At the end of the 1970s, the world was still in order. Hat wearers and bookkeepers drove an Audi 80, of course with a crocheted toilet roll cap and a bobble head dachshund in the rear window. Meanwhile, world saviours and sock knitters enjoyed rolling through the Republic in a Renault 5, decorated in style with Pril flowers, peace doves, and slogans à la “Nuclear power – no thanks”. So much for the not-always-friendly clichés that are sometimes cultivated in a spirit of nostalgia. At the beginning of the 1980s, a new sports car species entered the ring, turning the motoring culture’s world view on its head. Modest average models had grown into radical driving machines that seemed like they had been beefed up with steroids – not only on the outside, but above all in terms of performance. From well-behaved to wild in one model series: at the upcoming Bremen Classic Motorshow from Friday to Sunday, 5-7 February 2021, at Messe Bremen, such pairings will take centre stage – naturally as part of the traditional special exhibition in Hall 5, which this time bears the title “Biedermann & Brandstifter”, which is a nod to the title of a famous play by Swiss playwright Max Frisch and which, in keeping with the English translation of the play, could be translated as “everymen & fire raisers”.
What this reference alludes to is demonstrated impressively by the example of the Renault 5. Here the innocent basic version, a love-and-peace mobile with a disarming 34 hp, there the brawny Transformer R5 Turbo with a furious mid-engine that even outperformed a contemporary Ferrari in a zero to 100 sprint. “We present these extreme contrasts to our visitors by means of rare original vehicles,” promises Frank Ruge, Project Manager for the Bremen Classic Motorshow. Some of the bare-bones entry-level versions of a classic model series are much harder to come by than their souped-up siblings – if a vehicle in flawless collector’s condition is required.
It is a matter of honour that the Audi 80 mentioned at the top will also be exhibited at the Bremen Classic Motorshow. In 1980, this limousine, often mocked as being petit bourgeois, mutated into the four-wheel-drive weapon Audi Quattro, and a little later into the Sport Quattro, the barely street-legal base for the Group B supercars of the World Rally Championship. “Back then the most expensive German production car by far, today a spectacular rarity – which we are presenting at the special exhibition together with the down-to-earth Audi 80 base model,” says Frank Ruge.
Such wild rally evolution models threw the automotive hierarchies into upheaval in the mid-1980s: next to the gill and wing-adorned excesses born out of inconspicuous mass cars, classic dream cars like the Porsche Turbo and the Ferrari Testarossa suddenly looked old. Meanwhile, some manufacturers had already shown long before what development potential a rather low-key mass-produced body could offer. The Ford Capri models ranged from the 50 hp decelerator to the “Porsche killer” RS 2600. And BMW beefed the entry model 1602 up into the 2002 Turbo, whose aggressive appearance in 1973 even prompted the Ministry of Transport to debate “the Federal Government’s concern about the excesses of the sporty appearance of motor vehicles” in the Bundestag. These two pairings – of a total of probably seven pairings – also characterize the unique special exhibition that visitors to the Bremen Classic Motorshow 2021 will be able to admire as everymen & fire raisers.
The Bremen Classic Motorshow will take place from Friday to Sunday, 5-7 February 2021, in all exhibition halls at Messe Bremen. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers are implementing a comprehensive safety and hygiene concept. Measures include online registration ahead of the event, ticket sales exclusively via the Classic Motor Show’s website, mandatory face coverings, wider aisles, and ventilation systems that permanently pump fresh air into the halls. Up-to-date information about the event and the hygiene concept can be found at www.classicmotorshow.de.
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