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Preview: Techno-Classica Essen

It’s still the biggest – and the best – indoor classic car show in Europe. This is why

Preview: Techno-Classica Essen

Preview: Techno-Classica Essen

The tagline for Techno-Classica 2012 is ‘share the passion’. Sounds cheesy, but this is undisputedly the largest static classic car show in Europe, with the widest possible range of cars on show, so it does seem rather apt. Techno-Classica is an annual pilgrimage for classic car enthusiasts from all around the world, and in terms of quality and scale there’s simply nothing to touch it. So if you have a long weekend spare – or can even visit for the day – the 24th Techno-Classica won’t disappoint.

For 2012, organiser SIHA has promised the best Techno-Classica yet. And here are some numbers for you to ponder upon.

There will be 1200 stands, which are spread across 20 exhibition halls. These comprise the best clubs, manufacturers’ heritage collections, dealers (including many from the UK), products and autojumble vendors.

More than 2500 classic cars will be for sale. Even so, with 180,000 visitors expected this year (up from 170,000 last year), there might be a little competition from buyers for the best cars on offer – especially in today’s buoyant market. On top of all that, Coys will be holding its annual Essen auction.
To try to understand the international nature of the show, consider that 1500 vendors from more than 20 countries made an application to display their wares there. These came from as far away as Argentina, the USA, and New Zealand – as well as all over Europe.

Just remember one thing: this show is absolutely vast, so you would need to rush to see it all in one day. The best advice is to take your time, perhaps a long weekend if you can manage it – and wear out a considerable amount of shoe-leather in the process.

So, you know it’s big, and arguably the best, but what are the highlights to look out for, where do you need to stay, and what is the best way of getting to Essen? Read on.


if you’re visiting Techno-Classica for the first time, the club stands must be your first port of call. Wander upstairs to the quieter corners and some of the displays will make you smile, often for their silliness.
We’re already promised displays celebrating 100 years of Bertone, 50 years of the Alfa Romeo Giulia, Iso Rivolta GT, MGB and Austin-Healey 3000 MkII. And more – the 40th anniversary of the Renault 5, Fiat X1/9 and Alfasud. It’s going to be busy!

Techno-Classica also celebrates several motor sport milestones. It’s the 80th anniversary of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which promises an enviable line-up of racing cars that starred at La Sarthe. And the 40th birthday of BMW Motorsport GmbH will be marked by cars from the BMW M1 Procar series, as well as Touring Cars and Formula 1. Not to be outdone, Volkswagen will show a fascinating selection of WRC, Pikes Peak, rally and Mille Miglia cars, including the Ovali Beetle from 1956.

Want to ogle what’s for sale? Werner Klassische Automobile, Galerie des Damiers, Potomac NL, Hall & Hall, TP Engineering, Classic Motorsport, Edmond Harris and PS-Automobile will all be displaying.

The organisers are hoping to attract a world-record gathering of Pegaso cars. See if they can manage this feat on the SIHA stand – given there are fewer than 100 Pegasos left, it’s going to be an exclusive gathering, likely never to be repeated.


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Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
  Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Preview: Techno-Classica Essen
Useful information

From around northern Europe, driving to the show is easy so there’s no excuse not to – Essen is located in the north-western corner of Germany and is well served by the autobahn.

Principal arrival routes are the A52, A3 and A40/42 – travel time from the Calais Channel port is about five hours; the same from Paris or Berlin. It’s definitely worth bringing along your cherished car too – the car park is a classic show all of its own.

Essen is an Umweltzone (low-emissions zone for cars), so German classic-car drivers will need to have their historic sticker (minimum requirement is Euro1) to enter the city, although Messe Essen itself (where the show is) is actually outside the zone. Travellers from outside Germany are not affected.

By train Essen station is served from all over Europe, and its underground link to Messe Essen (U11) is about a five-minute ride. By aeroplane The closest airport is Dsseldorf International. It’s a €50 taxi ride to Messe Essen from here, or a much cheaper 20-minute ride if you take the airport express bus.

Opening hours
Preview day 
(VIP, press and trade)
2-8pm, Wednesday 21 March
Public days
9am-6pm, Thursday 22 March
9am-7pm, Friday 23 March
9am-6pm, Saturday 24 March
9am-6pm, Sunday 25 March

Ticket prices 
(chargeable on the gate)
Premium ticket 
(for Preview day) €35

All other days, adults €20, concessions €16, children €10, under-8s free, family ticket (parents with two children) €50




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