can do it. F'rinstance, a brand new, atom-perfect Type 35 Bugatti or Alfa 8C Monza, they are the go-to guys.
138/201
Pursang is a small company located in Paraná Entre Rios, about 450 km from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Essentially, if you want a car produced that was made pre-WW2, they can do it. F'rinstance, a brand new, atom-perfect Type 35 Bugatti or Alfa 8C Monza, they are the go-to guys.
Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica
139/201
Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica
Inside the cockpit of the Pursang Bugatti T35
140/201
Inside the cockpit of the Pursang Bugatti T35
London's Chater's was just one of several major automotive booksellers at the show
141/201
London's Chater's was just one of several major automotive booksellers at the show
Anything you might need can be procured here. This is a Mittelmotor 200 kW 2.8 liter Porsche 911 Rally motor with a price tag of EUR 28,995
142/201
Anything you might need can be procured here. This is a Mittelmotor 200 kW 2.8 liter Porsche 911 Rally motor with a price tag of EUR 28,995
Auktionsspiegel is a new publication based on European data from Germany's industry-dedicated Classic Data, a company which produces a goldmine of information about the industry in general and will mine that data for any vehicle you might wish to purchase, producing a personalized report.
143/201
Auktionsspiegel is a new publication based on European data from Germany's industry-dedicated Classic Data, a company which produces a goldmine of information about the industry in general and will mine that data for any vehicle you might wish to purchase, producing a personalized report.
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and its glorious motor
144/201
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and its glorious motor
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and a fully-restored one - faultless work too
145/201
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and a fully-restored one - faultless work too
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV in The Volkswagen Hall
146/201
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV in The Volkswagen Hall
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV in The Volkswagen Hall
147/201
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV in The Volkswagen Hall
Audi showed something that hasn't been seen anywhere before (to my knowledge) in the form of an 1100 cc prototype motorcycle dubbed the Z02 from 1976.
148/201
Audi showed something that hasn't been seen anywhere before (to my knowledge) in the form of an 1100 cc prototype motorcycle dubbed the Z02 from 1976.
The placard describing the Audi Z02 motorcycle prototype
149/201
The placard describing the Audi Z02 motorcycle prototype
Roland Gumpert is best known these days for his own supercar brand, but he was then fresh out of engineering school and headed the project to create a superbike for Audi using a highly-modified liquid-cooled engine from the Audi 50 as the heart. It comes up quite nicely as a bike motor considering it was originally designed for an engine bay
150/201
Roland Gumpert is best known these days for his own supercar brand, but he was then fresh out of engineering school and headed the project to create a superbike for Audi using a highly-modified liquid-cooled engine from the Audi 50 as the heart. It comes up quite nicely as a bike motor considering it was originally designed for an engine bay
Audi's Z02 prototype
151/201
Audi's Z02 prototype
A DKW 250 two-stroke single cylinder racer from 1930
152/201
A DKW 250 two-stroke single cylinder racer from 1930
The Classic Car Check franchise stand at Techno-Classica shows the portable Active IR system that has been developed and the type of computer imagery that will be available.
153/201
The Classic Car Check franchise stand at Techno-Classica shows the portable Active IR system that has been developed and the type of computer imagery that will be available.
The Classic Car Check franchise stand at Techno-Classica shows the portable Active IR system that has been developed and the type of computer imagery that will be available.
154/201
The Classic Car Check franchise stand at Techno-Classica shows the portable Active IR system that has been developed and the type of computer imagery that will be available.
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world
155/201
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world
Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.
156/201
Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.
What you see with a car is not necessarily what you get. Using the active thermography system, this Porsche can be seen to have had an accident on the left side and quite a bit of filler has been used in the repair work.
157/201
What you see with a car is not necessarily what you get. Using the active thermography system, this Porsche can be seen to have had an accident on the left side and quite a bit of filler has been used in the repair work.
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
158/201
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
159/201
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.
160/201
Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.
Significant repairs are evident in the door and the rear of the front left quarter panel of this Porsche
161/201
Significant repairs are evident in the door and the rear of the front left quarter panel of this Porsche
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - ooooh dear
162/201
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - ooooh dear
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - not what you'd expect
163/201
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - not what you'd expect
Volker Carl developed the car check system, and as active thermography works with any material, it can also be used to examine the structural integrity of carbon fibre racing bike frames. Now it has been developed into a new company offering frame checks for people with carbon frame bikes.
164/201
Volker Carl developed the car check system, and as active thermography works with any material, it can also be used to examine the structural integrity of carbon fibre racing bike frames. Now it has been developed into a new company offering frame checks for people with carbon frame bikes.
Ducati was one of the prominent brands in the Volkswagen hall, though as the marriage is a new one, none of the brand's spectacular race winning bikes were on display. Like many of the other Volkswagen marques, all of Ducati's older models are proving to be equally spectacular on the auction block.
165/201
Ducati was one of the prominent brands in the Volkswagen hall, though as the marriage is a new one, none of the brand's spectacular race winning bikes were on display. Like many of the other Volkswagen marques, all of Ducati's older models are proving to be equally spectacular on the auction block.
One of the many elite dealers exhibiting at Techno-Classica was Racing Green Engineering from Llanelli in South Wales (UK) which had an array of exquisite Bentleys on show. Bentley had a few old and a few new on it's stand, which are in the image gallery. Racing Green had a bevy of Bentley beauties, not all of them green.
166/201
One of the many elite dealers exhibiting at Techno-Classica was Racing Green Engineering from Llanelli in South Wales (UK) which had an array of exquisite Bentleys on show. Bentley had a few old and a few new on it's stand, which are in the image gallery. Racing Green had a bevy of Bentley beauties, not all of them green.
Dieter Hatlapa, founder of Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI)
167/201
A Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet from 1936. August Horch founded the company that would become Audi. If history had run a slightly different course, Audi would be named Horch but regardless, he remains one of the towering figures in automotive history and you only need to look at some of the cars built in his name to understand why.
168/201
A Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet from 1936. August Horch founded the company that would become Audi. If history had run a slightly different course, Audi would be named Horch but regardless, he remains one of the towering figures in automotive history and you only need to look at some of the cars built in his name to understand why.
The winning car and team at top left with the car's designer Rudy Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson and Stirling Moss in the centre of it all.
169/201
The winning car and team at top left with the car's designer Rudy Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson and Stirling Moss in the centre of it all.
The dangers of racing on public roads are all too evident, with the crowd lining the course
170/201
The dangers of racing on public roads are all too evident, with the crowd lining the course
Celebrating the victory of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia are Ludwig Kraus, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson, Stirling Moss and Dr. Hans Scherenberg.
171/201
Celebrating the victory of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson in the 1955 Mille Miglia are Ludwig Kraus, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson, Stirling Moss and Dr. Hans Scherenberg.
A pensive Moss and a meticulous Jenkinson still checking his notes as they await the start of the 1955 event
172/201
A pensive Moss and a meticulous Jenkinson still checking his notes as they await the start of the 1955 event
Jenkinson and Moss during the 1955 Mille Miglia
173/201
Jenkinson and Moss during the 1955 Mille Miglia
The tradition of Mercedes-Benz sports cars extends more than a century and goes right back into the histories of the two companies that came together (DMG and Benz & Cie). The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are the cars at top, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series
174/201
The tradition of Mercedes-Benz sports cars extends more than a century and goes right back into the histories of the two companies that came together (DMG and Benz & Cie). The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are the cars at top, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
175/201
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
176/201
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are these cars, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series. The car in the middle is a 1952 300SL driven in the legendary Carrera Panamericana.
177/201
The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are these cars, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series. The car in the middle is a 1952 300SL driven in the legendary Carrera Panamericana.
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
178/201
A Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing and Roadster on the stand of model specialist HK Engineering
Fangio's Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
179/201
Fangio's Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
Automotive art was everywhere at Techno-Classica, including on-the-spot creations which could be done from a photograph.
180/201
Automotive art was everywhere at Techno-Classica, including on-the-spot creations which could be done from a photograph.
Danish-made Garia golf karts are electric, and come in more than a dozen styles with many remarkable options. The one at right has the high performance lithium battery and controller which gives it a top speed of 36 mph or a range of 45 miles. Bubba Watson has one and reckons he drives it more than his road car.
181/201
Danish-made Garia golf karts are electric, and come in more than a dozen styles with many remarkable options. The one at right has the high performance lithium battery and controller which gives it a top speed of 36 mph or a range of 45 miles. Bubba Watson has one and reckons he drives it more than his road car.
