Padova Auto/Moto D’Epoca is an Italian feast

Northern Italy’s annual auction and swap meet has grown to be one of Europe’s largest

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Twenty minutes by train from Venice, the industrial city of Padova, Italy, becomes Europe’s epicenter of the classic car hobby each October.

Hundreds of classic car dealers and parts purveyors display their wares alongside a Bonham’s auction and impressive, heritage-proud stands from the OEM European automakers. What they show attracts more than 120,000 people, and this year they came from 40 countries, according to the event organizers.

Apart from finding that ultra-rare part to complete your car’s restoration, it’s a chance to take the pulse of the classic car market on the continent. 

Selling prices — whether speculative or realized — are considerably higher than the North American market, where nostalgic Europeans pay up for the dream cars of their youth.

Friday’s premier of the three-day event brought out the true traders for the best deals before being besieged by the crowds of weekend spectators.

Regardless of make, nearly every classic car under 10,000 euro was snapped up within the show’s opening hours, with the few remaining oddities getting hard looks from buyers.

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Inventory seemed to be increased from last year, with rare offerings filling the courtyards between the exhibition halls.

Each year, the parts swap meet becomes more professional, with jewelry cases replacing jumbles in carefully curated booths. That rare part you are looking for is undoubtedly here somewhere, but finding it can be as daunting as locating a needle in a haystack.

Reproduction parts suppliers have made it easier than ever to source proper supplies for that old Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, or Maserati. Most of the larger internet purveyors are in attendance, giving customers a firsthand look at their goods.

If enthusiasm and attendance are any gauge, the Padova Auto/Moto D’Epoca show foretells continued strength in the European classic car market, and should be on the bucket list for any fan of Italian cars and motorcycles.

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