10 good reasons to attend the queen of classic car events

Rétromobile opened its gates this Morning, and I will give you 10 good reasons to visit the event. Out of a few dozens…

2y ago
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Rétromobile Paris is one of the most prestigious classic car events, and it opened its gates this Morning. This post shall provide a short introduction for those who wish to experience it this week. As I just arrived, the photos are still from the previous years events, so the the only spoilers you can expect will be on race cars.

The event is open until Sunday, with generous opening hours (e.g. long hours closing at 22.00 on Wednesday and Friday), and is located at the same venue as the Paris Motor Show (well, at least half of the exhibitor surface), at the Expo Area at Porte de Versailles (1 place de la Porte de Versailles 75015 Paris). The venue is not the only thing the two car shows have in common, it is essentially the Paris Motor Show with classic cars.

In this post, I will give you 10 good reasons to visit the event. Out of several dozens... This is to warn you: it takes several hours to just to walk through the halls, but even the sheer numbers can be deceiving. As the stages are smaller, the visitor's pace will be slower with numerous occasions to drop the anchor.

This noble classic car show is one of my favourite automotive events, I often describe it as the queen of classic car events. There is always a room to claim to be the largest classic car event, but the sheer quality of Rétromobile is what puts it on my A-list.

1. The arena of major collectors

It is not a question that this event is the arena of the real players, where the major classic car collectors face off and chase the world record of auctions.

Major collectors and brokers such as Lukas Hüni, Fiskens, or Axel Schuette bring well-decorated stages packed with rarities of immense value (like last year's exhibition of a selection of 60's Ferraris), it is more than just a trade show of second-hand cars, these stages could make it as museum exhibitions.

2. Representation of museums and events

Rétromobile is a stable point on my agenda, but I am not alone with this. Aspiring and established events and major national museum rent space at Rétromobile just to put themselves to the map (the early timing of the event and its 44 years of history also helps). The Swiss Concours, Schloss Dyck, the Peter Auto Series or the British Motor Museum in Beaulieu are all present with a worthy stage to showcase their attractions.

3. Auctions – the sky is the limit

The 2016 event hit the headlines with its attempt to break the record for the most expensive classic car, reaching a 32 Million sales price (and some change) for a 1957 Ferrari 335S.

With a one-off Fezza, you start to appreciate those boxes more than ever

With a one-off Fezza, you start to appreciate those boxes more than ever

The halls of ArtCurial is always a treat, and upon acquisition of the catalogue, visitors can access the floor to observe the rarities (my favourite from last year was an FXX with original parts in stylish FXX boxes, might come handy with a one-off Ferrari…).

4. Factory Museums.

What puts the few A-listers above others in my eyes, is the presence of factory collections. In Paris, the French manufacturers bring out the best of their collections, such as Citroen showcased half a dozen presidential limos last year. but luxury brands with a history deliver quite a show too.

This year Porsche is a no show :(

This year Porsche is a no show :(

2019 shall mark their 100th anniversary. There about two dozen existing and long gone brands are present (including PSA and Fiat’s current and historical brands), like Jaguar Aston Martin, BMW and Bentley.

Anniversary models in 2018

Anniversary models in 2018

And now more specifically on this year:

5. Citroen’s 100th anniversary

This year, the 44th Rétromobile classic car show celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Icon of France’s car industry. Citroen is always preparing with something special (along with the PSA Group), but this year the stage is exceptionally promising.

6. 60th Anniversary of Mini

A dedicated Exhibition joins forces with the National Motor Museum of Beaulieu, the Haynes International Motor Museum and Transports Prevost to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the legendary Mini

7. McLaren stage

One of the absolute highlights of last year was a McLaren stage brought together by Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille to honor its racing partner, McLaren.

The 2018 show, this year it might be even better

The 2018 show, this year it might be even better

The stage took the visitors on a journey through the finest hours of the iconic British racing team and automaker McLaren. This year the stage is reproduced with other cars from the racing team’s vault. 8. Renault

8. Renault stage

Renault will celebrate its 1979 championship title with 11 Renault models with turbo engines.

9. BMW is joining the event

This year, the German manufacturer joined the event by sharing a number of exciting chapters from its history. Some of its finest models are showcased in Hall 1 at a stand with different sections for different vehicle types: roadsters, luxury cars and sports cars are all on show at it.

BMW at Techno Classica 2017

BMW at Techno Classica 2017

Classic car and motorcycle enthusiasts will find the BMW Z4 and Z1, the Series 8, the M1 Pro Car, the 51/3, the Group 5 320, the 507 and the 507 Boat.

