After the bang edition 2023, we had a bit of doubts for this year’s: would the level exhibited be more or less? We rather thought the latter because 23 was a topper. Not read it? Just click here. But our fears proved unfounded. Paris Expo was overflowing with the finest and most exclusive gems of the classic car world. We take you on a tour of the halls of Rétromobile 2024.

The organisation did provide more themes this year compared to last year. And there were some very nice things among them.


The idea of this monster rally raid came from the mind of Frenchman Thierry Sabine. He got lost in the Libyan desert as a participant of the Abidjan-Nice desert ride. There, of course, he had a lot of time to think and he wanted to share his experience with other people. Paris-Dakar was born and the first edition started on Boxing Day 1978, for a three-week trip to Dakar. The “Lac Rose” acted as the arrival point. Later, the start date would move to New Year’s Day. The rally allowed cars, motorbikes as well as trucks. The first winner in the cars was Alain Génestier and the then young Cyril Neveu was the best in the motorbikes.

The start was successful and the rally would quickly evolve to a top level. Several brands wanted to go for the win and invested huge budgets in their teams. VW triumphed a year later with their Iltis, a model designed for the German army. This Renault 4 of the Marreau brothers then took the third podium finish. With a Renault 20 turbo, they became overall winners in 1982.

Our Jacky Ickx is also a competitor from the very beginning. He wins in 1983, together with French actor Claude Brasseur, in a Mercedes 280GE. He also convinces Porsche for a participation and a year later René Metge wins with a 911 Carrera 4×4 ( internal code 953 ). Two years later, he does it again with this 959. Ickx comes second in an identical 959. His car was at the Porsche expo “Driven by dreams” at Autoworld this winter. You can find everything about this expo via this link.

And BMW colleagues also see something in the desert rally. Not in cars but in motorbikes. With their newly launched GS model, they win four times. Frenchman Hubert Auriol put two to his name in 1981 and 1983

And our compatriot Gaston Rahier emulates him with wins in 1984 and 1985. The bike, meanwhile, came with Marlboro sponsorship.

After banning Group B rally cars at the end of 1986, Peugeot too headed for the desert. First with their 206 T 16 and two years later with this 405 T 16. Now there wasn’t really much difference, apart from the bodywork, though. Peugeot was then unbeatable with 4 wins in a row. Ari Vatanen went home with the biggest trophy three times. Once even after a toss: the battle with teammate Jacky Ickx was so fierce that team boss Jean Todt decided to toss for victory. Vatanen won the tos and also the rally. Jacky Ickx came second yet again. This Peugeot would later win four more times but fitted with a Citroën bodywork after Peugeot took on a new challenge with Group C races and the 24 hours of Le Mans.

The Dakar also used to be a “cabinet of curiosities” with purpose-built cars designed mainly to attract attention. Frenchman Thierry de Montcorgé took part back in 1981 with a modified Rolls Royce Corniche mounted on a chassis of a Toyota Landcruiser. An absolute crowd pleaser. The Rolls, unfortunately, does not make it to the finish line in Dakar. In 1984, it continues with this “Jules” prototype with double rear axle. But again, it does not see the finish line in Dakar.

This Renault Gazelle is the oldest car ever to take part in the desert ride. At an almost retired age of 52, this grandfather, in 1980, is at the start in Paris. And against all odds, the trio Domblides/Hayat/Nolan cross the finish line at Dakar. They finish in 71st place.

But car brands were also looking for attractive appearances. The French Mitsubishi importer had Paris-Dakar high on its wish list. It even had some Pajero’s converted with a modified PX33 bodywork. This was the very first Japanese car with continuous four-wheel drive in 1934. Our compatriot Guy Colsoul was behind the wheel of this one.

The rally has long since ceased to start in Paris and its arrival has long since ceased in Dakar. In 2009, after several terror attacks, it is diverted to South America. The rally will now be named “Dakar” and from 2020 the new location will be Saudi Arabia. The most recent winner is this Audi RS e-tron. The first winner with an electric drive in 2024 with Carlos Sainz. According to Audi, a historic event. What they don’t tell you is that in addition to the battery pack, it also contains a combustion engine, which in turn drives a generator to generate electricity.


