The development of Europe’s largest veteran marketplace for old-timers, young-timers, classic vintage vehicles, and parts.
What is the meaning of “VETERAMA”?
This abbreviation simply is the shortened version of veteran marketplace. In 1975 the two old-timer collectors Winfried A. Seidel and Walter Metz developed the idea of such a market. Over the years it has grown to become the largest old-timer market in Europe.
Now more than 4.000 exhibitors from all over Europe travel to Mannheim on the second weekend of October. There, every year almost 50.000 collectors meet and search for sought-after parts, components and complete vehicles.
Whoever catches sight of one of those lovingly cared-for cars or motorcycles from previous periods seldom realizes how much work it takes to restore and maintain such an old vehicle. Many of these witnesses of long-gone engineering accomplishments stood forgotten in old barns or storage depots until they were discovered by technology enthusiasts. It is not exaggerated to say that about 2.000 hours of work are necessary to bring such a vehicle back to that state in which it left the company doors of its original manufacturer. Often parts are missing that had been removed over time, or the ravages of time have taken their toll on the old sheet metal that it has to be replaced.
The “rustiest hobby in the world” probably would have ceased to find followers if not in 1975 this idea had been born: VETERAMA.
FROM INSIDER TO CULT EVENT
It began in 1975 as a small insider event in the “Kannenberg-Halle” in Mannheim – and now it is the largest European market for old-timers, young-timers, and classic vintage vehicles. Every year on the second weekend in October 4.500 exhibitors from all over Europe come to Mannheim and encounter 50.000 collectors, screw-driver-enthusiasts – and those who want to become one. If they want to visit all booths and stands on the exhibition grounds, they would have to cover almost 26 km on foot!
A first real highlight for VETERAMA was the year 1980, when during the VETERAMA weekend the old-timer magazine “Markt für klassische Automobile” was presented for the first time. Cars and motorcycles, which then were presented as fair novelties, nowadays have become old-timers. After 40 years VETERAMA itself can be regarded as a young at heart old-timer…
For the old-timer scene as such, VETERAMA plays a particularly important role. Many historic vehicles most likely would have been condemned to a complete standstill, if there were no VETERAMA.
Parts, which years ago could only be found in backyard workshops or with a lot of luck on a forgotten basement shelf, are now being produced anew in small batches. Wheels with ancient dimensions, chrome-plated bumpers, radiator grilles, hubcaps, rear-view mirrors, and mouldings can all be found again.
Initiated by VETERAMA, a small supply industry has developed which is constantly growing. Manufacturing companies such as Daimler, BMW, VW, Opel, Audi or Porsche have founded historic departments to serve and maintain their old-timers.
Today the history of mobility is presented in an impressive way not only in museums of car manufacturers, but also in other technology museums. 40 years ago, such presentations were nearly non-existent.
When the “iron curtain” fell in 1989, VETERAMA gained further appreciation. Suddenly new parts appeared on the market and cars, that were thought to have been lost forever, emerged out of nowhere, or better: out of the east. And always VETERAMA stood in the centre of attention of the old-timer scene.
You could say, that what began with Carl Benz’ patent motor car (Patent-Motorwagen) in 1886 in Mannheim, has returned to that city over the years…
The history of mobility
For owners of old-timers all over the world, Mannheim has become THE city of historic vehicles. Every year, on the second weekend in October, screw-driver-enthusiasts meet in the Benz-city at Europe’s largest old-timer market to search for parts, purchase complete cars, exchange experiences, meet new friends, or simply to be part of the community.
In order that our competent and sheet metal loving audience need not wait a full year for the next event, there now is the VETERAMA at the start of the season in the spring. Traditionally, VETERAMA Ludwigshafen in April opened the season for the screw-driving guild of two- and four-wheeler veteran lovers on a smaller scale than the autumn event. For many years exhibitors and visitors alike asked for a larger and international event similar to the VETERAMA weekend in Mannheim at the start of the season, too. The long search for a new location was over, when in 2013 VETERAMA opened for the first time on the Hockenheimring as an ideal event location.
Now, visitors and traders from all over Europe meet within and on the pit lanes and the glass pavilion, and many old-timer clubs present themselves to their members. The open air spaces around the Ring become discovery sites for parts, complete vehicles, accessories, service providers for restoration, tools, and various historical technology. Whoever is looking for new activities at home, at the Hockenheimring he or she will find enough ideas as well as the tools and parts to carry them out.
VETERAMA Hockenheimring takes part in early April.
With the VETERAMA your old-timer will drive into a secure future, even after more than 43 years.
Well then – have a safe journey!