Spoiler alert! The 2021 Essen Motor Show is on!

Today the EMS 2021 opened its gates and awaits visitors until 5 December. Europe's answer to SEMA is back in the game big time!

7w ago

Today the EMS 2021 opened its gates and awaits visitors until 5 December. Europe's answer to SEMA is a trusted program for petrolheads and is back in the game big time.

This month it's official: we are back to the postapocalyptic normality with car shows reviving the lust for PS and speed. This is a significant turning point in an era marked by pandemic and environmental restrictions. In our time, petrolheads are an endangered species. Still, the EMS will undoubtedly quench your thirst for high octane, high adrenaline and style.

The EMS offers attractions in four very different pillars, ranging from classic cars through production cars and tuning to race cars (in some cases with an occasional blur between them). The vehicles around these four topics fill the vast halls of the Essen Expo area. To give an idea about its size, here is the map of the show.

It takes about 4 hours to march through the entire show without dropping the anchor, but I have to warn you, stages are densely filled with sights. As most of them contain a lot of content, you will adopt snail speed very soon. I counted at least a dozen stages with (multiple) simulators, each will set you back by 15-20 minutes. Then, it took me half an hour to get an overdose of stories on Melkus cars, and this was just a tiny stage of two vehicles.

At the end of the day, I discovered that a colourful 911 (I rushed by earlier) featured Porsche’s every racing livery, which made me stop for a series of photos. In total, expect a full day programme easily, if you care about cars.

Pillar 1: Classic and exotic cars

Hall 1 is dedicated to classic cars and is stuffed with exotic and rare automobiles in perfectly restored condition. The organiser SIHA is also responsible for the Techno Classica, one of Europe's A-lister classic car shows (they are also in charge of the Belgian Antwerp Classic).

This means that the EMS is not uncharted territory for classic car dealers. Traders, specialists like Brabus, and automotive pilgrimage sites like the Classic Remise have brought together many exciting cars.

From classic Rolls Royce through exotic sports cars like Spyker and Koenigsegg to an endless field of Mercs, the large Hall 1 offers something for everybody.

This year, the Techno Classica was cancelled, but my hopes to see the magnificent factory stages in November was in vain. EMS 2021 is no substitute for that.

While the factory museums remained absent, several museums and classic car events built up stages. The brilliant PS Speicher brought a diverse selection, from a prewar motorcycle to a modern truck.

Technical Museum Sinsheim-Speyer  (the guys who keep an original Buran space shuttle) also brought an F1 car from their ongoing Red Bull exhibition.

The main attraction of hall 1 is the event organiser SIHA's centre stage. The exhibited cars focus on automotive anniversaries like the 75th anniversary of Vespa, the 60th anniversary of the iconic Jaguar E-Type and Ford’s racing victories.

Pillar 2: production cars

Not a strong side of Essen, but nevertheless, a few brands are always present, albeit with light touch stages.

This year, Korean premium brand Genesis showed up with a compact but elegant stage. They were flashing three models with lots of hosts and hostesses to ask nosy questions (they are in the process of building out their European network).

Generally, Hyundai's presence was pretty intense, with an impressive line-up of sporty cars highlighted by a few race cars around the hall.

Toyota brought reinforcements from its motorsport division from Cologne, but even the road car line-up was pretty sporty.

Apart from a few exceptions, like the brand new Mercedes EQS, there were hardly any other brands that showed presence- At the same time, EMS is not a traditional new car trade show.

Pillar 3: Show cars and tuning

This an ambivalent topic, as is it features some of my absolute highlights and the creepiest automotive moments of the show.

I won’t lie to you; I am still partly blind after the torture chamber of tuning in Hall 5.  In that hall, every car was slammed like they could not get the barriers of the hall open. Why?????

The last time I liked this setup on cars, I was like 5… Some of the creepiest moments could be excused for making fun of tuning (like the pink bosuzoku Miata), others were just simply wrong.