The centenary for the ex-British and current Chinese MG brand was a second theme at Rétromobile. Who doesn’t know MG? In any classic car rally or ride, you will come across an MGA or MGB. MG used to be a fairly sporty British car brand.

An impressive stand showcased most of the models in its history. Starting with the very first model through to their most recent Chinese-made electric roadster.

The beautiful stand, a collaboration between the British Motor Museum and the French MG club, actually reminded us of a car show of yesteryear. We even saw a 1965 MGB GT there that had been at the 1965 London Motor Show.

This MGB inspired cartoonist Franquin for a cartoon in his Guust Flater series. The comic book hero bought this sports car in a showroom for a bargain and when he collected it, it turned out to be a cut model meant to show off the detailed engineering.

The eye-catchers of this stand were undoubtedly the British Motor Museum’s two speed record cars.

This 1938 MG EX 135, a design by engineer Reid Railton achieved a speed of 187.6 mph on a German motorway near Frankfurt in 1938 with an 1100cc engine over a distance of 1 mile.

Six months later, just before the outbreak of World War 2, pilot Goldie Gardner, with a 1500cc engine, did even better with a speed of 213 mph. After the war, the MG team headed to the Bonneville salt flats and several long endurance records were set there too.

But it could be even better. This 1957 EX 181, with Sterling Moss at the wheel, achieved a speed of 245.6 mph. MG, by now, had so much expertise in the matter that they broke their own earlier records.

And it doesn’t stop there. A year later, with a more powerful engine, Phill Hill, back on the Bonneville salt flats, was driving 254.9 miles per hour. MG now had almost every record to its name and it was decided to quit the project.

Another fast MG is this thoroughbred Le Mans EX 257 LMP675 car. Based on a Lola, it was an official factory entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 and 2002. The LMP 675 cars were much lighter and more agile than their big colleagues from Audi, Cadillac and Bentley in the LMP 900 series.

And the speed was certainly there, with good performances in qualifying and even a temporary fourth position in the 24-hour race. Reliability was something else. Not a single car crossed the finish line during the two participations. Engine and gearbox problems threw a spanner in the works.


There was a second centenary with the Monthéry circuit located in the Paris region.

Monthléry is a somewhat special case with both a circuit and an oval. Now you used to find this at Monza too. Remnants of the “banking” are still there today. The circuit was actively used as a race track until 2004. After that, only recreational driving was allowed. Today’s safety standards were the death knell for speed races.

Due to the presence of the oval track, in the early years it was mainly used as a venue for breaking records. French constructors were at home there, with Bugatti, Renault and Peugeot all using it regularly.

At the Expo, we found evidence of that with some of those record cars like this 1965 Peugeot 404 diesel. Now the normal 404 was not really fast but this streamlined version, equipped with a 2.2-litre engine broke 40 records at the time and drove 72 hours at an average of 160 km per hour. This was simply the fastest diesel car in the world in 1965!!!

This 1923 Bugatti Type 32 ( nicknamed “The Tank” ) also once drove its laps around the circuit. This 32 is from the collection of the Mulhouse museum.

But also more recent material with the 1973 Alpine Renault A440 proto. Marie-Clauda Beaumont ensures this Alpine’s first success at Monthléry.

More French history with this 1995 Venturi LM 600 GT.

Top piece from the expo was undoubtedly this 1995 Mclaren F1 GTR that participated in the 1000 km of Paris. A few weeks later there was the participation in the 24 hours of Le Mans in this version by artist “Cesar”.


Nine-time rally world champion Sébastien Loeb is celebrating his 50th birthday this year. Still active in motorsport, he had just returned from the Dakar Rally where he was in a duel for victory with Carlos Sainz. He won all his world titles at the wheel of a Citroën.

The French motorsport federation wanted to mark this anniversary in an expo featuring his main rally cars. It all started with a Saxo kit car with which he won the Saxo Trophy in 1999.

