Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos
An event to look forward to all year is the Parisian super exhibition Retromobile. Even though Retro is not as huge as Techno Classica in Essen, the variety of cars is better, and the quality is definitely as good, and the atmosphere is just incredible. When entering the hall of fame, it is hard to decide where to start! There is so much to see and of course so many great people to meet.
I had some fantastic days and will make you a list of the highlights. Four days were not enough to complete my whole to-do list, and I obviously forgot to see some great things. So, feel free to share your highlights with m, especially those I forgot about.
Let’s start upstairs, a smaller hall where the Artcurial collection was exhibited and some stands, of which I really enjoyed the one of Monaco Legend Motors and Une Femme, une Collection. MLM had a small but fine collection of sporty classics and a multi-functional 1953 Buick Roadmaster V8 woody wagon. Une Femme, une Collection showed some mouth watering cars like a 1930 Aston Martin Headlam Coupé, which is so ‘Hanssome’, as well as the 1930 Voisin C14 Chartre, which was exhibited at Chantilly last September. The 1929 works Bugatti 35B, the 1928 Bugatti T40 “Lidia” Fiacre (also featured by Bugatti Trust), and some fierce racers, like a 1965 McLaren M3A, 1955 Frazer Nash Le Mans coupé and a 1955 Alta 1.5 litre GP. It is great to meet all those impressive automobiles, but it is the combination with interesting people, which makes it even better. I was very pleased to meet Hadrien Berghmans from MLM and Julia de Baldanza from Une Femme, une Collection.
While passing the hall of fame with famous cars with mostly rich racing history, I discovered the Dino 206 GT prototype – incredible. The profile of this Dino is so smooth.
Downstairs is the big maze where it is almost impossible to walk thru in an organized way. When passing one stand you already see another, and then you meet someone and so on. The left part of the big hall was all about car parts, automobilia, books, etc. This is just like a small ‘souk’. One of the car part stands which is simply incredible is the one of the Ariztegui family, father Bernard and his spouse Isabelle and son Alex. They have a huge collection, including original Bugatti parts such as a roller bearing crankshaft, back axle casing, front axle and… you name it. Since I am not a shopaholic whatsoever, I passed the little shops quickly because I wanted to see some fine automobiles.
The most visited stand by my dad is obviously the Hispano-Suiza club stand, and they exhibited a lovely 1925 H6B with Carlton touring coachwork. The owner loves to drive this car and it shows off with some fine patina. This stand is also a great place to meet friends. Close to the Hispano stand was also the one of the Cercle Pegase Amilcar. One thing they both have in common, and which makes it difficult for me to communicate, is that almost everybody prefers to speak French. So I was glad to have my dad as a translator. Then I soon got distracted by a 1936 Delahaye 135S racer by Figoni on the Delahaye stand, and a Bugatti Atalante on the Bugatti club stand. My PreWarCar/PostWarClassic friends had their own stand and showed off the famous and fierce 200HP Fiat ‘Land Speed Record’ beast, an unbelievable Isotta 16.5 litre aero engined monster from 1905.
There are some surprises which I will reveal next time, and I have not even mentioned the auctions. So next up some hammering as well. Let me also tell you that I met many my CHB friends, all of whom I really looked forward to meet. I apologize for those I missed, but there will be another opportunity next year.