Step into the world showcase for vintage and classic automobiles.
by Eric Richardson
Once you walk through the doors of Essen's Messe halls there can be little doubt that you are in another world, a world where money is a commodity that is as free and easy to come buy as the bratwurst on sale. It isn’t of course but the dealers don’t seem to have grasped that. €4.9m would get you a Mercedes 540k Spezialroadster, while the only privately owned Auto Union race car which curiously appeared on a dealer stand but was not for sale, "would likely be in the region of €12-14 Million" $1.2MM gets you a 1966 Porsche Carrera 6 Group 4 car, while an eye watering $51,500 gets you a 1973 Capri 2600RS. Cheap Resto more your style? $31,250 got you an Austin Healey needing serious work.
Manufacture presence allows them to subtly slip in a couple of new models while showing some of their own. Volkswagen presented a selection of rally weapons, including their Pike's Peak car from 1987 in the shape of a twin engine MK2 Golf, pumping out 643hp, while the current WRC Polo sat centre stage, both facing down the car which made history some 25 years ago the awesome Ex- Walter Rohrl Pike’s Peak Audi Sport Quattro.
Next door Lamborghini played the understated card with the prototype Countach and the last off the line, and frankly bonkers, LM002 off-roader sharing the stand with the V12 engine that powers both of them to allow for some mechanical lusting.
There is always a number of curiosities to be uncovered, and this year the unique 1971 Citroen T-Bar SM by Heuliez, with the roof retracting into the central T-Bar roof section was up there with the Mustang Sportwagen and the unique four door Audi 80 based Quattro for the “What were you on” award.
The “I want a go in that” mental list filled up pretty quickly with the 1949 Fiat 1100 TV Padovan Aerodynamica left you wondering if you’d fit while the stanced 1967 Volvo Amazon Estate built by Mattias Vocks and running the Straight six B634F from 960 and putting out 591hp would ensure the shopping got home before the ice cream melted.
The practical hot hatch slot was filled by VW’s Mk3 Golf Rallye from 1993, which thanks to four wheel drive ensure the 271hpo put out by the 4 cylinder turbo unit would be put to good use. While the Mercedes Pagoda SL-Roadster fitted with the V8 M100 6.9 and air suspension, with no outward modifications was clearly the sleeper of the show.
If you're a lottery playing regular and itching to fill that dream garage with ten perfect cars then there can be no better way to fill a couple of days than to wander through the halls of dreams, but don’t take the credit card, it may end in tears.
Photo Credits: Eric Richardson