It is commonly known that Stuttgart in Germany is one of the world capitals when it comes to cars. Not only houses it 2 major car builders with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, the leading manufacturer of pistons and crankshafts Mahle have their premises in the lovely town at the Neckar too. On top of that you have the 2 worldwide renowned classic car events too. In July there is the Solitude Revival, that always attracts hundreds of amazing cars, among them usually museum cars of both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Next is the RetroClassics, the worlds largest classic car show, as the organization claims.
New record year for RetroClassics 2016
With over 1550 exhibitors in the Stuttgart Messe, the 125.00 square meter surface was completely sold out. This year, over 90.000 visitors passed the lane to enjoy a truly amazing exhibition of some real classic treasures. The dutch Louwman Museum, based in The Hague, brought some of it’s gems, like the rather ridiculous looking but nevertheless astonishing Maharajah Swan Car, a Jaguar D, or a Mercedes SSK designed by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche himself. It was a great coincidence but when I was admiring this particular car, I spotted Dr. Wolfgang Porsche doing the same thing. The grandson of the designer of this Mercedes SSK and one of the creations of his grandfather reunited just in front of my eyes. A moment I will never forget.
A display that caught the attention of many was that of the german race car builder Veritas. Immediately after the entrance, some 8 Veritas cars from different collections were exhibited. In my opinion it is such a pity Veritas ceased to exist long time ago. They really made some great racers, and all of their cars are so great designed and unique in form.
Porsche was celebrating the 40th anniversary of their transaxle models. The museum exhibition brought the prototype of the Porsche 924, the very last built Porsche 924, a Porsche 928 and a Porsche 968 Cabriolet. They had some animation too, with the possibility to drive a race-car in a race-simulator. To promote their race-track courses, they brought a Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car too. A unique opportunity to many to feel what it’s like to be at the wheel of a true racer, even though it is just in standstill. During my visit at the Porsche exhibition, Dieter Landenberger, head of the Porsche Archives, had a animated interview with Harm Lagaay, the well known car designer that once worked for the Zuffenhausen car manufacturer. Definitely not the most impressive exhibition I’ve ever seen from Porsche but always some good fun to strawlaround and enjoy the cars.
What surprised me most at the Retroclassics 2016, was the large amount of Porsches that were on sale. It was truly extra-ordinary to see the loads of mainly flat-sixes of different ages and conditions in the various halls. The other surprise to me was the fact that prices of the Porsche 911 really seem to know no limits. I even noticed a Porsche 912 that could be yours for a breathtaking 149.000€, actually I am curious if someone was prepared to dig that deep in his wallet for a Porsche 912.
The RS models always reach some high prices too. No surprise to see an 800.000€ price-tag at a 1973 Porsche Carrera RS. We’re getting used to that. Even the Porsche 964 RS and Porsche 993 RS models are maintaining the exorbitant price-levels too.
The original Porsche 935 Kremer K3 was for sale for just under 1.000.000€, which seems fair to me, even though it is a high price. This year no gems like a Porsche 550 Spyder, a Porsche 718 or 904s at the Retroclassics to be sold. The Solitude Revival organization had a rare Porsche 718 Formula 2 car on the exhibition. Too bad, this amazing car of which only a handful were build, wasn’t noticed by many of the visitors. The display was somewhat hidden. A missed opportunity I guess as the car is an eyecatcher that might attract people to the Solitude Revival.
Ofcourse there’s much more than cars at the RetroClassics too. One hall is preserved to the exhibitors with parts, literature, memorabilia, another hall had dozens of miniature and model sellers. It was amazing to see how many visitors walked through the various paths, searching for that little piece they needed. No need to say many went home with a big smile on their face as they finally found something they had been looking for since a long time.
The auction on the RetroClassics was not exactly a success in my opinion. First the cars they had for sale were not the true collector cars, with some as a possible exception. The starting prices of these cars were too high to get some real attention. Some of the cars were priced about 20.000€ higher than the asking price aof a comparable car in the same hall.
Next year, the RetroClassics will take place March 2 – 5. Better mark those dates in your agenda, exactly as December 9 – 11 2016. That’s when the new classic car show by the same organization will take place in Nurnberg, close to Munich.
Pictures : Vintage Race Photography and Wilfried Geerts