The stand out cars at Journées d'Automne
The fabulous Journées d"Automne event held on the third weekend of October features a great selection of classic cars built for the most part before 1974. Normally I would title this article my favourite cars from the event but in truth I would have happily have almost all the cars on the event in my garage. So rather than choose outright favourites I figured I would look at some of the more unusual cars from this years running. The cars are listed in age order.
Bugatti Type 13 'Brescia'
The Bugatti Type 35 is one of the most iconic cars of all time, and indeed there were several examples of the 35 and its derivatives on the event. Rather less well known is Bugatti's first car, the Type 13. First produced in 1910 serious production did not begin until after the first world war. The type was highly successful in racing immediately in the early twenties and when Type 13's took the top four places in the 1921 Brescia Grand Prix the moniker Brescia was attached to the car.
The Brescia was powered by a 1.4 litre engine which incredibly for the time featured a 4 valve head, and produced 30bhp. That might not sound like a lot but was more than enough to push the little car along at a fair old pace when I spotted it heading for home on the Autoroute after the event had finished.
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300
If Bugatti dominated sportswear racing in the twenties, by the early thirties Alfa Romeo was the team to beat especially at Le Mans where the mighty 8C 2300 won for four years in a row. The work of legendary engineer Vittorio Jano the 8C uses a supercharged straight 8 engine (two four cylinder engine blocks on a common crankcase) which can produce around 160bhp in standard trim and up to 180 bhp in competition trim.
8C 2300's came in several different body styles which varied according to the event they were competing in. This stunning example brought to the event by my friend Mihai Negrescu wears its original Le Mans specification body built by Carrozzeria Touring, which features four seats to comply with Le Mans regulations at the time.
I detailed riding in this car in my previous piece on the even which can be found below.
Lancia Aurelia B24 Spider America
Vittorio Jano moved to Lancia from Alfa Romeo in 1937 and here he was responsible for the first production V6 engine which was used in the Lancia Aurelia launched in 1950.
The Aurelia was built in a variety of body styles from mundane saloons through to the rare and gorgeous Spider America, one of which joined Journées d'Automne this year. It is a truly gorgeous looking car which can stand up alongside the likes of the Mercedes 300SL and Ferrari 250 California to be considered for the title of the most beautiful car of the fifties.
This particular example was particularly stunning in a shade of baby blue, it was so lovely in fact that my wife and I did not mind having to help give it a push start at the end of the event.
Austin Healey 100S
The 100S was a race prepared version of the Austin Healey 100 which featured a lightweight aluminium body and a more powerful 136bhp version of the big 2.66 litre inline 4. The S stood for Sebring, the famous Florida race circuit.
Only 50 were made and the example at Journées d"Autumn is known as the Green car as it is the only example finished in British Racing Green.
The previous cars on this list are all stunning but today come with price tags in six or seven figures. However this freshly restored Fiat 2300S caught my attention just as much as the other cars and today can be had for comfortably less than £50,000.
Based on the Fiat 2300 Saloon the coupé version was styled by Ghia and built by OSI. Legendary tuning firm Abarth worked their magic on the 2.3 litre straight six engine to give the 2300S version around 140-150bhp, it also makes a great sound.
I fell a little bit in love with this car during the event and if I had to choose a car I most wanted to take home (other than my own obviously) it would be this one.
Lamborghini Miura S
Okay so the Miura needs almost no introduction but I'm sure no one is going to complain at a picture of this freshly restored Miura S which was on the event on Saturday
MGB GT V8 Costello
The MGB is perhaps the most ubiquitous classic car around so why does this one stand out? Rewind to the late sixties and MG's in house MGC was not well received due to the adverse effect of the heavy in line six Austin engine had on the basic MGB's handling. Engineer and race driver Ken Costello figured the lightweight Rover (nee Buick) 3.5 litre V8 engine would be a better match than the heavy Austin unit and set about engineering the B to take this much more powerful engine.
Using the version of the V8 from the Rover P6 and twin SU carburettors which necessitated the distinctive bulge in the bonnet, Costello gave the MGB the sort of performance to frighten an E Type or 911, which a claimed 140mph top speed. Costello converted around 225 MGB's before MG themselves launched their own MGB BGT V8 which came with an engine in a much milder state of tune than Costellos examples. The example on Journées d'Automne was actually unique as the only example built by Costello with left hand drive.
Jensen is most famous for its mighty Interceptor grand tourer powered by a massive Chrysler V8. However Jensen also teamed up with Donald Healey to make the Jensen Healey sports car powered by a twin cam Lotus 907 engine launched in 1972.
In September 1975 the Healey was joined by a shooting brake GT derivative. In addition to the fixed head body the GT featured 2+2 seating and a plusher interior than the open Healey.
However Jensen was already in financial trouble by the time the GT was launched and by May 1976 the company had gone bust. A mere 511 GT's left the factory in that time making the car very rare today. With that in mind it was somewhat surprising to see two examples of the GT on the event.
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