The largest even larger
The annual Techno Classica is generally considered the largest classic car motor show. For this year the Messe Essen exhibition centre was increased even further but organisers SIHA had no problem filling the extra square metres. The numerous halls were filled by 1,250 exhibitors, which included dealers, clubs, vendors, auctioneer Coys and also 25 major manufacturers. Between them they displayed around 2,500 historic road and racing cars. Taking centre stage on the SIHA display was a celebration of the 1957 Monaco Grand Prix. Won by the great Juan Manuel Fangio on the way to his fifth World Championship, this represented the final victory for a classic, front-engined Grand Prix car in Formula 1's blue ribband event.
Our photographers explored the largest ever Techno Classic and have sifted through the hundreds of displays to select the highlights that made it into our 190-shot gallery
Many major manufacturers have taken a renewed interest in shows like Techno Classica, often sharing their exhibiting space with dedicated clubs. As usual the manufacturers celebrated either an anniversary like Porsche with the 928, which was introduced 40 years ago, or highlighted the rich heritage of newly introduced models like Mercedes-Benz with the AMG line-up of high performance sedans and coupes. The Fiat group was also strongly represented with great examples of their various marques. These included two great V6-engined Lancias of the 1950s, which really only underlined how deep the once illustrious marque has sunk. In addition to the many familiar machines, BMW also brought out a one-off V16 engined 7-Series from 1988. It was referred to as the 'Goldfish', undoubtedly in reference to the gills mounted in the rear fenders. Over at arch rival Audi, the entire stand was dedicated to the NSU brand, which was replaced by the Audi moniker in April of 1977. Across the isle, Lamborghini showcased the work of their newly formed restoration department with a completed Miura SV and the bare chassis of an early Countach.
Amidst the hundreds of stands, many of the most interesting displays are created by the dealers, who use the Techno Classica to bring their inventory to the attention of the visitors. This year, we were particularly taken by the striking machines brought out by German dealer Jan Lühn. His vast stand included interesting pairs and trios of modern Ferrari GT racers, Porsche 911s and Shelby Cobras. A set fixture and not known to disappoint is Swiss dealer Lukas Hüni, who assembled a fine array of road and racing cars, which included a custom bodied Ferrari 250 GT and a superb example of the Bugatti Type 54. Specialising in Italian cars from the 1950s, Dutch company Strada e Corsa brought a rare Alfa Romeo 1900 with a Boano body that was fitting for the time of the year dubbed the Primavera
. Making their debut at Essen were our Belgian friends of Gipimotor, who brought a freshly restored, alloy-bodied Ferrari 275 GTB as part of a four-car display.
The Techno Classica provides something for just every type of enthusiast, whether it is a rare poster or a fully electric Porsche 910 replica. The latter was created by specialists Evex, using a sophisticated powertrain provided by Kreisel. Strangely appealing to try out, the unique 910e has close to 500 hp available and weighs just 1,100 kg. For good measure, Evex also displayed a 910 continuation powered by a 3.2-litre flat six engine and the original Porsche 910 these beautifully made replicas are based on. Another Porsche powered sports car that grabbed our attention was the Kremer K8 that was on display on the Motul stand. Raced extensively in period, this particular car wore a white Repsol livery for most of its life but has more recently been returned to the appropriate Motul colours that were used for Le Mans in 1996. Our favourite car on display this year was undoubtedly the very Maserati 250F that Fangio had driven to victory at Monaco in 1957. Not seen in public for many years, it has been in the same ownership since 1972 and is among the most original of all surviving 250Fs.
For good or bad, there is simply no equal for the Techno Classica. It may take some effort (a lot of walking) to spot the interesting machines on display but there are always more than enough to make the effort. For the occasional visitor, the Techno Classica offers an unrivalled opportunity to see some truly great cars, while seasoned enthusiasts also get the opportunity to meet up with old friends and also make new ones, as people travel from around the world to visit the event. We were among them and wore out two pairs of shoes to create this 190-shot gallery