Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DUSTY MILLIONS

 Jaguar lightweight E-type racer...
The luxury of attending the launch party for this year's Tour Auto was a gift from Motul, as someone there understands motorcyclists need love too...and champagne.  Tour Auto is a 5-day 'race' across France, Paris to Biarritz, taken in stages with daily time totals, driven on back roads and proper race tracks when they lay on the rally route, and do they ever.  Day 1 incorporates the Montlhery circuit, although the road course, and 'not the banking'...every day incorporates a race track; Pau, LeMans,  Ville de Vienne, etc.  At the end of the week, time is calculated, winners are declared, and 300 rare and valuable race cars taken back to whence they came.  The theme for 2011 is 'Zagato', so there were plenty of Alfas, Maseratis, and Aston Martins with double-bubbles...
An odd trio, certainly!  Dino, Elan, Corvette
For the party, every sponsor had a tent at which to display their wares, while doling out obligatory canapés and bubbles.  If said sponsor was a bank, with nothing to display (besides the Money in copious abundance all around us), there were only platters of snacks and more champagne; these were the preferred watering holes.  Given the location of the party (the Jardin des Tuilieries, next to the Louvre, in Paris), and the sort of cars in this esteemed temporary parking lot, I guesstimate the fee for such a week's joy in the high five figures.  But the looking, for you and me, is absolutely free, so enjoy the photos, and b.y.o. champagne.
Brand new Norton Manx - keeping off dust in the Tuilieries is impossible..
I know you are a'feared this will be a 'car story', but two of the sponsors brought motorcycles to their tents; BMW and Norton.  BMW of Paris, who put on such a splendid show at the Paris Photo Expo this winter, had only modern two-wheelers on the floor, but the Paris Norton importer had a new Manx, which seemed apropos in the automotive company.
Ruby's Jérome Coste, master of moto-chic
With 8000 attendees milling about, it was a certainty to run into a few motorcyclists too, and Jérome Coste of Ruby Helmets was happy to have won his first 'cease and desist' case against a Ruby clone.  Jérome also mentioned immediate plans to release Ruby leather riding gear, and is hoping that next year some of the Tour Auto drivers will wear Ruby helmets for four-wheel racing.  A full-face design is in prototype now; can't wait to see it, and I'll do a feature on Ruby shortly...
Triple Webers, double cams, straight 6, Maser A6G Zagato
Of course, Renault Alpines!
Aston and Alfa, drool worthy
Perhaps the infamous Marie-Claude Beaumont LeMans 'Vette?
At least these Lancia Stratos' (Stratii?) looked at home in the dirt...
Plenty of Ferrari 250s; F, TDF, GTL, GTO
GTO; every letter worth a mil, or two...
Lancia Zagatos
Louvers near the Louvre; Healey 100M
The Maserati trident...
Two ultra-rare Jidé rally cars ca.1972
Just a few Porsches...
Even a Volkswagen!  And a Honda 600!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those aren't Lancia Stratos... across the way are Renault Alpine. These might be some other brand of French rally cars.

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul,

Thanks for the beautifull pictures.
But, for me, the red car is not a Stratos but a Jidé (a french car with polyester body).
Best regards

Jean-Marie

The Vintagent said...

Of course they're not Stratii! Thanks for the pointer Jean-Marie, I'd never heard of a Jide before this:
http://www.specialstage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=41423

Mike Lowe said...

Is that a McIntosh Manx?

The Vintagent said...

No, the revived Norton is making brand new Manxes...

john said...

Not the Corvette you queried about ; wrong year. But GREAT photos and story! Thanx.