Techno Classica 2009 – Review
All that glisters is not gold: a return to realistic values characterised this year’s Techno Classica. Classic Driver travelled to Essen to pick some highlights from the event…
Around 165,000 visitors from 41 nations rolled up in Essen (making it the biggest indoor classic car show in the world), and the many dealers were, in general, satisfied with sales. But it remains the case that only top-quality vehicles are sought-after in the current market. Those with genuine provenance, in tip-top condition, are still seen as tangible assets which might make good investments. There was also, of course, a large Coys auction on the Saturday afternoon and it was good to see the hammer falling on sports cars, large coupés and saloons alike.
A highlight of the 1000-odd exhibitors from 28 countries, spread through a staggering 20 exhibition halls, were the manufacturers themselves – with a host of anniversaries to celebrate. For Audi, it was the centenary of the Audi brand that was cause for celebration, and display cars ranged from the reconstructed 1935 225 Front Roadster (on loan from the recently opened exhibition ‘From Horch to Audi’ at the museum in Ingolstadt) to the Audi Type C ‘Alpine Champion’ of 1919 and the 2008 Le Mans-winning R10 TDI. Not forgetting the Audi Sport quattro S1 ‘Pikes Peak’ rally car.
Mercedes-Benz impressed in 2009, with a 4500sqm stand proclaiming two main themes: 75 years of Silver Arrows and the evolution of the E-class. The latter saw nine generations of E-class from six decades of car production, plus one forerunner that can be seen as the ‘roots’ of the model line – the 260 D that debuted in 1936 through to the brand-new E-Class W 212. Meanwhile, the Silver Arrows theme saw a spectacular six cars presented, from the 1934 W 25 to the 2008 Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes MP4-23. This last is the car which won its maiden race, the Australian Grand Prix, plus another five races, to place the manufacturer second in the Constructors’ Championship and, more famously, propelling Lewis Hamilton to the World Championship title on the final bend of the very last race of the season.
At BMW, the Group Classic division held a special exhibition dedicated to 80 years of automobile production. Here, the new Z4 joined the BMW Z1, Z3 and Z8 Roadsters. The inclusion of the MINI in BMW’s history was, perhaps, slightly questionable. It doesn’t exactly fit the mould, since it hasn’t been a BMW-built car for much of its 50 years. Still… we can forgive them the slight stretching of credibility.
And although the manufacturers were predominantly German, as you would expect at an Essen show, there was a good sprinkling of cars from around the world. Ferrari Classiche was among the most notable, with no fewer than four cars to illustrate its specialist skills: a steel-bodied 250 GT short wheelbase (complete with its Certificate of Authenticity) and a ‘Competizione’ version of the same (superbly restored by, of course, Ferrari Classiche). There was also a Pinin Farina-bodied 250 GT and a Superamerica.
Best of all, perhaps, for British visitors, was Morgan – which came all the way from Worcestershire to add its centenary festivities to the other celebrations.
For your 2010 diaries, next year’s Techno Classica will be held from 7-11 April.
Text: Classic Driver
Photos: Mathias Paulokat
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