Famous motors of yesteryear are now being reproduced by craftsmen to aid in recreating road and raceworthy exotica. This is a new Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 motor from Jim Stokes Workshops which has been restoring, re-creating and redesigning historic cars for more than four decades. JSW also manufactures new cylinder heads, blocks and ancillary components for 1750 Alfa Romeos, Lancia-Ferrari D50s, Lancia D24s, Lancia Aurelias and the 156 'Sharknose'.
182/201
Famous motors of yesteryear are now being reproduced by craftsmen to aid in recreating road and raceworthy exotica. This is a new Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 motor from Jim Stokes Workshops which has been restoring, re-creating and redesigning historic cars for more than four decades. JSW also manufactures new cylinder heads, blocks and ancillary components for 1750 Alfa Romeos, Lancia-Ferrari D50s, Lancia D24s, Lancia Aurelias and the 156 'Sharknose'.
Another car for sale on the showroom floor with some spectacular history was this unique 1969 Lamborghini Espada "Glass Rood" prototype which was presented to the world on 18, May, 1969 at the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix where it did a lap with Prince Rainier, Princess Grace (aka movie star Grace Kelly) and their son Albert in the car. and received worldwide television coverage for seven minutes.It spent four decades in American collections before returning to Monaco for the elite Top Marques show in 2014.
183/201
Another car for sale on the showroom floor with some spectacular history was this unique 1969 Lamborghini Espada "Glass Rood" prototype which was presented to the world on 18, May, 1969 at the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix where it did a lap with Prince Rainier, Princess Grace (aka movie star Grace Kelly) and their son Albert in the car. and received worldwide television coverage for seven minutes.It spent four decades in American collections before returning to Monaco for the elite Top Marques show in 2014.
Food at Techno-Classica is not your standard show food - numerous upmarket restaurants are set up across the show space, many of them right next to the displays, all serving food and wine of a quality not normally associated with a 200,000 crowd.
184/201
Food at Techno-Classica is not your standard show food - numerous upmarket restaurants are set up across the show space, many of them right next to the displays, all serving food and wine of a quality not normally associated with a 200,000 crowd.
Cars with celebrity provenance were everywhere, many of them for sale. This 1969 Mercedes-Benz W111 was once owned by singer-dancer-actor Madonna and the placard even shows her in the car.
185/201
Cars with celebrity provenance were everywhere, many of them for sale. This 1969 Mercedes-Benz W111 was once owned by singer-dancer-actor Madonna and the placard even shows her in the car.
Another celebrity car. This 1966 Mercedes-Benz W111 was once owned by actor Clint Eastwood, and again, there's a pic of him peering into the engine bay of this car on the placard.
186/201
Another celebrity car. This 1966 Mercedes-Benz W111 was once owned by actor Clint Eastwood, and again, there's a pic of him peering into the engine bay of this car on the placard.
Another famous car, being one of just two Maserati 3500GT prototyps built. Apart from being exquisitely beautiful, it appeared in the movie 'Love is a ball" with Glen Ford and Hope Lange. Also for sale.
187/201
Another famous car, being one of just two Maserati 3500GT prototyps built. Apart from being exquisitely beautiful, it appeared in the movie 'Love is a ball" with Glen Ford and Hope Lange. Also for sale.
And another celebrity car on display and for sale at techno-Classica was this VW Super Beetle Cabriolet once owned by movie star and race driver Paul Newman
188/201
And another celebrity car on display and for sale at techno-Classica was this VW Super Beetle Cabriolet once owned by movie star and race driver Paul Newman
Pins can be a subtle way of showing one's affiliation. The opportunity was there at techno-Classica to show any affiliation under the sun.
189/201
Pins can be a subtle way of showing one's affiliation. The opportunity was there at techno-Classica to show any affiliation under the sun.
A 1955 Maserati A6GCS for sale on the Jim Stokes Workshops stand. Original coachwork by Fiandri/Fantuzzi, extensive period racing history (including a placing in the Targa Florio) and lots of classic racing events in recent times including Goodwood Revival, Monaco Classic and Le Mans Classic.
190/201
A 1955 Maserati A6GCS for sale on the Jim Stokes Workshops stand. Original coachwork by Fiandri/Fantuzzi, extensive period racing history (including a placing in the Targa Florio) and lots of classic racing events in recent times including Goodwood Revival, Monaco Classic and Le Mans Classic.
From the year 1937 and available on the Jim Stokes Workshops stand, the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B built. A complete restoration was begun forty years ago and the car was registered again in 2014.
191/201
From the year 1937 and available on the Jim Stokes Workshops stand, the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B built. A complete restoration was begun forty years ago and the car was registered again in 2014.
From the Auto Folies stand, this 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500S cabriolet with coachwork by Boneschi is one of just five built and two known to still exist
192/201
From the Auto Folies stand, this 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500S cabriolet with coachwork by Boneschi is one of just five built and two known to still exist
From the Pueche Techno-Classica stand of available cars, this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Croydon Convertible by Brewster is one of only 123 LHD Phantom IIs ever built, and one of just 11 convertible Croydon bodies built by Brewster. Delivered new to F. A. Siebert in New York in 1931, with a complete history.
193/201
From the Pueche Techno-Classica stand of available cars, this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Croydon Convertible by Brewster is one of only 123 LHD Phantom IIs ever built, and one of just 11 convertible Croydon bodies built by Brewster. Delivered new to F. A. Siebert in New York in 1931, with a complete history.
From the inventory of Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors came this 1938 Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet B
194/201
Displayed on the stand of the historic Allgemeiner Schnauferl Club (ASC) was this 1909 De Dion-Bouton Open Tourer. Though the car is historically significant, the club is even more so, having been founded in Nuremberg in 1900. The ASC is co-founder and member of the vintage World Association Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA).
195/201
Displayed on the stand of the historic Allgemeiner Schnauferl Club (ASC) was this 1909 De Dion-Bouton Open Tourer. Though the car is historically significant, the club is even more so, having been founded in Nuremberg in 1900. The ASC is co-founder and member of the vintage World Association Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA).
On the Frank Dale & Stepsons stand was this 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 litre with coachwork by Vesters & Neirinck
196/201
On the Frank Dale & Stepsons stand was this 1937 Bentley 4 1/4 litre with coachwork by Vesters & Neirinck
On the Lukas Hüni stand, rather than display cars for sale, the focus was to show some of world’s most important automobiles from collections not normally accessible to the public, and one example was this 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S, one of a handful of S-type Mercedes with the Ferdinand Porsche chassis and with Art Déco coachwork by Saoutchik Paris. This particular car was originally owned by Robert Lee Slaughter Junior in New York and later was part of the famous Dieter Holterbosch Collection in Connecticut. It is painted in the original black and features the typical lizard skin interior for which the 680 S Saoutchik is famous. Of 18 cars originally built (12 S type and 6 SS type), only nine survive and are typically held within important collections.
197/201
On the Lukas Hüni stand, rather than display cars for sale, the focus was to show some of world’s most important automobiles from collections not normally accessible to the public, and one example was this 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680 S, one of a handful of S-type Mercedes with the Ferdinand Porsche chassis and with Art Déco coachwork by Saoutchik Paris. This particular car was originally owned by Robert Lee Slaughter Junior in New York and later was part of the famous Dieter Holterbosch Collection in Connecticut. It is painted in the original black and features the typical lizard skin interior for which the 680 S Saoutchik is famous. Of 18 cars originally built (12 S type and 6 SS type), only nine survive and are typically held within important collections.
Also on the Lukas Hüni stand was this 1936 Bentley 4 1/4 litre Vanden Plas Open Tourer built for Sir Malcom Campbell, nine times World Land Speed Record holder (and a few Water Speed records too).finished in his signature Bluebird Blue. Not for sale, but given the provenance and a full service history at P & A Wood since new, if it ever reaches auction ...
198/201
Also on the Lukas Hüni stand was this 1936 Bentley 4 1/4 litre Vanden Plas Open Tourer built for Sir Malcom Campbell, nine times World Land Speed Record holder (and a few Water Speed records too).finished in his signature Bluebird Blue. Not for sale, but given the provenance and a full service history at P & A Wood since new, if it ever reaches auction ...
One of the stands of particular interest at techno-Classica was the stand promoting the new book "Unser LeMans". Written by actor Siegfried Rauch, who was Steve McQueen's main rival in the epic "Le Mans" feature film. Despite being cast against each other in the film, the two became close friends and this book covers Le mans, McQueen and much more. An appropriate prop for the promotion was on display - the car in which McQueen enthrals the audience in the first few minutes of the film while taking a not-so-leisurely drive in the French countryside.
199/201
One of the stands of particular interest at techno-Classica was the stand promoting the new book "Unser LeMans". Written by actor Siegfried Rauch, who was Steve McQueen's main rival in the epic "Le Mans" feature film. Despite being cast against each other in the film, the two became close friends and this book covers Le mans, McQueen and much more. An appropriate prop for the promotion was on display - the car in which McQueen enthrals the audience in the first few minutes of the film while taking a not-so-leisurely drive in the French countryside.
Volkswagen continues to defy gravity with the prices of it's original Beetle and Kombi, so much so that we have a feature coming up on the mass-produced beauties and why they are defying the laws of supply and demand.
200/201
Volkswagen continues to defy gravity with the prices of it's original Beetle and Kombi, so much so that we have a feature coming up on the mass-produced beauties and why they are defying the laws of supply and demand.
The elite dealer network mentioned throughout this article is part of the brotherhood of automotive eccentrics as opposed to the "network" one might associate with a branded corporate entity. There are no guidelines for branding and corporate style. Everyone here is different. The common element is the shared passion for automotive experience.
201/201
The elite dealer network mentioned throughout this article is part of the brotherhood of automotive eccentrics as opposed to the "network" one might associate with a branded corporate entity. There are no guidelines for branding and corporate style. Everyone here is different. The common element is the shared passion for automotive experience.

