Volkswagen will make its return to the Techno Classica this year. The world’s largest classic car fair will be an opportunity for Volkswagen Classic to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Passat using the slogan “Immer wieder neu” (“Always reinventing itself”). The year 1973 saw the launch of the Passat, a brand new model family equipped with a water-cooled engine. It was the start of a global success story that continues to this day. To mark this milestone, five specially selected Passat exhibits will be on show in Essen.


After a three-year break,Volkswagen will be at this year’s Techno Classica from 12 up to 16 April, presenting its historic models as a brand “with a heart”. The appearance in Essen is all about the Passat. An every-day hero and a design classic, the car will be marking half a century of success.

In 1973, the Passat represented the start of a major Volkswagen product campaign and signalled the dawn of a new era for automotive technology. It was the Italian car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro who was responsible for the design of the new family – although his original design, referred to as the EA 272, was scrapped at the last minute for cost reasons. But Giugiaro went on to develop a more rational model on the basis of the Audi 80 B1, featuring a shapely hatchback and a modified front section. The original Passat remains a design icon to this day. Giugiaro’s creations also include the Scirocco I and Golf I, which were both launched the following year. The Volkswagen Passat made its debut in 1973 as a two- and four-door hatchback sedan. The estate version followed in January 1974.

“Immer wieder neu”: always reinventing itself – this is the motto Volkswagen Classic have chosen to mark the anniversary. The Passat is and has always been a car for a lifetime. Right from the start, customers appreciated its all-round qualities, and the car has continued to improve and develop across eight generations. Time and again over the decades, the Passat has showcased bold new design ideas, whilst passing on its tried and tested strengths from one generation to the next – as it will continue to do in the future.

The Volkswagen Classic stand will feature five vehicles that represent the historic origins of the Passat:


Passat B1 LS from 1973
New drive, new design: series production of the new Passat got underway on 14 May 1973. The family hatchback sedan was launched with a small boot lid without a load-through hatch; the version with a larger rear lid that extended up to the roof and encompassed the rear window went into series production in January 1975.

Volkswagen Classic will be showing a very special model in Essen: the oldest car in the family. The Passat B1 LS from 1973 forms part of the collection of Volkswagen’s AutoMuseum Foundation. It has the vehicle identification number 2, making it the oldest Passat in the world.


Passat B1 L Estate from 1974
Spaciousness is its strength: in January 1974, Wolfsburg added the Passat Estate to its range. Practical and perfectly formed, it was a roaring success right from the start. As it passed through various model generations, the Passat Estate family car cultivated a place in the hearts of its owners. 

The 1974 Passat B1 L Estate in Atlas White from the Volkswagen Classic vehicle pool has already shown at numerous driving events that you can have plenty of vintage driving fun with 40 kW (55 PS)!


Passat B2 CL Formula E from 1983
Modern technologies and efficiency: The Passat B2 was introduced in October 1980. This second generation was markedly larger than its modestly sized predecessor the B1, making it barely recognisable. To begin with, the Passat II was offered as a hatchback sedan and as a five-door estate. In combination with the 55 kW (75 PS) 1.6-litre engine, the Passat B2 was initially also offered as a Formula E version. Volkswagen’s Formula E anticipated innovations such as the start/stop system.

The Passat B2 CL Formula E in Diamond Silver Metallic is part of the Volkswagen Classic vehicle collection and will also be celebrating an anniversary in Essen: it received its type approval on 5 April 1983, meaning the car turns 40 this year.


Passat B3 Estate GT G60 Syncro from 1991
Dynamics and sportiness: the Passat has proved its sporty credentials in multiple model versions, always exuding confidence but remaining understated. The third Passat generation was launched in 1988 and featured a completely new design, package, technology and interior. It was available as either a notchback saloon or an estate. The GT specification package represented the sporty version of the Passat, whilst the Passat G60 with a 1.8-litre engine, 118 kW (160 PS) and Syncro four-wheel drive was the coveted top model from 1989 onwards.

The Passat B3 Estate GT G60 Syncro from 1991 from the Volkswagen Classic vehicle pool is a proven fan favourite that gets pulses racing!


Volkswagen AutoMuseum Foundation: Passat B2 Electronic from 1983
This year’s show will see the AutoMuseum Foundation represented on the Volkswagen stand. Here too, a very special vehicle will be on display to mark the anniversary: the Passat B2 Electronic, a one-off model from 1983. 

The concept car represented a lifestyle version of the Passat with four-wheel drive, a turbocharger and extensive microelectronics such as a navigation system, infotainment and a number of electrical controls. It was a vision of the future that would surely have won many fans.


In good company in Hall 3

Volkswagen Classic has not been represented at the Techno Classica since 2019, For the first time, several brands from the Volkswagen Group will come together on one stand to reflect the motto “Leidenschaft verbindet” (“passion connects”). Volkswagen Classic, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Oldtimers, Audi Tradition, Škoda, the Autostadt, the AutoMuseum Foundation and Volkswagen Classic Parts can all be found in Hall 3.

The Techno Classica will be held from 12 to 16 April at the trade fair centre in Essen, Germany. The show features more than 1,250 exhibitors from over 30 countries in an area of 120,000 square metres spread across ten halls, the Grugahalle and four open air areas. Also in attendance will be more than 200 classic car clubs, as well as many parts dealers. The organisers expect to welcome around 200,000 visitors. As if that wasn’t enough, there will also be around 2,700 historic vehicles for sale.


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