Cologne More than 650,000 classic cars with official H-plates are already driving on Germany’s roads, and the enthusiasm for these cars, which are at least 30 years old, is unbroken, as the stock growth of around ten percent per year shows. Classic cars fascinate many people, from families on a budget to wealthy collectors. After all, the new cars of yesteryear are a mirror of bygone eras and a wonderful opportunity for their owners to put themselves back in supposedly better times or in their own youth.
Apparently, the threatening end of combustion engines will not change anything, as the rush of visitors at classic car festivals or the always great applause for classic automobiles at trips shows. The number of vehicles with an H license plate, the signet that has distinguished rolling historical cultural assets for 25 years, will probably continue to increase. Incidentally, the vintage license plate is only issued for vehicles that are in a technically perfect, original condition.
In 2023, almost 100 models will again be celebrating their 30th birthday. Cars that brought confidence in a time of recession with the courage to use cheerful colors, organic, organic forms, voluminous V12 or four convertible seats under the sun. From the Audi S2 until Volvo 850 T-5 Turbofrom the cheap Kia Sephia up to the first Mercedes Benz C and E class as well as fast Porsche and flashy exotic cars, everything is there.
Germany in the post-reunification blues. In 1993, reunification was just two years old, and already recession, unemployment and new taxes such as the solidarity surcharge (“Soli”) for the construction of the East were putting pressure on the mood. The car industry, the number one economic driver, prescribed short-time work and VW introduced the four-day week. Optimism was required.
Top jobs of the day
Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.
Bill Clinton, newly elected US President in 1993, evidently knew how to reach the Germans. When he confidently called out to the crowd during a visit to Berlin in connection with German reunification: “Nothing is impossible.”
In fact, it was cheerful animal ambassadors like the Toyota monkeys in TV commercials for Corolla & Co, curiously smiling cows in the Aral advertisements or Swedish elks as popular safety testers at Saab that conveyed confidence. “Tested by the elk” was even the first to be developed under General Motors Motors in 1993 Saab 900 sell well.
But cheerful colors were also part of it back then: red, blue and yellow were considered to brighten the mood and shaped the streetscape. That’s why none of the dark ones that are so popular today came from Gothenburg Volvo-Models in “Ultimate Dark Line”, but preferably ruby or indiana red glowing 850 with strong edges and for the first time with T-5 turbo power.
>> Also read: How to successfully buy your first classic car
Performance is important to get out of crises. Today, powerful streamers ensure that, in 1993 it was down to spectacular athletes like these guys Porsche 968 Turbo or Toyota Supra (A80): “Racing car technology with comfort tuning”, Toyota called the vehicle concept, which should make Formula 1 technology suitable for long distances. Back when Michael Schumacher was preparing for the first Formula 1 title with Benetton, which promptly followed in 1994. And tennis queen Steffi Graf returned to number one in the world rankings with victories at the Grand Slam tournaments in Paris, Wimbledon and New York.
The forerunner of today’s GR Supra, called Supra MK IV by fans at the time, was the first Toyota to cost over 100,000 marks, catapulted its crew from zero to 100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and even measured itself globally with the Porsche 968 Turbo and the new one 911 Carrera 2 of the legendary series 993. With this 911, Porsche celebrated the 30th birthday of its brand icon in 1993, but above all the finale of air-cooled boxer engines.
Incidentally, 30 years ago muscles also grew in sporty station wagons like this Audi S2 Avant with hissing five-cylinder, furious power dwarfs à la Renault Clio Williams or the many V8, be it in the poisonous Dodge Viper GT coupethe hardtop coupe bmw 840Ci or in the first Mercedes E class. The Stuttgart-based company had freshly polished its successful star carrier of the nine-year-old 124 series and renamed it the E-Class, with the V8 top models E 420, E 500 and E 60 AMG (280 kW/381 hp from 6.0 liters displacement).
After the BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S-Class with majestic V12 engines had been a success with the British aristocracy since the early 1990s, the purveyor to the royal court answered Jaguar Daimler with a new V12, for which the front end of the XJ40 Limousine was extended and a Majestic equipment was added. Queen Mum, loyal Daimler V12 fan, is said to have been delighted. Noblesse sells well, even in times of crisis.
This is evident not only today from the high number of orders for prestige models, as early as 1993 premium types were among the winners. Above all the first Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 202)which was presented as the successor to the 190 and a few years later was also a success with V8 engines and as an estate car.
Audi also relied on the splendor of the eight: the near-series study Space Frame announced the A8 which later advanced to become the first state limousine under the sign of the four rings under Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. New luxury liners also came to Germany from Japan, which in 1993 was still the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. However, Lexus GS and Mazda Xedos 9 remained supporting actors, despite technical finesse in European forms. The 3.52 meters short and curious four-wheel drive high roof station wagon Subaru Libero at least elicited a happy smile from his viewers.
