Trends From The Edge: Essen Motor Show

30 November 2016 | by Jon Winding-Sørensen

Each spring the Retromobile/Pebble/Goodwood crowd – knowledgeable, wealthy enthusiasts – descends on Essen’s Techno Classica show. Serious people with serious money.

Each autumn the kids flock to the same exhibition halls – 130,000 of them in the first two days – the customizers, the choppers, the tuners, the rodders.

Ignore them at your peril; serious thing are happening in the halls.
The yearly event is called Essen Motor Show, which is exactly what it is, but the undercurrent should be just as important for the serious designers as the vibes at I Saloni in Milano.


Trends this year: black on black with great graphics and, maybe, contrasting flashes of color.


Rat paint surfaces – an emerging science after ‘preservation’ has become the alternative to shiny restoration – merging into what looks like faded denim. 


Engine bay design – forget Testa Rossa, now there are as many Testa colors as there are caliper alternatives.

Op Art Camouflage

Op Art camouflage, or camouflage tape as optional extras. Great door-choreography putting Lambos in the shade.


And most impressive: the total leather look.  Not only interiors, exteriors too and even covering engine and complete under-bonnet treatment.   

You can’t come closer to Las Vega’s SEMA, and it even outSEMAs SEMA in certain respects; where else would you find a 20-year-old Opel Combo with a 350bhp Porsche engine in the rear and a 120-year-old Opel sewing machine where the original engine would have been?

Creators of “serious” showcars and concepts might pick up a tip or two here. Open until December 4.