Techno Classica in Essen, Germany, on 26-30 March 2014, is one of the automotive events that everyone should do at least once. Here are some things that first-timers should know:
- It’s Huge: Simply reciting the size of the hall in square feet or metres is meaningless. The show is larger than the NEC and Rétromobile combined. Seeing it all in one day is impossible. If you have mobility issues at all, this probably isn’t your show. Admission is also a bit pricey at around £22 for a single day.
- It’s a Bit of a Chore to Get There: As events on the continent go, Techno Classica is more difficult to get to than, say, Rétromobile, which can actually be done as a day trip. Flying is obviously the quickest;, and Düsseldorf International Airport (DUS) is the closest gateway to Essen. It’s 20 miles away, a €60 cab ride or a 20-minute €14 train trip. BA serves Düsseldorf from both London City and Heathrow, and Lufthansa also flies there from Heathrow. Air Berlin goes from Stansted to Düsseldorf and EasyJet does Gatwick to Düsseldorf. Outside of Greater London, your choices are limited to Flybe from either Birmingham or Manchester. Beware the “second” Düsseldorf airport, Düsseldorf-Weeze (NRN). It’s actually closer to Njimegen, Holland, than Essen. Ryan Air goes there from Stansted, but you’ll have to take a bus to the Weeze train station, and it’s about an hour and a half by train to Essen. Rail-only options consist of the Eurostar from St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord and the fast Thalys train from there to Essen. Plan on about seven hours total travel time.
- Not Surprisingly, There is an Auction: Like most events of this size, there is an auction on the premises as well. Techno Classica’s is put on by the UK auction house Coys. This year’s lots include an exceedingly rare Citröen DS19 Decapotable and a 1930 4½-Litre Supercharged Bentley.
- Bring Plenty of Euros — the Autojumble is Impressive: While there is plenty of stuff that you can find at Beaulieu or the NEC, if you’re a fan of the German marques, you won’t find a better selection of bits outside of Techno Classica. Somewhat disturbingly, if one looks hard enough, some of the autojumble stalls also offer some pieces of Germany’s darker (1933-45) past. I scratched my head last year wondering what one would do in this day and age with a porcelain NSDAP Gauleiter door plaque. At least the price tag obscured the swastika.
- The Manufacturers Get Into the Act in a Big Way: Perhaps more so than any other classic show that I’ve seen, the manufacturers sink big money into Techno Classica. Last year, BMW put up displays worthy of a modern car motor show to mark 90 years of BMW motorbikes, and Mercedes-Benz celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Pagoda SL in large fashion. BMW’s insertion of a nonstop beer dispenser in the boot of a BMW 502 “Baroque Angel” saloon was much appreciated by the crowd.
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