E-mail this page to a friend - Luxury Real Estate Sales and Rentals on the French Riviera

Retromobile 2002 - Rolls-Royce at Christies


in Paris,
February 8-17th, 2002
Retromobile 2002

For the 27th time, Paris hosted the annual RÉTROMOBILE. One more time it was the place to discover rare, one-of-a-kind, and rarely seen automobiles. Looking Back on a Century of Motor Racing was this years' theme since 1902 saw some of the first vehicles dedicated to racing, like the Renault Roadster, or the De Dion Bouton sporting tricycle. Clubs and friends of the marques commemorated put much effort into the design of their booths. The RÉTROMOBILE 2002 had well over 300 exhibitors, not just offering offering cars and parts, but books and literature as well as miniatures and services.

The Blue Wonder

Retromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
With over 100 mph to the racetrack -
Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter.

Rétromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
Appropriate transportation for precious cargo -
the Renntransporter is powered by a 300 SL engine.

This strange looking 'object' was the center of attention at this years' Rétromobile. It is the recreation of the famous Renntransporter or 'race transporter', used by Mercedes-Benz in the Fifties to carry the Grand Prix Racers to the tracks throughout Europe. Initiated by Mercedes-Benz race manager Alfred Neubauer, who wanted a fast option of getting race cars to the circuit or back to the factory if neccessary, the Prototype-Department created a hybrid between a sports car and a truck.

Retromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
The rear part of the cabin was specifically designed
to compliment the front of the W 196 Streamline.
Rétromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
Just like in 1954 -
W 196 Grand Prix Race Car on the Renntransporter.

It started with a frame of a 300 S, extended it in the front and the rear, installed a 300 SL engine with direct fuel injection and 192 hp. For the cabin, components of the model 180 or Ponton were used - extended in width by several inches. The grille came from the SL model - only the rear glasses could not be found in any existing model and had to be especially manufactured. This was neccessary to allow a W 196 Streamline to fit on the Renntransporter.

Retromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
The original Renntransporter during it's active years - after the withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz from racing and several more years of public relation touring it was regretfully scrapped in 1967.
Rétromobile 2002 - Mercedes-Benz Renntransporter
Don't be fooled by this innocent smiling face. When it appeared in the rear mirror on the Autobahn, it was time to clear the left lane...

When it first appeared on the race tracks, the Renntransporter received more attention in the paddock than the actual Mercedes-Benz race cars. It did not fail to increase the image of Mercedes-Benz as a manufacturer of superb automobiles : 'If their trucks are already that fast and powerful, how much faster must be their other cars ?'

But the days of the original Renntransporter were limited. After Mercedes-Benz withdrew from racing in 1955, it was still used for several years to promote the brand abroad. It even came briefly to the U.S., where it received a Max. Speed 105 mph painted on the rear fenders. Constant questions and rumors about the potential top speed were the reasons. In late 1957, it returned to The Works in Stuttgart and ended up at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Due to limitations of the static of the higher floors in the museum it was denied a permanent place in the exhibition. Ten years later and in the state of disrepair it was scrapped.

In 1993 an effort started to recreate what was so easily discarded some 25 years earlier. The result was first presented at Goodwood in 2001 and is expected to be part of all major events in the years to come.

Rétromobile 2002 - 1953 Pegaso Cabriolet with a body by Saoutchik
1953 Pegaso Cabriolet with a body by Saoutchik.
The Winged Horses

The Spanish Sports car Pegaso was the brainchild of Don Wilfredo Ricart, an engineer who worked at the side of Enzo Ferrari. The goal was not only to demonstrate, that he could build faster cars than the Commendatore, but also to increase the prestige of Spain and to promote a new Iberian economy of the Fifties.

First presented at the 1951 Paris Salon, the Pegaso Z-102 claimed to be the fastest car in the world, and a speed test at Jabbeke in Belgium revealed a potential top speed of close to 250 kilometers per hour, the equivalent of 160 mph. In 1955 the even bigger and more powerful engines of the model Z-103 made their debut. With optional superchargers, the output was up to 350 hp and the top speed 170 mph. For more on the topic of Pegaso please see our feature Memory of a Mirage -the PEGASO Sports and Competition cars of the Fifties

Retromobile 2002 - 1954 Pegaso Spider Pedralbes
1954 Pegaso Spider Pedralbes.
Rétromobile 2002 - 1953 Pegaso Berlinetta Biposto designed by Touring
1953 Pegaso Berlinetta Biposto designed by Touring. - Luxury Real Estate Sales and Rentals on the French Riviera

Delage Noire

Retromobile 2002 -
1936 Delage Noir D6 with a body by Figoni & Falaschi.
Rétromobile 2002 -
In order to access and use the spare seats
the tailgate has to be opened.

Retromobile 2002 - Voisin

Gabriel Voisin created many unconventional automobiles utilising his background in the aviation industry. A 7.3 litre V-12 engine was already offered in 1921 and 1936 even saw a straight-twelve engine of 6 litre volume.

Jaguar SS
Rétromobile 2002 -
1935 SS 90 with a 2.5 litre engine.
Retromobile 2002 -
The original SS or Swallow Sidecar.

William Lyons and William Walmsley were producing motorcycle sidecars since 1921 and founded Swallow Sidecars - or SS - in 1934. The SS 90 was the first sports car introduced in 1935. In 1936 it evolved into the SS 100, first having a 2.5 and later a 3.5 litre engine, making it capable of a top speed of 100 mph. In the Forties, SS seemed inappropriate and the company renamed itself into Jaguar.

Rétromobile 2002 -
Renault Voiturette Type C

Louis Renault started building vehicles in 1898, utilizing De Dion Bouton engines. The Voiturette Type C featured a De Dion Bouton 1-Cylinder engine with 3 hp. This was sufficient for a top speed of 30 km/h.

1926 Bugatti 35A
Retromobile 2002 - Rétromobile 2002 -

In the 1920's, Bugatti dominated motor racing with the powerful straight 8-cylinder models of the Type 35 and the Type 51. Because of the racing successes, many customers wanted to purchase a more street going version of the racers. By implementing an 8-cylinder engine based on the Type 38 into the chassis and body of the Type 35, Bugatti created a new model designated the Type 35A, with an output of 70 hp out of 2 litre volume.

HW ALTA Jaguar Streamliner 'NBP 77'

John Heath and George Abecassis, owners of the Hersham & Walton Motors company, modified a sports ALTA in 1948 and fitted it with this streamlined body. After being raced by John Heath in Jersey, it received a Jaguar engine instead of the original Alta power unit.

Retromobile 2002 -

Year after year, the RÉTROMOBILE proves, it is among the premier classic car events in the world. Thanks to the engagement of many French car clubs, every show has it's surprises, and one can see automobiles rarely found anywhere else. We are looking forward to the next show, which will be held in February of 2003.

You can find our reports of previous and following RÉTROMOBILE shows here:





RÉTROMOBILE '99 - Luxury Real Estate Sales and Rentals on the French Riviera

Join our mailing list
for news and updates!

(Please enter your e-mail)

E-mail this page to a friend Home

© 2002 Classics.comTM
Images by Stephane Depreux
All Rights Reserved