With over 1,250 exhibitors, spread over 20 halls, the Techno Classica is one of the largest events of its kind. Open for just five days, the Techno Classica attracts close to 200,000 visitors to the vast Messe Essen. They come from all over the world and are treated to a wide variety of displays that range from rare machinery brought by major manufacturers to spare parts and other automobilia brought by specialist vendors. In 2015, event organisers SIHA had a special showcase featuring the cars that raced in the 1929 Tourist Trophy, while Mercedes-Benz highlighted the development of aerodynamics over the years and Porsche celebrated the 30th anniversary of the legendary 959.
Our photographers were among the very first to explore this year's Techno Classica on the 'Happy View Day'. Their combined effort has resulted in this 230-shot gallery
In 2014, Mercedes-Benz displayed over three dozen competition cars to celebrate 125 years of motorsport. This year, all attention focused on a single car; Sir Stirling Moss' Mille Miglia winning 300 SLR. It served as the focal point of the bittersweet 1955 season, which saw the German manufacturer win the F1 and Sports Car World Championships but it was also involved in the deathliest ever motorsport accident. In addition to the impressive display of '722', Mercedes-Benz also brought a series of slippery machines that represented the pinnacle of aerodynamics in their day.
Over on the other side of the Messe Essen, the BMW Group used this opportunity to launch the 2015 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Among the special classes in 2015 will be one dedicated to cars of the 1970s, which should bring out some very angular machines out of the woodwork.
One of the world's largest manufacturers, the Volkswagen Group fittingly filled a complete hall. Among the special celebrations was ten years of the Bugatti Veyron and 85 years of the Bentley Blue Train, which was marked with the launch of a special edition Mulsanne. Across the isle Porsche celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Porsche 959 by showcasing the same cut open display vehicle as shown at Frankfurt in 1985. Another impressive line-up of vehicles was brought by the Autostadt museum, which included a Bugatti Royale and the very first 8-Litre Bentley.
On a slightly more modest booth, Swedish manufacturer Volvo featured the classic models styled by Bertone. Among them were the 262C and 780 originally owned by Volvo CEO Pehr G. Gyllenhammer. He had them especially finished in red with a red interior, neither of which appeared on the Volvo option list. Also on display was a very rare Cabriolet version of the 262C of which just five were built.
One of the most prominent changes this year was that the 'Mercedes-Benz hall' was no longer filled with endless rows of 300 SLs. This opened up space for premium dealers like Axel Schuette, Opus Classics and Jan Luhn. Each of them had very interesting Porsches on display. The eye-catcher at Opus was the road-going 930/935 Turbo, which was originally commissioned by TAG's Mansour Ojjeh. The unique machine was the very first car built by the newly established Porsche Exclusive department. Jan Lühn's display was highlighted by the freshly restored 917/10. The very first of these Can-Am Porsches built, it served as the development vehicle before it was sold to Willy Kauhsen. At that time, it was fitted with the latest turbocharged engine but this has been removed again during its restoration to the original guise. It looks tantalising in the freshly applied Gulf livery.
Already a regular in the Mercedes-Benz hall is Swiss dealer Lukas Hüni, who rarely fails to disappoint. This year was no exception and his line-up was headlined by a unique Group 4 Alfa Romeo Montreal. Built by Autodelta for a customer, it was predominantly raced in Germany in period. Another Alfa Romeo that caught our eye was the 6C 1750 SS that formed part of the 1929 Tourist Trophy display. Originally bodied by Carlton and fittingly painted British Racing Green, it had a lovely patina. Among the other cars showcased by SIHA were a very rare Stutz Blackhawk Le Mans and an ever impressive Blower Bentley. An altogether more diminutive but equally interesting car was Strada e Corsa's freshly restored Fiat 1100. Clothed by Zagato and later owned by Elio Zagato, it will take part in the Mille Miglia retrospective in May.
The 2015 Techno Classica also featured a remarkable number of Italian 'Etceterinis', which included several Stanguellinis, a Bandini, a DeSanctis and a Nardi-Danese.
At over 120,000 m2, the Techno Classica does require some sturdy walking shoes to explore properly. We spent six hours and are confident, we have picked most of the highlights. This took longer than usual as there seemed to be more gems on display than ever before. All of these can be found in this 230-shot gallery