10. The Behemoths (Tank Museum and Brliet)

The Saumur Tank Museum has one of the largest collections of First World War armoured vehicles in the world, and returns to the Show every year. In partnership with the national union of collectors of military vehicles (Univem), they showcase two iconic German and American tank models: the Panzer IV and the Sherman. Last year they brought along several Renault tanks to honor Renault's 120th anniversary.

Tank you, Renault!

Tank you, Renault!

Facebook followers could already trace the route of the Berliet Monster Truck to Paris. The Berliet T100 is a steel colossus, 5 m high, 5 m wide and 15 m long with a weight of 50 tonnes.

Here I will take a rhetorical break, as I actually have to attend the event now, but I plan to link here the next posts that should feature some live coverage.

First update: post on BMW stage is live

BMW joined the event this year and brought together an eye candy worthy to the factory museum of the German premium brand.

Second update: the 100th birthday of Citroen

This year, the 44th Rétromobile classic car show celebrates the 100th anniversary of an Icon of France’s car industry. For the past years, Citroen was always preparing with something special (along with the PSA Group), but this year the stage is exceptionally promising.

3rd update: the report on the 2019 McLaren stage is live, and it's awesome

This year, the organisers build on that tradition, but they focussed more on the racing successes of the team than the story of the founder. Basically, there was only one car piloted by Bruce McLaren, the rest were world champions.

4th update: The Auction stage at Atrcurial

You think insurance is overrated? I haven’t watched my steps since prom night’s dance. When wandering among million-euro vehicles, one wrong move and my family fortune are gone, including that of my grand-grandchildren.

Worth over 16 million euros...

Worth over 16 million euros...

5th update: the behemoths of Rétrombile

One of the most mind-blowing parts of Rétrombile is the participation of gigantic historic vehicles. The first one is a real giant, the largest vehicle ever presented at Rétromobile.

6th update: Jaguar Land Rover shows up with the family jewels

Given the flamboyant exhibition of major collectors and multi-million euro cars at Rétromobile, luxury brands with a distinctive history deliver quite a show as well. The Classic Division of Jaguar Land Rover Group usually boast a pretty decent show, but this year, the stage fell behind my expectations.

7th update: Aston Martin’s best stage yet: Bond’s DB5 at your service

The noble British car manufacturer showcased finest examples of the heritage preservation work carried out by its Newport Pagnell plant.

8th update: 60 candles for the Mini in Paris

This year, Rétromobile joined forces with the National Motor Museum of Beaulieu, the Haynes International Motor Museum and Transports Prevost to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the most iconic British car, the original Mini.

9th update: HONDA celebrated 20 years of the S2000 in Paris

In the past years, Honda prepared a small but ardent stage at Rétromobile Paris. Last year, the Honda Motor Company celebrated 70 years of its history, with a presence that was rather worthy to a fan club. The stage of this year was even more compact, but loaded with three iconic models that showed much more efforts.

10th update: Bugatti celebrated its 110th birthday at home turf

Participation at a prestigious French classic car show sounds like a must for the French luxury car manufacturer Bugatti. Ettore Bugatti established his legendary company in 1909, marking the 110 years anniversary this year, as the main theme of the Bugatti stage at Rétromobile 2019.

11. FCA heritage celebrated the 70th birthday of Abarth at the Rétromobile

FCA Heritage is the group’s division dedicated to preserve the heritage of FCA’s Italian makes. In practice this mainly implies restauration and parts, and the presence at classic car shows. Following the headline inauguration at last year’s Rétromobile, they are back at this year’s show with another impressive set of cars.

12. Lamborghini’s historical division outshone by private collectors

The fact that Lamborghini is featured more often on the collectors stages than local brand Renault, should not come as a surprise at Rétromobile (to Renault’s credit, Alpines and Renault 5 Turbos constitute the backbone of their presence here).

13. Miura galore at Kidston: when a private stage surpasses the factory show

Simon Kidston’s classic car centre from Britain made its Rétromobile debut with a bang. In fact, the stage outperformed the Polo Storico factory Division’s own stage by far.

14. Local hero Renault reminds us that the Turbo era did not start with downsizing

At Rétromobile 2019, Renault commemorated its first turbo era with an exhibition dedicated to the first F1 victory and the product line streamlining the turbo technology. 1 July 1979 Jean-Pierre Jabouille brought the first Formula One victory for Renault at the French grand prix. René Arnoux added another podium finish.