The raw numbers touted in the Techno-Classica press releases told the story all along, but like one's first visit to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, you really don't understand the sheer magnitude of an industry until you go to its global "Mecca" and walk the show floor.

Techno-Classica Essen (Germany) is the largest event in the world dedicated to classic automobiles and like my first visit to CES in the 1980s, the show's gargantuan size was beyond my imagination had provided for and it turned out to be a totally different experience than I'd expected.

The breadth and depth of expertise across countless automotive fields on display in Essen augurs well for an industry that has sprung from nowhere in the last three decades and while its ultimate destiny is still unfolding, when viewed through the prism of this event, the future for the classic car industry appears bright. I guess that's why people use the word "experience" to describe very special events. This event is an experience in automotive passion, the sort of experience which makes you realize there's a global community that has formed around the altar of the automobile.

Just one section of the vast Volkswagen Hall with it's dream team of constituent marques.
Just one section of the vast Volkswagen Hall with it's dream team of constituent marques.

As I walked the 22 halls and passed 1250 exhibitors, I became aware of just how big that community has become.

The heart of a 1930 Bentley 6 and 1/2 litre Speed Six, plus one of it's many admirers. The asking price was EUR 2.0 million.
The heart of a 1930 Bentley 6 and 1/2 litre Speed Six, plus one of it's many admirers. The asking price was EUR 2.0 million.

Common wisdom has it that around two thirds of the global collector car market is conducted through private sales, prestige dealers and brokers, with the most visible and valuable third sold at auction. While walking the halls of Techno-Classica I made a mental note to try to put some solid numbers around that estimate because there's clearly a lot more activity outside the auction arena than in it. The press office for the event estimates around 2700 classic cars were for sale within the show this year, with previous years reporting a sell rate of slightly better than 40 percent. That means around 1100 classic cars were probably sold from the stands this year, maybe more considering the final attendance came in at a new record.

Hence this single event rivals in size the market activity of any of the major auction clusters at Retromobile (Paris), Pebble Beach, Amelia Island or Scottsdale.

I'd estimate that the percentage of classic cars sold at auction to less than 10 percent. Choose any country, look at the number of cars registered from each decade of manufacture, the number that change hands each year, and the number of auction sales reported and you'll never see more than a single digit percentage for auctions. Ah, you say, but at the top end of the market, auctions rule. Yes, they do constitute the majority of elite cars sold to a degree, but if there are 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs in existence, why have we only ever seen one at auction?

Techno-Classica is spread over such a large area that the crowd never seems that big. All these cars are for sale.
Techno-Classica is spread over such a large area that the crowd never seems that big. All these cars are for sale.

Retromobile in Paris is the world's second largest classic car event and it too is smashing attendance and display records year on year. In February this year it attracted 120,000 visitors, 500 exhibitors, 120 car clubs and filled 46,000 square feet of exhibition space with 500 classic cars on display - all of those figures were records for the event.

By comparison, Techno-Classica's attendance in 2016 was 201,034, there were 1250 exhibitors, 220 car clubs, and it covered 127,000 square meters of exhibits, with 2700 vintage cars for sale, along with a lot more on display. That's a big margin between first and second place, emphasizing just how big this show is.

It also emphasizes just how robust the dealer market is and why prices which have seen relentless growth for two decades are unlikely to deflate any time soon.

Now in it's 28th year, Techno-Classica Essen has spanned both peaks of the Classic car industry. The event was inaugurated in 1989 when the first classic car boom was at its peak.

The HAGI index measures the value of rare cars as an alternative asset class and uses the type of rigorous financial methodology usually associated with more traditional investments. The breadth of HAGI's research enables it to publish market indices on rare Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz cars and it now tracks the entire rare car market globally. This comparison between the the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the S&P 500 (Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index of the top 500 American companies based on their share valuation on the NYSE and NASDAQ) since 1980 perfectly illustrates the initial bubble, the Tulip Mania moment and the subsequent sustained growth in values.
The HAGI index measures the value of rare cars as an alternative asset class and uses the type of rigorous financial methodology usually associated with more traditional investments. The breadth of HAGI's research enables it to publish market indices on rare Porsche, Ferrari and Mercedes-Benz cars and it now tracks the entire rare car market globally. This comparison between the the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the S&P 500 (Standard & Poor's 500 stock market index of the top 500 American companies based on their share valuation on the NYSE and NASDAQ) since 1980 perfectly illustrates the initial bubble, the Tulip Mania moment and the subsequent sustained growth in values.

In the mid-1980s, cheap money became available and the resultant influx of "get-rich(er)-quick" speculators created a perfect storm in the oldtimer (a frequently used colloquial German word that needs no explanation) market and gave the industry its tulip mania moment in the early 1990s when prices halved. The classic car automotive industry has been fearful of another massive marketplace correction ever since.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said it best with "that which does not kill us, makes us stronger" and the subsequent decades of infrastructure development and the rise of the internet (and access to information for all) is very relevant in this instance. Techno-Classica Essen was first held in 1989, so when the supply of play money dried up and the classic car price bubble burst, the show was just getting started. It's survival and subsequent prosperity has not been fueled by the gold rush mentality of the 1980s as it is underpinned by an industry that has matured considerably since then, with the prices paid, extant numbers, and passionate subscribers to the automotive ethic providing a rock solid foundation for what has become a legitimate global industry, far more legitimate than the smoke-and-mirrors art market in my humble opinion. There is no greater proof of the solid foundations which now sustain the classic car marketplace than this event and the myriad facets of the classic car industry which it showcases.

A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from February, 2011 to the present.
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 major German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from February, 2011 to the present.

Research shows the enthusiast market is far more stable and resilient than fickle financial markets. As the above three charts so clearly illustrate, the market soldiered straight through the Global Financial Crisis (as the above graph which compares Historic Automobile Group's Top Index and Frankfurt's Deutsche Borse DAX indicates) and on to its current state of consistent growth.

Dieter Hatlapa founded the London-based Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI), an independent investment research house which began when a group of car enthusiasts from London's financial markets decided the rare car market needed some statistical rigor, and it set out to create benchmarks which accurately tracked collectable automobile prices. HAGI publishes a monthly index for investing in rare classic motorcars, which is the gold standard for wealth tracking calculations and the data supplied in the accompanying charts is supplied by HAGI. Indeed, investing in rare cars offers a better return than just about any other form of investment, despite the high upkeep costs.

