A virtual magazine for a true passion!

Editor: Jaap Horst

Volume 12, Issue 1

Just after entering the building, one bounces into the massive T41 Esders Roadster Replica, on loan from the Schlumpf collection

Retromobile 2007

Jaap Horst

Click on a picture for an enlargement. Big pictures open in a separate window.

This year again my usual Retromobile colleague Frans Hofman had set his winter holiday erroneously to coincide with Retromobile, so I went alone on Friday 11th of February to Paris, driving off at 7.00, I arrived before 12 in the traffic Jams of Paris. My poor knowledge of French is sufficient to learn from the radio that today the holidays begin for many French, so I arrive at Retromobile after one, also an hour after the opening. Just after parking my car, I already meet the first fellow (Dutch) Bugattiste.. This year Retromobile has left the usual location, to go to another Hall in the same complex. The hall is bigger, so part of it is not used. Still the Retromobile has grown approx. 25% compared with last year. One´s feet did tell you the difference, after a whole day!

Retromobile theme this year were 50´s concept cars, mainly French. If you´re interested in these, you will have to look elsewhere. There were two Wimille prototypes, which are of interest to the Bugattiste of course, due to the racing carreer of Jean-Pierre Wimille.

As for Bugattis at Retromobile: There were only e few this year, much less than last year.

There was of course the Royale Replica, shown at the right. Another T41 appeared in the form of an AutoRail engine, on Bruno Vendiesse´s stand. He just acquired the engine from Denmark, and told me a price of 150.000......
On a polishing product´s stand there was a very nice Ventoux, Chassis 57356, also on loan from the Mulhouse museum, as was the Esders Roadster, obviously. A unknown T37 appeared on the stand of a south-American trading company. There were also a pair of T52´s on that same stand, and I believ I saw at least 2 other T52´s elsewhere. A new T59 Profilée was on shown on the stand of a French coachbuilder, impressive but extremely new.

However, the specialty, and on it´s own worth a visit to Paris, a very original T59, on the Bonham´s stand. The car is in the same hands for 60 years, the 98 year old owner is now finally ready to part from it, and it will be auctioned in May. Let the pictures speak for themselves!!

So what was on the stand of the French Bugatti club, you may ask? Not a Bugatti? Yes and no, there was a, half-finished, replica of the 1903 De Dietrich car there, also known as Type 5. Designed by Ettore Bugatti, of course. An impressive car, with interesting (and visible) technology.

For the rest: Just take a look at the pictures shown on this page!

At about 8 I left Paris again, most of the traffic jams on the périférique had vanished. Remembering all the people I had seen and spoken, some of them for the first time, mostly after extensive e-mail contact. I finally met Joris Bergsma of PreWarCar, I met a a lot of members of the Bugatti Aircraft Association, and many more!

Above: The De Dietrich, Impressive, simple technology. Overhead valves with pull-rods. Exposed camshaft gear.

More technology: The AutoRail engine. The exhaust manifold is removed, but with the engine.

As original as the engine, the T59, chassisnumber 3. The car was rebuild after several crashes, killing at least two of it´s drivers. The car of course was rebuild after these, but this probably was all when Bugatti was still alive. No overdone restorations here!

There is probably no bigger contrast possible with the T59: This brand-new T50! Which one do you prefer? Very nicely done, though!

The Ventoux, 57356. Impressive car, but did you ever see this very unusual headlight layout! Enough light to compete in the Monte Carlo rally!

The T37 and one of the T52´s on the stand of the SA trading company, accompanied by another Bugatti design, the Peugeot Bébé on the Peugeot stand.

A collection of miniatures: From left to right: Sean McKenna´s 1:8 T57G tank, a 1:43 diorama with a Bugatti loaded on a Truck, and 3 models of Art Collection Auto, all in 1:8.

Still magnificent: 1:43 T51 by Alain Bouissou. Even compared with the 1:8 cars above, there is more detail, and you will not find a tube that has a higher thickness than that dictated by the scale. I asked Alain how he can even stick together these tiny details: Just glue, he says. Sounds simple....

A couple of the other cars, a French-built Auto-plane. The rear of the car can be removed, to attach the airplane part. Inside the car there are 2 engines: One for the wheels, one for the propellor. The Renault Espace F1, alongside a very early Renault, and a couple of LeMans Panhards: 220 km/h on 700cc!

Not the consequence of Parisian traffic: The rear Citroën DS is a show car from a Paris Salon of approx. 1965. Gives a nice picture with the "Décapotable" in front.

A lot of festivities this year, because of the 50 year "birthday" of the DS, which was introduced in 1955.

So, we come to the end and still we did not show you what was on the stand of Pur Sang Argentina! Last year there was a T43, the year before that a magnificent, impressive, home designed Cadillac V16 Sportscar.

This year, the stand was still empty when Clay Regazzoni paid a visit. Their version of the Fiat Mephistofeles was held up at customs... It is a tremendous machine, powered by an original, 24 litre 6-cylindre FIAT aero engine. The chassis is said to be original also, though I doubt it, and the rest is build around the engine in fact. The car has not been tested to the full yet, has just driven a few rounds.. Any volunteers?

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Vive La Marque !!