Back in the 80’s a marketing expert named Mario Carlo Baccaglini decided to start a small car exhibition in Padua, Italy. The Auto e Moto d’Epoca Fiera di Padova – Classical Car and Motor fair of Padua – was born. It continued for decades in this city and is now even claimed to be the most important show in Europe.
More than 1.600 classical cars and motorbikes are sitting in 90.000 square meters. The show houses everything from motorcycles to luxury cars, classical and sports cars, and in addition to that loads of accessories, toys, rare spare parts and other petrol-head bits and pieces. The goal here is obvious: it’s all about selling. Serious visitors try to get in as soon as possible in the first days, preferably with their money ready in their pockets, so they’ll have more to choose from when looking at the treasures from about 300 participating companies. Every year since the founding of the show the number of participating companies rise. You can see this vast expansion even from last year when there were ‘only’ 220 commercial participants, compared to this year’s 300.
The Saloons are full of accessories, clothes, old toys, die-cast models and, more important than that, spare parts with which you can make even more classic cars. Many of them were non-Italian companies who have traveled long distances to showcase al the treasures they still have from decades ago.
Peugeot club displayed some special rally champions in a row. An early seventies 504 Coupe V6, the 205 T16 Grand Raid from the eighties and the famous 405 rally version, which was responsible for three victories in a row at the Paris-Dakar rally in ‘88/’89/’90.
Mercedes showed a W189 Pininfarina with a W111 Cabrio among many others cars that were showed from private hands. This was of course a great environment for them to also introduce the new S class cabriolet in Padua.
BMW seems to never stop celebrating the 40th anniversary of their 3 Series all over the world. And also in this Padua show they grab their change to make a brilliant display.
Lancia and Audi were armed with all their historical rally cars, in a sort of Battle Royale trying to outshine one another. The loser of this battle? There are no losers here when you can enjoy such an overwhelming display of all these beautiful history books on wheels together.
Isotta Fraschini had his silver angel tied up not to get stolen, McLaren and Pagani were armed with their million euro models and Bentley had shown up with their new SUV: Bentayga. Also Volvo tried to compete with all these brands by showing their new XC90 SUV.
AlfaRomeo showcased a TZ2 and the “Montreal concept” alongside their new Giulia.
The last moments of the exhibition on Sunday evening are the best ones. The scenes you see in the Saloons are more like an Italian comedy movie than a trading market. The prices of the remaining cars get last minute discounts written on them and with every photo I take one of the cars gets their price badge changed with VENDUTA, which means “sold” in Italian. A very upset Italian gentleman was just minutes too late to buy his favorite Maserati Zagato. PECCATO, he said.
Alongside al the larger car barnds in the business also Zagato, Abarth, Lancia Thema, Mini, Triumph, Fiat, Range Rover and many other clubs were welcoming the guests and trying to not only sell their product, but above all giving the visitors a wonderful display of all the nice things the classical carworld has to offer.
Padova Fiera di Auto e Moto d’Epoca holds every October, for 4 days. If you missed this edition, no need to fret! They will be back in 2016 with their 32nd edition. Over 70.000 visitors and myself will agree that it’s worth the drive!