At the same time, I saw some really spectacular tuning, usually in other halls, like the stage with 5 (five!) excessively tuned Nissan GTRs or the Howdeep stage.

Occasionally, we saw grid girls at a few locations, but those days are clearly over now.

While car manufacturers hardly participated, the tuning and component industry embarked with full might and built even more impressive stages than most factories.

The best part of the show was the theme dedicated to movie cars.

In addition to the usual stage provided by a specialist movie car rental company, Chromecars brought a beautiful set, and half of it hosted pretty cool movie cars (all the Fast and Furious cars were exhibited in their chambers).

Pillar 4: Racing

Race cars are a crucial feature of the show, as they fill several halls (and are particularly dense in Halls 3 and 8). From recent touring to classics, visitors will find their love interest.

Chromecars dedicated half of their stage to Lotus racing history.

Hall 8 is dedicated to racing series (from classics to tractor pulling), and Hall 3 hosts ADAC and Nürburgring.

But also Hall 2 has dozens of race cars.

One reason why visitors won't leave the compound anytime soon is the abundance of high-end simulators.

There are at least a dozen stages with impressive tech, many accommodating several, sometimes over a dozen steering wheels.

The show is open until 5 December, so there is plenty of time to pay a visit. Egzostive will publish our impressions in more detail in the coming weeks, like all the movie cars, the horrors of tuning and the classics.


