In Halle 3.1 (that's the first floor of Hall 3; any opportunity to use a punkt...) of the Frankfurt motor show, nestling peacefully above the sweltering hot pot of VW Group's enormous ground-floor exhibitions, I happened across ADAC's 'Oldtimer Sonderschau: Die Stars von 1983'.

ADAC is Germany's AA, and although the modest pamphlet accompanying this crowd-free gem of a collection explains in literally translated German what it is all about, the gist seems to be that ADAC has a working group that does its utmost to keep lovely old cars in healthy numbers, and to make sure we're allowed to drive them on the public road. Excellent remits, you'll agree.

The exhibit consisted of 20 or so mostly attainable classics - the class of Frankfurt 1983 - waiting patiently as if the Life on Mars people were doing a casting call in the next room. No eye-bursting light shows, no music (though The Scorpions' Wind of Change would have fitted in nicely had it not been seven years too late) - just lots of mint-condition personal heroes.

An Audi Sport Quattro, gleaming in black with white-painted wheels was maybe not the most attainable car on offer, along with the silken-coated Porsche 959-previewing 'Group B Study' concept, but, goodness me, many of these beauties are within reach. The name board next to each car included an estimate of its current price, making it all the more exciting.

A stealthy black Mercedes 190E Cosworth 2.3: £11,900. A knee-melting BMW M635 CSi (can you imagine doing 0-62mph in 6.4sec in this car? Thrilling.): £27,700. A slab-sided pre-Integrale Lancia Delta HF with factory plastic still on the door cards and checked brown tweed on the seats: just £3300.

I could stop now but I won't. Renault Fuego Turbo: £2200. A staring Fiat Ritmo - father of the Delta itself - in Bertone S85 cabrio form with plenty of legroom in the back: £4100's a bargain for such a rare piece of novelty. And a black-bumpered, biplane-spoilered Sierra XR4i: only £4700.

I must admit, I preferred the look of the Opel Monza concept over in Halle 8.0 to the white Monza GSE on show here, but a 178bhp 3.0-litre six-pot wasn't to be sniffed at in 1983.

The name boards had two more interesting bits of info: a graph of the car's value over the last ten years, and the number of examples still registered in Germany. The good news is your money would probably be safer buying one of these than bricks and mortar (though your house will use less petrol and fewer head gaskets).