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And a few neoclassics. But we’ll get back to those. Once again, the Retro Classics in Stuttgart delivered on the main theme of Classic Cars.

The Retro Classics in Stuttgart has grown to become my favourite of the main classic car shows in Northern Europe. The reason is not only its sheer size (it’s the biggest in Europe) nor the quality of cars on display and for sale – it’s also the accessability. To be exact, it is the area of the exhibition which is the biggest in Europe: Both Techno Classica in Essen and Retromobile in Paris trumps it on number of visitors as well as cars: Logic dictates the effect of this to be that both Essen and Paris will therefore be more crowded and so it is. They are in fact frustratingly crowded.

From the main entrance I usually wander off to the left and immediately you are met with good things: The gentleman may well be explaining his buddy how the next five halls are pure classic car heaven – and that there are five more to the right. Oh, and an exhibition on the centre stage (main photo) as well.

Not so in Stuttgart: This year they had even pushed another hall into use and as the area is even logically laid out as well, the Retro Classics reigns supreme as the exhibition which is not only huge, but actually also easily accessible and understandable. Add to that a wonderful span of classics for every budget and no one should walk away disappointed. I sure didn’t.

I always enjoy the huge span of Retro Classics: From Range Rover to Porsche 356…

…to Daimler V8 and VW Golf Syncro. If none of that suits your taste, you’re surely choosy.

Only problem is that the sheer size makes it quite impossible to cover it all in this ViaRETRO-report, but relying heavily on photos I’ll try to point out a few highlights – as well as the opposite. Here we go:

Would Sir prefer a Maserati MC12 or a Formula Vee?

The brilliant thing – well, another brilliant thing – is that most of the cars are actually for sale. The exception to the rule is of course the cars at the club stands – but even here the odd car would have a small note in the screen indicating that it could be purchased if you were so inclined.

Prices at Stuttgart, you may ask? Well, that would be a very, very long story, but to cut it short I think there were very reasonable buys to be had as well as grossly overpriced items. Or it just might be that reality has overtaken me – once again. But surely a BMW 635 CSi (not an M, mind) should not cost 40.000 Euro, should it? There were several low-milage ones in that price range. Lovely cars, though – wouldn’t mind another.

My BMW-favourite just might have been this CSL. Simply brilliant.

My personal candidate for a Prime Find of the Week would be the below 1979 Porsche 924 Turbo: To be honest I would have preferred most any other colour, but there’s a reason they call it “resale red”, isn’t there? The car seemed very solid, was largely presented in factory original paint, sported the Pascha interior I so love, had covered 129,000 kilometers and was 17,800 Euro. Not exactly peanuts, but I’d consider 17,800 Euro in a Porsche 924 Turbo placed safer than it would be in the bank – anytime. And much more fun.

And more Porsche: Please remember for when you purchase your first 911 one day, that they work so much better with a bit of colour to the interior. See below:

The interior of a silver 911 can easily look boring – but not so in warm red.

The same actually applies to a whole range of classic cars, come to think of it. And at a huge show like Retro Classics is easy to find suitable inspiration:

Colour coordination or the lack of it can also be observed on the exteriors. For example that if you have a golden-ish car you should not fit golden wheels as well. See below:

Of course, I had an eye on what is happening to the Mercedes-Benz SLC. They were out in greater force than I’ve seen before and I reckon that means they are (finally) maturing as better recognised classics.

Stripes are hot as ever. But can take on many forms. I might dedicate a later story to this subject for which I feel so strongly – but for now just observe these two fabulous ways af executing stripes:

BMW in the Seventies.

Fiat in the Seventies.

And – just as I warned you at the beginning – I could go on forever. But I won’t. Partly because I ran out of time, really. But then again: I have hardly tapped into what is really Retro Classics Stuttgart, but hope to have at least portrayed enough to give you a rough idea. Or even better, perhaps the inspiration to attend yourself next year…

Two De Tomaso Longchamp side by side: Just how often do you see that?

Well, about as often a you see two BMW 700’s, I’d guess.

This year I met both Danish and German friends who attended for the first time and they were all positively surprised: The Retro Classics is big but friendly, broad and accessible – and caters for just about every taste in classic cars.

Once again the Retro Classics embraced the so-called “Neo Classics”. Newer classics or special cars – but just like last year, it ended up looking more like the forecourt of a used car dealer. I’m not convinced, but Retro Classics really push the subject.

Still, I can’t deny that I was thoroughly impressed with the span of cars displayed, especially considering the lower end of the hierarchy – what we could call the budget classic cars. And I find it quite fascinating that they are sometimes parked right alongside the highly appreciated usual exotic hardware. It gives the Retro Classics the best of both worlds and makes it both enjoyable, diverse and entertaining as well as realistic as an actual place to acquire your next – or first – classic car.

A German “Opa“, possibly considering whether this could have been his former company car back when it was new?

And as promised I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking. Enjoy:

Pfeeeww! That was actually all of one hundred photos – and I’m still not done. Well, truth be told – I’m not even done with the stories from the Paris Retromobile yet! That’s one of the good thing about attending these huge shows: There will not only be cars for most tastes, there will also be several stories more to get back to in more detail. And I’ll do just that later. Digest the above first, please – I need to do the same myself.


3 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    Got to get round to this show sooner rather than later! That orange CSL is absolutely superb…and is that two Porsche 914-6’s I see, or just look-alikes? Agree with you Claus regarding the “Neo-Classics” – seeing it here too, and you’re right, looks just like a used car dealer forecourt.
    Can’t agree with you on some of the upholstery though…the Fiat stripes and Lancia green velour are just horrible, and pascha gives me a headache…sorry…
    That looks like a Bitter CD behind the plexiglass (?) model, will it feature in your next reports on the show?

  2. Anders Bilidt

    Hmmm… @claus-ebberfeld and @tony-wawryk I’m sorry to say that I can’t possibly agree with you Gents regarding that Colorado gelb BMW Batmobile. I normally love that colour, but this one just seems to look cheap and all wrong! Maybe it’s those late-80s/early-90s Alpina alloys. So wrong for that car as they are both too big and also look very out-of-period with those centre cap covers. And being a CSL Batmobile it should also have the chromed wheel arch extensions, which it doesn’t. Naaaah… if you want a proper looking CSL, look no further than the Polaris silver example with Motorsport stripes which is hidden in the photo gallery. Now that’s a proper looking article!! :-)

    Love all those funky interiors though! Those FIAT seats would simply make me smile every single time I got into the car. But it’s of course those ultra rare Scheel seats with BMW Motorsport cloth which I desperately want for my own E12 M535i. Just WAUW…!!

    But Claus, what’s going on with that Scimitar? Firstly, how did they manage to get 160hp out of the 3-litre Essex V6, when its stock configuration is 20-odd horses less. Do you think they might have confused its output with that of the later 2.8-litre Cologne V6? It’s highly possible as they seem to have confused a few other numbers on that For Sale sheet. They want how much for that car?? Euro 27,900?? Are they insane?? With that budget, you could quite easily buy three of them in the UK…

  3. Claus Ebberfeld

    @anders-bilidt , I included the price of the Scimitar specifically to make you happy for your “investment”! Haha, seriously that car has been touring the different shows for at least a year now – from memory the price started out at 39,000, which was frankly ridiculous. Compared to the original asking 27,900 seems slightly less so, and it was actually really nicely done in most respects bar originality.

    @tony-wawryk , the model was a template for the later real thing and yes, might deserve a solo article.


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