Mercedes and Pegaso share spotlight at Essen

| 24 Mar 2012

Mercedes-Benz is marking the 60th anniversary of the SL with an impressive selection spanning every variation at Techno Classic Essen, Germany, which runs until tomorrow (25 March). Its centrepiece is an 'exploded' R107 (below), with wheels, engine, gearbox, sills and other parts arranged beneath body panels suspended from the ceiling. The display also includes a stonking rally-spec 500SLC and a new R231.

Taking pride of place, however, is the oldest surviving SL – the recently restored 1954 W194, chassis ‘2’. M-B Classic boss Michael Bock is rightly proud of the 10-month rebuild, stressing in his pre-show press conference how important it was to maintain the car's essential character while returning it to as-new condition.

At the opposite end of the vast, 1200-stand complex, BMW also fills most of a hall on its own. The Bavarian firm marks 40 years of its Motorsport division with a selection including a wide-arched 2002 racer, an M1 and a delightful 700 hillclimb car to illustrate its competition heritage.

The talking point of the event for most visitors, however, is the sensational corral showcasing 19 Pegasos. These include the beautiful, Saoutchik-bodied Z-102 coupé of José Pujol and a spectacular speedboat built using 1951 plans found by the son of Pegaso’s designer Wifredo Ricart.

Across the aisle, leading Spanish dealer Fransisco Pueche features a stunning Z-102 Touring sold new to Pegaso factory racer Juan Jover for the ’53 Le Mans 24 Hours. In ’59, it was modified into a Spider by marque authority Enrique Comas-Cros, who, a year later, was the last person to win a race in a Pegaso in period.

Not to be outdone, there are plenty of highlights to be found upstairs from the main halls among the wonderful club stands. A gaggle of Volkswagen enthusiasts have gone to town with a camera crew from IG-T3 alongside IG-T2’s perfectly detailed beach tableau, while the
Kübel-Klub opposite have a gang of Smurfs ‘working’ on a car and changing the plugs of a flat-four by their matching caravan.

If you’re in the market for some fresh classic wheels, you will need plenty of cash. How about a mint ’58 Buick Century convertible – admittedly with ‘Elvis’ at the wheel – for a whopping €108,950, or a 13,800km Ferrari 512M at €135,000?

Alongside the more exotic anniversaries, Ford is marking 60 years of the Taunus...

Lamborghini has brought along the prototype Countach...

The outdoor sales areas are, as ever, packed. If you want a 911, you’re spoilt for choice. This combination of Mercedes transporter and Riley caught our eye, however...

Skoda has pulled out all the stops with a superb display, including this Popular Sport Monte Carlo...

Alfa is showcasing a wide range of cars from its Automobilismo Storico, including this gorgeous P3 racer...

With each of the 20 halls feeling busy even on the Thursday and Friday of the show, overall attendence must be well on the way to the organiser's estimate of 180,000 across the four days.

You can read Mick Walsh's run-down of the 10 most wierd and wonderful Essen highlights by clicking here.