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Foreign brands to challenge the Germans at the Techno Classica

This post is part of a series of reports on the Techno Classica, a prominent classic car show that closed its gates this Sunday. For more info, visit the general post on the event. Apart from the show’s sheer size, the real value added is the factory presence that makes the top-tier events reach far beyond a traditional second-hand car fair. Essentially, Techno Classica resembles now a lot to the Frankfurt Motor Show but with classic cars. In today’s post, I try to squeeze in all stands and shows of import brands, including the VW group’s non-German brands and brands represented by car clubs.

Sports Classics London’s Aston Martin stage makes you forget Newport Pagnell’s absence

Aston Martin Factory HQ was not present in Essen, at least not officially.

Nevertheless, the UK based Sports Classics London brought half a dozen classic Aston Martin (mainly DB5s),

exhibited in a simple white but a flawlessly elegant stage, that I actually liked more than the official stage in Paris.

Their efforts bore fruits, their 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Convertible has been awarded the Best of Show at the Concours de Elegance of the Techno Classica.

Jaguar flashes fully electrified drivetrains for the model years 2019 and 1961 (!)

You can’t help noticing the shrinking surface area of Jaguar Land Rover stage this year, both in Paris and Essen. But that does not mean that we won’t see something spectacular from Coventry. I was waiting for the E-Type Zero to appear at one of the classic shows since the announcement of the project, and now Jaguar brought it to Essen.

Jaguar Land Rover Classic thus completely electrified its fleet they brought to the Techno Classica.

In one hand the electric-powered Jaguar E-Type Zero celebrated a European premiere.

With the Zero Emission version of the iconic ’60s sports car, Jaguar Classic pioneered electrified classic vehicles. They are awaiting now the orders for the 70.000 EUR conversion kit (which can be undone upon request), from those who already own an E-Type (others should an expect an invoice for a quadruple amount).

The electrified Jaguar E-Type Zero accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds, beating an E-Type Series 1 by one second. Jaguar claims the drivetrain is very close to the original, while the interior received some upgrades.

The dimensions and weight of the lithium-ion battery are quite similar to those of the XK six-cylinder normally located under the bonnet – the mounting position is identical as well. The electric motor and the reduction gear are just behind the battery – and thus at the same position as the four-speed gearbox of the original.

Thanks to an electric drive with similar weights and dimensions as the previously installed petrol engine, the E-Type Zero takes over the entire structure, including suspensions and brakes, from the original model. The weight distribution is identical.

To maximise energy efficiency, LED lights were applied, with a design that remains true to the historical model. As a result of the intervention: the E-Type Zero drives, brakes and accelerates like the original from the Swinging Sixties.

For the electromobility of the present, Jaguar exhibited the electric I-PACE with the livery of the Viessmann Etrophy Team Germany. This race car, driven by Célia Martin competes in the world’s first series for battery-powered series production vehicles (the beige interior looks certainly inviting).

Another highlight at the stand was a virtual 360-degree tour through the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Center in Essen.

This year not part of the factory show, but the neighbouring stage featured quite a lot of classic Landys.

Mini celebrates its 60th anniversary

The Mini brand celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. At that time the brand was launched as a revolutionary Mini model that gradually spawned many versions from racing to off-road.  But the success story began with the presentation of the first Mini in 1959.

At the MINI stand, some significant Mini exhibits are presented from the 60-year history of the trendsetter. The BMW Stage presented the Mini 1275 GT driven by British driver Richard Longman to take the title at the British Touring Car Championship 40 years ago for the second time in succession.

Once again, the small car proved its worth against bigger and more powerful competitors with the back-to-back success in the British touring car series. Longman’s race vehicle was based on the series Mini 1275 GT, which raced as the successor to the Mini Cooper A with the front end of the Mini Clubman presented in 1969 and a 1.3-litre engine packing 59 hp.

Ferrari showcased Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari F 40, along with a few rarities

The Ferrari is usually represented by a non-factory stand in Hall 3, built by Eberlein Automobile, an official Ferrari classic workshop.

One could say the Italian flair was also emphasised by the fact that the stage was not ready by the press opening of the show, but following a “tempo accademico” of a few hours, a small but lovely stage was awaiting visitors with a really balanced selection of cars.

