For many years, the estate cars in vehicle model families were regarded as dull work horses: they were neglected, worn out, forgotten. They were Cinderella to their sisters with sedan, coupé and convertible bodies, which became well-loved classics. Today, with their survival rate close to zero, the classic car scene has finally realised their charms: maximum rarity with the highest utility value – a combination making some classic estate cars the most desirable models of all. Another good reason for fans to roll out the red carpet for this newly discovered species is the upcoming Bremen Classic Motorshow. Running from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 February 2019, at Messe Bremen, they will feature in the traditional special exhibition. “The highlight this year is the Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake. Only twelve were ever built, and it’s better known as James Bond’s legendary company car,” says Frank Ruge, Bremen Classic Motorshow’s Project Manager.
Fans were uninterested in the practical car class for decades, so few people even know what their generic name is. Estate is the short name for estate cars [in German “Kombinationskraftwagen”]. The emphasis is on “nation” when it comes to the purpose of these car-lorry hybrids. This is because estate car culture was once as different in each country as language and currency. The Bremen special exhibition “Estate Nations” showcases the incredible international spectrum of estate car bodies for the first time.
In Germany, people used to refer to them as “caravans”, and the estate was reserved for workmen and small businesses for a long time. It was only from the 1960s that we discovered the estate car’s use as a sturdy family and holiday vehicle. This evolution only gathered speed much later, from 1978 on, with the T-Model built by Mercedes-Benz in Bremen.
Across the Atlantic however, in the US, the station wagon was used from the start just for getting the family around. In France and Italy, on the other hand, civilian and official box-tail classics lived side-by-side from the start, as reflected in model names like the “Familiale”, “Commerciale” and “Giardiniera”. That last name means ‘gardener’, showing how it defined the main target market for Italian commercial estate cars.
What about the Brits? They called them estate cars, meaning noble freighters for the dignified country estate. One strange exception to this was the “shooting brake”. This sports car had a converted estate chassis to let you cart off your trophy kills in style – the Aston Martin DB5 shooting brake was the king of this subspecies. The special exhibition will also feature ten fascinating classic estates, including a few that even die-hard fans may not have heard of. These exotic beasts, paragons of style and one-offs will certainly impress visitors to the 17th Bremen Classic Motorshow, who get to see these old estate cars through fresh eyes.
Due to construction work around the exhibition grounds, the organizers recommend you use the Park & Ride car park at Bremen Airport. Show visitors can park in car park 1. The satnav address is “Fitzmauricestraße, 28199 Bremen”. Parking a car costs 7 euros for the day. This includes the roughly 15-minute tram ride to Messe Bremen for everyone in the car.
The Bremen Classic Motorshow runs from Friday to Sunday, 1 to 3 February 2019 in all halls at Messe Bremen plus the Hall 8 modular unit. The halls are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. A day pass costs 16 Euros.
More info at www.classicmotorshow.de
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