McLaren F1 ahead of the London Classic Car Show. Rhomboid shaped cars and special tributes to Renaults, all at this year's Rétromobile.
Rhomboid-shaped oddities (well, strangely-shaped wheels), futuristic concepts and a loving tribute to a Renault designer made Rétromobile so different this year
An exhibition dedicated to cars with their wheels in a diamond-shaped ‘rhomboid’ format and a large-scale celebration of the work of Phillipe Charbonneaux, a designer who refused to accept convention, were the key attractions at Paris’ flagship classic show.
The intended star of ‘ les Rhomboides’ was the 1960 Pininfarina Fiat PFX, designed for minimal aerodynamic drag and even intended for production, but even this was upstaged by the 1968 Automodule. Designed by Jean Pierre Ponthieu purely as a promotional advertising vehicle, the Automodule could rotate through 360 degrees within its own wheelbase, and resembled a 1960s’ helicopter minus its rotor blades.
The tribute to Charbonneaux – the designer best known for inventing the modern hatchback with his Renault 16, as well as devising the Renault 8 – was honoured with a selection of his more unusual designs. A mobile recording studio built for Marconi and based on a Panhard lorry loomed over the nearby Renault stand, its wraparound windows and angular avant-garde bodywork marking a fusion of Charbonneaux’s experiences working for Delahaye in the 1940s and General Motors in the 1050s. A pair of mid-engined, centrally-steered J-P Wimille threeseater prototypes, Charbonneaux’s Cisitalia-inspired Delahaye and a radical vision of a future Salmson also lined up alongside the designer’s forays into television sets and refrigerators. Sam Dawson
This Chevrolet Camaro thrashed Porsche 911s and Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxers at Le Mans in 1982, fifinishing second in class with Billy Hagan and Gene Felton. Give Pessac Automobiles a call and it could be yours. Saoutchik is known for ungainly designs, but this 1928 MercedesBenz 680S isn’t one of them. It was originally delivered to Robert Lee Slaughter in New York. Racing driver Julia De Baldanza displayed her car collection, including the ex-Kitty Maurice 1959 Frazer Nash Le Mans Coupé, Robert Cowell’s Alta 1.5GP, Patsy Burt’s McLaren M3A, and Julia’s favourite racer, the 1951 Maserati A6GCM. Cisitilia provided the inspiration for Phillippe Chorbonneaux’s doomed 1953 revival of Delahaye.