2013 marked the 25th Anniversary of this fabulous celebration of classic cars. Only a few short hours of motorway driving gets you up from Calais and while the unashamedly industrial city of Essen won’t be on anyone’s holiday itinerary, the great exhibition hall has become a real point of pilgrimage for classic enthusiasts.
Huge commitment is shown by Mercedes and BMW, seamlessly linking their heritage with their up to date offerings while the professionals of the industry rub shoulders with people selling their own cars bolstered by legions of single make car clubs with their eclectic displays. These range from the DAF owners with their professionally demonstration of their famous Variomatic system through to the Oompah bands with their VW’s and a variety of offerings from the former East Germany. Whatever their reason for being at Essen, they were rewarded by a huge attendance at the show.
Maybe it was the subdued performance of sterling against the euro or optimism on behalf of the sellers but some of the prices being asked were eye watering but that wasn’t reflected upstairs on Saturday afternoon when Coys held their annual auction. The crowds were there – the audience didn’t quite put towels out on the sun loungers but they knew how to reserve the sparse seating and soon the floors and the overlooking staircases were full to over flowing. And the sale started well with the first nine lots all finding new homes. Oddly for a German sale, the first “not sold” of the day was a 1963 VW Beetle – and once the spell was broken, one became aware of the slightly disjointed nature of the sale.
The normal Coys patter from the podium was supported by one of their own staff who, having apologised at the beginning of the sale if her German was not 100%, popped up with summarising comments and pricing points in the native tongue. But the anecdotal English asides and attempts at humour fell a little flat but fortunately no translation attempts were made. With the huge inventory, the energy soon went out of the proceedings and the crowds thinned out.
And, considering the prices being asked in the halls, some of the values achieved left something in the pot for the buyers – there were DB Mark III’s being offered in the halls for €175,000 - €250,000 so the €100,000 achieved by the 1958 DB Mark III in the sale was an apt reminder that Feltham cars don’t thrive in auctions – they are a more considered purchase.
A bigger differential turned out on the long wheelbase 1 ½ litre pre-war Aston Martin Tourer. A hang over from their last sale, when customs had held the car up, it sold for €107,000 – in comparison, Historics sold a similar car at their last sale for £100,000 (€117,000). Funnily enough that car was for sale in the hall at £175,000!
There was a third “Aston Martin” – actually a 1961 ARA replica of a DBR2 with a 6 cylinder Jaguar engine – it sold for a creditable €37,000. Overall, the sales rate was average but Coys must have been disappointed when, for example, their star 1939 Bentley only got up to €300,000, well short of estimate. But where they had worked hard with sellers to get the reserves down, they were able to conclude sales.
Prize for the sale of the day must be the 1948 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d’Este – the car was beautiful, the steering was on the right and the car was sold for €280,000 well short of the published estimate – well done to Coys for making sure this beauty found a new home.
If you haven’t been, the Techno Classica is definitely a show to visit – plenty to see for any enthusiast but pay the premium for the preview day or the Friday – the weekends are mayhem!