Techno Classica in Essen is one of the world's largest classic car shows. Now in its 25th year, the mammoth event runs in Germany until 30 March and is packed with a delactable and vast array of classics ranging from everyday Youngtimers to multi-million-pound one-offs. Organiser SIHA says that the 2014 event, which is expected to attract some 200,000 enthusiasts from all over Europe and further afield, will have more than 2500 cars for sale, 220 club displays and more than 25 manufacturers showing their wares.
Mercedes may have stolen the show in 2014, but BMW also traditionally has a strong presence, taking over an entire hall for the marques in its group. Among the star cars this year were the replica 328 Touring Coupé (above) and the ex-Dalmas/Martini/Wincklehock V12 LMR.
The Alfa Romeo stand looked pretty familiar this year, but the three pre-war racers were still a star attraction. They were the 1931 Monza-winning 8C 2300, 1923 Targa Florio-winning RL and the 1925 World Championship-winning P2.
Techno Classica always showcases some spectacular barnfinds and increasingly cars that look dishevelled a little more deliberately. While there some obvious candidates for the latter category (one extremely overdone Jaguar E-type in particular) we simply couldn't tell which category this Lancia Aurelia B51 fitted into.
This 1952 Aurelia B52 Vignale Coupé was a very handsome car. Shame there was no asking price!
As well as a sweet Siata and resto-project Simca, La Gallerie des Damiers drew a lot of attention with the Baird-Griffith. Based on a Maserati 4CLT, the 1952 F2 car was the brainchild of Belfast Telegraph heir Bobby Baird.
We spotted two BMW 507s at Techno Classica, swamped by the mass of 'Gullwings'. The Munich manufacturer had one on its stand, but Axel Schuette had this one in a very fetching pale blue for sale.
It wasn't just BMW's racing history and saloon greats at Essen, there was also space (and plenty of it!) to showcase the BMW/Isetta 500 and 600.
Upmarket dealer E Thiesen scooped the best of show award at Techno Classica last year and seemed to be going all out to retain it via a spectacular stand. One of several highlights was this 1952 Ferrari 225S Coupé.
If the 225S (or Alfa Romeo 8C) didn't secure the silverware for Thiesen, there was always this Ferrari 250GT Berlinetta Tour de France to fall back on.
It isn't all about the exotics at Essen, even though many of the once mainstream classics are now probably just as rare. As ever the 220 clubs put on some wonderful displays and we were especially taken with this set of Fiat 850s to mark the model's 60th anniversary.
Mirbach offered a real obscurity that seemed to confound many show visitors: the Intermeccanica Italia Spyder.
This striking Lancia Stratos was in Hall 6 on the Movendi stand and barely had the show opened than it was sold.
The MG Car Club Deutschland celebrated the 80th birthday of the MG PA/PB by showing this lovely 1936 MG PB Airline Coupé.
Much of Bentley's stand was given over to more modern fare, with quite a furore around the Continental GT3, but the Speed Six that symbolises the company's motor sport history (Old Number One) was also there.
Around the sides of its show-stopping central display at Techno Classica, Mercedes also showed off its road cars. One sad sight was this burned-out Pagoda.
One of the star cars in the phenomenal M-B display was the 1910 Benz Prince Heinrich Rally entrant – it came fifth with Fritz Erle – powered by a 5715cc four-pot.
Event organiser SIHA honoured 95 years of Zagato – and the company taking a stand at the show – with a brilliant central display of beauties and not quite so beauties.
Also known as the W196S due to being a rebodied F1 car, this is the same type of car with which Moss and Jenks ruled the Mille Miglia. In fact, this model won every single race that it finished.
The club Tatra Freunde Deutschland always brings something a bit special to Techno Classica Essen and this imposing T87 was no different.
Volvo brought a wonderful trio (well duo, really) of competition cars to Essen. As well as the ex-Rickard Rydell 850 Tourinc Car monster, there was a fabulous replica of the 1965 122S Amazon works car with which Carl-Magnus Skogh competed the Acropolis Rally and also the actual PV544 that Joginder and Jaswant Singh took to glory on the 1965 Safari Rally.
One of the most inventive club displays showed a dedicated surgery for VW's timeless van, complete with medical staff and instruments.
Jaguar Heritage put on a great show with C- and D-types, the 1988 Le Mans-winning XJR-9 and also the 1983 TWR XJ-S that was piloted by Win Percy and Tom Walkinshaw himself.
There are usually plenty of these giant limos at Essen, but they were in shorter supply this year.
This is the view from the gantry of the Mercedes-Benz stand in Hall 1 at Techno Classica, Essen. The view behind the photographer is even more amazing.
These 1939 behemoths took five wins – four or them with Hermann Lang – three seconds and a trio of third places in one of the most dominant Grand Prix seasons. The twin-supercharged 3-litre V12 is said to be good for more than 450bhp.
New team boss Rudolf Uhlenhaut was responsible for ditching the no-longer-competitive W25 and replacing it with an all-new, revolutionary design for 1937. The 5663cc straight eight-powered W125 was peerless and phenomenally powerful, giving nearly 600bhp. F1 cars weren't this powerful again for almost 50 years!
This 1914 racer car helped Mercedes to a superb 1-2-3 at the 1914 French Grand Prix with Christian Lautenschlager, Louis Wagner and Otto Salzer.
This is just a small part of the breathtaking Mercedes-Benz display at Techno Classica Essen.