Not long ago, a vast number of classic car dealers, restoration experts, and vintage vehicle enthusiasts made their way to Essen for what is arguably the most significant classic car show worldwide. As you might have discerned, the Dyler team was certainly part of this exciting gathering.
The Techno Classica Essen indeed lived up to expectations, showcasing an extensive range from high-value classics to emblems, indicators, and various quirks related to the classic motoring lifestyle. Given its reputation as the most esteemed classic car event annually, local manufacturers made it a point to participate. Volkswagen, for instance, had an impressive presence, occupying a vast exhibition hall at Essen Messe, presenting an array of historical treasures from their brand lineage, including everything from Ducattis to Skodas.
Admittedly, not the full range of VAG cars was on display. With Stuttgart’s Retro Classics happening simultaneously, Porsche decided to put bring most of their greatest hits there. Suspiciously, there were no diesel cars enjoying the limelight. Neither a diesel-sipping Lupo 3L, nor a Le Mans conqueror Audi R10 TDI were brought to Essen. It’s not hard to see why, with Wolfsburg manufacturer in deep trouble for Dieselgate and recent animal testing allegations, it is a terrible time to boast the controversial technology.
However, don't assume there was a lack of intriguing exhibits at their stand. In fact, it was quite the contrary, as the show's attendees had the opportunity to intimately interact with an array of the most iconic vehicles from the VW Group. This included a variety of extraordinary race cars and groundbreaking experimental vehicles. Let's take a look at a select few.
Auto Union Type D
Exactly 8 decades ago, Auto Union, a predecessor of Audi, presented their last ever iteration of their mid-engined GP car and pitted it against the front-engined contender from Mercedes. This is 1938 we’re talking about and yet the Silver Arrows topped out at 340 km/h. Type D was enabled to do so with the help of a 3 liter twin supercharged V12. Just imagine going at that pace with no seatbelts, roll cage or a proper helmet in a car equipped with drum brakes. Well, one could hardly tell the pace as the dashboard has no speedometer.
1939 Auto Union Type-D demo incl revving (Schloss Dyck 2015)
To emphasize the antiquity of the Type D even more, Audi placed it besides the Audi 200 Trans-Am. The 80s quattro racecar is half a century newer and it certainly shows. Not going to go too much into details on how as it’s already covered here.
Although the Type D example at Essen had no wear and tear acquired when racing, it oozed the grandeur of the bygone days of racing. Show’s visitors were well aware of it and gravitated towards this classic rocket. So much so, it was difficult getting a proper shot of the car.
Pikes Peak VW Golf
Sticking with mental racecars for a bit, we present you a 1987 twin-engined VW Golf that was made to conquer the grueling Pikes Peak course. Instead of taking a page from their Group B discovery book and employing the infamous quattro technology (or Syncro, as it was marketed in VWs), engineers decided to simply pack two motors inside the compact car. Two GTI 1.8 16V four-bangers were boosted with turbos and run in tandem to bring the Golf up the Pikes Peak’s 156 turns. The addition of forced induction was extremely handy when the air became thinner during ascent.
Despite being wildly ambitious, this twin engine Golf was never that successful. It never claimed victory, mostly due to technical mishaps. Considering the lack of victories, it may seem odd that VW even bothered to bring this Golf. Well, the Wolfsburgers did so because after a 34 year long hiatus they are coming back to Pikes Peak. This time round, they shall be harnessing electrical power and striving to have the fastest EV ever on that track.
This is a definitive future classic, just in a slightly different sense. VW Futura was a design exercise of 1989 to guess how the cars may look in the year 2000. Some of its design gimmicks never caught on, such as rear wheels that turn sideways to aid parking or these massive gullwing doors. And yet, a surprising amount of Futura’s features are considered normal in the segment these days.
For starters, it is a powered by a 1.7 l supercharged powerplant, and forced induction is a common sight even in the smallest of cars due to the chase of a better economy. Futura’s Cd of 0.25 doesn’t hurt the economy either. But the most striking thing is the electronic equipment. Futura came with a host of gadgets that have made their way into the serial production. Electronic stability control, sat-nav, electronic parking brake and even a radar controlled adaptive cruise control were all there. In a car that comes from the time when everyone was jamming to Roxette’s “The Look”.
Cynics may say that it was just a lucky guess from VW, but it does make a powerful statement when some of the most prominent tech of today is showcased in car that is nearly 30 and shares styling cues with the Mk3 Golf.
It seems that lots of thinking went into choosing which cars VW should bring to Essen. Despite being models of the past (as it is a classic car show), they indicate how the brands of VW Group want to be perceived in the future.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb 1987 - Jochi Kleint / Volkswagen Golf Pikes Peak Bi-Motor