The ultimate European automotive events calendar 2021 – normality starts

October updates: By october, we are back to the postapocalyptic normality with car shows. The IAA was the very first major international car show to take place in September, whereas  in the first semester, all major  car events (Brussels Car Show, Geneva Car Show, Techno Classica, Interclassic Maastricht, Retromobile, Retro Classics) were cancelled. The remaining few months should go as planned. Let's see what is left of 2021:  The European automotive events calendar 2021  NEC Performance & Tuning Car Show – 14-17 January 2021, Birmingham, UK - Official website According to the website, this show was on (or maybe there is nobody there to switch off the lights…). Brussels Motor Show – CANCELLED - Brussels, Belgium - Official website This is one of the best international car shows in Europe and the only one that was still held in Europe last year. Sadly the cancellation reached the Autosalon this year with no substitutes. http://egzostive.com/brussels-motor-show-2020-intro/ Antwerp Classics - (CANCELLED), Antwerp, Belgium - Official Website This event is affiliated to the organisers of the Techno Classica, but the size is considerably smaller, and the concept is fundamentally different (my favourite stage was the one dedicated to the 70th anniversary of Ferrari in 2017). This event's greatest strength lies in the active participation of car clubs, showcasing a couple of really impressive stages of avid owners' clubs, with excellent dioramas and exciting classics. After some months of hiatus, the website announced the 2022 thematic, so no 2021 event. Festival Automobile International - 29 January - 2 February 2021, Paris, France - Official website This event usually anticipates the Retromobile, one of the best classic car shows in the world. The event seems to be still on. Autoretro – (CANCELLED), Roeselare, Belgium - Official Website Paris Auction Week – the auctions of Artcurial, Bonhams and Sotheby’s (listed strictly on alphabetical order). These Auctions usually take place during the week of Rétromobile. Last year, I managed to see all three: Artcurial is the official auctioneer of the show, while Bonhams and Sotheby’s bunk in the centre of the city. Each action is a car show on its own right. According to the websites, the auctions are set to happen at the original time. GP Ice Race – (CANCELLED), Zell am See, Austria,  - Official website. Essen Techno Classica, 7-11 April, (CANCELLED!) Essen, Germany - Official website The Techno Classica is also one of the most important automotive events in the continent, which means pretty much the world. The exhibition claims to be the number 1 of classic car fairs, and this show also delivers. Except for last year, when the event was first postponed, then cancelled with the hope of arranging it to the Essen Motor Show. In February, the organisers gave in, an cancelled the 2021 edition. Some of it might still show up for the Essen Motor Show in December. Spa Classic - 14-16 May (CANCELLED), Spa, Belgium - Official website The Spa event is part of the classic racing series run by the French Peter Auto series. While the flagship event seemed to be the bi-annual Le Mans Classics (see a bit later), the roaring circus visits Spa every year, and so do I for the past few years. Oldtimer Messe Tulln – 15-16 May (CANCELLED),  Tulln, Austria - Official website Nürburgring Classics - 21-23 May 2021 (CANCELLED), Nürburgring, Germany - Official website Amsterdam Motor Show, August? (Postponed to August, TBC), Amsterdam, Netherlands - Official website I visited the AutoRAI in 2015, that left a lovely impression. It was however discontinued, and with a new car show event launched a few years ago. In March, it was postponed to a June date, when other June events were already cancelled. The organisers did not give up hope, and still aim at a feasible August date. Retromobile - 2-6. June 2021 (CANCELLED), - Paris, France - Official website One of the A-listers, in our books, the best classic car show in most years, that we attended. Postponed to June, and ultimately cancelled. To catch up with memories, Egzostive covered last year’s event in the most exhaustive manner. http://egzostive.com/retromobile-2020-intro/ 1000 Miglia - 16-19 June, Brescia - Rome, Italy - Official website Klassikwelt Bodensee – 18-20 June (CANCELLED), Fridriechshafen, Germany - Official website Concours d'Elégance Suisse, 18-20 June 2021, Chateau de Coppet, Switzerland, - Official website Spa Summer Classic, 24-27 June 2021 (closed event), Spa, Belgium - Official website This event is held annually at Spa-Francorchamps. Although Spa Summer Classics is not so clear cut as the Spa Classic mentioned earlier, it is still worth visiting. The event brings together regional classic car series to race at this legendary circuit. The organisers just revamped their website, so the event is one of the few, still set to happen this year. According to latest news, the the event was not rendered public, but remained restricted to participants. InterClassics – 24-27 June 2021 (CANCELLED), Maastricht, the Netherlands - Official website The InterClassics Maastricht is a well-established classic car event of the BeNeLux region. It is usually one of the first car events of the calendar, but as a precaution, InterClassics Maastricht was postponed to June, and was ultimately cancelled. The central theme of this year’s event would have been about Dutch Grand Prix Classics. The London Classic Car Show, POSTPONED! New date: 25-27 June, London, UK - Official website The organisers promise a