Weatherproof: Europe celebrates collector cars indoors at Essen

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30th anniversary of the Porsche 964 celebrated along with 30th anniversary of Techno-Classica Essen | Dirk de Jager photos

Essen is situated in the Nordrhein Westfalen region of the German countryside and just as spring begins each year it plays host to the Techno-Classica fair. The 30th annual was held this past week and again it was billed as the largest indoor classic car show in Europe.

But since renovation and expansion of the Messe exhibition halls began two years ago, Techno-Classica Essen also might have become the most confusing with all the rearrangements of previous stand locations.

Nonetheless, with more than 2,700 collector cars and 1,200 exhibitors from 30 countries, it has always taken time to find your way around all the booths. There’s also a Coys auction, and RM Sotheby’s has announced a major sale on site for 2019.

To take it in, you need at least two full days wandering all the different halls with their upper and basement levels as well as all of the outside areas.

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But it’s no cliche to say you’ll find something for everyone, from spare parts to club displays and from dealers with rare cars on display to the automobile manufacturers themselves, especially now that so many of them have dedicated classic departments.

This year, it appeared that Mercedes-Benz was trying to reach the biggest audience. It had major displays in two different halls, and that doesn’t count the numerous 300 SL and Pagoda cars being offered by classic car dealerships with their own displays.

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Make no mistake, although the big brands are trying to persuade you to send them a car for restoration or maintenance, many of the best deals are being offered by the private dealers.

There are so many Porsches and Mercedes on offer that you can’t keep track of your favorites. One alternative is to loose yourself in the oddities, the racing cars, the pre-war and even Brass Era cars.

The show runs for five days and annually attracts around 185,000 people.

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A racer's son, Dirk de Jager is a Belgian-based photographer raised in a family of car enthusiasts. While his passion started out with classic Italian cars, it has expanded to include other nationalities with a preference for cars of the 1930s to 1950s. Dirk can often be found at top classic car events in Europe and the United States, whether on a racetrack, rally or concours field. For the past decade he has photographed numerous rare classic cars either for international magazines, commercial work, auction company's or private collectors. In addition to photography, he tests classic cars and assists collectors in managing their collections and showing cars at leading concours.

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