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Retromobile 2019 – 10 good reasons to attend the queen of classic car events

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  visited yesterday, many of the photos are still from the previous years events, so the spoilers you can rather expect on the cars, and less in the article.

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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 (and/or jaw).

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.

In fact Lukas Hüni organised another thematic exhibition, following the Ferraris of last year, this time fr the noble past of Lancia.

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 355S.

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.

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.

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 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 stage

Renault will celebrate its 1979 championship title with 11 Renault models with turbo engines, along with the road cars that incorporated this technology.

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.

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

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.

UPDATES

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 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.

Third update: the report on the 2019 McLaren stage is live, and its awesome

This year, the organisers build on the 2018 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.

Fourth update: the Auction hall of Artcurial

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

A non-partisan yet active car-maniac.