22/06/2024 4:02 PM


If You Really

The Return Of Techno Classica

It was 2019 when I last visited Techno Classica in Essen. I’m not alone though; Covid cancelled the event in 2020 and ’21, so like everyone else I stayed at home.

Now two years later, all the mandatory restrictions have been lifted here in Holland. That is not the case in Germany though, where face masks are still required inside public buildings. So on Wednesday last week, I packed my camera gear – and face mask – and finally headed back to Essen.

I wasn’t sure what to expect at Techno Classica 2022, but after reading the press release I was led to believe it was business as usual. Unfortunately, that was not exactly the case. All the big manufacturers, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and the VAG group were absent, leaving various car clubs to represent the brands. That is not a bad thing per se, but it did mean the show lacked the rarely-seen museum pieces that automakers usually bring out of their vaults especially for the event.

Never mind though, because there was still plenty to see, and in this post I’m going to share with you some of the highlights – car by car.


This 1969 Alfa Romeo Giulia 1300ti arrived in Germany in 1989, where it was fully rebuilt with a 2.0-liter engine good for 131PS, a 5-speed gearbox and disc brakes at all four corners. Almost 25 years later, this everyday classic is still looking the part, even with a few small rust bubbles here and there.


Any vintage Alfa Romeo Giulia is cool, but this Giulia GTA Strada is something else. Autodelta, Alfa Romeo’s former racing division, built two version of the Giulia GTA – the Strada, which featured road car trim, and the Corsa, for racing. This particular Strada was originally owned by Rhoddy Har, an ex-Autodelta race driver, and has been meticulously restored.


To me, the BMW 507 is one of the most beautiful cars ever built, and it’s even more exclusive than the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. This is number 205 from a total of 253 ever made.


In the BMW 635 CSi’s era, almost 100 cars were built for Group A racing. By comparison, just a handful of Group 2-spec 635 CSis were ever produced, making them extremely rare. This particular Group 2 machine achieved four podium finishes in the 1980 European Touring Car Championship, and finished second overall in the season standings. It was fully restored at a cost of around €200,000 (USD$223,000) and is now offered up for sale with a €450,000 (US$502,000) asking price.

When the BMW 2002 Turbo – the first European production car to be equipped with an exhaust gas turbocharger – was launched in 1973, it cost DM18,720, which sounds like a misprint in today’s money – €9,400 or US$10,500. Today, you’ll pay well over €100,000 (US$111,000) for one, but you get something truly special for the money – 170bhp thanks in part to the KKK turbocharger, 7-second sprints from zero to 100km/h and a 131mph (210km/h) top speed, not to mention the Turbo’s iconic and purposeful look.


In 1975, the most powerful and highest specification BMW E12 5 Series you could buy new was the 528. A total of 19,934 Series 1 528 cars were built, but currently fewer than 50 examples remain registered in Germany. This must surely be one of the best.


Here’s something I definitely wasn’t expecting to see at Techno Classica – an event built on history, originality and provenance – but I’m not complaining. The BMW E30 Club Nederland brought along some really nice cars, including this E30 327i M-Technic 2 rolling on BBS RS wheels (17×8.5-inch front and 17×9.5-inch rear, +15 offsets all around) and dropped on Air Lift Performance suspension.


Sticking with E30s for a moment, on the KW Suspensions stand was this immaculate M3 showcasing KW’s V3 coilover system. Again, the wheels are classic 17-inch BBS RS fare.


Another E30? Why not! I really like the look of this car, which like the 327i I showed you a moment ago was in the BMW E30 Club Nederland display. The wheels looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on them at the time. After some digging, I confirmed them to be of MIM brand, with inspiration taken from Ferrari 348 wheels. I love the cleanliness of this build – perhaps we should follow up with a feature?


Here’s something really special. The name ‘Dingolfing’ will immediately ring a bell with BMW connoisseurs, because the automaker has operated a factory there since the late 1960s. Prior to this, the factory belonged to Hans Glas, which produced a number of cars at the facility, the pinnacle of production being the 1965 Hans Glas 2600 V8. But a couple of years later, with BMW in ownership of Glas, the model formed the basis of a new concept car – the BMW-Glas 3000 V8 Frua Prototipo. This very car was originally shown at IAA in Frankfurt in 1967.

I can’t help it – I’m a sucker for G wagons. The 6×6 is a Brabus version with 700bhp and full leather-stitched interior. The 4-wheeler is a 1 of 10 limited edition Brabus ‘Black Ops’ version with 800bhp and 1,000Nm of torque, plus a Widestar wide-body kit with Platinum Edition forged wheels.


Ferrari built 1,200 examples of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona road car between 1969 and 1973, plus five special light alloy competition cars. Then there’s this – a 1 of 1 365 GTB/4 Daytona alloy-body road car, all original and hidden from the world for the past 40 years. Here’s the question: would you restore it, or keep it as is?


Built in 1993, this little Fiat Cinquecento is an original Trofeo Cup car campaigned by Team Holzer. With a 1.1-liter engine pushing out 96PS, a 6-speed gearbox and Quaife LSD, it would be a huge amount of fun to drive at ten-tenths around a race track.