Covid-compliant outdoor covered event to host the London Classic Car Show 2021 at Syon Park. Just to make sure, the date was changed from 16-18 April to 25-27 June. Le Mans Classics, 1-4 July 2021 (CANCELLED), Le Mans, France - Official website Le Mans Classics is a biennial flagship event of the brilliant Peter Auto classic racing series. It was due last year, but it has been postponed to 2021, pushing out the Hungaroring Classics and Chantilly to 2022. In April, the event was cancelled with an updated Peter Auto calendar with two new events in France in July (Historic Racing By Peter Auto on 3-4 July at the Bugatti Circuit and the Nogaro Classics to be held on 23-25 july at the Nogaro Circuit). http://egzostive.com/le-mans-classic-2021-cancelled/ Retro Classics Stuttgart, 8-11 July (CANCELLED), Stuttgart, Germany - Official Website One of Europe’s flagship classic car events is playing safe by postponing to July. But even that could not save it from cancellation. At the same time the organisers mobilised themselves for the Winter period with their sidekick event Retro Classics Bavaria (to be held in December). http://egzostive.com/retro-classics-2020-intro/ Goodwood Festival of Speed – 8-11 July 2021, Goodwood, UK - Official website London Motor & Tech Show – 16-18 July 2021, London, UK - Official website Eifel Rallye Festival, 22-24 July 2021 (CANCELLED), Daun, Germany - Official website Silverstone Classics 30 July- 1 August 2021, Silverstone, UK  - Official website One of UK's largest classic car events is held at the legendary Silverstone race track. Personally, I have been looking at Silverstone Classics for quite some time. Still, people out there drive on the wrong side of the street without even noticing! : ). The photos on the website seem spectacular (and after a few classic car races, I can tell : ) ), both in terms of scenery and cars attending on and off track. Visitors get to see classic sports cars and race cars in their natural environment, i.e. on the race track. Spettacolo Sportivo – 31 July - 1 August, Zandvoort, Netherlands - Official website This event was on my wish list for the 110th anniversary of Alfa Romeo. Unfortunately, it was cancelled in 2020 due to the confinement, and the 2021 event took place on short notice in August. Classic Days - 6-8 August 2021 (CANCELLED), Schloss Dyck, Germany - Official website Another lesser-known event that promises a great program and reports confirmed that it's a must-see. The core programme is a classic car meeting by a lakeside castle, which might sound familiar to those who follow Villa d'Este. [caption id=attachment_14743 align=alignnone width=1191] Bristol 402[/caption] AVD-Oldtimer-Grand-Prix, 13-15 August, Nürburgring, Germany - Official website It seems a great event from the official photos, definitely worth a visit. AMTS - Automobile and Tuning Show - 27-29 August, Budapest, Hungary - Official website This event makes a similar impression as the Essen Motor Show covering classics, motorsport and tuning with an emphasis on entertainment, and a stronger focus on hostesses than any other show this year. The organisers boast with hundreds of hostesses and offer a Miss AMTS feature event. Last year, AMTS missed the March window, and then the organisers regularly rolled over the date to a next feasible one. To keep their promise, they concluded with a digital show in December. This year, they seem to stick to the summer date, that was last postponed to August so that it could take place during the holiday season with possible travel for tourists. Salon Privé – 1-4 September, Blenheim Palace, UK - Official website The 16-year-old Salon Privé might not be that well-known outside the UK, but the event has a distinctively classy and aristocratic flair, covering both classic and supercar shows. Concours of Elegance  – 3-5 September, Hampton Court Palace, UK - Official website An interesting concept to arrange a similar event to the same week not far away. This might actually work, as tourists can group the two events for a visit to the region. Antwerp Concours – 5 September, Antwerpen, Belgium - Official website One of the very few mainland events in Western Europe that actually takes place. The venue is a castle near Antwerp, and organisers promise 100 cars of all epochs. http://egzostive.com/antwerp-concours-2021-supercars-and-modern-classics/ IAA Munich, 7-12 September, Munich, Germany- Official website The well established German car show moves to a new location after decades of successful trade shows in Frankfurt. The new location in Munich raised some eyebrows, and I also note the considerably shorter time frame for the exhibition. The event will involve the city centre with publicly available free installations. Our first report is now online: http://egzostive.com/we-travelled-800kms-to-see-the-iaa-was-it-worth-it/ Goodwood Revival – 17-19 September, Goodwood, UK - Official website Another legendary event in a legendary site. In addition to the Festival of Speed, Revival is one of the events I would like to visit one day. Unfortunately, with Brexit, this is getting even more unlikely. Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, 1-3 October 2021, Cernobbio, Italy - Official website The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is one of the most well-known beauty contests of Historic Cars. It is undoubtedly the most traditional event and was held for the first time in 1929. Since its revival in the 1990s, the Concorso has developed into a benchmark of European Concours events. Milano AutoClassica, 1-3 October, Milano, Italy - Official website Another event on my bucket list, as a stable candidate for a visit. Zoute Grand Prix, 7-10 October, Knokke-Heist, Belgium, - Official website This excellent Concours d'elegance takes place in October by the Belgian coast. The event looks back to a decade of success with a continually growing audience growing beyond 250.000 visitors in 2018. The Zoute Grand Prix comprises five events held throughout the four days at various locations: the Zoute Top Marques show (this year called Prado Zoute), the Zoute Rally, the Zoute Sale by Bonhams Auction, the Zoute Concours d'elegance and the closing Zoute GT Tour. Some of these events are public, others might require additional investment. The 2019 event guaranteed a full day of activities with a comprehensive set of programmes. We attended and the reports are available from the landing article: https://egzostive.com/the-2021-zoute-gp-is-on/ Rallye Legend - 7-10 October, San Marino, Italy - Official website Auto-moto d'epoca - 21-24 October, Padua Italy - Official website Interclassics Brussels,20-22 November, Brussels, Belgium - Official website The Interclassics Brussels is a relatively recent event, will be held for the seventh time this year. However, the organisers are far from being beginners. Their main event, the Interclassics Maastricht is the most important classic car event in the Netherlands with some three decades of history. Even as a newcomer, Interclassics Brussels quickly established itself, thanks to the region's very active classic car culture. The last few events were quite impressive, in 2019, I think it surpassed the Maastricht event. The 2021 date is in safe distance to be organised, and will hopefully manage to pay the long-overdue tribute to Belgian racing legend Jacky Ickx. We already got out tickets, and the organisers are quite active in promoting on Facebook, so let's hope that a last minute confinement would not strike that one from the calendar. Essen Motor Show, 27 November – 5 December, Essen, Germany - Official website I like to summarise the Essen Motor Show as a European SEMA meets classic car show. It can not be compared to the international car shows, even if a few dealerships exhibit. For a full-blooded international car show, wait a few weeks and go to Brussels. But it’s safe to say that EMS will leave quite a few lasting memories on other fronts, with a clear aim to please everybody by offering everything on all fronts. 2018, I could witness, VW’s electric Pikes Peak stormer ID R and Porsche’s 919 Nürburgring dominator, I watched the drift championship training session, I marvelled all forms of beauty and was paralysed by shock and awe in the taverns of tuning. EMS is organised every year, and with an eventual cancellation of the Techno Classica, the EMS could step in as a backup plan. Retro Classics Bavaria, 3-5 December, Nürberg, Germany - Official Website Retro Classics Stuttgart was cancelled this year, but the Nürnberg event might allow to catch up. One specialty of the organisers is to find dates coinciding with other major events (the Techno Classica event series or the Interclassic series). This time they managed to find the date of the Essen Motor Show... [envira-gallery id=14724] The ultimate events calendar enumerates major automotive events in Europe, and has become a tradition at Egzostive. But now, we face an uphill struggle to cope with all the reschedules due to COVID pandemic. 2020 year started out as a fine year with excellent car shows, but quickly turned into an organisational nightmare (which is still a first-world problem next to the deaths and loss of existence for many). From April onward one event was cancelled after another, even if some tried to fight it with gradual postponing. In the end, almost every event got cancelled since April, until the first quarter of this year. Now events face the same challenges, while organisers are engaged in an ultimate game of chess for their own fate, with dates constantly floated to find a perfect deconfinement timeslot. Early months? Sure cancellation. Spring? Maybe not aved by the bell, if vaccination takes too long. Summer then? Everybody will be gone for the first free summer in two years. Will autumn be the safe bet? I bet September will be incredibly crowded, along with the last few months of the year. There are a few events that happen only in odd or even years, and this order was also messed by the pandemic. 2021 would be the year for the Hungaroring Classic and the Chantilly Concours d’elegance, but the main event, the biennial Le Mans Classic was postponed to 2021 from last year. It was known since the cancellation of Geneva, that it won’t happen this year either. Also the first major European car show, the Autosalon Brussels is cancelled. Update March: Retromobile is cancelled, even the new date was not sustainable, Spa Classic and Interclassic Maastricht is also cancelled.  Update February: Villa d'Este is postponed to October, Mille Miglia to June. Tulln and Essen Techno Classica are cancelled. Update January: the London Classic Car Show was postponed to 25-27 June.

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Comments (8)

  • Wish I went there but yeah COVID, it’s next to my dads work so I could have gone to it

      1 month ago
  • Tbh i'm all for that Miata if it weren't for that long exhaust, other than that, I'm fine with that

      1 month ago
    • oh, you haven't seen the sweetest side yet :)

      I tend to accept your argument, this car was deliberately made to look weird, and they were good at that...

        1 month ago
    • the wink lol 😉😂

        1 month ago