"We've discovered that classic cars move independently of any other investment area, and that's a very attractive attribute for collectors and investors alike in this day and age," Dieter told me

A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 "blue chip" German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from December, 2008 to February, 2015.
A comparison of the HAGI Top Index (the most accurate measure of the rare collector's automobile market) and the DAX (German stock market index of 30 "blue chip" German companies trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange) from December, 2008 to February, 2015.

"Some people says the stockmarket is weak and that's one of the reasons cited for the current softness in the classic car market, but in all our data work back to 1980 we have looked for correlations with external events, and we haven't really come across any meaningful correlation that shows in times of economic downturn that this market does also. We found everything, we found phases of correlation, phases of no correlation and even phases of negative correlation.

"I am very reluctant to say that just because the stock market is down, people are not buying cars. All markets are the same in that people see a phenomena and in hindsight, people find all sorts of reasons for it, and it's just a really boring game. When I worked in the financial sector, we had all sorts of important people telling us why things had happened in the past but very few told us in advance and got it right. In most cases these reasons are just one possible explanation but not necessarily the right reason. At the moment, economic factors or big picture factors are not really an issue."

The tradition of Mercedes-Benz sports cars extends more than a century and goes right back into the histories of the two companies that came together (DMG and Benz & Cie). The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are the cars at top, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series
The tradition of Mercedes-Benz sports cars extends more than a century and goes right back into the histories of the two companies that came together (DMG and Benz & Cie). The most prominent collectibles from the company on the auction block are the cars at top, being the two variants of the 300 SL and the pre-WW2 500K/540K series

There's another big factor which doesn't seem to get much discussion and that was very evident at Retromobile. Across the acres of show space I saw more than 20 Mercedes 300 SL Gullwings and Roadsters for sale - at least a dozen on one stand, albeit the display of 300 SL specialist HK Engineering (bottom three images above). Cars such as this are regulars at auction, but not in these numbers. People don't realize that the elite dealers hold a huge stock of important cars and while it may be the auction market which drives up the high end prices, the dealer network doesn't have the same frictional losses and will act as a damper on any downward swings in the auction market.

By frictional losses, I refer to the approximate 25 percent costs involved with an auction sale - add sellers fees and buyers fees and the seller routinely loses 25-30 percent of the reported sell price. Then there's the additional costs of insurance and the cost of getting the car to the right auction, be it in London, Paris, New York or Monterey, and being prepared to double those transport costs if you don't get the price you want, because the car must then be brought home again. A handshake deal on a known product has much to commend it. A broker or dealer is likely to add a 10 percent premium to the price of a car, so if you're buying a million dollar car, that's a saving of $150,000 by comparison with the auction block.

The elite dealer network mentioned throughout this article is part of the brotherhood of automotive eccentrics as opposed to the "network" one might associate with a branded corporate entity. There are no guidelines for branding and corporate style. Everyone here is different. The common element is the shared passion for automotive experience.
The elite dealer network mentioned throughout this article is part of the brotherhood of automotive eccentrics as opposed to the "network" one might associate with a branded corporate entity. There are no guidelines for branding and corporate style. Everyone here is different. The common element is the shared passion for automotive experience.

Private sales are also a huge part of this marketplace because the networks of friendships which develop in this fraternity ("tribal group" might be an equally appropriate description) often mean that when it's time to move it on, you have a friend or two willing and able to take it off your hands. They know the car, love it as much as you do, and it sort of "stays in the family". You know it's gone to someone who will appreciate it as much as you do and you'll still get to see it and maybe drive it from time to time. The savings on a million dollar car can add up to $250,000 if you sell it to a mate by comparison to taking it to auction and a big chunk of the the market clearly knows that.

Auction prices are illustrative of what happens in the marketplace but they are only an indication. I spoke at length with Rob Johnson, the MD of Classic and Sports Finance (which underwrites many of these deals) and when the auction market "took a breather" in Scottsdale, Paris, Stuttgart and Amelia Island earlier this year, Rob reported that nothing much had changed in the dealer network in the way of volumes or prices. While the data set for a finance company is smaller than the entire auction market, the point of difference is that they see the real invoices, not just the reported sale price from the dealer. It's an insight into the marketplace which few individuals are afforded, and one I value access to.

The classic car dealer network and the auction market work synergistically, and the result is a stable marketplace and it all adds up to a recently anointed viable alternative asset class. The team at Classic and Sports Finance also believes the auction market accounts for a much smaller percentage than the oft-quoted 30 percent.

The rise and rise of Techno-Classica

This year, Techno-Classica finally filled the entire exhibition space of Messe Essen, the enormous 22 hall exhibition center which houses many of Northern Europe's largest expo events.

The throughfares between the halls were great fun. Beer stalls, good German nosh, good nature all round ... much merriment.
The throughfares between the halls were great fun. Beer stalls, good German nosh, good nature all round ... much merriment.

Germany gave birth to both the automobile and the automotive industry, and the legacy of Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, Nikolaus Otto, August Horch, Ferdinand Porsche, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, et al. is that it has imbued the population with a strong affinity with and commitment to craftsmanship and automotive excellence. German automotive marques have won more European Car of the Year, International Car of the Year and World Car of the Year awards than any other country. Germany's love of the automobile is more than skin deep. It goes to the very heart of the population.

Techno-Classica is the classic car industry "Mecca" event because it has been built on the devotion of the world's strongest automotive enthusiast market, giving it vast reserves of "grass roots" resilience. Statistics compiled by the Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion (Oldtimer Study 2015/2016) show that the percentage of German drivers who would like to own a classic automobile grew from 17 percent in 2013 to 27 percent in 2015. The detailed survey is regularly held and the most recent poll shows that 37 percent of German drivers below the age of 30 would like to have their own vintage car. This percentage drops ever-so-slightly with age, with 32 percent for drivers 30–44 years, 28 percent for drivers 45–59 years and 17 percent for drivers 60 years and older. It should be pointed out that until the baby boomers came along, 60 years of age was considered positively geriatric. Now one in six German sexagenarians wants a matching oldtimer car and the nature of the clothing being sold at Techno-Clasica indicates they're driving them too. Some markets, where the interest in classic cars is more akin to stamp collecting, see very few miles added to the odometer each year.

A bare Porsche 911 body shell took pride of place in the Porsche Classic section
A bare Porsche 911 body shell took pride of place in the Porsche Classic section

It's no secret that wealth accumulates with age, and the latter segments of monied "empty nester" drivers were predominant amongst the crowd at Techno-Classica, particularly so on the initial "happy viewing day" where you can pay twice as much to get first crack at the goodies on offer in an uncluttered environment. It's a technique other motor shows might consider too, as it sorts the buyers from the tire-kickers better than any other methodology I have witnessed and reduces the clutter so media professionals can get the job done.

Food at Techno-Classica is not your standard show food - numerous upmarket restaurants are set up across the show space, many of them right next to the displays, all serving food and wine of a quality not normally associated with a 200,000 crowd.
Food at Techno-Classica is not your standard show food - numerous upmarket restaurants are set up across the show space, many of them right next to the displays, all serving food and wine of a quality not normally associated with a 200,000 crowd.

From the behavior and dress of this first day clientele, it was quite clear they were not the traditional car show audience either. Never before at a European car show has my camera been shown so much courtesy. In a major thoroughfare at one stage, I looked up from the viewfinder to find I'd stopped the foot traffic entirely. I was attempting to photographically capture the blurred motion of the crowd past the stands, but the crowd stopped whenever I aimed my camera as they were politely waiting for me to finish my photograph. This is the polar opposite of my experience over countless visits to motor shows the world over, and Germany's primary automotive industry event, the Frankfurt Motor Show, in particular. At Frankfurt, I feel like paparazzi, shouldering a rugby pack aside to get each shot. In Essen, I felt like I was waving a magic wand, such was the courtesy and respect of the crowd.

This Arte in Motion's coffee table was based on a seven-cylinder Jacobs aircraft motor. You can also buy coffee tables based on Continental, Lycoming or Pratt & Whitney motors - all coming in around EUR18,000 apiece.
This Arte in Motion's coffee table was based on a seven-cylinder Jacobs aircraft motor. You can also buy coffee tables based on Continental, Lycoming or Pratt & Whitney motors - all coming in around EUR18,000 apiece.