In 2001, as a test, he makes his debut with this Xsara WRC in the Rally Van Sanremo. He is in contention for victory for a long time but has to settle for P2. A successful debut, though. After that, Citroën team boss Guy Frequelin commits him as a factory driver for the World Rally Championship. In 2004, with this Xsara, he wins his first world title.

With this C4, he wins four consecutive world titles between 2007 and 2010. In 2012, he wins his last championship at the wheel of a DS3.

In 2019 and 2020, he drives a limited programme for Huyndai with two third-place finishes as his best result. In 2022, he packs another punch with this Ford Puma Rally 1 with a win in the Monte Carlo Rally which he puts on his record for the ninth time.


At Rétromobile, there are always car brands that turn out with a stand. Sometimes all classic cars and sometimes a mix between old and new products of their brand.


Porsche just keeps on going after all their celebrations in 2023 and this year they are celebrating the 50th anniversary of their Porsche turbo models. Indeed, it was in 1974 that they were the second German car brand to present a turbo version of their 911. A few months before that, BMW was the first with its 2002.

Over the years there have been quite a few turbo models at Porsche and today they even sell EVs that come with a turbo logo. The turbo is obviously no longer there but turbo stands there for the top model in the range. Not really matching

Fraternally next to each other were a 1974 911 turbo and its 1977 racing variant, the 935/77. That year, this Martini 935 was unbeatable in branded world championship races.


Their colleagues from Wolfsburg also had a 50-year-old. In 1974, the VW Golf appeared as the successor to their Beetle model.

Meanwhile, eight series were built and VW Classic had brought all those models and all in the same colour.

As a bonus, the refreshed new Golf 8 was also present. It took centre stage on the stand and was open to the public. Saloon conditions as they used to be at the “real” car show.


After surely a long absence, we welcomed Mercedes Classic back with a stand in Paris. And they had something to celebrate too. Their iconic 300 SL may blow out 70 candles this year.

Mercedes Classic had brought some restored examples as proof of their skills. This beautifully made-up roadster version even featured the “extra ski package” option.

But the eye-catcher on their stand was this 300 SL “Hobel”. The very last made racing car of the ten built with chassis number W194/11.

After winning in the 24 hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana, they were looking for even more performance in Stuttgart. The engineers came up with this “Hobel” version. Literally translated, this is planer or planed version. Chassis 11 had a shorter wheelbase and an engine that delivered 29 HP more than its predecessors.

Due to a participation in the Grand Prix races, this “Hobel” does not continue to be used in competition.

Several dealers also had 300 SL models on their stands. Specimens yet to be restored.

But fully finished ones were also on offer. It is to be hoped, though, that there are no fake ones among them after the fraud case that came to light at Kienle last year.


Renault had a very nice stand again this year, which had been a few years since they appeared in Paris with decent material. Their theme this year was: record cars.

This is how we saw the 1956 “Etoile Filante”. Equipped with a 270 HP turbine engine, this blue flasher reached 308.85 top speed on the Bonneville salt flats.

Closer to home, this Nevasport certainly did just as well in 1934 with three world records set at the Monthléry circuit near Paris, mentioned earlier.

Renault Classic had also brought a plane named Rafale. And let this be the very name of a brand new Renault top model that was of course also on the stand. The Rafale C460 achieved a number of speed records in 1934 with female pilot Hélène Boucher, including the women’s record over 1000 km at a speed of 445 km per hour. The aircraft shown is a recreation though. A wonderful stand at Renault where past and present were perfectly combined.

And Skoda was also present with a fairly large stand this year. They too had a combination between past and even future with a concept car.

Will the future look as rosy as the past? You may judge for yourself. We have already made our choice. Absentees? Definitely. Home player Stelantis ( Peugeot, Citroën, Lancia, Fiat, Alfa Romeo ) was definitely the big absentee. And even a brand like BMW, with yet a wonderful past, has not been around for years. Bugatti and Lamborghini have also disappeared. A shame, nonetheless.


