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The French Blatting Company

Life at La Foie

Retromobile 2014 Paris 6th February 

Retromobile 2009 Paris 10th February (at foot)


On 6th February 2014 we arose early, at 06:00, and drove to Rennes. We parked in the car park near the junction of the ring road and got the metro (actually it's a light railway the same as the Docklands Light Railway) to the main line station. At 09:03 we left on the TGV to Paris. The train takes 2 hours and 11 minutes and arrive at Montparnasse in the south of Paris. The distance is about 220 miles. We then walked from the main line station to the Metro station. The distance must be about a kilometre and is completely underground. The main section is on a travelator. We bought our tickets and got the Metro to Porte De Versailles where the exhibition halls are. We found a restaurant and had lunch. I'd made arrangement for a bank loan, food isn't cheap in Paris, OUCH! We went into the exhibition about 13:00. This year it is in hall 1, the largest of the 8 halls.

I was a bit disappointed as there were very few original, unmolested cars on show. The exhibition is now mainly dealers with over-restored and over priced cars for sale.

So here's a few pictures of the cars on display.

This was about the only original, un-restored, car at the show. It's a Bugatti 35c GP car. It has a straight 8, single overhead cam engine. Just like this.....

.... engineering or art?

OK, the rest of the cars I took photos of. I've only commentated where I have something to say other than the make and model.


Alfa Romeo TZ

This is a De Dion Bouton. One of the partners went on to design a suspension system.


Says it all. An "arbre a came" is a camshaft, a "tete" is head, a "culasse" is a cylinder head and a "boite de vitesse" is a gearbox (literally a box of speeds)


Lancia. An Aprilla, I think.

And another.

And a real one.


BNC, I only know this as it says it on the rad.


For lovers of side valve engines. This one is from the 1920's and is an Amilcar. Doesn't look that different to Fords 1172 offering 30 years later.




One of the few cars that look perfect from any and every angle, the Lotus Elite.


A Lotus Elan backbone chassis with the "twink" engine.

The current Exige convertible. Isn't that an Elise?




Delage, as it says on the plaque.


A bit of a mystery here. The car belongs to the MG Car Club De France. It seems to be a Q type with a supercharged TA engine. As only 9 Q types were built (some say only 8) and, as far as I know, all are accounted for it's difficult to see how this chassis can be a Q Type. The TA was the last Midget made before the war and only a few hundred were made in 1939. It was the first MG to have the XPAG engine which continued in the TB, TC and TD and TF. Then the MGA had the BMC B series engine. Just love the gear lever knob, I have one of those in my 1973 MG Midget. Note the "Hotchkiss" sign on the wall above the left hand wheel. It's significance is that the original Morris Minor engine was built under licence from Hotchkiss. This engine was the fitted to all Midgets up to the TA. It was a single overhead cam unit with the camshaft driven by the dynamo which was mounted vertically between crank and cam. Great idea if you could keep up with removing the dynamo to clean the oil out. The M type engine was a two bearing crank but the next model, the PA had a 3 bearing crank.





A Bugatti 35C. There seemed to be a few at the show. But I didn't see a 35B.


Ask most people to describe an MG and the answer would be "Small 2 seater sports car". However MG did enter the luxury car market with the WA, a large 4 seater saloon.



MG A with a Eaton supercharger.


MGC. It will always be a mystery why the BLMC board didn't use the Rover V8 engine instead of the 3 litre lorry engine. Maybe it was because the board was controlled by ex Triumph men



A very nice MG TC. However I'm sure the carbs aren't original.


This is a MG J2 special. The original owner has fitted a much narrower body to convert it to a single seater. The transmission tunnel is between the seat and fire extinguisher.


Renault Alpines



The Morgan stand. The car in front is the new 3 wheeler. Not sure I get it, but each to their own.

Jensen 541





Maserati A6


A pre-first world war Mercedes-Benz racer. Note the oil drips under the sump. Someone will get the sack!



Pure art. Note the hollow axle with the spring going through, the cable operated brakes and the cooling vents.

Bugatti Type 57 GP car.


Various Ferrari Dinos


There were numerous Alfa Romeo's there. Artcurial were running the auction on the Friday and Saturday and had a major collection of Alfa'a going under the hammer. Therefore the dealer stands had plenty as well.


The gold Citroen SM Decapotable (soft top) was the subject to a major feature in Classic and Sportscar last month. We didn't go on the stand as you had to buy an auction catalogue to gain entry.  As it was only 80? I thought I'd let my camera lens do the work.

This MGA was on the Swisswax stand hence the masking tape over the grille and seams.


Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwings were everywhere.


A good example of an over restored car. It never looked like this when it left the factory so why restore it to this level.

Another example. Did it look like this when it left the factory?



Nothing more to say, is there.


Delage. Now you know why it's called a Trunk.


And one for the Audi fans. Read up the Wiki entry for Audi (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audi#Birth_of_the_company_and_its_name).


Talbot (the French company, not the bit owned by Rootes)


Aston Martins


The holy grail of motorcycles - a Vincent Black Shadow.


I got told off when I was showing Lynne the exposed tappets on the JAP engine. "Don't touch!" was barked at me by one of the attendants (in English-how did they know?). So I asked if it was OK to just point.


A very nice collection of Delahayes. On the photo above please note the Riva speedboat on the left. It's yours for only ?250,000.


One of the cars I've always admired, the Citroen DS. If only Citroen had built a "proper" engine instead of the asthmatic thing they used it would have been even greater than it was. This car was launched in 1955 when most of the other manufacturers were still producing cars with seperate wings, headlamps and even running boards. I have heard that the model, DS, was chosen as in French the letters are pronounced Day Say. Deesse (pronounced the same) is French for Goddess.


One of the many Jaguar E types.

And one of the many Porches.


A Bugatti straight 8. It has 2 plugs per cylinder not 16 cylinders (if you're counting)


Bugatti Type 57

Oops, something fell off. Actually it's a bare shell.


The Bently 3 litre (red label) that won the 1924 Le Mans.



The theme of the show was the cars of the Maharajas. This wasn't a dummy sitting in the Rolls Royce. He was so moitenless that it had me wondering. We walked past and then turned back and he moved. Otherwise I wouldn't have been sure.

So here's some more of these cars.

What a fantastic body seeing as it was made in 1938. It doesn't say but it looks like it may have been made by Figoni & Falaschi in Paris.


At one point, suffering from exhaustion (I know I exaggerate) we sat down on a leather sofa on a stand. This coffee table was in front of us. I wonder what it costs?


To commemorate the 100 years from the start of the First World War there was a few military vehicle on show. This is a Renault tank.


There were a few LSR vehicles on show. This is BABS, buried in Pendine sands for several decades and now fully restored.


Yet another Ferrari.

Of course, Lynne thought this was the best model at the show.


But the best looking model at the show was.....


That's it folks.



Retromobile 2009



This was Lord Howes 57SC