The 39th edition of the Retromobile classic car show attracted over 90.000 visitors in 5 days to Paris, what could be considered the classic car capital of the world for a few days. Visitors eplored the pavillion 1 of the Porte de Versailles exhibition, a 44.000 square meter venue and about 8000 square meter larger as last year’s edition, where over 450 exhibitors, among them about 100 car clubs and organizations, showed their goods to the audience.
Ofcourse it’s easy to imagine that the french manufacturers play a main role in the exhibition, with the Renault Alpine collection of Jean Rédélé. The collection houses any iteration of the Alpine Sports Prototypes. Truly impressive, even for Porsche aficionado’s as we are.
Spoken of Porsche, with a somewhat disappointing display last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, I went to the Porsche France booth.Porsche 550 Spyder,a car with a great history, the Porsche 917 and the Porsche GT1 on loan from the Porsche Museum.
The Porsche 550 Spyder was one of the 4 Porsche factory entries in the 1954 Le Mans 24h. It raced with number #39 and was painted with blue/aqua darts along the rear fender to be easily identified from the pits. Johnny Claes and Pierre Stasse had the honours to drive the car in the 1500cc class, with succes as they won their class and a 12th place in the overall classification. The same car was raced only a month later in the British GP by Hans Herrmann, and Richard von Frankenberg took the wheel of this very car at the 1954 Rheinland Nurburgring races. Later the car was sold to Jaroslav Juan who entered the car in the Carrera Panamericana, in the same livery as it is restored in today, to obtain a 4th position. In 1955 Jaroslav Juan teamed up with Salas Chavez to compethe the 1000km of Buenos Aires in Argentinia, with a 4th overall and 1st in class result. Later the car was sold to Anton and Pedro von Dory who raced it successfully throughout the 1957/58 season.
The Porsche 917 (917-053) is the actual Porsche 917 that won the 1971 Le Mans 24h , with Marko / Van Lennep at the wheel. The car had a magnesium chassis, however this remained secret because the race department painted the tubular chassis in the same black as they did with the aluminum chassis sister cars. In a record race, Van Lennep and Marko finished first with a record breaking distance of 5335.313 km and a average speed of 222.34km/h.
Serge Heitz consulting had some nice Porsches 356 for sale, including an ultra-rare Porsche 356 Carrera 2 Cabriolet that could be yours for 850.000€, a 1952 Porsche 356 Porsche pre A that was for sale at a price of 300.000, a 1958 Sunroof Coupe for 145.000 and a 1964 Porsche 356 SC for 125.000€.
The german based Jan Lühn showed a Porsche 904 Carrera GTS and a Porsche 908/2.
Next to the Retromobile, the classic car week in Paris is known for the high quality car auctions held on the occasion of the classic car show. Each and every year top-cars are going under the hammer, some of them reaching real top-prices. This year the 3 auctions , RM Auctions, Bonhams and Artcurial, sold cars for approx. 64 million Euro. Some intresting Porsches were hammered, among them the Porsche 904 Carrera GTS with a hammer price of 1.288.000€, the 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder that had a high bid of 2.000.000€ but remained unsold, a 1982 Porsche 956 Group C Sports Prototype sold for 2.352.000 €, a 1989 Porsche 962C Group C Sports Prototype Brun Motorsport remained unsold.
Next year is the 40th edition of the Paris Retromobile, and after what we’ve seen this year, we can only wait for another great edition.
Thanks to Andrew Hosking for his help with the historical information on the Porsche 550 Spyder.