Two of the main booths in the middle of the main hall are the ones from the London dealers Gregor Fisken
and Max Girardo. Whereas Fisken is a fixed one for more than a decade the one of Girardo is only that big for
the second year after taking over the open space that was left by JD Classics.
Both of them had 14 cars on display and Fisken always brings a very colorful mix ranging from Cricklewood
Bentleys, a very rare supercharged Squire on the pre-war side over the 1950s racers like the Jaguar C-Type or
Maserati A6 GCS, the popular 1960s GT cars like the Ferrari 275 Competizione to more modern racers like
the Audi R8 or the Ferrari 550 Maranello.
Max Girardo also presented some common classics like the Lamborghini Miura or Ferrari 275 GTB but his
focus is also on the more modern supercars as he had another Maserati MC12 Corsa on display, an orange
version following last year’s silver one. The display also included the 4 supercars of Ferrari staring with the
288 GTO, the F40 and the F50 as well as the Enzo. Some of the racers that are eligible for the upcoming Le
Mans Classic included the BMW M1 as well as a Ferrari 308 Michelotto.
Last year Simon Kidston made his first appearance in larger scale with a display of Lamborghini Miura
promoting his upcoming Miura register and it seems that the Miura took a boost in the last years. About every
larger dealer display had one on offer and even Lamborghini Polo Storico displayed their latest restoration of a
very rare SVJ as well as an installation of parts showing their spare parts for upcoming restorations. This
unpainted body with engine and brake-parts very much forged a bridge to the view of classic cars as a piece
of art as this display could have been in a museum of modern art just as good as on the Retromobile.
Coming back to Kidston: the Brit in Geneva did show a very lovely Ferrari 250 MM with highly original interior,
a car that has changed hands and color several times in previous years and was consigned to him at least 5
times. The main feature on the display was one of the 19 original Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, this one in red
rather than the typical Aston Martin green. So it is already rare to see one DB4 GT Zagato, but it is even rarer
to see two of them and even both in red. For the very first time the American Auction Company Gooding &
Company made it over the Atlantic to present their first ever European Sale with the “Passion of a Lifetime” of
Hubert Fabri to be sold on first of April in Somerset House in London. And although the Aston is a big car it
gets even bigger with the unique Bugatti Type 59 Sports. After seeing 4 of the original Type 59 GP in Pebble
Beach last year this car has a very special history as it went on in sports car racing after being converted
from the GP model when the German Silver Arrows took over the GP scene. Campaigned by Wimille the car
finally was sold to King Leopold of Belgium who had the car repainted in his favorite color black with a yellow
stripe for the Belgium racing colors. Now, about 80 years later the car in in remarkable original condition with
great patina waiting for its next owner to take care of it for the coming years.
Overall the Retromobile did change a little bit in the last years. Whereas about 20 years ago one of the main
attractions where the numerous French Car club displays showing the elegant pre-war cars from Delage,
Delahaye and Bugatti they are getting much less and so do the pre-war cars. One has to look around to see
a few great ones like a freshly restored Lancia Astura Pinin Farina in white, the sister car of the one winning
Pebble Beach a few years ago. But this year had a particular highlight for all fans of the pre-war sports cars.
Lukas Hüni uses the Retromobile every year more for a demonstration of his network and clients he is dealing
with than a pure sales display as few of the cars are actually for sale, most of them are in very prominent
collections. This allows the Swiss Dealer to set a theme every year and after spectacular shows of Bugatti,
Ferrari or Lancia in previous years the main focus this year was Alfa Romeo. Just in front of his display one
could see no less than six Alfa Romeo 8C in different body styles including two Monza by Brianza, Zagato,
Touring and Pinin Farina Spiders as well as a long chassis Le Mans. Furthermore an Alfa Tipo B P3 could be
admired as well as the unique Alfa Romeo Bi-Motore featuring two straight eight engines, one in front of the
driver and one in the back. Long-time exhibit from the Donnington Collection the car is now in private hands.
Furthermore some nice Alfa 6C 1750 rounded of the pre-war display whereas the Giulia/Giulietta was featured
with the racing version TZ and SZ as well as their street versions.
Richard Mille always shows of a themed display as well this year it featured the McLaren F1 in different
variations, the car that not few consider the Ferrari 250 GTO of the generations to come. One of the cars that
actually draws a lot of attention in the younger visitors.
Just opposite of Mille was the booth of Tradex and Methusalem, once again featuring the Ferrari P4 chassis
0858. With the recent film about the Ford-Ferrari war at the Le Mans race 1966 the P4 was once again in the
spotlights and not few think this is the most beautiful of the Le Mans racers of this era. Next to the P4 was
one of the star cars of this year’s show, a freshly restored Ferrari 166 MM Berlinetta. Not only since the
fantastic Touring Ferrari Rally these wonderful little cars have a special place in our hearts but this is a very
carefully restored example with a lot of attention to details. A veteran of three original Mille Miglia this car was
disassembled for decades until it came back together in the present form. Unfortunately the last owner
passed away just recently before enjoying the car the way it deserves it but the next owner will be able to get
into some of the most interesting events in near future, hopefully a second edition of the Touring Rally as well.
So despite the trend against the normal combustion engine in most of the major cities in Europe facing the
traffic collapse every day the car hobby is still vivid. Maybe it will change a little bit in the near future but there
is still some interest in old cars, especially if they have a certain quality. Maybe the lower market of rather
mass produced cars might fall off a little bit more in near future as one could see by the recent price
corrections in the market of cars like the Porsche 911, but the big price region will still attract a lot of buyers
as these cars have left the normal purpose to drive them around a while ago (at least for some people). These
cars will be seen on concours or even in special exhibitions like the recent Legends of Speed exhibition in the
Phoenix Art Museum.
And the Retromobile in Paris seems to be the best place to present them. Paris has the most international
visitors compared to the other big shows like Essen. A reason might be the venue that allows a family
vacation with the wife and the kids entertained even without looking at cars but also the tradition of being the
oldest of these shows.
We are looking forward to next year’s edition that will open the European season again in 2021, apparently in
different halls as the long serving hall 1 is said to undergo a refurbishment.
Report & Images ... Peter Singhof