by Rob Alen
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE PARIS. No excuses are needed to go to Paris, but here is one: Salon Retromobile.
The 43rd edition of the show will be held February 6-10, 2019. And it is in Paris!
The French and the automobile go way back, the first motor race was in France, Panhard was one of the first to begin early auto production, and the first auto show was in Paris in 1898.
For the classic car enthusiast, Retromobile is a bucket-list must. The Artcurial Auction house offers up the world's best. Even if you are not bidding, it's a great show. There are displays of anything and everything car related. Europe's top collector car dealers are there; their displays can include cars of museum quality. The Galerie des Artistes features artists and galleries exhibiting automotive paintings, sketches, photographs, sculptures. Exhibitors one after the other show off model cars of various scales and phenomenal detail you wish you could go "abracadabra" it would show up full-size in your garage. There is period clothing, book dealers, and parts dealers; you will want to bring an empty suitcase to cart the stuff home.
Again, it is in Paris. The Porte de Versailles is where the bi-annual Paris auto show, Mondial l'Automobile is held.
It is easy to get to...take the Number 12 Metro line, step up out and you are there. Of course, February can be chilly, but light on tourists so Paris is at your beckon. And there is other car stuff.
Cafe Auto Passion serves up a good burger in a car atmosphere akin to Baja Cantina in Carmel; there is a car in the middle of the place, a Ferrari F1 engine on a stand, and a former GP2 car stuck on the ceiling. Auto Passion Cafe, 197 Boulevard Brune, 75014, Paris. www.autopassioncafe.fr
Unrelated is Libraire-Passion Automotive, a bookstore that has been selling motor books for decades. Raphael is the manager, speaks good English and loves cars from the '50s. While many books are in French, there are ones in English you may not see in the US. Libraire-Passion Automotive, 83 Rue de Rennes, 75006, Paris. www.libraire-passionautomotive.com
Linea di Corsa and Hero Seven are clothing stores with a motorsports style. Linea di Corsa, 32 Rue de Dragon, 75006, Paris. www.lineadicorsa.com. Hero Seven, 28 Rue de Temple, 75004, Paris. www.heroseven.com
2018 ArtCenter Show...
by Wallace Wyss – The ArtCenter College of design, situated high on a hill overlooking Pasadena (California, USA), is famous for one thing — training a good proportion of the world’s car designers. They have changed themes of their annual show (this year it was held on October 28) several times but this year it was most appropriate that they celebrated the achievements of the car designers who graduated from there by inviting them to come with a car they designed. Of course some of the companies are long gone, like Studebaker, but private owners entered cars to honor those designers. In some respects the “old car show” was a bit like a new car show because there were several prototypes. But that just shows that Art Center grads are currently on the leading edge of the world’s car designers. The only beef I have is the new wave of prototypes are electric cars, alas, what happened to heavy breathing rhumba-rhumba exhaust blaring performance? Jay Leno showed up with an ancient Rolls Royce powered by a Merlin engine, similar to that used in both British and American fighter planes. It gets about 4 mpg. The only inconvenient thing about this show is that spectators have to park down the hill at the Rose Bowl and be trammed up to the show. But otherwise, this was a great show in that you can talk to many of the designers or at least if the designer isn’t there, the car owner could usually fill you in on the designer’s history. Put it on your calendar next year—the Art Center Classic.