Fascinating French specials at Rétromobile

| 18 Jan 2012

A brilliant display of little-known French "homebuilt" specials will be one of the highlights of Rétromobile

Several of these fascinating one-offs will be on show at the Paris spectacular from 1-5 February, assembled by journalist and photographer Dominique Pascal as he launches the second volume of his book on the subject. Many of the cars will be accompanied by their creators.

The cars include the Romer (main image). It was built in the town of Oyonnax by Bernard Mermet in 1972 using a Renault 8 Gordini engine.

Another particularly shapely special is the Renaudat (below), built in the late 1960s by Guy Renaudat on a Matra Djet chassis with Renault power and suspension.

The roll call also includes Lionel Bernard's BLF, sketched out when he was still a teenager so he could go racing, and lower than a GT40! It has spent the past 20 years in a Swiss museum.

One of the most well used examples is the Fauvel, created by Xavier Fauvel and often spotted on the roads around Caen. Using parts entirely sourced from scrapyards, he put the engine from a Peugeot 204 into a body of his own design and transformed it into a rear-wheel-drive car. Most impressive is the fact that it has a mighty 160,000km on the clock.

The more distinctive styling of another scrapyard-assembled beauty, the Collet (above), is explained by the fact that its mastermind – Michel Collet – is a sculptor son of a coachbuilder.

Other specials on the menu are the Glasson, the Prab and the Piollet (below). The latter's creator Jacques Piollet built his first car out of wood when he was just 11 years old. The car at Rétromobile was built between 1962 and 1965 when he returned from military service and he still owns it.