Bugatti itself may no longer have been there, but Rétromobile remains the fair where you come across the most specimens of this marque.

And this year there was even a masterpiece featuring one of three Bugatti Atlantic’s. Bugatti wanted to build the best cars in the world. Their Royales and model 57 are a very good example of this. The 57 is presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1935. A year later, Jean Bugatti presents this aviation-inspired Atantic version.

Four examples see the light of day. One of these, chassis 57453, disappears after being put on transport just before World War II to escape a German seizure. This black Atlantic will never reach its hiding place and disappears into anonymity. It is also one of the greatest mysteries in French automotive history. Where is 57453? Does the Atlantic still exist? Or is it in a secret collection somewhere? No one knows. “La voiture noire” becomes a myth still alive today.

The other two Atlantic’s are justified, though. 57591 belongs to fashion designer Ralf Lauren and 57374 ( ex Baron Rothschield ) is in the Mullin museum in the USA.

The exhibited 57473 is the third. This Atlantic does have a rich history. The first owner immediately had some modifications made at a Parisian coachbuilder. Apparently this was at Figoni but there is no certainty about this. A subsequent owner dies, in 57473, in a serious accident with a train at a level crossing. Driver and passenger do not survive the impact and the Atlantic is no more than a heap of scrap metal.

After some wrangling over ownership – the owner had bought the car without his wife’s knowledge and had it registered to his mistress – 57473 was sold again in 1963. The next owner tries to rebuild the car with spare parts. For instance, the original engine is no longer in the vehicle. He then sells the Bugatti and the next owner has the Atlanctic restored again. The original engine is repaired and the defective bodywork parts are repaired and reused as much as possible. Boston restorer Paul Russell brings 57473 to the highest possible quality and authenticity.

But this 5743 obviously remains a somewhat “patched case” and that is summed up: this is one of the three Atlantic’s but unfortunately the least of the three. But it obviously remains a masterpiece.

Chassis 57374 was still winner of the concours ‘ élégance in Chantilly in 2017. Jim Mullen had come specially to Europe with it then. If you want to see it, you can do so here.


This year, the organisers had provided a corner of a hall for supercars. Not really something that belongs at a classic fair but certainly a crowd pleaser. Supercars fascinate a large audience and make many people dream. And the crowds at the various stands proved that.

And from the ol’ Bugatti Atlantic, we transition so directly to this fairly recent “Centodieci”. A tribute version of the EB 110 built, in ten pieces based on the Bugatti Chiron, linked to the 110th anniversary of the Molsheim-based marque. Chassis No 1 was up for sale.

But Lamborghini , Mclaren, Pagani and Konigsegg were also numerous. On the Fiskens stand there was this Aston Martin Valkyrie. A somewhat failed Le Mans Hypercar project of which a series version was produced after a lot of trial and error. Recently, Aston Martin did announce that after six years they will step up to Le Mans in 2025. We hope for their sake that they will not be too late. With the Mercedes AMG One, we also saw another problem child. After many and arduous years of development, the cars were delivered to their buyers last year, five years behind schedule. One of these was available for a later sale. Mercedes included a clause in its contract prohibiting the buyer from immediately reselling the car at a usurious profit.


Another novelty was the presence of several motorbike brands. And most of the top brands signed present. On their stands, they presented a mix of “old and new”.


A Ferrari 250 GTO is not a car you come across regularly. At a show like Rétromobile, that can sometimes happen. This year, we were really spoiled with two examples. One “regular” GTO and a later 64 version.

Kidston who also made a big impression a few years ago with an Mclaren F1 exhibition had, and this only for expo and not for sale, now brought a Ferrari 250 GTO. Chassis number 3729 GT in Bianco white took centre stage on their equally impressive stand.

Delivered to the UK in August 1962, this Ferrari debuted the Brands Hatch circuit the same month. Roy Salvatori took second place in the Peco Trophy. Two weeks later, the great Graham Hill did the same again in the RAC TT or Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. A race that is still in the Goodwood Revival programme today. 3729 GT, by the way, is in the configuration of this race today.

