Little cars making a big splash in Stuttgart


Author: James ElliottPublished:

Big show. Big cars. Perhaps I am alone in this – though I seriously doubt it – but that makes me rapidly head off in search of the petite, little beauties tucked away, lost in the dazzling chrome reflections of the pre-war leviathans.

In just the same way as too much perfection makes me seek out the shabby, or an overdose of exotica makes me snub it in favour of the mundane and ordinary.

Maybe it is some weird manifestation of my height complex. Perhaps I am just an unusually obstreperous character. 

Either way, the impressive, nay overpowering, showing of big 'uns at Retro Classics Stuttgart prompted me to zoom in on the dainty for the day.

I'll be blogging on the star cars and biggest rarities later, but for now here, in reverse order, are my top five tiddlers.

5. Puma GT 1600 

Delighted to spot this in the classic parking area outside the show today. I am sure you know all about them, but Pumas were Brazilian-built VW-based sports cars that had an initial production from the mid-'60s to the mid-'90s and then started being built again about five years ago. Coming in convertible of coupé form, they were all glassfibre two-doors initially based on the DKW-Malzoni and adopting VW power and running gear when the German company took over DKW in the late 1960s.

4. Fiat OSCA

Stuttgart threw up several OSCA or OSCA-related jewels (including the Monteverdi single-seater), but this one really caught the eye. With its offset airscoop, the 1600 cabrio was built in 1962 and was for sale for a heady €27,500.

3. NSU Prinz 2

This was a tough one to call because there were a lot of Prinz variants taking my fancy, not least the well-patinated Sport that was right beside this car (main image). But there was something about the two-tone paint of this car and the baby caravan that completed the equipe that really appealed to me. Technically a Type 40, the little 1959 twin-cylinder NSU weighs in at just 520kg and can allegedly reach 60mph in 27 secs.

2. OSCA Maserati 1600 GTS Zagato Coupé

This little peach may have been surrounded by sleek full-sized Masers ranging from Ghibli Spyder to Quattroporte, but it more than held its own in the attention stakes.

1. Lombardi 850 Grand Prix

Another one that was for sale (for a piddling €26,400) this 1970 car was dwarfed by just about everything and barely noticed by most punters as they looked for a way to spend their money at Stuttgart. Rear-engined, Fiat-based (as just about every tiddler seems to be). What's not to love?



Did you happen to see an original BMW 700v gt a tiny coupe with twin- cylinder air cooled engine fitted in the rear trunk area, they were real sweet. I had one in the early 1970's and it was quite fun to drive and compete with.I have not seen one since so maybe BMW decided to disown them or they could be extinct. I did not even keep a photo. I enjoyed restoring cars in GERMANY because standards were so high, If a job is worth doing only do it right !! and price is not a consideration. The future of the industry probably rest with those ethic's .



James, did you also see the black Abarth Zagato in hall 1?

Great review of the show, is there a way of downloading the pictures taken?

Matt Rigby

It's curious, though - those littl'uns seem to capture the essence of their larger contemporaries but the wheels, with the exception of the OSCA, somehow seem out of proportion. Like Corgi 1:43 scale models...


I was there for the whole four days having a bit of a jolly with some mates and I could not believe the prices being asked! Some of the 'cheapest' cars were on my friend Micky Berger's stand - but how does 14,000 Euros for a Morris Minor Traveller grab you, or 28,000 for a Volvo Amazon 123GT? Admittedly they were gorgeous but could you ever get this much in the UK? The quality of many of the restored cars was mind-blowing, particularly on the Kienle stand. Again, it made you wonder why we rarely see this quality over here. It was a bit like entering a parallel universe where everything is somehow shinier and better but preposterously pricey. What are we Brits doing wrong? The only thing that was laughably bad was the auction. I shan't mention the name of the German auctioneers to save their blushes, but I have seen more atmosphere in a cemetery. Car of the show for me was the wonderfully original Facel II but I would have happily taken home at least a dozen others. If only my surname was Gates or Abramovich...



Man, these cars are the best from their ages! I'm a former mechanic and one thing that's soo hard to do with these is when I'm doing some engine repair. It's so hard when checking power steering fluid, changing belts and so on. But I'm really a fanatic with compact cars. I wish I had one of those Fiat OSCA, so lovely.

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