In 1993, Japan was threatened with new competition from a tiger country: the Korean car manufacturer Kia came to Germany, and this with cheeky price breakers that carried Mazda genes at the time. The sun also rose in the west in 1993, because there was a storm of new convertibles from Europe: the “strawberry basket” VW Golf III – again with a fixed roll bar – as well as the elegant Luftikusse BMW 3 Series (E36) and Opel Astraplus Rover 100 and refreshed ford escorts were just the vanguard. Also the novelties Fiat Punto and Peugeot 306 should be open soon.
Organic bio design became global trend reflected in world cars like ford Mondeo or Opel Corsa (B) reflected. Detonated in Rüsselsheim, this Blitz was built on five continents under eight brand names. This was made possible by Hideo Kodama’s bioforms, with which the agile Corsa even convinced Queen Elizabeth II in a joking commercial.
Made in England, but designed for the first time in Japan was the European “Car of the Year 1993”: This media award was secured by the Nissan Micro, which its chief designer, Tokuichiro Hosaka, said was organically shaped like a happy, cuddly puppy dog and evoked positive associations with childhood. Who wouldn’t want to be a child again today and treat themselves to one of the 30-year-old automobile time capsules as a vintage car?
H license plate candidates for 2023
- Alfa Romeo RZ Roadster (market launch in Germany)
- Asia Rocsta (Kia)
- Aston Martin Vantage
- Audi Avant S2 (based on Audi 80)
- Audi S4/Plus (based on Audi 100)
- Audi Space Frame Concept (precursor to the 1994 Audi A8)
- BMW 3 Series Convertible (E36)
- BMW 840Ci
- Cadillac DeVille (new generation)
- Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
- Chrysler Neon (German debut of the Plymouth Neon as Chrysler)
- Chrysler Vision
- Chrysler New Yorker LHS
- Citroen AX Eco
- Citroen ZX Break
- Citroën Xantia
- Daihatsu Charade (new generation)
- Daimler Double Six (new generation XJ81)
- Dodge GTS coupe
- Donkervoort D8 Cosworth
- Ferrari 348 Spider
- Ferrari 456 (German market launch)
- Fiat Punto three and five doors (Punto Cabrio announced)
- Fiat Tipo three-door
- Fiat Coupé (market launch 1994)
- Ford Mustang/Mustang Convertible (New Generation)
- Ford Mondeo 4-Door/5-Door/Estate
- Ford Maverick (parallel model to Nissan Terrano II)
- Honda Accord (fifth generation)
- Hyundai Sonata (new generation)
- Isdera Commendatore 112i
- Jaguar XJ12 (new generation XJ81)
- Kia Sephia
- Kia Rocsta, then Kia Sportage (launched in 1994, also built by Karmann in Osnabrück from 1995)
- Lexus GS
- Lotus Elan S2 (reissue in 800 units)
- Mazda Xedos 9
- mega track
- Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 202)
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon/T-Model/Coupé/Cabriolet (W 124)
- MG RV8 (German market launch)
- Mitsubishi Galant 2500 V6 24V
- Mitsubishi L200 (Germany start)
- Nissan Micra three and five doors (new generation, market launch)
- Nissan Terrano II (parallel model to Ford Maverick)
- Opel Corsa three and five doors (B)
- Opel Astra convertible
- Vauxhall Vectra 2.5 V6
- Opel Omega Sedan/Caravan (B; debut December)
- Peugeot 306 three and five doors (306 Cabriolet announced)
- Pontiac Firebird (German debut of the reissue)
- Porsche Boxster prototype
- Porsche 968 Turbo
- Porsche 911 Carrera (993)
- Renault Twingo (market launch in Germany)
- Renault Clio Williams
- Renault Laguna (debut December, German market launch 1994)
- Renault Safrane Biturbo, Saab 900 three and five doors (second generation, convertible at the turn of the year 1993/94)
- Rolls Royce Silver Spur III
- Rover 100 Convertible/Metro Convertible
- Rover 200 Coupé (German sales start)
- Rover 600
- Seat Ibiza three and five doors (second generation)
- Seat Cordoba (German market launch 1994)
- Subaru Libero (new generation)
- Subaru Impreza (German market launch)
- Subaru Legacy Sedan/Station Wagon (New Generation)
- Tatras 613-4 V8,
- Toyota Celica (T20, sales start 1994)
- Toyota Supra (A80)
- TVR Chimaera (German market launch)
- first Volkswagen Golf Variant
- Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet (based on Golf III),
- Volkswagen Passat (B4)
- Volvo 850 T-5 Turbo
- civilian versions of rally cars, such as Ford Escort RS Cosworth vs. Lancia Delta HF Integrale vs. Mazda 323 GT-R 4WD
More: Garage gold instead of bitcoins – five car models have increased in value