Sunday, May 20, 2012

GOLDEN AGE OF AUTOMOBILE 2012



Every year since 1976 is held in the small town of Maulévrier the Golden Age of Automobile show, gathering owners of (very) old cars for a touristic rally in the morning and a presentation of their rides in the afternoon. The show take place on the grounds of the Colbert castle, built in 1679, destructed and reconstructed many times during its complex history. This provide a great scenery to appreciate the vintage luxury cars that you can find during the show.





When talking about golden age of automobile, you can't forget the so cliché British roadster. A good proportion of cars present this day was from this breed, illustrating the evolution of styling through the years.




Almost each brand was represented, from MG to Triumph to Morgan to Jaguar. The most notable missing was Lotus.



I always loved the XJS, thanks to its sleek styling. My secret dream is to turn one of these cars into an off-road beast, just like those American muscles you can see in Baja-like competitions.



No matter how many times I see one, the Jaguar E-Type never cease to amaze me. Everything looks so perfect about those lines that I can't help myself but think that it's one of the most beautiful car ever made.



That's a lot of switches on that dashboard.



Scottish mechanics at work.



There is a little something about Rolls Royce's. The massive, luxury, yet not flashy styling, the relative discreteness and the iconic front fascia make it a car that I will never get tired to look at.



Is there a better scenery for a Rolls Royce than a 350 years-old castle ? This particular car happens to belong to the owners of the castle, and is used for ceremony and important guests. And grocery getting I guess too.



Hate it or love it, but you can't stay indifferent to the Morgan Aero 8



The 450 SLC we already met at the Legend Café, looking as good as ever. I'm not a huge fan of green cars (yes, even British Racing Green ones), but this one is really catching my eyes.




Another SL present was this 250 SL "Pagoda", who inherited its nickname from its concave hard-top. Undoubtedly the greatest piece of work from Paul Bracq, who is also famous for design the TGV bullet train, and the BMW Turbo, which prefigured the M1.



Believe or not, but this 1952 Mercedes 170 S have only 100.000 original kilometers, and have never been restored. The owner still drive it on weekends, along with his 250SL mentioned above.



A nice example of an Alpine A310 V6, sitting next to its archrival. The A310 was powered by the now famous V6 PRV, again in turbo flavor. The early version of this car, power by the 1.6L from the A110 and recognizable by its 6 headlamps, was made famous by being used by Misato Katsuragi in Evangelion.



Quite the unusual sight, this Doriot, Flandrin & Parant Type 10/12 represented one of those 300 French car builders that existed and between 1900 and 1950.



Once topping the Simca range, only letting the first place to the Simca Présidence, this Simca Chambord was how the Frenchs viewed a luxury car back in the 50s: very American-looking, and powered by a V8. In this case, it's the venerable Ford Flathead that was matched to a 3 speed manual gearbox.



What you are looking at is one of the 128 Peugeot 604 Limousine ever built. Actually, you are looking at two of them, since you can spot a brown one in the background, this other one being one of the 8 to be powered by a diesel engine. Guess what engine is powering the petrol one ?
Yeah, once again, the all-purpose V6 PRV can be found under the hood. As usual with special works from Frenchs companies, the car was assembled at the Heuliez plant in Cerizay, whose former employees would later create Venturi.



Now we are talking serious business. This fantastic piece of design is a Facel-Vega HK500. This high-end GT was powered by a Chrysler-sourced 6.3L V8 engine, delivering 360hp to he rear wheels through a 4-speed manual gearbox.



Less than 500 Facel-Vega HK500 were built, making them the a true collector among French enthusiasts. Stirling Moss is known for having one, driving it between his races.
And I believe we can trust his judgement.



Contrasting with the red Ferrari 360 Modena which it's sitting next to, this Buick Master 6 from 1926 brought an atmosphere full of prohibition and hats-covered gangsters. Buick is already a non-existing brand in Europe, so a model this old and in so good condition is quite a rare sight.



I was sure I've already met the owner of this Lincoln Continental, but I had no recollection of this enormous coupé. Then the owner told me he was in a Renault 4L at that time. That's one extreme to another.



One day, somebody will have to explain me this trend of having vinyl tops on non-convertible cars.



Coupé DeVille. We are lucky it's not a countryside station wagon, or else it would never have passed the gates of the castle.



The only Japanese car present was a very well maintained Toyota Land Cruise BJ40. It just arrived from Tenerife, which is a 1860 miles trip !