Interested car fans have the opportunity to visit the Retro Classics in Stuttgart until Sunday evening. The history of this classic car show began 20 years ago. Its round anniversary was once again celebrated with a colorful mixture of classic cars from all decades, fine young classics as well as exotics from various countries. These were joined by motorcycles, commercial vehicles and a handful of tractors in a total of nine halls and the area around the atrium, with one hall reserved exclusively for the sale of automobilia and spare parts. Already in the atrium of entrance east as well as in the foyer in front of the ticket offices, there were a total of 27 exhibits from the ROFGO Collection, the main theme of which is racing cars with Gulf sponsorship. We dedicate to this special exhibition in the last two picture galleries in this article.
The huge Hall 1 traditionally offers plenty of space for dealers of high-quality vehicles. This year, they offered not only true rarities such as a Lamborghini Miura, a BMW 328 with bodywork by Beutler, a Veritas Meteor racing car or two BMW 507, but only more modern cars. Thus a Lamborghini Centenario Roadster, a Ferrari LaFerrari, a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, an Alfa Romeo 8C Spider or a Bugatti Chiron were found here. As always, the walk through all the intermediate passages was worthwhile in order not to miss anything. One could pass a BMW 503 in the midst of its restoration or a Porsche 911 R this way. Speaking of Porsche; just like the Mercedes-Benz brand, which is also based in Stuttgart, the sports car brand accounted for the majority of the cars on display at the trade fair. In addition, both manufacturers each had large stands in Hall 1, where the classic car activities and the two large museums within the city were highlighted. Mercedes-Benz also had a second stand in Hall 10, where also the 20 recognized brand clubs were located.
In the other halls, too, various dealers and clubs presented a colorful array of vehicles. Sometimes they served merely as eye-catchers, otherwise the brand or model history was presented in the best possible way. In between there were a few tuned cars as well as backdated vehicles, so-called restomods. These are cars that were retrofitted to an older look of the same model series. This procedure is most frequently used for Porsche 911s. Therefore it isn’t surprising that after last year’s presentation of the Kaege Retro Turbo, which was still without interior at that time, this car was now to be seen completed. In addition with the Everytimer also a BMW 1-Series was around, which was optically retrofitted to the 02 Series of the 1960s. Among the Mercedes clubs were an Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 GT and a 280 GE with headlights of the 1970s S-Class. This conversion had been done by AMG in the early 80s.
Retro Classics had already announced cars from the French brand Avions Voisin in advance as the second special exhibition alongside the ROFGO vehicles. This manufacturer is virtually unknown in Germany. It was founded by the brothers Gabriel and Charles Voisin, who began building aircraft before World War 1. Charles died in 1912, whereupon his brother first continued with the production of aircraft and finally, from 1918, also produced cars. These always featured exceptional manufacturing techniques with aluminium bodies, unusual details such as Art Deco inspired design, and valveless engines with 4, 6 or even 12 cylinders. By 1938, around 10,000 vehicles had been produced in 30 different model series. Nine of these, including a Biscooter developed after the war, were now on display in Stuttgart.
Let’s come back to the atrium at the east entrance. The ROFGO Collection assembled there unites the racing history of the past 60 years. Its owner Roald Goethe paid special attention to those racing cars that were sponsored by the American company Gulf Oil. While this was initially limited to more or less small stickers somewhere on the vehicle, complete paint jobs soon followed. The colors light blue and orange were chosen, creating one of the most legendary racing liveries alongside Martini, Marlboro or Jägermeister. In recent years, Roald Goethe himself competed with cars painted in Gulf colors in various races up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His collection now comprises 43 vehicles including an original race transporter, which took the Porsche cars to events and back in the 1970s. 28 of these were shown in Stuttgart.
The earliest examples of the ROFGO Collection were made by McLaren and competed in Formula 1 and Can-Am series. For the first time, the Ford GT40, from which the M1 with a significantly narrower roof silhouette was developed at Mirage in Great Britain, was shown in the typical Gulf color scheme. Also from Mirage they brought the M6, GR7 and GR8. Also at Porsche there were times with racing cars in Gulf livery. So the 917 and the 908/03 started in light blue and orange. In the foyer there was a 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Lightweight, which brought the Gulf colors to the rally tracks. After a long break, Gulf Oil returned to motorsport in the late 1990s. The best known of these were the McLaren F1 GTR from 1996 to 1998, but other brands also appeared in this livery. For example, Audi sent a suitably painted R8 onto the track at times and Aston Martin started with the DBR9 as well as the Lola DBR1-2 and the Vantage GTE in this look. The latter as well as the exhibited Lamborghini Gallardo and the Mercedes-AMG GT GT3 were raced by Roald Goethe himself.
The next Retro Classics will take place in Stuttgart again in March 2021. We are already looking forward to it and hope that you as our readers enjoyed our short virtual tour and the accompanying pictures.
Images: Matthias Kierse