Review: Reims Salon
Sparkling 30th anniversary event attracts thousands of visitors
’Now the word is definitely out as to what a great event this is’
For most of the 30 years that the Salon Champenois du Véhicule de Collection in Reims, France, has been running, this informal and down-to-earth classic car show has been a well-kept secret, attracting mainly local French enthusiasts, plus a few neighbouring Belgians.
Now, though, the word is definitely out as to what a great event this is, as this year’s mid-March event in the Champagne capital of the world attracted more than 35,000 visitors spread over just two days, travelling in their classics from as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden, with a healthy contingent of Brits present as well.
This event is split into three main parts, with a huge display of hundreds of classic cars parked outside the Reims Parc des Exposition complex, supported by a massive Beaulieu-style open air autojumble (a must for those seeking any elusive French car spare parts), plus the main indoor show, with car clubs and more autojumble spread over a number of halls.
The Reims salon is a back-to-basics show, catering for regular enthusiasts with regular classic cars, so in place of the usual specialist dealers selling expensive high-end Porsches, Ferraris and Mercedes, dozens of local classic car clubs make a special effort to entertain and put a show on for the visitors, most adhering to the ‘Happy Birthday’ theme for this year’s 30th anniversary event.
The local Amicale Triumph Spitfire, Fiat 500 and Citroën 2CV clubs in particular merit special mention, the latter even including live chickens in its farmyard-themed display, along with hippies in a ‘peace and love’ Citroën Dyane (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) handing out flowers!
In the extensive dedicated parking area, rarities we spotted included a 1972 Mazda RX-2 Coupé, 1962 BMW 700 Coupé, 1963 CD Panhard Coach, 1981 AMC Eagle and a Spanish-built Renault Siete ( basically a Spanishbuilt Renault 5 three-box saloon). Vive la différence!
Most eggs-cellent – the citroën 2cV clubs took their farmyard-themed display extremely seriously, going as far as including some live chickens in among the cars! rows of popular French cars basked in the sunshine outside the reims Parc des exposition complex – including this impressive line-up of renaults. There were birthday cakes everywhere you looked as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations – including on top of the renault Frégate club’s Manoir break.