The old love does not rust
The relationship between Klaus Pichler and his Spider is intimate. And it is for this love that one of the most spectacular events in South Tyrol has developed: The Eggentaer Herbst Classic; one of the most important rallies in the classic car scene.
This is the story of a deep, long but not always uncomplicated love. Klaus Pichler is still at school at the tender age of 18. The hotel management school, where he successfully laid the basis for later running a hotel like Ganischgerhof. But of course – like all boys – Klaus not only has school in mind, but also something else. Cars, for example. “Once I came home to my father and told him with great enthusiasm that I had seen the car of my dreams.” It is an Alpha Spider Duetto, which at the time was 16 years old. The enthusiasm of Klaus’ father Walter is limited. “What do you want to do with a scrap that is almost as old as you?”, He replies Klaus succinctly and makes the following suggestion: “I’ll buy you a new Golf, but you won’t get the Spider.”
Klaus’ enthusiasm for his father’s proposal is also limited. It doesn’t take Klaus long to come up with the following plan: he sold both his cars, scratches up all his savings and ask his grandmother for a million lire. It worked! Klaus suddenly turns around with all his pride. The car was too impractical for a young restaurateur, which is why Klaus had to make the difficult decision of selling the Spider.
It takes 15 years until Klaus accidentally rediscovers his old rusty love on the side of the road, a note stuck to the window: “For sale.” He doesn’t need a second to decide that he wants “his” spider back. “When I was 18, the Spider was just an old car. But now it was a real classic car” remembers Klaus. “You can say that I became a classic car enthusiast at that moment.” And as is sometimes the case, he was not alone in the family: “It didn’t take my brother Markus long to buy a Porsche Speedster “, he says with a grin.
Klaus begins to move in the classic car scene. Visits events, trade fairs, takes part in rallies. Little by little, an idea matures with him into a concrete plan: to organize his own rally at home in the Dolomites, which Reinhold Messner once called the most beautiful mountains in the world. Klaus receives advice and active help from Markus Christ, whom he knows as the organizer of the Kitzbühel Alpine Rally and owner of an advertising agency, and launches the first Eggentaer Herbst Classic in 2005.
“The first time I had eight teams at the start,” says Klaus Pichler, the event was still suffering from certain birth problems, especially since six of the eight teams were invited by him. The plan for the next few years was: “To bring prominent women like Dana Schweiger, Natascha Ochsenknecht or Tina Bordihn to the start, because then the men will come too.” Nevertheless, it takes time for the Eggentaler Herbst Classic to overcome its starting problems. The decisive factor here is that Klaus Pichler contacted Karlheinz Schott. One of the luminaries of organizing and routing classic car rallies. “Together we raised the event to a professional top level,” says Klaus in retrospect. Not only many sounding names of the classic car scene came to Eggental in autumn, but also some celebrities like John Jürgens or Hasan Salihamidzic. In the meantime, Klaus Pichler has to think about how he deals with the large number of participants. 120 teams started in 2019. Too many actually. “It is now a balancing act to maintain the quality and, on the other hand, not to have to say no to anybody.”
It was a long and sometimes hard road until the Eggentaler Herbst Classic has become what it is today. The “fault” is the spontaneous love for the old Spider, which Klaus bought against his father’s resistance. But Walter Pichler forgave his son for that a long time ago. And can now be found in the field of participants of the Eggentaler Herbst Classic.