Retromobile. I am reliably informed by Sophie that I first went there thirty two years ago. That’s when I met her. Since then, if I remember correctly, I have only missed it once. Like Pebble Beach, at that time, it was a medium sized event where you could talk to everyone. It already had style. The exhibitors, either dealers or clubs, dispensed wine and cashew nuts, the floors were carpeted, the ambience sympathique.
But, like Pebble, things have changed. The event has grown huge, almost inhuman. Paris at the beginning of February is either very cold, or wet. But still they come from the four corners of the world. Enthusiasts bring wives, girlfriends, sons, and even sometimes, daughters. It’s an annual excuse to spend a few days in Paris, meet friends, shop, and of course see the most beautiful city in the world.
The event is fueled by dealers, exhibiting cars worth anything from 30 grand to 30 million. And for that pleasure, they have to fork out anything from 20 to 200K, depending on the size of the stand. But the public entrance fee is only 20 euros, so you can be guaranteed to be continually jostled by a throng of enthusiasts, who will scowl and complain if you walk in front of their phone while they are taking a photo which would be far easier to retrieve from Google.
Meeting friends is, for many of us, the real reason to go there. But the ambient noise is such that you can’t hear your phone ring, and the event is so large and packed that you simply don’t bump into friends that you know are there.
So I decided not to go this year. No way. Then the calls and messages started coming in. See you at Retro? No. Probably not. Maybe. Then yes, see you there. Yet again I have succumbed.
See you there? Tuesday evening, Wednesday, some of Thursday. Text me on +33 611 350 241 if you want to (try to) meet up.