Major stands featured at the 38th edition of France's annual indoor show, celebrating anniversaries from Porsche and Renault. Porsches celebrated 50 years of the 911 with key models charting its history, Renault its 115 years in business with a repro of the six-(double) wheeler exploration wagon, and a charming R8 Landon choptop concept from 1963 that sadly never made production
Mercedes chose to use Retromobile to launch the newly reconstructed pair of 1910 'Prince Heinrich' racers. Amazingly, two chassis had been found in the basements of Mercedes and the Louwman collection and they have been rebodied into whole cars, one for each partner in the project, but Mercedes also showed a reconstruction of the 1909 200hp Blitzen Benz and a 1908 GP car.
Both Peugeot and Citroen supplanted their stands with displays from clubs - a nice friendly touch. It's 30 years since the launch of the 205, and Peugeot had lined up a Roland Garros convertible version next to a 401 Eclipse - remarkably, another example of its retractable art was to be sold with Artcurial, this time on a 402. The completely wild and wacky was thing on the ground this time but as well as a charming 'Le Mans' pit display with a Rene-Bonnet coupe, Motul sponsored an exhibition of the rare rediscovered cars of Germain Lambert - the very Bugatti Atlantic-like coupe that appeared at the 1948 Paris Motor Show, one racer, one tourer, and the 'SansChoc' fwd roadster.
Several of the real rarities were on the Artcurial stand prior to its Friday night auction. Star of the show was a Talbot-Lago T150C racer, though a beautiful T26 Record cabrio ran it close and an unrestored pairing of Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Miura was intriguing.
Opening the show was a tribute to Roland Garros to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first crossing of the Mediterranean by air which he made in the type H Morane, displayed next to the fabulous 5-litre 'Roland Garros' Bugatti.
Dealer stands included a large Citroen display from Lukas Huni in collaboration with their maker, and our own Gregor Fisken, whose star exhibit was the ex Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 275GTB/C '9079', the three-time Le Mans runner.
Although the show appeared more mainstream than in previous years, quirkiness is never far at Retro, and outside there was a reconstruction of France's first locomotive produced in 1829 by Marc Seguin in live steam running on tracks alongside the main exhibition hall, and a jet fighter casually parked under the entrance awning s- an engineless Mirage V wo-seater that could have been yours in the auction. Artcurial had a cracking Friday night with 102 lots sold out of 115 offered, but this one requires a unique kind of buyer. It's still for sale…