The highlight is a Ferrari F 40 from 1989, which the 1992 Formula 1 world champion Nigel Mansell bought as a new car, but several decades and model ranges were represented, but only a few of them were actually reaching classic car age limits.

Next up, there was a line of Maseratis showcased along with a selection of a few Ferraris.

Volvo pairs art deco flair with a European Premiere

For quite a few years, Volvo Cars’ factory museum participated with full enthusiasm at the Techno Classica, building an elegant stage filled with the best of the Factory Museum. For those interested in the Swedish brand’s history, it doesn’t get better than this apart from an actual visit in Gothenburg.

The show also serves to inaugurate premier car that was usually presented in Geneva or outside Europe.

This year the German car show debutant is the all­new US­built Volvo S60 sports saloon (I actually sat in one in Brussels in January, so the premiere is only for Germany).


The new S60 is surrounded by other classic Volvo saloons, that include the 1929 PV4 that was Volvo’s very first saloon, and a 1969 Volvo 164, a six­cylinder prestige car from the ’60s.

The balcony is occupied by a 1966 Amazon, that is a Volvo design icon, certainly by Volvo terms : ).

The other side of the stage is undoubtedly more colourful: Volvo brought a red 1981 240 Turbo that was Volvo’s first turbocharged passenger car and a bright yellow 1995 850 T­5R a performance saloon from the ’90s.

The Centre stage is revisiting the Art Deco era with a 1935 Volvo PV36 once owned by one of the company’s founders. Gustaf Larson. The PV36 is an example of Streamline Moderne, a prominent design trend in the early thirties. Buildings, trains, boats and even home appliances such as toasters and steam irons were designed in this late Art Deco style, described as “Art Deco on the move” due to the aerodynamic features.

Engineer and designer Ivar Örnberg brought the style to Volvo when he returned to Sweden in 1933, having worked in the American automotive industry for a few years. With the new Volvo model, Örnberg introduced the Streamline Moderne influences to Sweden. The exotic­looking car was soon nicknamed the ‘Carioca’, most probably after a popular Latin American dance at the time. According to plans, Volvo produced only 500 cars of this model between 1935 and 1938.

The PV36 on display in Essen has low mileage but a rich history. The model was one of the first to be produced by Volvo, just a few years after engineer Gustaf Larson and economist and salesman Assar Gabrielsson decided over a crayfish dinner in 1924 to start a Swedish car company. With this PV36, Volvo presented a unique link to one of Volvo Cars’ founders and a fascinating example of how a decidedly American design style reached a small Swedish car company in the thirties.

Alfa Romeo’s proud F1 heritage shines through at the FCA Heritage stage

The FCA Heritage keeps the memories of traditional brands Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Abarth and this year’s show focused on Alfa Romeo’s racing spirit and its Formula 1 comeback.

The centre stage was occupied by a Tipo 159 “Alfetta” in which Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1951 F1 world championship.

In addition, a 1977 Brabham-Alfa Romeo BT45 was escorted by the current Giulia in racing livery. The FCA Heritage stand very elegantly connects the racing past to modern day alfas, exhibiting the Giulia Quadrifoglio Alfa Romeo Racing limited edition, which celebrates the brand’s Formula One venture.

This latter race car was driven in F1 by Carlos Reutemann (finishing 4th in that season) and Carlos Pace, but the car did not reproduce the success of the legendary ancestor. Both vehicles arrived straight from the Italian Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, another site that is featured high on my bucket list.

These two F1 cars were presented to underline the importance of racing in Alfa Romeo’s identity throughout its history. Only a year after its foundation, the brand won its first ever race in Modena on 24 June 1910. Since then, its sporting legend encompassed victories and podium finishes in various international championships. Alfa Romeo made a comeback to F1 racing in 2018, and from this season, the team has changed its official name to Alfa Romeo Racing contracting former world champion Kimi Raikkonen.


On the other side of the stage, FCA parked another Alfa Romeo car with an unmistakably sporty personality, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio NRING (wanna buy a vowel? : ) ), this car is a limited edition that pays homage to the record lap achieved at the Nürburgring in 2017 (was exposed here last year).