15. Rétromobile proves again that 2019 is the year of Lancia

This year, Lancia fans are more than spoiled by the Classic Car Shows of the first quarter (can anybody tell what why there are so many Lancia exhibitions in 2019?).

16. Pagani Zonda ancestors of three decades on a single stage

These photos are basically about time traveling. One of the first stages I spotted at Rétromobile brought together an unrivalled collection of legends that represent the same spirit that you can find today in the cars of Pagani.

17. Miura galore at Kidston: when a private stage surpasses the factory show

Kidston made its Rétromobile debut with a bang. In fact, the stage outperformed the Lamborghini’s own show.

18. GIRARDO & CO: UPPING THE GAME BIG TIME AT RÉTROMOBIL

Girardo & Co was a familiar face from the past few years, attending both Rétromobile and Techno Classica shows, but this year, they bunked in right next to the Fiskens (who consistently brings the best stages to Paris year after year), but Girardo was up for the challenge and brought one of the finest stages of the show.

19. THE FISKENS STAGE AT RÉTROMOBILE: WHEN A COLLECTOR’S STAGE BEAT FACTORIES

For years, the London based collector of fine historic automobiles is responsible for the largest and most impressive stage at least among those built by collectors. But even among the factory stages, Fiskens would probably finish at the Podium.

20.THE ULTIMATE CARSPOTTING BONANZA: THE BEST OF PRIVATE COLLECTORS’ STAGES

In the past weeks, I uploaded dozens of posts about various stages erected by factory Museums and restoration centres, but also by private collectors who exhibited fleets with a street value in the range of millions.

21.A FRENCH TO CHALLENGE THE BRITISH THREE WHEELERS FOR THE WORST CAR IN HISTORY

Breaking news! Rétromobile 2019 showcased a world’s first exhibition about the Bédélia brand! Pardon? You never heard of Bédélia? Well, it’s a long-gone French brand whose originality brought a new breed of motorization. But if you are looking for the marks of Bugatti, I have to cool down the expectations. Bédélia is closer to the makes of Morgan three-wheeler and Reliant Robin, but without their sophistication :).

22. THE ART SECTION AT RÉTROMOBILE

Every serious classic car show will feature an Art section, where the booths are filled with automotive thematic artifacts, from statues to paintings. I do not plan to write much here, I just let the pictures speak for the experience.

23. A BUGATTI EB110 BETWEEN TWO F40S: THE USUAL BUSINESS AT HÖDLMAYR

This Austrian classic car centre usually brings its blue Bugatti EB110 (the very last one ever produced) to most classic car shows (I recall at least three encounters already). This year, the rest of the stage is just as impressive, starting with the discrete green alpine landscape projected behind the cars.

24. CELEBRATING THE 100TH BIRTHDAY OF GNOME & RHÔNE AND SAFRAN MOTORCYCLES

This year’s Rétromobile paid tribute to the 100th birthday of the first model built by the French Gnome & Rhône. To sum up quickly, a bunch of rocket scientist started upgrading motorcycles that led to a production of around 3000 motorcycles between 1920 and 1923 and the company earned a considerable reputation.

25. THE BRM TYPE 15 ILLUSTRATES ALL THAT IS GOOD AND BAD IN BRITISH ENGINEERING

The Beaulieu National Motor Museum is a regular guest at most continental classic car shows (including Essen Techno Classica and Retro Classics Stuttgart), with a regular staff and brilliant exhibits. This years stage features the 1950 BRM Type 15, a 16 cylinder monster. British Racing Motors was founded in the 1940s with the overarching aim to build a purely British Grand Prix racing car.

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Comments (9)

  • But will Dacia showcase the mighty Sandero?

      2 years ago
    • Well, Dacia is usually next to Renault. Maybe they were there, but somebody (probably accidentally) parked there with this 15 meter 50 tons Berliet. I forgot to look for any squashed Sunderos under it... :)

        2 years ago
    • Hahaha!

        2 years ago
  • Hey the highest auction price was for the 250GTO and not the 355. 🙂

      2 years ago
  • Great stuff Zold - looking forward to the next piece, and I hope you have a great time!

      2 years ago
    • Great time is guaranteed a these car shows. It's easy to develop an addiction. Q1 is quite heave in A lister events (Stuttgart and Essen up next).

        2 years ago
  • Best classic show, I need no reason at all ;)

      2 years ago
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