The 200,000 strong army of patrons at Techno-Classica is a very different crowd to the masses that attend a normal motor show and walk heedlessly, sometimes knowingly, in front of the camera, even on the press day. The camaraderie, gentlemanly demeanor and respect for fellow patrons is more akin to the experience of a motorcycle get-together than a mainstream car show, and the quality of the exhibits at Techno-Classica leave little doubt as to the financial wherewithal of the audience. They may not wear salmon trousers and speak with a faux British accent, but manufacturers selling €20,000 coffee tables (like the one above) and desks and bars made from aircraft wings, expensive period clothing and elite period automobilia do not come back year on year if it's not a viable exercise. I finished "happy viewing day" with a wide grin and a feeling of zen I have never experienced photographing a car show before.

More beautiful auto things
More beautiful auto things

This is a parts-and knowledge-sourcing event for a large and growing global enthusiast market. On the first afternoon of the show I witnessed a gentleman in couturier clothing crawling under the front end of an obscure classic car with a Leica pocket camera. I observed him for some time, wondering if he was an artist of some sort. It turned out he was capturing the exact detail he needed to recreate in his own restoration project from a car that had already been impeccably restored. As the show wore on, I saw similar curious sites many times. That is, people who looked like the Chairman of the Board, doing somewhat undignified things, in the name of their automotive passion.

As any market researcher will tell you, what people say they do/think and what they actually do/think are not necessarily the same thing. Germany is in complete congruence when it comes to matters automotive.

There are more than 250 automotive museums in Germany - more than any other country in the world. It has more than 7000 drive-in camping grounds – waaay more than any country with just 80 million people should have. It gave the world its first high speed road network, the world's best known driver's circuit (the lap time for the Nurburgring (AKA "the Green Hell") is to this day the recognized yardstick of a car's all-round performance) and it has more enthusiast car clubs than any country regardless of size. There are more than 1,000 clubs, associations and "communities of interest" dedicated just to classic and vintage cars in Germany.

More than 220 classic clubs turned up this year to display their enthusiasm and enrol new members and the levels of enthusiasm was contagious - car clubs are part of the social fabric of German society and it only takes a quick glance at these images to see the camaraderie involved.
More than 220 classic clubs turned up this year to display their enthusiasm and enrol new members and the levels of enthusiasm was contagious - car clubs are part of the social fabric of German society and it only takes a quick glance at these images to see the camaraderie involved.

Any marque-specialist club in Germany is invariably much bigger than the corresponding club in the native country of the respective brand. More than 220 classic clubs turned up this year to display their enthusiasm and enroll new members and the levels of enthusiasm was contagious - car clubs are part of the social fabric of German society and it only takes a quick glance at these images to see the camaraderie and passion involved.

The clubs contest the "Techno-Classica Club Grand Prix" for the best booth presentation and competition was fierce with the winning stand taken out by the Fiat 500 club, which created a model kit car theme for the stand. Just how many hours were involved in choreographing this grand schema is almost beyond imagination.
The clubs contest the "Techno-Classica Club Grand Prix" for the best booth presentation and competition was fierce with the winning stand taken out by the Fiat 500 club, which created a model kit car theme for the stand. Just how many hours were involved in choreographing this grand schema is almost beyond imagination.

The clubs contest the "Techno-Classica Club Grand Prix" for the best booth presentation and competition was fierce with the winning stand taken out by the Fiat 500 club, which created a model kit car theme for the stand. Just how many hours were involved in choreographing this ambitious schema is almost beyond imagination. Finally, the Techno-Classica gathering of German classic car clubs is the largest automotive club gathering of any form in the world. QED!

While on the kit car theme, the rebranded Jaguar Classic took a similar approach with a serious budget and the result was equally as enthralling. Series I and II E-Type Jaguars in particular were fraught with quality control issues in their day. It is very likely that restored E-Types from Jaguar Classic are a cut above anything produced by the factory in period. A sign on the wall read thus: "To create a true rendition worthy of the E-Type's legacy, Jaguar laser-scanned every panel from an original series-1 – ensuring perfect alignment."

Germany adores its automobiles, motorcycles, indeed anything with an internal-combustion-engine pulse. The show's official subtitle ("World Show for Vintage, Classic & Prestige Automobiles, Motor Sport, Motorcycles, Spare Parts and Restoration and World Club Meeting") is not the fanciful musing of a copywriter, but an accurate reflection of what happens at Messe Essen every April. If you're looking for anything for a classic car of almost any description, you'll find it here if it exists.

Anything? Yes, pretty close to anything if it is related to automotive pursuit. One of the dilemmas faced by someone who has restored an oldtimer is procuring a period-appropriate entertainment device for the dashboard. Slotting the latest digital sound system into a 1950s classic is decidedly gauche, so as more post-war cars are returned to new condition, there's now a thriving business sourcing, restoring and selling appropriate second hand period car radios and sound systems. One car radio dealer I spoke with had sold his entire stock by the second morning of the show - another reason to pay the extra freight for "happy viewing day".

Part of the fun of restoring a car is getting it as close as possible by hunting down the correct key and fob, switch, knob, door handle, badge, carpet and seat material, tool kit, fuel line, rubber trim, ad infinitum, or replacing items that have perished to the point of detracting from your masterpiece with exactly the right patina.
Part of the fun of restoring a car is getting it as close as possible by hunting down the correct key and fob, switch, knob, door handle, badge, carpet and seat material, tool kit, fuel line, rubber trim, ad infinitum, or replacing items that have perished to the point of detracting from your masterpiece with exactly the right patina.

Anyone who has ever undertaken a restoration project will agree it is akin to raising a child, with similar unforeseen pitfalls and the need for an all-consuming unrelenting dedication, only a restoration is crammed into a much shorter time frame. The biggest difference is that in restoring a car, perfection of methodology is within reach and part of the fun is getting it as close as possible by hunting down the correct key and fob, switch, knob, door handle, badge, carpet and seat material, tool kit, fuel line, rubber trim, hose coupling, ad infinitum, or replacing items that have perished to the point of detracting from your masterpiece with substitutes of exactly the right patina. The above is just a selection of the pics in the image library for this article - I can't think of anything that isn't available for the restorer at Techno-Classica, and if you can't find it, you'll find someone who will find it for you given a bit of time.

Every stand was worth exploring
Every stand was worth exploring

Sourcing these items for cars produced 50 years ago is difficult, but with each decade of age you add to a car's date of manufacture, an inverse square law applies to the ease of procurement. Try finding the right headlamp or speedometer for a car born at the turn of the century and you really understand the problems faced by archeologists.

Many of those acres of stands in Techno-Classica are filled with specialist suppliers of all of the above, plus much much more. The photographic library contains many images of stands with specialist suppliers dedicated to parts many would consider insignificant - unless they have attempted to repaint an automotive masterpiece.

A Bugatti T35 in the Volkswagen Hall
A Bugatti T35 in the Volkswagen Hall

All the big manufacturers with a commitment to the classic marketplace were there. Volkswagen came out swinging after the 2015 emissions scandal, intent on ensuring its dream team of historic marques would be seen in context by this influential core audience. In any population there are "key influencers," people whose knowledge on certain matters is so great that they become logical enquiry points for advice on those matters in that population, The importance of influencing the key influencers is a strategy well understood by modern marketers.

A Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet from 1936. August Horch founded the company that would become Audi. If history had run a slightly different course, Audi would be named Horch but regardless, he remains one of the towering figures in automotive history and you only need to look at some of the cars built in his name to understand why.
A Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet from 1936. August Horch founded the company that would become Audi. If history had run a slightly different course, Audi would be named Horch but regardless, he remains one of the towering figures in automotive history and you only need to look at some of the cars built in his name to understand why.

By grouping together Auto Union, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, DKW, Horch, Lamborghini, NSU, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda, Volkswagen and Wanderer, the VW stable filled an entire hall. From contrasting a Type 35 Bugatti (above) with the very latest W16-engined projectiles, through to undressing a Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and its fire-breathing motor next to one it had just restored, the company's brand custodianship could not be faulted.

