For lovers of vintage cars and motorbikes the Rétromobile event in Paris is nothing short of paradise.
Now in its 37th year, this year’s event has attracted more than 350 exhibitors who have brought their lovingly-maintained and – in some cases – eyewateringly expensive vehicles.
Rétromobile director François Melcion told euronews: “This year the stars of Rétromobile are, first of all, the Peter Mullin Collection, which comes from Los Angeles with 10 French cars with French bodywork. We wanted to give a “triple A” at Rétromobile by presenting all French products. We also have automobile dealers, who, themselves, brought a lot of cars for sale, unique cars; there is a sort of race between the sales people, to see who will bring the most beautiful car. Rétromobile is a place where, even if you do not like cars, there are things to see, there is a nostalgia that will resurface.”
Shipped from the United States, there are 10 vintage cars - virtual sculptures on wheels – from Peter Mullin’s collection. He is an American entrepreneur with a passion for French cars, mainly from the Art Deco era.
He told us: “I love French cars because in my opinion the French, particularly before the war, made the absolute ultimate cars for performance, for design, for engineering, and for rolling sculpture. So, as soon as I saw those early French cars, I was hooked and I didn’t think that anything was more beautiful”.
Some 90,000 people are expected to visit the five-day exhibition; some to look, some to buy. More than 80 cars and bikes will be up for auction.
Matthieu Lamoure, director of local auction house Artcurial Motorcars, gave us a rundown: “The most expensive car is obviously the Ferrari 250 GT California convertible, built in 1959 and owned by Roger Vadim. A great car, only 47 of them were built. A car that lived the time of the “new wave” with Brigitte Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Jean Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon. At that time everyone wanted to own a California: Johnny Halliday, he had one, Alain Delon, he had one, all the stars of the jet set of the time. This car is the star of the sale, so we have estimated it at around three million.
“We also have the 1989 Ferrari F40 owned by Nigel Mansell. This car was a gift from Enzo Ferrari to Nigel Mansell, who sold it on very quickly. We have pre-war cars such as the Delaunay-Belleville, a car that was more prestigious than Rolls Royce at the time, which has belonged to the same family since 1918, almost a century, the Michelin family, who were behind the Michelin company.”
Euronews reporter in Paris, Giovanni Magi summed it up: “Rétromobile is the event for vintage car and motorcycles enthusiasts, for those who are in search of rare spare parts and for connoisseurs who are ready to spend a fortune, if they can afford it, to realise their dreams.”