Philipp Kaess has been tinkering with young classic cars for half his life, making them more powerful, lighter and faster. These days, a large audience watches him at work. Some of the 33-year-old’s YouTube tutorials have racked up more than half a million clicks. In the videos, he explains step by step for example how he customises an 2000 Audi S4 saloon to give it the look of an RS4 Avant: “This has been my life’s work for ten years”, says Kaess. Then, just a few months ago, a huge setback: during a routine drive, the saloon car went up in flames. Now it needs to be completely rebuilt. The Hanover-based tuner will display the finished but still unpainted body shell during the Bremen Classic Motorshow 2020 from Friday 31 January to Sunday 2 February at the Messe Bremen exhibition site.
“One of the most widely discussed topics on the scene is the next generation of fans. Tuners like Philipp Kaess show that the interest in classic vehicles remains high, but younger enthusiasts sometimes have a different approach to older and younger classics”, says Frank Ruge, Project Manager of the Bremen Classic Motorshow. According to Ruge that is why tuning classic vehicles to achieve more performance or a unique character is an aspect that belongs to the show in Bremen. An extensive Kaess project is also presented in Hall 5: the 32-year old Golf 2 owned by his friend Marius Wehmeier. It features an XXL turbocharger under the bonnet, a distinctive spoiler and a roll cage. This safety feature is a must, because the souped-up VW with its 900-hp front-wheel drive can reach speeds of up to 300 km/h.
René Tollkühn wouldn’t call himself a tuner, but he has also dedicated himself to customising his classic set of wheels. The 46-year-old prefers to travel on two wheels, and for him customising is part of motorcycle culture. On his slate-grey 1977 Seeley-Honda CB 750 four, only the frame, the tank, the engine and the wheel hubs are original. “I upstyled everything else to my own vision. Now the bike is lighter, more agile and looks better”, says Tollkühn.
Tollkühn’s Seeley-Honda is part of a premiere at the Bremen Classic Motorshow: the Classic Custom Motorcycle Lounge in the mirror hall in Hall 1 with 40 motorcycles. They are all unique, however they have two things in common. They are customisations created on classic motorbike frames which date from before 1995. Included in the show are for example a Moto Guzzi Le Mans 3 next to a BMW R 60 from the 1980s, both of which are barely recognisable. The bikes exhibited in categories such as bobbers, scramblers, trackers and cafe racers reflect the creativity and top craftsmanship of the North-German customiser community. “And the scene is growing” says Tollkühn. He should know, because he runs an online forum for around 17,000 cafe-racer enthusiasts.
Visitors can see more classics that don’t comply with the usual criteria in Hall 6, for example. Made to eat up long journeys and fitted as a standard with eight-cylinder engines, the five US cars from the 1960s to 1980s proudly display a characteristic patina Instead of being restored to collector’s condition, the “V8 surfcars” roll up complete with rust, dents and stickers, and still transport today’s surfers to their favourite beaches. “Estate cars, vans, jeeps and pick-ups, in other words models that stand for high utility and value for money instead of exclusivity, were the first choice of surfers”, says Helge Thomsen, who has been co-curating the V8 series of shows since 2018. The exhibits are especially popular with young visitors. In 2020 the range includes a 1959 Ford Ranch wagon and a 1966 Dodge van A 100, the US equivalent of the VW camper van.
Since the beginning of 2020, the next generation of VW camper vans, the T4, has attained classic-car status. Dirk Klöß, an expert on VW vans, points out that these new classics are especially popular with 25 to 35-year olds. Using a prepared T4 Caravelle without installations, he will demonstrate in daily workshops what parts that are especially susceptible to rust and corrosion buyers should look out for.
The Bremen Classic Motorshow will take place from Friday, 31 January to Sunday, 2 February 2020 in all Halls of the Messe Bremen exhibition grounds as well as the mobile Hall 8. The halls are open from 9 am to 6 pm. The regular ticket price is EUR 16.
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