Techno-Classica continued to set unmatched records. For five days, it again made Essen the capital of the classic vehicle universe and, with over 188,000 guests, was the classic vehicle salon with the largest public anywhere in the world.
For a lot of years, Techno-Classica has regularly occupied the entire fair site in Essen with around 1,250 exhibitors from over 30 countries. The ranges offered by them encompassed around 2,700 connoisseurs’ and collectors’ vehicles from the VW Polo youngtimer to the rare Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 from 1946 with spectacular Pinin Farina bodywork.
What significance the automobile manufacturers attach to Techno-Classica Essen was also illustrated by the fact that no fewer than two major makes used the classic vehicle fair as the arena for German premieres in order to present new models as the logical updating of their histories in connection with their classic predecessors: Mercedes-Benz showed the new G Class to the German public for the first time and, on the occasion of the 40th birthday of the legendary Peugeot 504, Peugeot presented its current counterpart, the brand-new Peugeot 508.
For the trade in classic automobiles, the fair in Essen was once more shown to be a trend barometer: “We use Techno-Classica as an indicator for future market developments – due to the intensive exchange of experience with a lot of experts during the fair, it serves us as a mood barometer,” confirmed Martin Stromberg, Managing Director of Classic Data, the oldest and market-leading company for the valuation of classic vehicles in Germany. And renowned professional dealers such as Eberhard Thiesen from Hamburg, Axel Schuette from Oerlinghausen, Hyman Classics from St. Louis, Missouri/USA or Nico Aaldering who founded the Gallery Aaldering in Brummen/Netherlands in 1975 unanimously reported very good sales results. No wonder: The range on offer particularly in the premium sector was excellent and a selection of the finest of the best. That was also shown by the classic vehicle which an international jury chose as the “Best of Show”: a Maserati A6 G 2000 Zagato from 1956 on Axel Schuette’s booth. As one of just three works demonstration vehicles, it was not only perfectly restored but could also present a completely documented history.
According to the general findings, the classic vehicle market has calmed down after the hype in the past years and has become more predictable again – it has consolidated on a high level. The purchasers of vintage and connoisseurs’ vehicles are again taking a closer look, the speculators who emerged with the boom in recent years have left the scene and the enthusiasts are paying realistic prices. Nevertheless, there were again a few outstanding sales in the gigantic range available at Techno-Classica Essen: According to the information from its seller, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with a hardtop, disc brakes and the rare aluminium engine yielded a fabulous figure of Euro 1.6 million (!) and a BMW M5 from 1993 was worth a respectable amount of Euro 90,000 to one buyer. And rare classic vehicles in perfect condition rapidly found purchasers at realistic prices: “Out of twelve high-value collectors’ automobiles which we presented in Essen, we have sold six from the upper price segment,” reported Rutger H. J. P. Houtkamp, Director of the Dutch Houtkamp-R-Collection.
In 2018, around 200 vintage vehicles and make clubs presented themselves and their services on booths which had fascinating designs in most cases. Every year, S.I.H.A. as the organizer acknowledges their commitment with prizes for the most imaginative presentations. The evergreens amongst the clubs include the Amicale Citroën Internationale which encompasses 70,000 enthusiasts worldwide and presented itself as a club community called “Citroën Street”. Its initiator, Stephan Joest, put it in a nutshell: “Involved for the 30th time; had a lot of fun for the 30th time – at the largest family meeting place on the scene.” However, the global classic vehicle fair is more than just infotainment for the clubs. On this subject, Peter Schneider, Chairman of the Federal Association for Classic Vehicle Clubs (DEUVET), said: “For us, Techno-Classica Essen is the most important podium to present ourselves as the body representing the interests of the classic vehicle scene. We have been involved since the first event. We meet all those partners from the political and industrial fields and from the clubs who are relevant to the subject of vintage vehicles. Here in Essen, there is politicking, too.”
The clubs, the trade and the industry are the supporting pillars of TechnoClassica Essen. They present the whole spectrum of the vintage vehicle hobby. For a lot of years already, the popular public fair has thus also been regarded as an international performance show for the crème de la crème in the restoration sector – e.g. for Hans-Werner Walkling, a renowned vehicle cartwright and restorer from Holzminden: “For me, Techno-Classica Essen offers the best possibilities for reaching an international public and winning over customers.”
No matter whether collectors’ vehicles, model cars, art, car literature, classic vehicle services or spare parts: In Essen, all the visitors have the opportunity to stock up on everything that they need in order to carry out their hobby. It is the lifeblood for vintage vehicles and car history with which both exhibitors and visitors make Techno-Classica Essen the number one. Rüdiger Lange, proprietor of the vintage vehicle adventure worlds called “Classic Remise” in Berlin and Düsseldorf: “At Techno-Classica Essen, I meet the people who are important to me – and the simple mechanic and the large-scale investor respect each other. Here, you can find the entire demoscopic and democratic gamut of our wonderful hobby. If Techno-Classica Essen did not exist, it would have to be invented.”
When S.I.H.A. staged the first Techno-Classica Essen in six halls at Messe Essen for the first time in March 1989, it also had a role model: Retromobile, a chic vintage vehicle salon which had French charm and had been staged in Paris since 1976. Today, 29 years later, the 30th Techno-Classica Essen itself has long since become an ideal model with its distinctive appeal and perfect organisation.
For next year, the global fair will have another highlight up its sleeve: The world’s leading auction house, RM Sotheby’s, has announced that it will organise a spectacular auction in Essen. Maarten ten Holder, Executive Vice President, Head of Europe and Chief Auctioneer of the RM Sotheby’s Group, was not understating when he said: “The classic vehicle market in Europe, especially in Germany, is very strong. We are expecting great success when we conduct an auction with 150 exquisite collectors’ vehicles within the framework of TechnoClassica Essen 2019. Essen will be the place to be.”
The 31st Techno-Classica Essen will take place from April 10 to 14, 2019.