Tuesday, April 9, 2013


This Sunday  we headed to a charity event in Angers, at the bottom of the 13th century Castle of the Counts of Anjou. Just like the Kiwanis lat year, Several cars were gathered, and visitors could ride shotgun in some of them for the modest fee of 5€.

The opening picture was the dashboard of this 1949 ALVIS TA 14. Entirely restored by a naval architect, most of the bodywork is made of solid wood. It took the owner 3000 hours and 33 layers of clear coat to achieve this impressive result. Only 2.200 out of the 22.000 original ALVIS have survived.

The radiator cap is a piece of art for itself.

A wide array of cars was represented. Unfortunately, not all of these were available for a ride, like this Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

Porsche 911 are almost mandatory in this kind of event, so two 911T were present. One in black...

And one in a light shade of blue which is absolutely delicious.

Another regular is the Lotus Seven, be it in its original flavor...

Or in a carbon-fiber Caterham Superlight R300. Riding in it meant an instant smile on the face of the passenger.

Some takes the 'light is right" approach even further. Based off a MG P-Type, this aluminum-bodied tin can was the most breathtaking car of the day.

It produces 80bhp, weight only 500kgs and cannot turn normally around a corner. Each curve resulted in the rear axle wanting to pass you. Room is so scarce inside that you have to hug the driver if you want to stay on board.

But it was definitely the funniest car I'e ever rode in.  Everything is so raw and unfiltered, it makes you feel that you fused with the body panels.

At the other and of the spectrum, some modern supercars were also present, like one of these two Ferrari 360 Modena.

Or this very sought-after Mercedes SLS AMG. The growl it makes while launching off is terrifying.

Or friends from Js Car's showed with a pair of Skylines and a black Lancer Evo VI. The older part of the audience was a bit skeptical about these riced-out Japaneses sedans, but soon discovered how impressive it can be to ride in them. The younger people were heels-over-head over the infamous machines.

But for me, the highlight of the day was the presence of  the Venturi 260 Atlantique that we often at the Legend Café. Only this time, you can ride in it.

So I bought myself a couple of tickets and hoped in this childhood-poster car. I absolutely loved the interior, with the two-tones grey and the blue line sweeping across the door panels and the special carbon fiber Recaro seats. And you will need the bucket seats, because the PR V6 only have to move around 1100kgs, resulting in neck-breaking accelerations.

But the 260 Atlantique wasn't the only Venturi present. It was joined by a 300 Atlantique. Being a natural evolution of the aging original concept, the bodywork resemble the older one, but with smoother lines more in line with the 90s beauty standards. It carried its engine from the previous car, but with a serious drop of power (from 260 to 210bhp), later corrected with a turbocharged variant sporting 280bhp, and then with the last variation, the Biturbo, pumping 310 bhp.

The 300 also had a longer wheelbase inherited from the 400 GT racer. The result was a more GT-oriented car than the previous 260, which was all about raw power in its latest trims. The ride was much smoother and the interior felt more luxurious. This particular  300 Atlantique was the very first out of the 57 cars produced.