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Retromobile Paris, 2011

There are so many wonderful automotive events around the world, deciding which to attend can be challenging. Retromobile is certainly worth adding to your bucket list. 2011 was this event’s 36th birthday and it was held in early February at the Porte De Versailles exhibition centre in Paris.  There were 300 plus exhibitors and over 100,000 visitors over five days!

This year, the organizers added motorcycles and what they called “youngtimer vehicles” from the 1970s and 1980s, which expanded the appeal to a larger group of enthusiasts. When you love anything that rolls on rubber, these additions only made the event that much better.

Retromobile features a large variety of vendors… from restoration shops, to vintage clothing, race wear to parts sellers. Need a headlight for your 1935 Daimler Lanchester? You’ll find it (or someone who knows where to get one).

Automobile clubs from around Europe were represented, and brokers of blue chip vehicles brought out the best of the best for sale. Major manufacturers (BMW, Mercedes Benz, Peugeot, Citroen and more) had historic displays with some unique and wonderful vehicles and bikes. There were attendees from around the world and the international flair was abundant as you walked the isles hearing languages of every nationality. The wide variety of vehicles was absolutely amazing, along with automobilia, books, and art that could quickly melt your credit card.

The event also featured several auctions, with cars on display at both Retromobile and at the fabulous Grand Palais near the heart of Paris. The huge steel and glass ceiling at the Grand Palais is amazing, and provided a wonderful venue for many vehicles dating back to the early 1900s and up to the 1980s.

If you decide to attend Retromobile, give yourself a minimum of two days to enjoy the event… or better yet, three or four and take your time to enjoy it all. Stay a few more days and wander the streets of Paris! Cameras are welcome and the hospitality of everyone was wonderful. Next year’s event is February 1-5.

Learn more about Retromobile on the event website.

See more photos of Retromobile, 2011 on our Flickr page!


  1. That looks like an amazing event!! What’s the story on pic #3? Is that a giant boiler?

  2. Tim Willard says:

    I like the picture of the radial engine placed directly into the wheel.

  3. Hank Allen says:

    What a great venue for the turn of the last century’s cars, the Grand Palais originaly built for the World Exposition of 1889. The steam artillery tractor was invented by Nicolas Cugnot (Kune-yo).

    In 1769, the very first self-propelled road vehicle was a military tractor invented by French engineer and mechanic, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot (1725 – 1804). Cugnot used a steam engine to power his vehicle, built under his instructions at the Paris Arsenal by mechanic Brezin. It was used by the French Army to haul artillery at a whopping speed of 2 1/2 mph on only three wheels. The vehicle had to stop every ten to fifteen minutes to build up steam power. The steam engine and boiler were separate from the rest of the vehicle and placed in the front (see engraving above). The following year (1770), Cugnot built a steam-powered tricycle that carried four passengers.

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