A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and its glorious motor
A bare metal Lamborghini P400 Miura SV and its glorious motor

It wasn't all "same stuff, different show" either. Audi showed something that hasn't been seen anywhere before (to my knowledge) in the form of an 1100 cc prototype motorcycle dubbed the Z02 from 1976. The top dog at that time was the Kawasaki Z1, so there's little doubt what their target was. Roland Gumpert is best known these days for his own supercar brand, but he was then fresh out of engineering school and headed the project to create a superbike for the marque using a highly-modified liquid-cooled engine from the Audi 50 as the heart.

Audi showed something that hasn't been seen anywhere before (to my knowledge) in the form of an 1100 cc prototype motorcycle dubbed the Z02 from 1976.
Audi showed something that hasn't been seen anywhere before (to my knowledge) in the form of an 1100 cc prototype motorcycle dubbed the Z02 from 1976.

The project got canned but had it been accepted, it might well have rebirthed the company's motorcycle heritage forty years before it snapped up Ducati. For those unfamiliar with the origins of the four rings in the Audi logo, two of them represent companies which absorbed other companies with wonderful motorcycle heritages. One was DKW, a motorcycle manufacturer of great pre-war significance. DKW stands for Dampf-Kraft-Wagen, which is German for "steam-driven car" - little wonder they abbreviated the name when the motorcycle division was a runaway success and became the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer in the 1920s and 1930s.

The other was NSU which stood for "Mechanische Werkstätte zur Herstellung von Strickmaschinen" ("Mechanical workshop for the manufacture of knitting machines") and had been founded in 1873. Clearly, changing the name of both companies was a good idea, but NSU also went on to become the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer in the 1950s and "Mike the bike" Hailwood had his first racetrack success on an NSU. Indeed, an NSU was the first motorcycle past the 200 mph mark at Bonneville in 1956.

Ducati was one of the prominent brands in the Volkswagen hall, though as the marriage is a new one, none of the brand's spectacular race winning bikes were on display. Like many of the other Volkswagen marques, all of Ducati's older models are proving to be equally spectacular on the auction block.
Ducati was one of the prominent brands in the Volkswagen hall, though as the marriage is a new one, none of the brand's spectacular race winning bikes were on display. Like many of the other Volkswagen marques, all of Ducati's older models are proving to be equally spectacular on the auction block.

With a name like Ducati in the portfolio, Volkswagen obviously feels it has it's two wheeled bets more than adequately covered, but with two names of such historic significance at its disposal, should the need ever arise for a smaller displacement motorcycle, maybe ... I'm a romantic at heart. That's a DKW 250 two-stroke single cylinder racer from 1930 below. The subsequent "supercharged" twin piston DKW 250 gave us an inkling of what the two-stroke racers could do to four-strokes when German engineers Adolf Schnürle and Walter Kaaden figured out what was really happening with gas flows inside the simple motor and exhaust system. When metallurgy finally caught up to their ideas, horsepower quadrupled. But that's a different story.

A DKW 250 two-stroke single cylinder racer from 1930
A DKW 250 two-stroke single cylinder racer from 1930

Getting back to the Audi Z02, if the running gear looks familiar, the frame, wheels, brakes and even the fairing are all borrowed from another well-known motorcycle of the period – BMW's R90S. There are plenty more images of this machine in the image library.

Beyond Volkswagen, amongst those 22 halls were official displays from Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Bitter, BMW, Citroën, Ferrari, Fiat, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Opel (GM), Peugeot, Rolls-Royce and Volvo. Despite many of those brands being indelibly associated with a national motoring heritage and now owned by companies in different countries, the commitment has far from waned, and from this year's show, it is demonstrably growing. There are many images of the official displays and the cars for sale with prices in the image library. For now, we'll continue with the stuff you may not have seen before.

Land Rover Classic's 'Reborn' Initiative

One of the landmark media notifications at Techno-Classica was Land Rover Classic's announcement that it is restoring 25 Series I models to original 1948 factory specification and the cars are to be sold to the public. The show car (above) began life as a CKD (Knock Down Vehicle) despatched as a kit from Solihull and assembled locally for the Australian market. It was sold new to a farm in Queensland, Australia, (where farms are the size of small countries) and based on its experience with this car the Pentland property eventually grew its own fleet of a dozen Land Rovers. Despite a close inspection of the vehicle, I found it impossible to distinguish it from new. Check out the photo gallery for a close look at the paint. Indeed, I'm quite sure it's better now than it was when new.

Launched at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1948, the rugged and reliable go-anywhere Land Rover has been deeply loved by its customers and has drawn a loyal following amongst those who rely on it for transport in hostile terrain, most notably the British Special Air Service (SAS) which adopted it as the vehicle of choice for it's mission-critical tasks from the early fifties. Getting the job done in the harshest environments imaginable has been the key point of difference for the marque, and an albeit small initial production of 25 refurbished cars augurs well for the future of this marketplace. One statistic quoted by the company that "says it all", is that three-quarters of the two million Defenders built over two thirds of a century are still in regular use.

Though production of the Defender recently ceased, there's a replacement in the works and what appears to be a ready-made business refurbishing them to new. Formerly this aspect of the enterprise surrounding the classic models of both iconic British brands was known as Jaguar Land Rover Heritage but has now been rebranded as Jaguar Land Rover Classic, and the writing is already on the wall that refurbished cars from both brands will be much better than the originals.

Every era, every style,
Every era, every style,

Looking the part

The automotive heritage of the European marketplace and the population's penchant for both couture and comfort has seen many motoring fashions over the last hundred plus years, and each period has its hallmark elements of style.

Motoring head wear
Motoring head wear

The halls of Techno-Classica contained them all, with dozens of couturiers crafting exquisite garments and every element required to play the role perfectly in-period, regardless of what year your car was born.

Hats, jackets and boots, and everything in between
Hats, jackets and boots, and everything in between

It was this aspect of Techno-Classica that best illustrated the resonance of the European community with the automobile and its role in society. It simply isn't possible for so many automotive couturiers to exist without the patronage of a large and wealthy audience. If the exchange rate between the greenback and the euro holds for twelve months, American enthusiasts should consider making the trip to Essen next year as there is a plethora of automobilia on sale there which isn't readily available in the States.

Automotive clothing of every description and price range
Automotive clothing of every description and price range

In addition to the stylish in-period clothing, costumiers of racetrack fashion were also in abundance, and the stylish jackets, shirts and caps of every race team of the last few decades are also available, regardless of the genre - fashion showing allegiance to every WRC, WEC and F1 team was available at a price, from the subtle and stylish, to the most flamboyant.

Jackets of every persuasion
Jackets of every persuasion

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of all of the clothing available at Techno-Classica is the array of overalls on offer. It's part of the job description of professional race teams to look good at all times, but in the real world of club and classic racing, that's somewhat harder to achieve when you're elbow deep and racing the clock to get the damned thing going for the next event. Salvation is at hand, because amongst the outlier suppliers were stands with every team mechanic uniform ever seen inside Parc fermé. Look closely at the image below and you'll see the uniforms of dozens of teams, many long since extinct. If you're going period racing in style, you can get what you need here.

Jackets and overalls - couturier and proletarian
Jackets and overalls - couturier and proletarian

Decorating the office, den or man-cave

This is another aspect of Techno-Classica that I know will thrill my fellow neanderthals. Some of the previously mentioned furniture, objets d'art and mechanical curiosity available at Techno-Classica are as good as it gets, regardless of your taste, and the following samples are all available in hi-res in the image gallery.

Beautiful artifacts, and not just automobilia, of every type were on display
Beautiful artifacts, and not just automobilia, of every type were on display

From a genuine Ferrari race suit worn by Michael Schumacher or Eddie Irvine, through jet fighter ejection seats, Concorde models, vintage fuel pumps or Dalek sculptures, it's all available.

A Porsche-themed coffee table - probably 180 kW in its heyday
A Porsche-themed coffee table - probably 180 kW in its heyday

That's a Porsche racing motor fashioned into a coffee table with the hardened glass supported on six venturis

Americana everything from the fifties and beyond
Americana everything from the fifties and beyond

Juke boxes, beer coolers, brolly dolly uniforms ... Americana everything, from any period.

Arte in motion furniture
Arte in motion furniture

Portable garden furniture - perhaps not entirely automotive themed, but an indication of the audience profile.

Wall hangings ...
Wall hangings ...

Wall hangings for the creation of an automotive theme were available in abundance.

