As at every beginning of a new year on the first weekend of February, the gates of the Bremen trade fair area opened this past Friday for this year’s edition of the Bremen Classic Motorshow. For many classic car enthusiasts in northern Germany, this is the start into the new season. According to this the organizers were happy with another increase of visitors compared to last year. In the halls, as usual in Bremen, there was an interesting variety on the subjects of classic automobiles, motorcycles, parts and automobilia.
The dedication of the organizing team of the Bremen Classic Motorshow, to present a nice special exhibition on a specific topic each year, is admirable. This year, the theme was ‘Kombi-Nationen’, which translates into ‘combi-nations’ and refers to combinations and station wagons out of different countries. They showed rare estate cars/station wagons of different decades. Next to some typical production and low-volume production vehicles such as the Station Wagon versions of the Buick Eight or the Plymouth Fury, the Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake or the Mercedes-Benz 230 S Universal, which wasn’t built in the factory back in those days, they added small cars like the Fiat 500 Giardinera and a Mini Clubman to the exhibition. Two exhibits stood out from the show, as most visitors probably never heard of them before. On the one hand there was a Fiat 130 Familiare, which was originally built for Fiat boss Giovanni Agnelli on the basis of the then top-of-the-line model Fiat 130, to use it for his winter holidays in St. Moritz. It was designed in the Fiat Centro Stile, the in-house design department, but built at Officine Introzzi, a coachbuilder in Lipomo at Lake Como. A total of four copies might have been produced of this rare station wagon. The copy shown here was originally delivered to Dr. Ing. Umberto Agnelli, Giovanni’s brother. It is now part of the FCA Heritage department, who now showed it in Bremen.
The second exhibit, at which even proclaimed automotive fans and professionals had a whole range of question marks on their faces, was the Volvo 1800 ES Rocket. Seen from the front, it is just a normal edition of the Swedish sports car, but at the latest from the back of the doors to the rear it becomes weird and bizarre. Similar to the side line styling of the 1800, the waistline of this sports coupé rises in the area of the rear side window and ends in an almost vertical tail end. Its shape is absolutely contrary to the rest of the vehicle’s styling. How did they develop something like this extraordinary vehicle? In the late 1960s Volvo was involved in the development of a successor to their sports coupé 1800 S and declared to the engineers it must have an increased luggage compartment. This resulted in two design studies, the Beach Car from Sergio Cocciola, from which the later 1800 ES was created by Jan Wilsgaard in the Volvo design department, and the Rocket or Jaktvagn (Hunting Car) from Pietro Frua. If you compare the design of the two, the choice of the 1800 ES as the production variant is quite understandable.
An interesting area in this year as well was the show of young classics and classic cars with remarkably low mileage. In 2019, a Trabant P601 came out as the leader, which had returned to Germany after 29 years in Sweden with less than 1,000 kilometers on the clock. With its production date in July 1990 it is also one of the very last two-stroke models from Saxony. Both in terms of performance and mileage, an Alpina B10 Touring, which already had a turbulent life of around 89,000 kilometers, was at the other end of the offered range. Nevertheless, this car was already sold after a few hours on the first day of the show.
Visitors of the Bremen Classic Motorshow could admire and, of course, acquire a wide variety of the most diverse classic cars. From small cars like the Fiat Toppolino station wagon to sports cars like a Lamborghini Urraco or a Maserati Merak, almost everything was included. You can find some nice offers in our photo gallery. It confirmed the trend of recent years, because apart from a few still price-stable vehicles, such as the Mercedes-Benz SL models of the R107 series, general prices continued to move down. This applies to both, retailers and private sellers. Nevertheless, it appeared at least on the first day of the fair that the desire to buy a classic car amongst visitors was equally declining, as ‘sold’ marks on the offered vehicles were barely seen with just a few exceptions.
The stands of clubs and interest groups are something not to be missed at the Bremen Classic Motorshow, as they everytime try to set up really lovely performances. The one of the Spridget Register, the IG of Austin Healey Sprite and MG Midget owners, made a special statement. Somewhat puzzled, the visitors looked at the scene, which showed a Healey with a border barrier. GDR flags and a puppet in a border guard uniform left no doubt as to what the border should be. Some newspaper copies from September 1964 provided the solvation of the mystery, as they told the story of a German guy, who smuggled his girlfriend from the GDR via the border between Czechoslovakia and Austria in his Healey Sprite, which was only possible, because the car fitted below the border barrier without its windscreen. On the occasion of the 50th wedding anniversary of the pair, this scene was recreated.
Not quite as dramatic, but interesting and versatile were the offers of mostly private sellers, which were to discover as usual in the parking garage of the trade fair. Next to typical models from the brand with a star on the radiator grille, there were some rarities such as a Volkswagen Golf II Country, a Maserati Biturbo Spyder or even a beautiful Bentley S3, but also everyday classic cars like a Peugeot 504 Break with a diesel engine, that made no secret of its combustion principle when someone tried to start it. Also a very rare Mercedes-Benz G 36 AMG with short wheelbase was on offer. A stroll through the car park really was sight-worth for people, despite the low temperatures. You will find the most interesting offers in our photo gallery.
Conclusion: A visit to the Bremen Classic Motorshow 2019 was a must for people with some petrol in their bloodlines, whether to buy a car or parts, to have a look around or to meet other enthusiasts with the same passion. The classic car season can now begin. By the way, the Bremen Classic Motorshow 2020 will take place from January 31 to February 2. We look forward for this event.
Images: Carsten Tholen, Hella Andresen, Kay Andresen