Tomorrow is the big day: off to Germany for the 2014 Essen Techno Classica. Thanks to one dirty dropout in our party of four, the M3 will be three up as it heads for Dover at silly o’clock, but not light on laughs. The craic should be mighty en route: this was the start of my 2010 drive in the orange Porsche 911.
Essen is one of those trips you put off for years and then wonder what took you so long. I often get to the end of a trip and think “I’ll have next year off”, as much of what’s there can feel samey for regular visitors. But, come January, we are booking hotels and planning transport. It’s not as expensive as you might think, and attending with a bunch of mates is great for the soul. It really is the ultimate way to start the Porsche season.
Never easy to predict what will be present, the Essen show honours attendees with the widest range of classic eye candy anywhere in Europe. Only bettered by the owner car parks at Classic Le Mans – and even then just because France is outside and sunny – Essen is a showcase for disposable income. Amongst the blatant dealer profiteering lie some really unique cars, competing for dealer bragging rights.
Last year, one dealer gathered Citroen DSs from the original Paris launch. All the cars were from private collections, with nothing for sale at the show, but that homework made him a megastar. The stand was thronged, causing traffic jams as the crowd stopped to take pictures: seriously good for business when the best network is all that matters.
What will be in this years ‘for sale’ car parks? What madness will have possessed the dealers’ pricing pens? What despicable characters await in the Dusseldorf bars? And the biggest question: why aren’t you coming to Essen?