After my enjoyable trip to Retroclassics Stuttgart last spring, this year I thought I would visit the mother of all German (and indeed European) shows, Technoclassica. Cheap airfares courtesy of Easyjet made a day trip viable but the show is so huge (probably three times as big as the NEC Classic Car Show) that you really need two days to do it justice. Here are some highlights of the fantastic cars on show.

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Mercedes Benz celebrated 120 years of motor sport with an amazing display of competition machinery from the earliest 19th century race cars to Hamilton’s car from last year. Many of the cars are not on show at MB’s excellent Stuttgart museum and the display as a whole would have required half a day to do it justice.

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Mercedes Grand Prix Racing Car – The car that broke French hearts at the French GP in July 1914 in a rivalry that was to find its true intensity a month later when the world descended into the Great War

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This is the Team Johnson Rally Wax Mecedes Benz 280E driven by the British crew of Fowkes and O’Gorman that finished second (behind another 280E) in the 1977 London to Sydney Rally. I saw this car depart London as a 8 year old, there to cheer on the Lotus Cortina of my Uncle. He sadly only made it to Iran in what is still considered the toughest and longest rally ever held.

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Vast 1996 Paris – Dakar Unimog service truck

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DTM Touring cars as far as the eye can see

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Sports racers headed by gorgeous 1955 300 SLR

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An unusual Brit – 1958 Frisky Sport. 16HP and 0 to 60 in 35 seconds..

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There are always plenty of Pagoda Merc’s at German shows but few in this condition…

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Hmm, may need a bit of work..

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Or maybe sir would like a Gullwing ? This dealer had four..

It’s unlikely that Stuttgart was an attractive city even before its drastic remodelling by the RAF and USAAF,  so finding myself in an airport hotel on the outskirts of town was not a major drawback.  In fact it was very convenient for my first stop in Stuttgart, the Retro Classics show at the smart new conference centre by the airport. One of the big German classic car shows,  it has suffered in the past from being held on the same weekend as Techno Classica Essen, the biggest of the lot. This year it was held on a different weekend and that no doubt helped to explain the thousands of neatly dressed enthusiasts who joined me at 9am outside the doors before opening.

The show was a cracker taking up seven large halls and featuring an exceptional collection of vehicles on show and on sale. An excellent autojumble occupied one hall, another was devoted to the Mercedes-Benz Club and another was themed on American cars.  One of the other halls featured smaller clubs, with everything from Tatra owners to the Rover Owners Club of Stuttgart. You have to be pretty keen on Longbridge’s finest to be in a Rover club in the City of Porsche and Mercedes Benz.  The MG Car Club of Germany had a nice selection of cars on display including a fine K3.

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MG K3

Many of the halls were given over to restoration businesses focussing particularly on Mercedes Pagodas and early Porsche 911’s.  Scores of those particular car were on display in various stages of restoration.  The finished products were truly stunning – better than new and with a better than new price tag. 100,000 Euros plus seemed to be the going rate for a restored Pagoda.

Lots of pristine Pagodas

Lots of pristine Pagodas

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…and 911’s – this is a 911S

Stuttgart marks featured strongly amongst the cars dealers had brought to sell. In amongst the German iron there were some interesting alternatives. This smart 1958 Fiat Abarth Sestiere Coupe had patina (!) but was Mille Miglia eligible and was priced at 43,500 Euros.

Fiat Abarth Sisterie

Fiat Abarth Sestiere

Manufacturers were also present. Opel brought along their new Adam hatchback to show with a smart rallying Opel Kadett from the seventies. In fact it was the fortieth anniversary of the Kadett, a car that looks so much nicer than its Vauxhall sibling, the execrable Chevette.

Opel Kadett

Opel Kadett

Amongst the more unusual cars on display was a Messerschmitt KR bubble car driven by a propeller. Not quite a ME 109 – but a KR200!

Achtung! Messerschmitt!

Achtung! Messerschmitt!

The most attractive cars on display were the Horchs brought to the show by Audi Heritage. I had not realised that the now defunct mark was the predecessor of Audi. In fact Audi is Latin for “horch” which means “hear” in English. The 1937 Horch Sportcabriolet stood out in particular with a level of opulence equivalent to any contemporary Mercedes Benz.

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1937 Horch Sportcabriolet

All in all a fantastic show. If you have an understanding partner, combine it with a weekend visit to the Stuttgart car museums, especially if you like German cars.