The 2012 All French Car day was held on Sunday 16th July at Silverwater in Sydney with many different marques, current and past on display.
Under bright blue skies and constant warmth from the sun, entrants and visitors alike enjoyed a perfect day, some even debating whether it was too good to be sat in a park.
Keeping any Francophile happy, food, wine and of course cheese and bread were consumed by many throughout the day whilst classic French music played over speakers keeping the ambiance at the right level.
The three main French car makers, at least in a modern sense, took up most of the grounds being Peugeot, Citroen and Renault. Standards went from highly detailed and cared for dipping to the rough and ready, however rather than detracting from the show, the cars least likely to win a concours trophy showed a robustness of engineering as well as the willingness of participants to actually drive their vehicles rather than leaving them idle in a shed for, well, days like this.
There was a decent mix of vehicles ranging from the ever-popular Citroen 2CV and Citroen DS to a Citroen BX 16 Valve and Citroen Méhari. There were of course modern Citroens as well such as the DS3 which received plenty of attention.
Probably the most recognised of French brands, Peugeot were out in force with a good range of cars although some I were hoping to see such as the Pininfarina-styled 406 Coupe were sadly not present – either that or the very real possibility I was too early or too late to arrive.
The first Peugeot I saw had my interest immediately – a 309 GTi, a car I hadn’t seen before in Australia and in fairly good nick too considering it’s probably just seen it’s 20th birthday.
There were a few 205 GTis about with a couple of Classic editions making me want to check the classifieds to buy my very own. Remembering these cars were around the $40,000 mark when new (I may or may not have smeared saliva on a windscreen in a showroom in Artarmon), most have held up well although some tender love and care is probably needed for some of the ones on display.
Here’s a bit of ‘trivia’ some will know and some won’t. Ex Prime Minister Paul Keating used to (or perhaps still owns?) a 205 GTi Classic. I used to work in a hotel in Sydney city and Mr Keating would occasionally park his car with us and needless to say it always drove very well and was well looked after. Love or hate, the guy knows style!
Back to the car show and a very clean, very well looked after Peugeot 207 GTi caught my eye. Perhaps it was the colour, a dark metallic grey that glistened in the sun or perhaps it was the pride of ownership expressed in its detailing and that of its owner David. Winner of 2011′s Best Modern category, the David spoke of his decision to purchase, that controversial front grill and what may be next to sit in the garage. If Peugeot produce a cracking 308 GTi, manual or with DSG, David is a sure bet to purchase. Hear that Peugeot? Must work harder!
A beautifully restored Peugeot 504 Convertible stood out as the quintessential classic. Plenty had gone in to making the car look as good as it did and yes, that means cash. This was one car that deserved the attention it received.
I could only ignore it for so long however. Sitting on the grass in French blue it kept winking at me – honest! I’m talking about the car everyone is talking about: the Renault Megane RS 250 Cup Trophee, the car that keeps on winning hot hatch reviews here and abroad. Sure I’d seen it before although not in blue and not on such a beautiful day with the sun illuminating the paintwork like a beacon for all things French. This is a car that will attract attention now and every year it plans on making an appearance.
There were two Renault Fuegos, bringing back childhood memories of my uncle and cousin styling it up back in the 80s. Now however, there are few survivors but these cars still deserve a place in Renault’s history and in the paddock so to see two was promising.
A couple of Renault Caravelles were proudly displaying on the grounds as well as Roger Copp’s 1960 Renault Floride, the car that precedes it (in North America and Britain it was always named the Caravelle). The car had been lovingly detailed bright paintwork with red interior added a touch of class to what is an ideal convertible classic.
There were two cars that sat like bullies at a beach, flexing their muscle and drawing crowds. The Renault Clio V6 Renault Sport hatches looked sensational and almost in a standoff against the row of Renault Gordinis. Not sure who’d win, those Gordinis looked pretty feisty!
Probably the car to eat the all for breakfast would be the Targa prepared Alpine Renault A110. In fact it was a shame not to see more race prepped cars on show however the difficulty in getting such cars to events can often be a little prohibitive.
Hiding at the back of the event by the waters edge were two Matra Simca Bagheeras. Ian Powell’s green ‘S’ model is happy to serve life as a daily-driver but not before Ian got the car in good working order. One of the first things you’ll notice about a Bagheera is its three seater layout which at first seems unique or odd until Ian pointed out its layout is no different to that of a working ute or pick up. I reckon Ian needs to mention the McLaren F1 instead of pick ups to give the Bagheera an exotic angle!
An Amilcar stood alone yet attracted much attention and imagination from all ages. The owner managed to get the car started thanks to rolling start and took i for a run around the paddock to the delight of all.
Trophies were handed out later in the day for all kind of classes, while cars continued to come and go, enjoying what was a great day for visitors and attendees. What would I change? Nothing really but I would like to see more food stalls with a French twist giving those who would not normally visit a car show a reason to come by and admire these great French automobiles.
Cycle through six pages of images below.
For fan of French cars visit Aussie Frogs forum.