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2019 Techno Classica
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Size matters
The annual Techno Classica held in the vast Messe Essen is the largest classic motor show in the world. Where other shows may struggle to survive, the Techno Classica manages to fill every inch of the seemingly ever growing exhibition centre. For the 31st edition over 1,250 exhibitors, 200 clubs and 20 major manufacturers together displayed around 2,700 collector cars as well as unmeasurable number of spare parts, tools, books and other related merchandise. Over a five day period a startling 190,000 visitors from 46 different countries ventured to the Messe Essen for the 2019 Techno Classica. Despite a remodelled venue and the arrival of the RM Sotheby's auction the event had its familiar feel thanks to the wide variety of exhibitors.
We put on our hiking shoes for annual 'magic mystery tour' to gather the material for this 190-shot gallery that serves to illustrate our concise report.

The auctions
For several years now, Coys have stages an auction as part of the Techno Classica and this year was no exception. The British company was, however, totally eclipsed by Anglo-Canadian powerhouse RM Sotheby's, who held their first ever sale in Germany. Spread over two days, RM offered a large chunk of the massive Swiss 'Youngtimer Collection' that has been sold off at several of the company's auctions. All of this lots of mainly 1980s and 1990s performance cars were offered at no reserve and helped achieve the respectable 85% sell through rate. Topping the 18.7 million sale was a Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet A that found a new home for just under 2.3 million. Exceeding all expectations, however. were a pair of road legal Group B Lancias. First up was the earlier 037 Stradale that changed hands for 770,000 or more than twice the low estimate. This had clearly warmed up the room as the subsequent low mileage Delta S4 Stradale as that sold for a starting 1 million. With a great sell through rate and result, RM Sotheby's will most certainly be back next year. At the time of writing, Coys had not yet posted their result.

The dealers
Most of the cars on display at the Techno Classica are for sale but there is a significant difference between the quality of the cars and the approach of the dealers. Some try to stack as many run-of-the-mill cars as possible on their respective stands, while others make less 'efficient' use of their space but do present more interesting machinery. Certainly in the latter category was Dutch dealer Fine Automobiles, who showed a beautifully preserved Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GT. This was the very car that won its class in the 1933 Mille Miglia and is the only survivor of the three cars built by Touring. Another car that grabbed our attention was the ultra rare Abarth 2000 OT. This is one of only three known to exist and it is fitted with Abarth's proprietary engine that breaths through absolutely massive 58mm twin-choke Webers. There were also more modern competition cars that stood, which included an ex-works Audi R10, a Ferrari 430 GTC that was raced only once and a Saleen S7R. It was also interesting to see the number of Lancia Stratoses on offer both in full Group 4 and road-going trim.

Further highlights
Major manufacturers are a set fixture at the Techno Classica and while some are mainly there to support their respective owners clubs others pull out all the stops to showcase a particular model or celebrate a major anniversary. The most impressive of these manufacturer displays was, as often is the case, that of Mercedes-Benz. The German manufacturer celebrated the 50th anniversary of the experimental C111. Each version was on display, including the more extreme record breakers and also the SLX show car from 1966 that was effectively the predecessor of the C111. BMW had clearly toned their involvement and the usually very impressive Volkswagen Group display now was somewhat disappointing. The most interesting car on display was the W12 Coupe that set several long distance speed records during the early 2000s at the Nardo circuit. During the weekend that the 1,000th Formula 1 Grand Prix was held, only Alfa Romeo provided an appropriate display that also served to celebrate the marque's return to the sport as an entrant. On show was one of the 'Alftetta' racers that dominated the first two F1 World Championship seasons and also the first of the later Alfa Romeo-engined Brabhams.

Final thoughts
The 31st annual Techno Classica lived up to its expectations and there were Porsche 911s and Mercedes-Benz 300 SLs galore. Fortunately there were also enough cars, even some of the 911s and 300 SLs, that warranted a closer look and make the journey to Essen worthwhile. Many of these highlights of this year's Techno Classica can be found in our 190-shot gallery.

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2019 RM Sotheby's Essen  
Date: 04 / 11
Total result: €18,700,012 (85%)
   
 

Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com