Models of almost every car ever made
Models of almost every car ever made

I counted more than a dozen stands that just specialized in models cars. If it's been made, it's here.

The older the object, even with mundane things, the more comely it became
The older the object, even with mundane things, the more comely it became

Some of the automotive objets d'art from a century ago were absolutely beautiful.

The winning car and team at top left with the car's designer Rudy Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson and Stirling Moss in the centre of it all.
The winning car and team at top left with the car's designer Rudy Uhlenhaut, Denis Jenkinson and Stirling Moss in the centre of it all.

The Special Presentation - the 1955 Mille Miglia

Each year the organizing body responsible for this bohemoth show (S.I.H.A.) does something beyond special - the special exhibit this year was to draw together seven of the leading cars from the legendary 1955 Mille Miglia.

Two of the cars which competed in the 1955 Mille Miglia, then and now. A Mercedes 300 SLR which needs no introduction, and a Porsche 550 Spyder, one of around 100 built with Wendler bodywork. The 550 had just 1500cc of boxer four engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.
Two of the cars which competed in the 1955 Mille Miglia, then and now. A Mercedes 300 SLR which needs no introduction, and a Porsche 550 Spyder, one of around 100 built with Wendler bodywork. The 550 had just 1500cc of boxer four engine, produced around 110 bhp weighs just 550 kg. Six of these left the start line in 1955 and three of them finished in the placings of their class, with one eighth outright.

The Mille Miglia (1000 miles) race was actually held over a 992.332 mile (1597 km) course made up entirely of public roads and consisting of a round trip between Brescia and Rome, with the start and finish in Brescia.

The 1955 event is one of legend as it was won by Stirling Moss, with navigator (automotive journalist and 1949 World Motorcycle Sidecar Champion) Denis Jenkinson famously witnessing what must have been one of the most thrilling voyeur experiences in history from the passenger seat - the fastest ever Mille Miglia before several tragic accidents, most famously the death of the larger-than-life Marquis Alfonso de Portago (see halfway down this article for some of his outrageous history), saw the demise of the event on safety grounds. Moss (with Jenkinson calling the corners) drove the 992-mile distance in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds at an average speed of 99 mph (160 km/h), finishing 32 minutes ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio, both driving the equally legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. To be fair to Fangio, he drove alone, without the ability to get into thousands of blind corners on the absolute limit thanks to Jenkinson shouting instructions from his meticulous notes.

The presentation at Techno-Classica drew together the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR driven by Fangio (with the start number 658 representing his start time of 6:58 AM) which was on loan from the Mercedes-Benz Museum.

Only 31 Ferrari 750 Monzas were built in 1954 and 1955 and they achieved 55 significant race wins in the ensuing years.
Only 31 Ferrari 750 Monzas were built in 1954 and 1955 and they achieved 55 significant race wins in the ensuing years.

The other cars beyond the futuristic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (which, at that time, was considered proof that aliens had landed and were using their superior technology to go racing) that made their way into the beautifully curated Mille Miglia display were a Ferrari 750 Monza, a Fiat 8V Zagato and a Fiat 8V, a Maserati 300 S, a Maserati A6GCS, an Osca MT4 1500, an Osca MT4 1100 and a Porsche 550 Spyder. They're all detailed in the image gallery.

Pursang - Argentinian Artisans par excellence

Pursang is a small company located in Paraná Entre Rios, about 450 km from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Essentially, if you want a car produced that was made pre-WW2, they can do it. F'rinstance, a brand new, atom-perfect Type 35 Bugatti or Alfa 8C Monza, they are the go-to guys.
Pursang is a small company located in Paraná Entre Rios, about 450 km from Buenos Aires in Argentina. Essentially, if you want a car produced that was made pre-WW2, they can do it. F'rinstance, a brand new, atom-perfect Type 35 Bugatti or Alfa 8C Monza, they are the go-to guys.

The stories within this show are so many that it isn't possible to give it adequate coverage in a single article, but there are several worth telling and tucked away in the back blocks, I found a company I've been aware of for a long time, but wondered if I would ever meet them. Pursang is a small company located in Paraná Entre Rios, about 450 km from Buenos Aires in Argentina. The work they do is astonishing and it's difficult to describe without a superlative festival. Essentially, if you want a period race car produced, they can do it. F'rinstance, should you desire a brand new, atom-perfect Type 35 Bugatti or Alfa 8C Monza, they are the go-to guys

Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica
Pursang's Bugatti T35 replica

The conversation I had with them was brief, concise, language-challenged and showed the company's enormous and completely unfounded humility. "We are a small company", I was told, "so we cannot take on many projects each year." There's probably not much they cannot do, but it will be expensive and it will be to your satisfaction.

The type of job they routinely get tasked with? Let's say you've just spent a couple of million on a period race car of significant provenance and desperately want to race it, but it's too valuable to race with a clear conscience because it should be in a museum. Well you can take it to them and they'll replicate it – perfectly! Then you can get crazy in the replica while the real one stays warm and safe in your climate-controlled garage.

Sports Car Digest's Rick Carey has actually undertaken the pilgrimage and his report will help you understand: "They just get down to the job at hand and translate concepts into physical entities, much of it by hand. It seems to be part of the Argentine character. Forced to be self-sufficient by a dysfunctional economy and import restrictions that make acquiring even the simplest components from outside the country almost impossible, what they can't buy they make, in an astounding profusion."

London's Chater's was just one of several major automotive booksellers at the show
London's Chater's was just one of several major automotive booksellers at the show

Books, big and small

If there's a book you're looking for, if it exists, you'll most likely find it here. Most of the major automotive booksellers can be found here, regardless of their country of origin. Those who follow the auction prices will already be aware of the bible of the industry, the Classic Car Auction Yearbook, which has been produced annually since 1994. Copies of the early years are now becoming exceedingly rare and a complete set is worth a king's ransom, but as the classic car marketplace grows, competitors are emerging, with one popping up this year in German. It's kinda ironic really, because the beautiful auction annual which is still produced by Adolfo Orsi and Raffaele Gazzi in English was originally published only in Italian as "Catalogo Bolaffi delle Automobili Italiane da Collezione."

Auktionsspiegel is a new publication based on European data from Germany's industry-dedicated Classic Data, a company which produces a goldmine of information about the industry in general and will mine that data for any vehicle you might wish to purchase, producing a personalized report.
Auktionsspiegel is a new publication based on European data from Germany's industry-dedicated Classic Data, a company which produces a goldmine of information about the industry in general and will mine that data for any vehicle you might wish to purchase, producing a personalized report.

Auktionsspiegel is a new publication based on European data from Germany's industry-dedicated Classic Data, a company which produces a goldmine of information about the industry in general and will mine that data for any vehicle you might wish to purchase, producing a personalized report. Auktionsspiegel goes deeper into the data than the global Classic Car Auction Yearbook, with high bid pricing and more auctions covered, albeit for a smaller geographic footprint. The second annual is due out later this year and just as the "Catalogo Bolaffi delle Automobili Italiane da Collezione" annuals can be mastered with a few dozen words of Italian, "Auktionsspiegel" offers lots of accessible and useful data once you've "Google translated" those same words from German.

The Official Formula 1 Opus is a book of 852 pages, half a meter square, weighing 37 kilograms. It is the biggest book on Formula One racing ever produced, lovingly hand-bound in the finest leather and silk, and will make any coffee table look good. There are a two editions, with the "Champions Edition" limited to 100 copies and personally signed by every living F1 champion. You could buy both editions at Techno-Classica, with the "Champions Edition" normally retailing for €25,000 at a special show rate of €18,750 and the "Classic Edition" which normally goes for €3,750, available for €2,950.
The Official Formula 1 Opus is a book of 852 pages, half a meter square, weighing 37 kilograms. It is the biggest book on Formula One racing ever produced, lovingly hand-bound in the finest leather and silk, and will make any coffee table look good. There are a two editions, with the "Champions Edition" limited to 100 copies and personally signed by every living F1 champion. You could buy both editions at Techno-Classica, with the "Champions Edition" normally retailing for €25,000 at a special show rate of €18,750 and the "Classic Edition" which normally goes for €3,750, available for €2,950.

