What not to miss at Rétromobile 2017

Rétromobile in Paris serves not only as one of the world’s foremost classic car fairs but also as the long-awaited events season opener. Here’s what’s not to miss at this year’s show…

Slightly frayed red carpets, yellow-tinted spotlights, and the heady aroma of strong coffee, oil, and polished lacquer — Rétromobile might not be as, how can we say it, polished as other major events on the calendar, but that’s so much of the season-opening classic car extravaganza’s charm. In addition to numerous events, over 500 exhibitors will proudly display their wares, from classic cars to restoration services to must-have collectables.

An enduring theme

This year marks Ferrari’s 70th birthday, and it’s a theme we suspect will dominate events in 2017. Rétromobile will pay tribute to the fabled Prancing Horse with a mouth-watering assembly of its most important and influential models, including examples of the brand’s first and last Le Mans winners — the 166 MM and the 250 LM. Meanwhile, the sought-after line of Aston Martins from the David Brown era will be celebrated, and respected Swiss dealer Lukas Hüni will compare two of the most influential designers in automotive history: Ettore Bugatti and Walter Owen Bentley. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille will present a series of Formula 1 history’s more unusual six-wheeled and four-wheel-drive creations; while, to mark the 40th anniversary of the transaxle 928, Porsche will display the unique estate version presented to Ferry Porsche for his 75th birthday.

National pride at stake

Being a quintessentially French event, however, the organisers aren’t going to let cars from the rest of Europe hog the spotlights. There will also be a selection of previously unseen, 100% French motorcycles, including one of the first steam-powered contraptions built by Louis Guillaume Perreaux, dating back to 1871. Designer Victor Bouffort’s economical Minima will also serve to remind us of the French microcar revolution that could have fundamentally changed our urban landscapes but, alas, never was.

Paddles at the ready

As has become customary, Rétromobile week plays host to the year’s first European sales from RM Sotheby’s, Artcurial, and Bonhams, all of which will be keen to capitalise on the thousands of collectors, enthusiasts, and dealers who will flock to Paris this week. If you’ve not had a chance to peruse the catalogues yet, we’ve done the hard work for you and previewed all three sales elsewhere in the Magazine. Artcurial will arguably garner the most headlines when its two star Ferraris — the Dino Berlinetta Speciale and the 166 Spyder Corsa by Scaglietti — cross the block on 10 February. While all eyes will be on the Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 (estimated at 3.8–5m euros) during the RM Sotheby’s sale at the Place Vauban on 8 February. Check back on Classic Driver throughout the week for all the latest news and insight from the salesrooms.

Pass the chequebook

Whether you’re on the hunt for your next dream classic or simply want to daydream among some of the world’s finest machines all gathered in one place, Rétromobile is a ‘must-go’ event. Furthermore, you can see more Classic Driver dealers in Paris this week than you can at any other event, with the full inventory of those exhibiting listed below…

•          Arthur Bechtel Classic Motors

•          Ascott Collection

•          Auto Storica – Premium Restoration Center

•          Autoclassica Capital Partners

•          Axel Schuette Fine Cars GmbH & Co. KG

•          Classic Sport Leicht

•          Cochera Clasicos S.L.

•          Coupe – Francisco Pueche

•          Eleven Cars

•          Europe Auto Classic Cars

•          FA Automobile

•          Fiskens

•          Gallery Aaldering

•          Girardo & Co.

•          HK Engineering GmbH

•          JD Classics

•          Jean Lain Vintage

•          L’Art de L’Automobile

•          Movendi

•          Mécaniques Modernes & Classiques

•          Provost Automobiles Le Mans

•          Ruote Da Sogno s.r.l.

•          Serge Heitz Automobile Consulting

•          Slate Grey

•          William I’Anson Ltd

Photos: Rémi Dargegen for Classic Driver © 2017

You can find all our Rétromobile 2017 articles listed here, and don’t forget to check back throughout the week for live coverage from Paris.