Essen Motorshow Coverage 2004

Hot on the heels of the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Germany’s Essen Motorshow doesn’t play second fiddle to any event.

The truth is, the two shows used to be as much polar opposites as were their respective locations. The glitter and superficiality of Las Vegas typically exemplifies the types of cars and products on display at SEMA as much as the cold, somber city of Essen used to suggest what could be found at the Motorshow.

We say, “used to” because things seem to be changing rather substantially these days. Though one can still count on Essen to offer something that SEMA almost never does – European cars and products – the styles and trends displayed in Essen are seemingly harder to distinguish from their more gaudy Vegas counterparts.

For 2004’s Essen Motorshow, the major themes were huge, shiny wheels, air suspensions, airbrushed and multi-toned paint jobs, and the now ubiquitous “Lambo Style Door” kits. If you’re thinking this could be a one-month-late description of the SEMA Show, then you’re getting the right inference. Heck, Essen even had its fair share of pimped-out Chrysler 300Cs and new Ford Mustangs to further blur the issue.

Still, we are talking a full-on Euro event, so even the most jaundiced eye still had all sorts of candy around for the sake of distraction.

Golf Vs were everywhere, and the traditional tuners have wasted no time in getting G5 products to market.

The even more recently introduced BMW 1-series was also well represented and nicely dressed, as were a whole slew of modded Minis.

Audi A3 Sportbacks were present and modified, and Audi themselves showed off a couple special B7 A4s – a DTM-commemoritive A4 2.0T, and a quattro-enhanced S4.

Some deep-pocketed Mercedes tuners have wasted no time in playing with the new CLS 4-door “coupe”, though some seemed to handle the assignment better than others. The brand new SLK, with its mini-SLR design cues, was also in more than a few booths, perhaps hoping this time it might aspire to be just a bit more than the ride of choice for old ladies and young mistresses.

Not surprising, the new Porsche 997/911 is already the new darling of established Euro Porsche tuners.

Essen is a German show and there’s no doubt the German auto manufacturers consider the event to be their home court. Still, there is no shortage of cars from everywhere else: Renaults, Volvos, Ferraris, Alfas, Mazdas, Mitsubishis, Nissans, Subarus, etc. all find Essen to be the place to be in late November and early December.

So will Essen and SEMA continue to look evermore alike in the coming years? Well, unless downtown Essen goes on a hardcore neon rampage in the very near future, and all-you-can-eat-for-$7.95 buffets become commonplace, it’s likely there will always be a healthy buffer zone between the two shows,

But if in two or three years you’re driving through downtown Essen in late November and you happen to see Shaq, Snoop and Xzibit flossin’ a trio of Escalades with twenty-fo’ inch rimz, don’t say you weren’t warned.

*Special thanks to Patrick Hille of for the excellent photos.

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