When it comes to really big books, you have James John Audubon's "Birds of America" for those who are allergic to petroleum, and the Official Formula 1 Opus for those who are addicted to it. At half a meter square, it constitutes 852 pages and weighs 37 kilograms, slightly less if you opt for the "Champions Edition" in it's carbon fiber presentation box (lined with Alcantara).

It is the biggest book on Formula One racing ever produced, lovingly hand-bound in the finest leather and silk, and will make any coffee table look good. There are a two editions, with the "Champions Edition" limited to 100 copies and personally signed by every living F1 champion. You could buy both editions at Techno-Classica, with the "Champions Edition" normally retailing for €25,000 at a special show rate of €18,750 and the "Classic Edition" which normally goes for €3,750, available for €2,950.

Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world

Disruptive technology comes to the Classic Car Marketplace

In 16 years of working at Gizmag, I've witnessed many disruptive technologies, but few that gladden my heart like this one. Techno-Classica saw the introduction of a new service which seems certain to take a lot of the uncertainty out of one of mankind's most beloved hobbies and cause lots of headaches for many elements within the industry.

Carl Messtechnik has been offering optical and infrared thermographic testing services to the European aerospace industry since 1999. More recently, it has developed Active Thermography testing systems for aircraft. The biggest advantage of this type of system is that it is accurate, all-seeing, non-destructive and contact-free, and it means that important structural parts of aircraft in service can be checked to ensure that everything is in perfect working order, and failure is not imminent as the loss of human life can result from any lack of structural integrity in an aircraft.

The ongoing development and research of active thermography has seen the system adapted for other uses and one of them is that it can be used to look underneath the paint of automobiles to examine not so much the structural integrity of body, but the thickness of metal, paint and other body parts, regardless of what they are made of, and can accurately detect the use of body filler and other repair work hidden by the aforementioned shiny paint.

Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery

Working in conjunction with GTÜ (Gesellschaft für Technische Überwachung) it has developed a portable system for using active thermography for looking under the paint of automobiles which means that the system can be taken to the automobile in the field and tests performed as a turn-key franchisable service.

Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.
Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.

Under the skin, this Porsche can be seen to have had a significant accident on the left side that has been repaired with a new door and a lot of filler used in the rear left quarter panel and door surround. The coming availability of active IR systems will mean this type of repair work will no longer be undisclosed to a buyer.

Think of it as an automotive ultrasound for your potential new baby (classic or expensive prestige car), where you can see underneath the skin and identify all the things that might not be as they should. That is, things a repairer may have done to disguise the use of body filler and previous accidents (which may or may not have been disclosed to the potential purchaser) … all the way through to some of the less desirable cut-and-shut techniques. You can see it all, and knowledge is power, particularly if a sizeable financial transaction is just about to take place.

The Classic Car Check system is already being franchised to service providers across Germany and Switzerland who in turn are offering the service to car buyers and sellers, insurance companies, dealers et al.

Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery
Classic Car Check has already begun offering it's new service in Germany and Switzerland - the roll-out is intended for every country in the world and involves the portable unit sitting next to the car and custom software to read and display the imagery

One quote from my language-challenged discussion with Classic-Car-Check's Michael Veith that stands out was when I asked him "who is adopting the system ... buyers, dealers, insurance companies?" He said, "insurance companies love this technology ... dealers, maybe not so much" and laughed heartily.

Most importantly for all those in the industry who don't live in Switzerland or Germany, the opportunity now exists to be trained, equipped and to also offer the Classic Car Check service internationally.

This technology will almost certainly revolutionize the classic car industry because if you're just about to spend between $100,000 and $30,000,000 on a car, the peace of mind of having your intended purchase thermally x-rayed (that's not exactly the technology as different wavelengths are used to obtain the internal imagery, not x-rays, but I'm sure you get the picture) so you know exactly what you are buying.

As we all know, many corners can be cut in repairing a car and a paint job can disguise a multitude of sins, which henceforth will not be undetectable due to the coming widespread availability of this technology.

In a world where caveat emptor is a guiding principle of contract law, I can't see any options but for the immediate widespread adoption of this technology, especially if you're spending six figures on a car and you want to get what you pay for.

Significant repairs are evident in the door and the rear of the front left quarter panel of this Porsche
Significant repairs are evident in the door and the rear of the front left quarter panel of this Porsche

The cost of having this service performed on-site by Classic Car Check is about €400 (US$450) and it looks to me like a disruptive technology that will change the fabric of the industry henceforth.

While writing this article, I had the good fortune to begin an email conversation with Volker Carl, the person who developed the system, and several new capabilities and insights came to light. The first is that because active thermography works with any material, it can see things that couldn't be seen before. One example is its ability to examine the structural integrity of carbon fibre racing bike frames.

Volker Carl developed the car check system, and as active thermography works with any material, it can also be used to examine the structural integrity of carbon fibre racing bike frames. Now it has been developed into a new company offering frame checks for people with carbon frame bikes.
Volker Carl developed the car check system, and as active thermography works with any material, it can also be used to examine the structural integrity of carbon fibre racing bike frames. Now it has been developed into a new company offering frame checks for people with carbon frame bikes.

Volker wrote: "We are the only company in the world offering frame checks for people with carbon frame bikes. After an accident, nobody knows what might be wrong inside of a carbon structure. We use a similar technique to find the problems. Take a look at carbon-bike-check.com (sorry - it's only in German at this stage)."

A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - ooooh dear
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - ooooh dear

The other insight offered by Volker had already been alluded to in my discussions with Michael Veith who had even provided an image (directly above) to validate his comments: that many manufacturers have taken unreasonable liberties on the production line in the name of expediency in days gone by and the quality of workmanship ex-factory isn't always what you'd expect. Porsche 356s in particular were mentioned and Volker's email contained the following gem: "Maybe you can add this image to the last one. It shows an original Porsche with standard tinning." The image is directly below.

A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - not what you'd expect
A Porsche 356 with original ex-factory tinning - not what you'd expect

This new technology also has the potential to cause problems for many of the links in the new vehicle supply chain even today. In discussion with another well-known automotive journalist in the press room at Techno-Classica, we were kicking around what the ramifications of this technology might be for different aspects of the industry. The journalist in question, who shall remain nameless because he once held a position of consequence inside a major automotive manufacturer, offered up the insight that the percentage of ex-factory cars requiring remedial work at the dealer level before they were delivered to the customer was ... wait for it ... 12 percent. It was a global car company and you would recognize the name in an instant. We don't expect the numbers to be much less at other manufacturers ... but we might be wrong. Maybe. With new levels of accountability, which this technology will demand, we expect some interesting developments on many levels.

Distributors and partners are being sought globally and enquiries should be directed to Michael Veith here.

What's more, if the baby boomer generation continues to get its way, companies with a long and storied heritage (Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Bentley, Ferrari, Audi, Alfa Romeo, Rolls-Royce, Maserati etc.) may be making a sizeable percentage of their income renewing their older wares a decade from now.

In closing, I am embarrassed I haven't been to Techno-Classica before, because it is the finest testimony to the essence of this shared passion that I have witnessed. Henceforth, Techno-Classica will be a permanent fixture on my annual schedule, and if automotive heritage is close to your heart, might I suggest you also make the trip and experience it for yourself. Essen is a safe, welcoming environment, public transport makes getting around easy, the show is run impeccably well, the food is fantastic, and what happens inside those walls will positively enrich your hobby in many ways. One word of warning: walk a lot in the preceding months. Maybe a few miles a day. It will be good practice for the show. Oh ... and wear comfy shoes.

6 comments
guzmanchinky
Wow, what a fantastic writeup! With how strict Germany and the Eu are with cracking down on emissions and safety, I'm surprised these "oldtimers" are even still allowed on the street...
MBadgero
I second guzmanchinky. Wow! Nice article.
Martin Hone
Another brilliant effort young Mike !
GeoffG
Great article. One of the reasons classic cars have become so popular is that modern cars are so incredibly boring and characterless. In my opinion we have reached the end of the road as regards styling. Designers are stuck with "ugly" as the only way to distinguish their offerings from all the others.
CzechsterMarek
Thanks to Mike for one of the most informative article to come along in some time. I was overwhelmed at the detail and critical approach the author used to bring this information to the world. Great work Mike.
klavaza
My congrats!!! Fantastic!!! Its looong but so very well written and explained that at least me, as a reader, ended up wanting for more.