► Retromobile 2017 in pictures
► Paris’s classic car extravaganza
► Our favourite spots from the show
European car shows. You know the drill – manufacturers erect enormous palaces of self-aggrandisement where covers are pulled from new models and huge groups of journalists with selfie sticks vie for a decent front three-quarter shot.
If that all sounds a bit too much like hard work, we’ve found the cure - it’s called Retromobile, it’s held annually in Paris, and it’s chock full of old-stuff-made-new by pathological levels of dust removal and gallons of Brasso.
Save yourself the trip and soak up the old-car smell with the following vignettes from the show.
It would be poor form to start anywhere but a French manufacturer. This Citroen CX estate was badged ‘Break’ on the Continent and Safari over here. It offered spare-room levels of loadspace that could swallow a Volvo whole, while maintaining the side profile of a Euro-spec Ghostbusters car.
The Citroen CX Prestige Landaulet
Around the corner was a one-off Citroen CX Prestige Landaulet designed by French coachbuilder Henri Chapron for the Grand Duke of Luxembourg’s wedding. It has a longer wheelbase, armchair seats and a rail to hold on to while waving out of the roof. It was also an indescribable colour – sort of greeny-browny-grey, like Ray Mears’s fleece. Fabulous.
If the Laguna had turned out like this…
Renault went back to the future with this original Laguna concept car, complete with seat fabric straight out of a ’90s school bus and the dashboard mounted gearshift from a Honda Civic. The actual production Laguna was a bit more mainstream, sadly.
Jaguar goes back to the past
Garnering much (justified) attention was this Jaguar XKSS, a road-going version of the D-Type racer – the equivalent these days to strapping numberplates to a Porsche 919 LMP1 car. Yes please.
Jaguar’s once again building the XKSS, for a limited production run of nine cars – click here for the full story.
Talking of homologation specials, how about this Renault 5 Turbo 2? Forced-induction hot hatches might be de rigueur currently but Renault was flogging them as early as 1980, complete with extremely bold “TURBO” vinyls on both doors and even the boot glass.
Caution: thin paint
It’s impossible to walk past a Ferrari F50 under artificial lights and not have a look at the carbonfibre weave under the ultra-thin paintjob. Also impossible to photograph it properly thanks to the ultra-official looking barrier, no doubt set up to prevent damage to said paint. Either way, if your car was built by engineers who considered paint to be a heavy component, you know you’re in for a good time.
Click here to read our original drive of the Ferrari F50 in the CAR archive
Le Mans, ’90s style: Dodge Viper GTS-R
From road-going racers to track only specials this Dodge Viper GTS-R looks suspiciously like the digital version we spent our youth crashing on Gran Turismo’s Apricot Hill raceway – or, as a non-car friend pointed out, just like Lightning McQueen.
Le Mans, 1970s and ’80s style: the retirement-phobic Porsche 917
This Porsche 917 was brought out of retirement by German tuner Kremer to take part in the 1981 24 Heures du Mans. It featured different bodywork but the same 5-litre flat 12 – plus a fabulously zesty yellow paint job that few other cars could pull off.
If Haynes did paint jobs
Talking of paintjobs check out the see-through wrap on this BMW 635CSI. Certainly makes finding the screen wash reservoir easy. Plus, is there anything cooler than black electrical tape crosses on your headlights?
A forgotten Group B nearly-car
Upstairs at the show was an homage to Group B rallying featuring all the usual suspects (Audi Quattro/Peugeot 205 T16/Ford RS200), plus this slightly bonkers looking Mazda RX-7. The pop up lights have been replaced by a set that make it look like Johnny 5’s eyes from the film Short Circuit.
Meet the ancestors
There’s a distinct retro theme to the show but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers using old rides to draw attention to new models, like this NSX pair from Honda and the all-white Alpine stand. The latter was understandably busy considering the event’s location.
Click here for the full story on France's new Alpine sports car for 2017
As well as rows and rows of classic cars there was also the opportunity to purchase some vintage metal in the form of these oversized manufacturer badges that would look fantastic in a garage alongside a Lamborghini Miura SV – or in the CAR office, come to think of it…
Get a grip
Finally here’s a good deal to snap up before you take delivery of your Chiron – a 3500 Euro Bugatti-branded vice – ideal for clamping the keys in whenever anyone asks to borrow it.
Click here for CAR's exclusive in-depth tour of the Bugatti Chiron