When a Friday evening run around the city ends up through a scenic view, one of scaffoldings and tents being set up for a weekend long Oldtimertreffen - I anticipated the weekend going to be around some pretty classy company. Early 90's vintage Automobiles, to be precise.
In short, 'Oldtimertreffen' is a stereo typically German term for classic Automobiles. A text book definition requires the vehicle to be more than 30 odd years old. This makes it vividly different from a vintage or a classic. As old-timer purists pride their vehicles upon restorations and not on performance; it may come as no surprise to have to see these vehicles categorized very differently as compared to Hot-rods. To sum it up, let's just call it a German thing.
Now here is why we love Oldtimers...
...and we do love our fair share of Oldtimers. I've been in Germany for a proper year now - With a sizable grasp on everyday Deutsch Vocabulary and a complete denial of any stuttering. Thus I can more-or-less admit to be able to converse with the locals around this part of the World. And this is more important than you would think. For the people behind the 'Old Timers' scene are properly German - Curry-Wurst, Beers and little to no association with anything English. That being said, if you find yourself with a reasonable command over the German language - you would be able see just how ardent a lot these people can be. With a simple conversation alone we could see the kind of connection these people had with their Automobiles. I'm sure that the fact that they had been working on these machines for no less than 5 years has a part to play as well.
The other thing about Oldtimers is that they're extremely pure - Completely untouched by the dark arts of Aerodynamics or sensors. Just some good old gears held together by castlenuts with splitpins teamed up with solid metal bodies. No plastics, ceramics or any other fancy metal; just the good old steel. An easy to handle material, as long as you have a steady hand and a pair of hacksaws and a bastard file.
Das Oldtimer Treffen
Translate that and you should read - The Oldtimer's Meeting. With over 4 dozen vintage car's, chop-shops and a rather large Curry Wurst trailer; the event promised of being just nothing short of that. A good day with hearty food and every kind of a part a restorer could possibly hope for. Needless to say, all of this surrounded by absolutely exquisite pieces of Mechanical Engineering.
Being north Germany, we found ourselves rather imminently surrounded by various BRD classics. Hosch, NSU, DKW and Wanderer only to name a few. Needless to say that these we're indeed car's with their original badges still on; nothing resembling the trademark 4 Auto Union rings of today.
A handfull of Fiats from that time also we're in attendance. However, what made their presence even more special was the fact that the Restorers on many of these had somehow-someway managed to actually retain all of the original trims of the vehicles with little to no external fabrications.
Among my personal favourites was this one Eisenacher Wartburg, dressed in only the most gorgeous pearl white. She was said to have taken over 6 and a half years to restore to its actual beauty and ran a 0.9 Liter Petrol Engine.
Halfway into the show we really found ourselves surrounded by more Old-timers than we could handle. The Oldtimers had gone as far as to have an auction styles display of all of the vehicles there. The way it worked, was that they had a nice long road made with a handful plastic cones arranged leading right up to the main. This allowed an array of cars to make their way into the event right from the main road itself.
They had a staging area set right in the middle with announcers announcing every passing car. He guy was a legend. He went as far as to speak out about everything from the Engine power and cylinder capacity to the axel measurements and even the injection system. Now, you may be thinking - That's only normal, why call him a legend? - Well, there were about a hundred cars at the event. And each one of them came through this staging area. And the guys announced each and every one of them without a computer; slip of paper or anything - But, only referring to the back of his mind. Ain't that something?
To Sum It All Up
The period of time between the 30s and the 60s we're quite a time for 'stock' (Untouched by anything remotely resembling a spoiler for all you Nfs geeks out there) classic. It was a time where the term 'stock' actually meant something. It's this very same sentiment that today can be seen in events such as these.
It's so easy to forget just how much more difficult it is to keep a car in its original state after it having faced the test of time; as compared to swapping in a bigger Engine, grippier tyres or god forbid, putting on a spoiler.
I guess what I am trying to say, is that 'restoration' is an Art. And the folks from these Oldtimer's meets are damn well the masters of this.
If We've Missed Out Anything...
Written By: Neville Roy Pinto & Photographed By: Dhawal Ingle
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