Retromobile 2015: The Cars Outside

Last weekend, I attended the large car show in Paris called Retromobile. It’s basically a new car show, a classic car show, a swap meet, a car auction, and a road rally all rolled into one– in French. I had a great time and there is so much to share. We’ll start with the cars outside the convention hall. Make the jump to see the obscure at the Porte de Versailles Metro station.

As soon as I ascended the stairs from the Metro stop, I saw some tiny, iconic, gold wheels attached to a distinctively blue car behind a row of drab taxis. It was the Renault Clio Williams. I apologize for the blurriness of the photo. I wasn’t quite ready physically, or mentally. It belonged to a group of Hoons, no doubt looking for parking for the event.
Along the wall of the convention center where the car show was being held were four short rows of cars with 2015 Retromobile rally plates on. I suspect that at some point during the day, these oddball cars were going to drive off in a parade around town.
The cars with the rally plates were mainly Porsche 911s of various vintages and a bunch of British roadsters. People were primarily fixated on those. What I made a beeline for was this, a genuine Alpine A310. The acres of flat sheet metal on this Gallic beast really set it apart.
I don’t know any French, but even I knew that this sign on the Alpine’s dashboard read: Don’t touch my Frenchie car, fellow Frenchies.
Another car that really stood out was this mid-1980s Mercury Cougar conversion. Is it a Zimmer, an Excalibur, or something else?
This British 3-wheeler also had me scratching my head. Is it a Le Morgan?
Of all the cars outside, this Matra Rancho mini-truck/SUV was by far my favorite. It has really aged well and it’s so utilitarian!
And finally, there was a Renault tent outside with a trio of R16 hatchbacks. I thought they contrasted well with this Peugeot hatchback police car.
Images source: Copyright 2015 Hooniverse/Jim Yu

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  1. Kamil_K Avatar

    I had a Bburago 1:43 Matra Rancho as a kid, with opening doors and tailgate. I have been in love ever since.

  2. rennsport964 Avatar

    "Thank you for respecting French heritage (personal rights, property) and don't touch."

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      The first two lines of that sign are going in the window of my KV for its next car show.

      1. Vavon Avatar


      2. rennsport964 Avatar

        I'm guessing in Russian?

  3. mdharrell Avatar

    "This British 3-wheeler also had me scratching my head. Is it a Le Morgan?"
    <img src="×540.jpg&quot; width="350">
    That's a BSA.

  4. peugeotdude505 Avatar

    Interesting 3-lug wheels on the Alpine.

  5. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    I've probably posted this before, but there was a Rancho for sale in Beaulieu last year.
    <img src="; width="600" </img>

  6. Manic_King Avatar

    3 Ranchos for sale, in Romania, in Czech Republic and a very rare soft-top in Germany, that's it. They're all gone.|

    1. Krautwursten Avatar

      The last ad is hilarious. German honesty at its best.
      "Da wir den Wert eines solchen Fahrzeuges nur schwer schätzen können ist der ausgeschriebene Preis nicht Bedingung (wir würden es aber nehmen)" – "Because we can only hardly estimate the value of such a vehicle, the posted price is not firm (but we would take it)".

      1. Manic_King Avatar

        On that garage photo there's "Clubsport" Dacia Logan on the backround. I thought that must be joke but seems that there really is racing series for cheap as chips Dacias in Germany:

    2. Vavon Avatar

      You "forgot" a little known nation called France. There the availability of the Matra Rancho is plentiful. Some synonymes for plentiful are: abundant, copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, generous, bountiful, large, huge, great, bumper, flush, overflowing, superabundant, infinite, inexhaustible, opulent, prolific. In this case it is a grand total of 14 Ranchos…… I have no idea how "bumper" can mean plentiful…

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        "Bumper" in this sense means a glass or cup filled to its brim, and so has come to refer to anything in exceptional abundance. In ordinary use it's typically encountered as "bumper crop" to indicate a rich agricultural harvest.

        1. Vavon Avatar

          Thanks for this language lesson 😉
          Did you see the KV Youtube link?

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            I did. Thanks! He got a few little things wrong but gave an accurate impression of the overall driving experience.

          2. Vavon Avatar

            And there I was thinking he's exagerating, it can't be that bad!!!

          3. mdharrell Avatar

            I can't speak to how it compares with other French cars, but no, he wasn't exaggerating.
            I love every minute behind the wheel.

      2. Manic_King Avatar

        Yeah, I kinda hoped that autoscout24 is popular in France (too), not knowing any good local websites. Still, 17 cars for sale out of nearly 58000 made….looks like surefire classic to me.