Retromobile is a car show in Paris dedicated to vintage motors, and this year the spotlight is on cars once owned by Indian Maharajahs.
For one man, at least, the show was a very special occasion. Raja Syed Muzaffar Ali reminisced as he gazed at one vehicle: “As a child I used to play in this car. I know every little detail of it. I’ve done lot of foolish things with this car, including selling it off. Because when you sell something, I think that you miss it more than when you have it. When you have it, you take it for granted.”
So having regretted the sale of his Isotta Fraschini, Syed Muzaffar Ali spent 25 years tracking it down. Today he and the new owner are friends and exhibit the car together.
Among the other attractions is a Renault used by French General Joffre during the offensive in Champagne in 1915.
But this show means business as well as history.
The vintage car market has been largely unaffected by the economic crisis and Retromoile includes more than 500 cars and motorcycles, as well as spare parts, accessories, and memorabilia.
Francois Melcion, the director of Rétromobile said: “Vintage cars tend to increase in value, which can make them a very safe investment. Also, there are not only cars priced at two or three million, there are also cars for 10,000 or even 5,000 euros. It’s a market that works well, because it includes such a lot of people. You go to any village in the world and you’ll always find a car collector.They are everywhere.”