It’s a German car show and you’re in it. You want to wow the crowd. What do you take?

Actually not an easy question. We love German cars as much as anybody – look no further than this website for ample evidence of that – but by dint of their relative ubiquity and lack of ‘exoticness’ (compared to British or Italian cars, as an example), we think it takes something exceptionally special or unusual (but at the same time not too esoteric— so no Glases or Bitters or NSUs here) to wow the average classic car show goer.

Assume cost is no object. However, it needs to be a road-going street car (i.e., not a race car), and preferably one that is driven as opposed to trailered— cars are just way cooler that way! It’s a lot more impressive pulling up to the show in the very car you’re entering than having hired men in white gloves unloading a trailer queen, pushing it out onto the lawn, and blocking it off with velvet rope.

Some on our short list (in no particular order):

Audi Sport Quattro

Because those box-flared arches. Because those white wheels. Because that short wheelbase. Because the inimitable turbocharged five-cylinder noise. Because it’s still probably the coolest road car Audi ever made (yes, including the R8).


Because Giorgetto Giugiaro. Because M88. Because Campagnolo wheels. Because it was (and continues to be) BMW’s only mid-engined supercar.

BMW 507

Because it is probably one of the most beautiful cars BMW ever made.


Because without it there’d probably be no E30 M3 Sport Evolution, E46 M3 CSL, and all the other hairy-chested racing cars thinly disguised as street cars that we’ve all come to know and love.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

Because even over 60 years later, no pair of doors on any car is more singularly impressive and awe-inspiring than this one’s. Because the 300SL Gullwing is to German cars what the Jaguar E-Type is to British cars and what the Ferrari 250 GTO is to Italian cars: the icon. The torchbearer. The yardstick by which all others are measured.

Porsche 959

Because it was the (then) pinnacle of Porsche engineering.

Porsche 904

Because it’s not a 911 (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Honorable mention: Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3

No doubt the 6.3 – the original Q-ship – is a special car (and one of our absolute favorites), but we suspect coupes tend to go over better with crowds— sedans won’t win any popularity contests. They are for shuttling the family to the show; coupes are for entering into the show— or so the thinking goes. We think.

So what would you take? Don’t feel limited to one of the above selections.

(Image credit:

~ by velofinds on March 27, 2013.

19 Responses to “It’s a German car show and you’re in it. You want to wow the crowd. What do you take?”

  1. Do tuner versions count? If yes, either the Rauh-Welt 993 or Singer 911. Otherwise for a Porsche 550, Porsche 944, or BMW Isetta 300!

  2. I think as German cars go, fewer are still as impressive (as in “I slap you in the face with my styling and pressence” when you see it) as the (IMO hideous but very capable) Gumpert Apollo, or the Isdera Commendatore 112i.

    As for less “exotic” manufacturers, I’m thinking of the Carrera GT.

    Other interesting “Germany-related” cars (although not purely so) could be the Italdesign Nazca with its BMW engine and the “two kidneys” in front, or the Pagani Zonda and Huayra with the AMG powerplants also comming from the famed Merc tuner.

  3. The 904 GTS is even more differentiated from the 911 in the sense that the majority of the production had the twin-cam 2 litre flat four from the 356 Carrera. This model clearly has a six-cylinder, which means that it is one of the rare 904/6 models, or, more likely a replica.

    Great post! 🙂

  4. i would bring the 924 DP cargo, too controversial for any classic carshow goer 🙂
    i still regret i didn’t checked it out when it was on sale

  5. You already posted some of the greatest choices, Drew.

    But I think that at this hypothetical car show, my hypothetical street-legal 917 would be a popular attraction:

  6. 1930s era BMW 328:


  7. I think it is interesting that Walter Rohrl features in three of your suggestions. Which leads me to think that we probably ought to ask him.

  8. Porsche 959

  9. Alfa Romeo 155 V6 TI.

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