This year's Rétromobile show and auctions has attracted some of the biggest names in the automotive industry. The focus isn't on the future here though, as manufacturers come out in there droves to demonstrate the strength of their pasts and how old vehicles have influenced the very cars we drive today.
Here are our top 10 manufacturer stands to visit.
Two of the most famous British brands under the same banner, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has taken some absolute classics over to France.
The newest vehicle on display will be Jaguar’s XJ220 supercar, famous for its twisted development path to a production run with a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 and short-lived Le Mans 24 Hours victory. It’s joined by another car with Le Mans running through its veins, the Type D Continuation, and the trackday focused XE SV Project 8.
Representing Land Rover is a Range Rover Classic Reborn, a ‘good as new’ version of the classic car that was originally built for Finland.
Most famous for supplying James Bond with his car gadget-equipped cars, Aston Martin now spends a lot of time on money on making sure those older cars are still running on the road, and now in electric form too!
This will be celebrated at Rétromobile, including the limited run continuation lines of the DB4 GT, DB4 GT Zagato and DB5, the latter of which will be made in matching specification to the cars that appeared in Bond film Goldfinger, gadgets and all.
Like Aston Martin, Lamborghini has realised the value of its past and has Polo Storico, the in-house heritage department. Its primary focus is restoring old Lambos, such as the 350 GT and Diablo, and selling spare parts for those models and many others.
Polo Storico is growing in its scope, and is manned by engineers and mechanics heavily experted on what makes Lambos tick. At Rétromobile it will be displaying a 400 GT from 1966, which is being restored, and a Miura S, with SV improvements.
The French manufacturer will have a big presence at home, as it gets ever closer to its 100th anniversary in June.
There will be 30 Citroën vehicles on show on the centenary stand, and the ten-strong road vehicle selection is led by the Type A 10 HP, the very first car to roll out of the Paris factory. Joining it are several other classic models, including an early 2CV, and some of the newer cars that currently fill showrooms.
Making up the 30 are ten concept cars and ten machines famous for their racing pedigree. The concept group include the C10, GTbyCitroën supercar and new CXPERIENCE hatchback, but the cars on show there is dwarfed by the motorsport-focused group, which include world rally cars, Dakar entries and the aggressive C-Elysée WTCC car which dominated touring cars in recent years.
Six cars from the history of Peugeot will turn up to Rétromobile, including its first electric model.
Known as the VLV (“Véhicule Léger de Ville”, or light city car), the car was providing electric automation for the French way back in 1941. Even older than that car is the 201 Torpédo, which will be celebrating its 90th birthday and marks the birth of the “2xx” name on Peugeots. It’s actually returning to Paris, having made its debut at the city’s motor show back in 1929.
The Peugeot 304 will be celebrating its half-century at Rétromobile, and will be joined by the mid-’70’s Pininfarina-designed Peugeot 604, a 204 Coupé from 1967 presented in a racing livery, and Aventure Automobile’s 1983 Talbot Tagora SX, which contains the 2.6-litre V6 PRV engine (having its own celebration) and the e-LEGEND Concept, which comes with a free artificial intelligence.
Renault is celebrating a very specific part of its history at Rétromobile: the turbocharger.
It was the first manufacturer to win in Formula 1 with a turbocharged engine, making international headlines, and its grand prix winner will be present in Paris. There will also be a line of road cars that benefited from this motorsport-sourced technology, including the 18 Turbo, the fearsome 5 Turbo and its Alpine and GT variants, and the latest Megane R.S. Trophy car.
It’s hard to find a Bugatti car that hasn’t been groundbreaking, inspiring or downright fast, and for 110 years it’s been a source of French pride (kind of).
Recent vehicles have been made under the eye of the Volkswagen Audi Group, and the EB110 was an Italian-led project, but the classics that sell at auction for millions, such as the Type 51 Grand Prix car and the Type 55 roadster were all handcrafted in France. Bugatti will be demonstrating all of the above in Paris.
BMW’s Classic branch is bringing cars and motorcycles to Rétromobile, and there will be a marque auction in Paris too.
Heading its four-wheeled line-up is the BMW Z1, arguably an era-defining roadster that spurred on the ‘Z’ line of cars that BMW became well known for in the 1990s and 2000s. There’s also a BMW 507, which shares an engine with a speedboat, and the BMW M1 Procar, which had its own race series which many a F1 driver competed in.
BMW Motorrad is running a sale, which will feature BMW R51/3 and BMW R 60/5 motorcycles amongst other motoring gems.
Bentley, another to be celebrating its centenary, will be taking possibly its most important vehicle to Rétromobile.
The EXP 2 is not only the oldest surviving Bentley model in the world, but is also the British marque’s first ever racing model. Its appearance in Paris will mark the beginning of a year-long celebration for Bentley, including several special races. Joining the EXP 2 on Bentley’s stand will be the brand new Continental GT Convertible.
In today’s world the Abarth logo is most often seen on the back of Fiat 500s, but the Italian marque has also lent its engineering expertise to the Alfa Romeo 750 Competizione, 1958 Fiat 500 “Record”, and 1982 Lancia Rally 037.
The Turin-based company is now officially part of Fiat, and there will be a tribute exhibition to the original owner and designer of Abarth cars: Carlo Abarth. The stand will also feature a fully restored 1981 Fiat Pininfarina Spider Europa.
Although not as significant as some of the other celebrations taking place, Honda will be present at Rétromobile to remind us that it’s been 20 years since the S2000 sports car first appeared.
It was the first high performance car to be produced by the brand since the legendary NSX, and the VTEC-powered car proved a joy to drive at low speeds and while wring its neck. Many made comparisons to it handling like a motorcycle. There’s been two generations of the car, so here’s hoping Honda might announce a third.
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