It’s been over half a year since COVID-19 started really appearing and affecting our daily lives. In the time since, most major events have been cancelled and I’m pretty sure we’ve all suffered from cabin fever. Slowly it seems that things are returning back to some kind of semblance of normal, but it will still be quite some time until things are back as they used to be. Hence why I was pretty stoked that the 2020 Street Mag Show in Hannover even happened at all.
This annual event is actually one of the biggest American car meets in Germany, but to comply with the strict hygiene rules that now dictate our lives, the show had to be drastically decreased in size. The same area that held roughly 18,000 visitors and over 2,500 cars in 2019 was to limited to 1,000 people and just a few hundred cars this year.
I peeled myself out of bed at an ungodly hour on a Saturday morning, hopped in my car and drove an hour towards Dortmund. Here I met up with a friend and jumped into his ‘88 Chevrolet Caprice. Wow, what a difference. After coming from my Porsche 944, the Caprice felt like entering a different dimension. I quickly made myself comfortable on the front bench seat and just enjoyed the ride.
I have owned a few American vehicles myself, but nothing as old and plushy as this Caprice. The nearest thing I could equate it to would be my late grandfather’s favorite old armchair. Only with V8 noises instead of grandpa’s snoring.
With the Chevy being so comfy, the next two hours passed in a blur as we cruised towards Hannover. On the way it became apparent that not only would the event be limited in size due to the COVID rules, but the weather also was planning on ruining the day. There was occasional rain and the sky was looking very dreary and grey.
However, it seems that people were eager to take this chance to get out of the house, and while there weren’t all that many cars on site when we arrived, it quickly filled up. Mind you, with Hannover’s Schützenplatz being big enough to host last year’s meet of almost 20,000 visitors, it still looked very sparsely populated.
Germany is home to a large American car scene, and it shows. I expected there to be rows and rows of Mustangs, but the actual variety surprised me. The most common car at the show proved to be the modern Challenger, which is a given as it offers a lot of car for the money and is readily available through various import dealers.
Along with the regulars, I spotted some American models that I’d previously only ever seen in pictures, like this Jeep Honcho.
One of my personal favorites was a blue ‘73 Chevy Impala station wagon with a powered clamshell tailgate. The owner demonstrated it for me and it’s seriously the coolest thing ever! Sorry for getting a bit excited there, but I honestly really, really want one now. If you have no idea what it is, go look it up on YouTube. The rear glass moves up into the roof and the actual tailgate slides down into the floor of the car, leaving you with a gaping hole through which you can load up your groceries. Handy!
Another one I really loved was this orange-on-white Chevy Cheyenne, a ‘72 model, I think. I absolutely love classic American pickup trucks; they’re practical vehicles and ooze coolness. I had a quad-cab Ram truck for a few years as my daily, which stuck out like a sore thumb here in Germany, and I really wouldn’t mind another truck in my life. Preferably one just like this.
Or maybe a van to go off-the beaten-track exploring in? This 4×4 Ram looked to be the perfect adventuring-mobile, although I imagine it wouldn’t be too capable when going up inclines due to the long overhang in the rear. But no matter, it more than makes up for that in looks.
Or if that’s too small for you, I even saw a GMC Motorhome.
People lined up to drive onto the show stage where their cars would be judged to win a trophy while a moderator let fly with a lot of trivia and facts. When this Impala rolled up, I knew I had to take a closer look.
Sitting low on air ride and with some impressive engravings on the bright work, this Chevy was definitely one of the highlights of the show for me.
There was even a gasser-style drag car, called Nautilus, which put on quite a burnout show at noon.
The screaming V8, the squealing tires and the huge clouds of smoke made for an epic picture, accompanied by Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’ blasting from the speakers. “I am the god of hellfire” indeed.
All in all, the show proved to be a nice day out – even if it was significantly smaller than last year. Attending a proper car show was definitely long overdue for me, and this at least sated my thirst for the time being. I’m taking it as a sign of things getting back to normal.
I hope next year’s show will be back to its old form and thriving with more visitors than ever. The only annoying thing is, I now find myself looking at V8 wagons and pickup trucks for sale! Sigh…
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Wow I never knew there was American car culture in Germany
Good to see something different
I think I’m over burnouts. I know it’s heresy as gear head but it’s so wasteful.
Thank you for letting us all know that important information
I grant you permission to express a contrary opinion, Nathan.
I believe that all Motorsports are wasteful and yet I fully support them. Waste away, I rest my case
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I’ve been waiting 25mins but your driver hasn’t shown?
Any more info on what that Nautilus Gasser is based on?
Where is John Best today? Surely he should have commented by now?!
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