Girardo & Co’s neighbours had the latest version 64 version with them of this GTO. Also a beautiful car but unfortunately they were not very generous with info which suggested that there might be something incorrect about this Ferrari.


Also at Kidston on the stand: this unique Schuppan 962 CR. Vern Schuppan, ex Le Mans 24-hour winner and long-time factory pilot at Porsche, had the idea of designing and building his own car. It happens more often than not! On a base of the Porsche 962 Group C, Schuppan created this 962 CR.

The chassis was no longer aluminium but Schuppan produced its own carbon monocoques. The intention was also to homologate the car for the road. The first two units had bodywork identical to the Group C Porsche 962C. The later five units, like the one shown, had this proprietary Schuppan bodywork.

Schuppan used all the parts in stock at Porsche with donors from the 935, 956 and 962. This 962 CR reached a top speed of 350 km/h and was the most expensive car in the world at its launch until the Mclaren F1 came to take this title away.


Then again, they took care of the saloon’s finest line-up at Fikskens with this Commer TS3 Transport built for the Ecurie Ecosse.

This famous racing team was displayed complete with matching Jaguar D-Type ( on top of the transporter ) and C-Type. This transporter is also a regular visitor to the Goodwood Revival.


Traditionally, we always find Richard Mille’s stand in the same location at the salon. Whereas until a few years ago there were always Mclarens, these had now been replaced by Ferraris.

Hours manufacturer Mille had brought the winning Ferrari 499 SP. You could already get acquainted with this car in our article on the WEC.

All the cars on display had a Le Mans history like this ex Garage Francorchamps Ferrari.


Chopard’s colleagues, in turn, had the “Mille Miglia” as their theme. As a loyal main sponsor of this top historic rally, this is obviously the right choice. Besides their matching collection of timepieces, they had brought along a Ferrari and Bugatti.


A Porsche 917 is obviously not to be missed in Paris and this time we found something of a special one anyway with one allowed on public roads. Chassis #030 was converted from a race to a track version after the 1971 season.

It was even commissioned by Count Rossi di Montelera ( Martini ) to fit a leather interior.

The 917 gets a Texas number plate and public road approval. It will change hands in 2018 for the sum of 32 million euros. This 917 was on the stand of Joe Macari who participated in Rétromobile for the first time and was not for sale.

On his stand other wonderful things like this Maserati MC 12 from the FIA GT1 era.

Or a 1997 Mercedes CLK GTR GT1 that won the 1997 world title in a fierce battle with the Schnitzer Mclaren F1 GTR.

And speaking of the Mclaren F1, this ex BMW Japan Lark F1 was also on Macari’s stand.


Giotto Bizzarrini obviously needs no further introduction. This top Italian engineer helped build the 250 GTO for Ferrari. After that, he also built the 250 Breadvan. After a dispute with Enzo Ferrari, he set up his own car company to build ISOs and Bizzarrinnis. He died on 13 May last year.

The brand was recently rebooted with the recreation of this iconic 5300 GT Corsa. 24 examples of this will be built. For just under 2 million euros + VAT and taxes, one of these can become yours. They come from RML’s workshops in England. A new supercar with a V12 engine would follow later.

Have we come to the end? By no means but there was so much to see that not everything could be covered. We knew it after just 50 metres into the halls: this is another topper. What was not covered in our article we have put in a photo series at the bottom. Well worth a visit! And there are indeed a lot of racing cars. But we find more and more of them at Rétromobile in recent years. But you will also find the most beautiful series cars. On top of this, we will soon publish a second article with 10 more unlisted masterpieces.

And we were not alone in Paris as 130,000 other car geeks turned up who had the same idea. The first fair days did see fewer attendees in the halls due to farmers’ protests, but procrastination is not a reprieve and the weekend was headline-grabbing.

And the level is becoming so high that one visit day is no longer enough to see everything in detail. So maybe for next year it is best to plan two days.

Rétromobile and Paris: it remains a perfect marriage and always worth a visit!

Article and photos: Joris De Cock