The original specced up car finished the lap in 7 minutes 51.7 seconds to cover the more than 20 km of the Nordschleife. The grey street legal version ditched the duct tapes that served to improve the car’s wind resistance to the detriment of the practicality of course : ).

The current Stelvio was accompanied by two recent high-end Alfa, a 2007 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and a 2010 Alfa Romeo 8C Spider.

Built in a limited edition of just 500, the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione is equipped with a 4691 cc 90° V8 engine of Ferrari origin, delivering 450 HP at 7000 rpm. This car is a genuine collector’s item, with a few kilometres on the clock, it has been restored by the FCA Heritage technical staff, and is exposed with the intention to find a new owner.

The 8C spyder was Launched in 2008 as a derivative from the 2006 Alfa 8C Competizione, in another limited edition of another 500 car contingent. The Alfa Romeo Style Centre took inspiration from roadsters like the 1950s Giulietta Spider. This car never left the factory but now is on sale, with only a few kilometres on the clock, following restoration by the FCA Heritage.

The stage also showcased an Abarth Classiche 595 Conversion Kit to tune the engine of a classic Fiat 500 or provide replacement parts for a classic Abarth 595, along with a Fiat 500 already prepared and put to the test at the 2018 Targa Florio Classica.

The last car is record-breaking Abarth-tuned Fiat 500  from 1958 first Fiat 500 ever tuned by Karl Abarth’s team, which collected 6 international records at its debut on the high-speed loop at the Monza circuit (and has been featured on FCA Heritage’s stage in Paris too).

Škoda celebrated the 60th birthday of the Octavia

The main theme of the Škoda stage was the 60 years of Škoda Octavia, with a presentation of various historical Octavia and the Felicia convertible derivatives.

The Mladá Boleslav company illustrated motorsports activities with an Octavia WRC from the year 1999. The four-wheel drive World Rally Car is based on the first generation Octavia.

Initially, it was piloted by Czech driver Roman Kresta earning points in the world championship, later the 300 BHP monster arrived at Germany and with Matthias Kahle at the wheel, between 2002 and 2004, secured the German Rally Championship.

While a 50’s Octavia could hardly draw attention in Essen, Škoda provided special eye-catchers in the form of a freshly restored, Laurin & Klement from 1908 (the only preserved specimen) and a barn find.

SEAT showcased two anniversary models

Since 2006, SEAT has presented their automobiles regularly at Techno Classica Essen, in the VW Hall, commemorating anniversaries of usually not very exciting cars (usually the Spanish versions of mass-market FIATs) with one of the best decorations of the VW Hall.

This year, SEAT was celebrating the 50th anniversaries of two models: the SEAT 1430 was a derivative of the SEAT 124 while the SEAT 850 Sport Spider which was launched in 1969, that SEAT presented as sign of self-confidence of the Spanish automobile manufacturer, even if the technology under the Italdesign body was a FIAT derivative.

The anniversary cars are accompanied by a five-door station wagon.

The Peugeot stage commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 504 coupé and convertible

Peugeot presented two new models designed by Sergio Pininfarina 50 years ago. They were based on the 504 sedan launched a year earlier.

At Techno-Classica Essen, Peugeot’s stand focuses on this anniversary with a 504 Coupé built by 26,128. A 504 in rally version illustrates the robustness of the model while a new 508 limousine builds the bridge to the present.

When the birthday boy fails to show up: Citroën street to celebrate the 100th  anniversary

For its 100th birthday, Citroën relied on the services of its fan club, which a stark contrast to the most impressive stage of Rétromobile, but also a step backwards from the earlier official Citroën stages in Essen.

The Citroën show comprises of 15 classic vehicles, is organised under the auspices of the Amicale Citroën International (ACI) representing 14 different clubs with around 12,000 German enthusiasts.

For this year’s 100 Years of Citroën theme, the club organisers brought together a retrospective with classic automobiles from every decade starting with the Type A from the first year of Citroën to the modern C6 (2005-2012), but my favourite part was the photo session with Phantomas and the winged DS mimicking the flying car from the classic French action movie.

A non-partisan yet active car-maniac.