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Montlhery: a true PreWar paradise!


What a fantastic weekend at MontlheRAIN! 

The prelude:
Montlhery... Vintage Revival... the paradise for every prewarcar-afficionado! You just can´t describe the mood in written letters. The sound, the smell, the people, the....

machines. Stimulus satiation for every sense of your body. After 2013 and 2015 it was my third visit at the holy track at the south of Paris and I swear, it will NEVER get boring, even if I saw some of the cars for the third time on the track.

Arriving on thursday (the friday is always booked for a trip to Paris with my girlfriend), the parking area of our hotel was still crowded with "new" cars, but as a first forshadowing of what will happen the next days, in the evening, a Frazer-Nash appeared, as a real nice appetizer. The look of the car park had totally changed, as we arrived back from Paris on friday evening. A bunch of GN, an Alfa Romeo 1750, a Bugatti "Brescia" and last but not least, the Vosin C1 "Laboratoire" had arrived in the meantime. Together with them, an Alfa Bertone, a Fiat Spider and a Citroen DS rounded the beautiful view. After a bedtime beer with some friends from the south of Germany, the hotel bed was entered, full of anticipation, of what would happen the next two days.

The event:
After a good breakfast, we started to the circuit on late saturday morning. You don?t have traffic jams like the one on the acces road very often. In front of us four or five Morgan, behind us a Lancia Aprilia, a Citroen TAV and a beautiful Rosalie Coupé, leading a Delahaye. After passing the tunnel below the track, you enter a new world! It feels quite like passing a time warp, as after driving out of the tunnel, you see, hear and feel a hundert year old cars, motorcycles everywhere, people walking around in contemporary clothes, drive around on period bicycles and so on. A big benefit is the parking area inside the track, just at the beginning of the banked curve. Perfect for a picknick on the meadow, having some Baguette with cheese and a glas of wine, while the crowd on the circuit passes. What a pity, that even Saint Peter couldn?t hold back his tears of joy and so instead of a Montlhery, we had a Montlherain. But even if it was very wet, the weather was better, than the forecast promised. A big benefit is, that there are really NO barriers, you can look at/in/under every car and the only faces without a big smile are the ones of the tinkering owners, solving little problems on their cars. But their smile is even bigger, when you see them after solving the little problems. And even the children have fun in their little cars.

The cars:
OK, I like the old motorcycles, but for that topic, I?m the wrong person to write about. I love to see them, especially on the circuit, with the drivers in their old clothes, but I really don?t have the knowledge for writing more about them. So let?s concentrate on the cars. You might think, that the majority of the vehicles is French, but I think, this year, the British cars topped them. GN and Frazer-Nash were the featured marques and with them, a big flock of three and four wheeled Morgans appeared. And of course, you could spot some Vauxhalls, Bentleys, Rolls-Royce, MG, Austin, AC, BNC, Talbot/Sunbeam, a wonderfull Wolsley single seater and as one of my personal highlights, an absolutely stunning HE. I don?t think, I ever saw only one car of this fantastic brand before. Italy was represented by several Alfa Romeo (including a fantastic saloon) and a stunning racing Maserati. German and American cars were astoninglishy hard to find. But you could not miss the marvellous 1906 Mercedes Simplex, an Auburn 851 Boattail-Speedster and of course the Knox at the PreWarCar booth. Next to PWC, the friends of "The Automobile" had arrayed their pavilion and showed Reg Winstone?s already mentioned Voisin. What a pleasure to see this car again and as the highlight of this years VR, Reg invited me for a drive around the area. Fantastic and a big THANK YOU to Reg! And with that, we change to the French cars. Three Voisin appeared and one of them even took the road to Montlhery with its four passengers on its own old wheels straight from Britain. There were lots of Bugatti, some Delage, a sensational Hotchkiss, two Bedelia, with their funny passenger layout, one of two Delahaye bodied by Chapron for the 1935-1936 Rallye Monte Carlo a Sonia Delaunay inspired very colorful Citroen and not to forget the Leon Paulet, Salmson, Peugeot, Rolland Pilain, Darmont, Renault, Theophile Schneider and a wonderful ArtDeco style Rosengart Supertraction.

The parking area:
Not only on the main event, but also on the parking area in the infield, fabulous (but mostly postwar) automobiles can be found. OK, “can be found” is the wrong term. You can spot them everywhere on the meadows. Lord Bret Sinclair must have visited the event (sadly Danny Wild missed it), we spotted a gorgeous Maserati Ghibli, some Panhard, between dozends of Morgan, two Wiesmann Roadsters were parked, and there was a nice line with an Alfa Romeo SS, a Reliant Scimitar, a magnificent MG Magnette, etc. And you were able to spot the surprisingly resemblance of a Peugeot and a Ferrari.

My highlights:
There were so many things to be mentioned, that you could write pages and pages and at the end, still half of the impressions would miss, so here are some of my personal highlights: The most exciting machines were the GN specials. Among them Richard Scaldwel's sensational JAP V8-powered one, Mark Walker's Thunderbug, Tom Waterfield's Dragonfly, the GN Anzani of Duncan Pittaway and of course the fantastic Parker-Special. On the other hand, you can also see highly original GNs, looking very fragile on their thin wheels. Another thing, that makes the Vintage Revival such a special event is to see the drivers, shooing their vehicles around the banked curve, some careful near the bottom, but often daredevilish close to the upper boundary. If you haven?t seen this, you definitely have missed one of the most spectacular things of our hobby! The cars, that hit my heart this year were the stunning HE, the Wolsley racer and a beautiful Crossley. Another personal highlight is of course to meet friends, you only see once or maybe twice a year, if any. And of course you get to know new people who share the same passion.

The upshot: would you describe this event in one short sentence? "This event is so magnificent, that even Tazio Nuvolari revived out of his tomb, not to miss this days!"

A lot more of my photos can be found here!

(words and pictures: Hubertus Hansmann)



#5 2017-05-15 17:09
I've been for the first time in the Autodrome on invitation by Hans Devos, HDClassic.
What an event, what great people, what cars and bikes ... what ... what ... I'm still speechles.
Thanks for all pictures which are placed, love them.
I want to take part on this very nice event in 2019, hope to ride on my bike then.
#4 Bill Coates 2017-05-11 19:23
Thanks for a fabulous picture gallery Hubertus, I enjoyed it all and just wish to be there next year!!
Bill Coates
#3 2017-05-11 18:19
My first visit, definitely again.Bonus not commercialised and 2 days €20.Very special event.
#2 2017-05-11 10:44
Montlhery is a wonderful enthusiasts event. This year there was more to see than ever before. The event is a credit to the organisers, long may it not be commercialised.
#1 Leo Schildkamp 2017-05-11 08:18
Thanks for all the pictures. I feel sat, not have been there. Next time I certainly will.

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