Shopping in Paris, which lady wouldn´t dream of it. Shopping in Paris for men… Yes, it´s possible. For many years the Retromobile , one of Europe’s oldest classic car shows, opens all opportunities to the classic car lovers for strolling, judging, dreaming and if the wallet allows it – for shopping.
Around 120,000 visitors have flocked in five days to the Retromobile. In two large halls, dealers, clubs and manufacturers presented their exhibitions. Among them, true rarities, including Ferrari, Porsche or Bugatti. But the Retromobile stands especially for their numerous special exhibitions. From the steam engine over the ancestry of automobile history, up to rare prototypes, an entertaining program was offered.
Already at the beginning of the great Hall of the vehicle, the Beaulieu Museum presented unique pieces from the time when record attempts stood on the daily automotive shedule. Including a powerful Darracq with a V8 motor from 1905, a Napier from 1903 and right next to it the Fiat S76 built in 1911, which is known also as the „monster of Turin“. With only four cylinders, it has a capacity of 30 litres and a total power of 300 HP. Several demonstration drives outside the building that the bolide made honor to its name – even if he could not his to reach 200 km / h. Nice for visitors: a test ride on one of the over 100-year-old vehicles. Certainly an experience of a special kind, because the Teuf-Teufs, as they are named in french (bronze vehicles) are very original in their functioning.
Since 2012, Julia de Baldanza is involved in vintage racing. Her successes are considerably and racing at Goodwood, LeMans historic, Monaco Historic Grand Prix or Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge her name can always be found under the first three class winners. In a special exhibition called „une Femme, une Collection“ (a woman, a collection) some of her classic collection vehicles were presented . Including the Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupé (once owned by Kitty Maurice), a McLaren M3A and a Maserati A6GCM. But also vehicles, such as a Bugatti 35 B driven earlier driven by Elisabeth Junek and the Voisin C14 Chartre belong to the collection. Recently, Baldanza bought one of the few Volkswagen XL1.
From the prewar era we noticed a rare Ballot 2LS built 1921. A special exhibition which could be seen with a smile were some of the over 50 years old model studies of the „future car“ from the 1960s bachwards. Seemingly becoming alive from the comic series “The Jetsons” was the rhomboid ball with diaganal arranged wheels by Jean Pierre Ponthieu, designed in 1968. Two of the vehicles were drawn by Philippe Charbonneaux, a French designer who, among other things, designed some Delahayes, Renault R8, the Dauphine and the Renault 16. Many of his studies were to be seen this year at the Retromobile. So the Delahaye 235, a Charbonneaux promotion car, built on a Citroen 2CV, a Renault R16 notchback Variant and in special the event bus „Pathé-Marconi“. Charbonneaux built the now over 70 years old “Wimille” for a fellow racing driver. It should develop optimal aerodynamics. The front of the Salmson he designed, is almost a reminiscent of a Pegaso. In this total exhibition about visions of the future, the highlight was PFX designed by Pininfarina, in 1960, with the streamlined body and two far raised fins in the rear.
A quick look back at the Retromobile 2015. Artcurial auctioned the Ballion collection. One of the vehicles, a Talbot Lago T26 record car was to marvel at in this years fair in the state of restoration. Next to it, a witness of the French body building art, the sheet metal dress of an elegant Bugatti in a raw format.
Le Mans belongs to France and racing. Racing vehicles could be seen almost at every corner at this years Retromobile. But the Automobile Club de l´ Ouest (Automobile Club of the West) presented special witnesses of Le Mans history, starting of with an early Chenard & Walker, a race car from 1925. Right behind Ferrari. A very dynamic appearance has the Deutsch Bonnet. But the prototype of the Ferrari Dino received the most attention. In his glance the Porsche 907 Carrera nearly got lost.
And again racing cars – even Renault presented several examples from the French racing history, starting with the monstrous Renault 40CV or the early rally Monte Carlo car. Of course the crowd puller was a record car and the numerous Alpine versions, lead by the Renault 4CV R1063.
Surely the The French brands took the largest part of the presentations. Peugeot celebrated the 50th birthday of the 204. Citroen showed a Citroen Traction Avant 11 B and the evolution of the Mehari up to the current prototype. But the International manufacturers also showed flag. Honda exhibited for the 50th birthday one of the in Europe very rarely seen vehicles, the S800 and Porsche presented a wide range of their history.
Who didn´t buy a classic car and still wanted to take a small souvenir or spare parts back home, was in good hands in the Hall for spare parts, books, or model vehicles. Many traders had, what the heart desires. From literature over bonnet figures up to finely crafted dioramas.