As you’d expect from a 300 SL restoration expert like HK-Engineering, here’s some absolute perfection. You are looking at more than €6,000,000 (US$6,700,000) worth of cars. The 300 SL market is booming right now, and cars are changing hands for more than a million euro left and right and center. Judging by how many 300 SLs I saw at Techno Classica, they aren’t difficult to find either – I counted around 20 of these cars for sale at the show. In most cases it’s not about finding a 300 SL, but finding one with the right provenance and backstory

The star of the HK-Engineering stand was this red car with ‘Rudge’ wheels – a factory option that commands a real premium these days. The colour-coded wheels were only fitted to 130 cars when the 300 SL was new, but given their status, I’m sure many examples have been retrofitted with Rudges over the years.


In the world of classic cars I have a few favourites: The Mercedes Benz 300 SL, the BMW 507, and this, the Lamborghini Islero. You can keep your Countach, Diablo or any other bull – for me, the Islero as one of Sant’Agata’s greatest designs.


From Speedhunting to tractorhunting. There were several Lamborghini tractors present at Techno Classic, but this one took the cake. In building vehicles for the Italians after WWII, Ferruccio Lamborghini used the six-cylinder Morris engines from British military vehicles left behind after the war in these L33 models. This particular tractor, one of only eight known to still exist in the world, is a one-owner machine that was bought in period from Ferruccio himself. No wonder it has a listed value of €1,000,000 (US$1,117,000).


Here is a very special car, but this time because of the driver – Juan Manuel Fangio. This Maserati 4CLT was bought by The Automovil Club Argentino (ACA) in 1947, and three years later won the 1950 Pau Grand Prix in France in Fangio’s hands. Sometime later in its life it was re-powered with a Ford V8, but common sense eventually prevailed and it’s since been restored back to its original Pau GP/Fangio specification.

This Matra MS640 V12 was built in 1969 for the Le Mans 24 Hours, but it crashed and burned (literally) during testing, badly injuring driver Henri Pescarolo. Yes, it looks amazing again now, but just wait till you hear it!


I just love this W123 Mercedes 280 E. An original 1982 car built by Rosier into this Rallye version, it runs a 2.8-liter engine good for 200PS mated to a manual gearbox. The interior is purpose-built with a roll cage and custom plaid-trimmed Recaro seats.


Future classic? I think so. Now is the time to invest in an E60.


As DJ Khaled would say, another one. Yes, another Techno Classica car with a €1,000,000+ price tag, in this case €1,150,000 (US$1,280,000) for the full option and shirt to match. This SLS AMG Black Series has not been driven since leaving the factory, so you could say it’s still brand new.


Give me the choice between a 2.5-16 Evolution II and an E30 M3, and I’ll take the Mercedes-Benz every day of the week. Mercedes built 502 Evo IIs for DTM homologation, and as you can see, they featured a more aggressive aerodynamic package and bigger fender flares than the original Evo (top).


In 1972, Nissan released its second generation Skyline known as the C110. The race car version was revealed in 1973 at the Tokyo Motor Show, but because of the impending oil crisis, Nissan never hit the track in it. This meant that the C110 race car never raced, #73 ending up at the Nissan Heritage Museum. The replica pictured here started life as a 1976 C110 GT-X, and was exported to the UK in 2014. Then it was sold to an enthusiast in Lithuania, and brought back to the UK in 2017 where the bare-metal restoration and works race-look was completed.


In all honesty, I don’t get the hype around the Nissan Skyline R33 400R. I know the rarity makes it special, but besides some nice upgrades from factory, a tuner could build the same car for a fraction of the million dollar value they now hold. Maybe I’m just missing something here? This car is one of three known to be finished in Midnight Purple, making it even more rare.


This Porsche 911 was built by Carbone in true Singer fashion. What I mean by that is that its owner specified exactly how they wanted their car built, and this particular one received some choice upgrades with light weight in mind. The DP Motorsport catalogue was used to lighten the body – the roof, bumpers, fenders, rear arches, ducktail and hood are all in Kevlar. Engine-wise, there’s a 3.0-liter mill pushing out around 250hp.


When Porsche premiered the Carrera RS at the Salon de Paris in October 1972, a limited run of 500 units were planned. But even before the car was presented to the press, all 500 were pre-sold. In March 1973, construction of the second series began, and some 1,580 examples were produced, of which only 25 vehicles were finished in Gulf Orange. This is one of those cars.


I lost track of time while looking at this Porsche 917 model by Amalgam. The attention to detail is simply mind-blowing.


I’m not sure if this guy was a former racer, but he was flying around the Nürburgring on this simulator.


And finally, we have an absolute rarity in Europe – a UK-delivery MS63 Toyota Crown Custom Wagon. This was the luxury variant of the Crown estate, and was delivered exclusively with an automatic transmission and three rows of seats.

Despite the event’s lack of manufacturer support this year, it was good just to be back in Essen for Techno Classica. I’m sure 2023 will be even better though. In the meantime, I’ve included some extra images below for you to check out.

Jeroen Willemsen
Instagram: jaccojeroen