Had a great three days at Rétromobile courtesy of my friend Claude who organised some Eurostar tickets – by far the most civilised way to travel to Paris, although not as much fun as going there and back in Richard Sutton’s Jaguar MkVII circa 1989-'90.
Claude, an obsessive collector of model cars, was off like greyhound among the stalls. Among them he found his favoured French book-seller who surprised me by having a new French edition of my Maserati book. I didn’t even know they were doing one.
My girlfriend, between getting stuck into the free wine samples, found me some cool records with car-related covers; Georgy Girl featuring a gold Silver Shadow and Lynn Redgrave; Foo Na Na with Paul Curtis (who he?) and a white XJ-S and two obscure French 1960s singles (by Georges Jouvin and Jean Pierre et Nathalie) both featuring Astons. Claude even turned up a promotional single for the Peugeot 604!
Realising I couldn’t possibly top that, I decided to get to grips with the wine and enjoyed the hospitality of Classic & Sports Car's French counterpart who gave me some interesting pointers about the difference between the British and French old car landscapes.
Watching the punters I had to agree with Dougal Cawley of Longstone Tyres that the French are still great advocates of the classic comb-over. The hirsute Dougal even decided he was going to shave the top of his head so he could effect one of his own.
Full marks to the thoroughly unconvincing transvestites spotted trawling through the tool stalls, the fabulously original 'barn-find' Delahaye convertible and the white fridge-like micro car (a William?) which really made me smile.
Not entirely sure I saw everything, but I gave it a miss on the Sunday as the crowds began to swell. Activities external to the show in an extremely chilly Paris included more drinking with Dougal, some sight-seeing and watching Claude tuck into some dog meat topped with a raw egg.