Highs and lows fresh from Germany: The Bremen Classic Motorshow was well worth the trip and was exactly the fuel injection I was missing as the winter is coming to an end.
Firstly: Did I buy anything? Yes, actually I did!
But not anything nearly as exciting as we may all dream of: I brought home with me the minor things it takes before I will regard my 1985 Renault 5 GT Turbo as “finished”. More worryingly I also brought home the notion that I will probably sell it afterwards!
For one I talked to a dealership who would like to sell it for me. Secondly I have rarely seen so many cars that I would like to see in my own garage as yesterday in Bremen. As I have sort of promised myself (an my wife) that I will not add anything without moving something else on, the Renault might just have to go. I really can’t name all those wonderful candidates one for one, but please join me on a virtual walkthrough of the Bremen Motorclassic:
Brown. Or metallic green. I MUST have those great colours represented in my garage. This really dawned upon me after enjoying various shades of these in Bremen, the one more delicious than the other. A good bet for a real candidate for my garage was a 1979 Peugeot 604 V6 Ti in a very light shade of metallic green. Showing 132.000 km and representing itself as a very well kept luxury saloon the price of 5,900 Euro was certainly not unreasonable price for this French cruiser. Should you prefer brown there was a very different approach up for slightly fewer Euro: A 1982 Audi 100 5E was tagged at 3,900 Euro and seemed to be in comparable state. The lower price reflected the one missing cylinder, I guess. But I really like the fivecylinder drumming and this was a nice car in a good colour.
But maybe not brown enough for you? Maybe Sir would like a Ford Granada in a rather more obvious brown? The browner the dearer, and the lovely Granada was priced at a shade over 8,000 Euro. Brown luxury definately seem to be on the up, a conclusion supported by the many Mercedes of varying brownliness. I must admit that I rather fell in love with the idea of a brown Mercedes with checkered fabric seats, preferably bought of the first owner pensioner.
From my local Danish point of view I was almost sad to see an (or rather another one) old favourite of mine, the Porsche 944 Turbo, in resplendent red in combination with a light beige coloured part-fabric-clad upholstery in the cockpit. A brilliant car, the Turbo, but in my view often let down by too sober or downright cold colours: Not this one, for sale at 22,000 Euros and looking good value. But just not economic viable to import into Denmark, where it would be taxed another 10,000 Euro on top of the purchase price.
Unless one knew in advance that he will retain the car the rest of his life, as the sell-on price then wouldn’t really matter. But I tend to NOT hold on for a long time, and went away looking for cheaper fare:
Renault delivered, as two beautiful Renault 4 and a 5 ”Parisienne 2” (never heard of it, but both name and colour were pure and unadultered classic car-joy) pleased me. Although I do not think it would make any sense to myself, if I sold my 5 GT Turbo to make way for a non-turbo 5.
So back to the dream cars: From across the halls I immediately fell in love with a Opel Senator in another great shade of metallic green. Especially as it was on show with doors open, its plush green velours for all to enjoy and admire. Tremendously well kept interior, this! On closer inspection it was violently slammed to the ground and fitted with a full roll cage as well as a newer 4-litre Irmsher engine delivering more than 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. The car was, in other words, absolutely corrupted. It was still in original paint and before the mounting of the roll cage had not even been welded. Not anymore. But it was popular among the younger crowd, and it’s probably not often any Opel Senator is experiencing that.
Other popular cars at the show, quickly listed: Porsche 911. BMW E30 Cabriolet. Mercedes W116. Porsche popularity is nothing new, and I would join right in with the howling chorus of those who want one badly. But the other two were once in the shadows of the more popular siblings, which tey thoroughly appear to have overcome. At least judging by the prices.
In the department ”dream cars”: A 1965 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 in FIA-corresponding race trim, allegedly with 320 horsepower had a price tag of 65,000 Euro. Thinking of beginning (or resuming) historic race? The Jag could solve it the urge. In a competitive race series you would probably not with in it – but then again, you would probably not win in an AC Cobra either. E-types are lovely cars and this one seemed OK value.
All other problems I can think of would probably be solved by having a lovely Facel Vega in the garage – but the only one in Bremen was sold as I got there. A Bitter CD Coupé was maybe a more realistic bid to most people and this one – you guessed it! – metallic brown and really appealed to me: A simple V8 engine, solid mechanics, nice, sharp and rather exotic bodywork – and I can not remember when I last saw one. It was actually more beautiful than I remember it.
My “realistic” favorite car was a genuine Opel – namely a 1978 Monza: Again (is this boring you?) metallic green with green velours everywhere that was not green plastic or brown plasti-wood? And so squat a shape! It just doesn’t get any better – at least not for 9,300 Euro. Sadly just a 2,8S with only 140 horsepower, but I was staggered by its triple-green color combination and know that I must have a Monza too. Sometime. The brown 911 Turbo must come later, then. Quite another price suggest the same.
Speaking of later: It took some time before I thought about it – but it was only in the afternoon that I saw the first “verkauft” sign – claiming a car has been sold. This is an extremely unscientific analysis, but my feeling was that there were fewer of those signs than usual when I left the exhibition Friday night. In a way it would fit with the trend of the market has calmed down a bit – but on the other hand, there really many, many visitors already on the Friday. The overall trend is an unconcluded matter for now.
Well, my ultimate favorite? For once crystal clear and rather easy, as it had a starring role on the special exhibition of cars from the Karmann factory: Audi Asso di Picche.
I have long admired this well known prototype but never seen it in the metal – and then, there is was and absolutely surpassed my expectations. This is not always the case with ancient prototypes that can be quite awful built when one look closer at what might never have been intended for anything else than beig admired in the limelight from a distance – and then put away.
But the (brown inside, I clapped in my small hand!) small Asso the Picche was even sharper than I had imagined, and I pinched myself that this wonder wedge could really be a prototype from 1973. It seemed there had gone some thought into everything: Luggage area, rear seats, driving position and fascia. Everything looked nicely finished and now some 44 years later in lovely condition – but not least, beautiful .
This was Ital Design at their best and I was hugely impressed by the car. I would almost say the Asso di Picche alone makes a visit to Bremen Classic Motorshow worthwhile. Certainly so if you have a thing about Karmann, as the Audi was joined by other rarely seen prototypes and very early cars.
No flys in the ointment, then? Well, maybe with the critical eyes – but I was a little disappointed with the range of “Junge Klassiker”, young classics. Usually featuring a lot of extremely low milage and extremely well kepts cars with full and documented history. Yes, the black Lancia Beta 1600 was great, but the orange Kadett reminded me of something that has featured there before. And the brown (!) Renault 5 reminded me of my bad conscience.
A Scirocco Mk2 at more than 20,000 Euro must be a world record for the model – and it was nice. The light blue Volvo 240 reminded me of my childhood and many hours spent on the backseat of such s model. But overall, I think the area was better last time – or maybe it was just my personal taste playing tricks with my judgment?
My taste is otherwise impeccable, and I went home from Bremen convinced that my 911 could very well be a Targa in yellow with upholstery like this:
Make your own judgement and enjoy the gallery of impressions from Bremen below. The show runs until Sunday February 5. And by the way: If you feel above the assortment offered in Bremen please join me next Saturday for a report from Retromobile in Paris – here on ViaRETRO.