mortagne ‘65 Jamming in style
Only the French would commemorate a traffic jam. Bastille Day had the steep, narrow main street of Mortagne-sur-sèvre, once the RN160 from Paris to the Atlantic Coast, crowded with slow-moving post-war vehicles.
They were re-enacting the huge holiday season bouchons of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies as a piece of street theatre – staged breakdowns; drivers begging water for overheated engines; others standing through sunroofs arguing priority at pinch points; cars abandoned on pavements.
Mortagne ‘65’s traffic saw this rare ‘short-door’ TR2 run for the first time in 45 years.
Said restorer Eric Clenet, ‘We’d known of the car for years. It was imported new into France in 1955 and its last owner bought it in 1958. He prepared it for rallying and ran it until 1972 when it suffered a broken driveshaft and was laid up under a tarpaulin in his garden in Nantes. He wouldn’t part with it until last year when he gave it to us, conditional on us restoring it.’
Co-restorer Pierre Groisard continued, ‘Our objective was to have the TR2 running at Mortagne ‘65. Despite not having turned for nearly half a century, the engine hadn’t seized. It was soon running.’
simca 5 découvrable
This 1938 Simca was a holiday purchase, and is running for the first time after a ten-year restoration.
‘I’m passionate about Simca 5s – I have three of them, and bought this in Puy-l’evêque in 2001,’ said owner Christian Fonteneau. ‘I was on holiday and discovered it by chance in a collection of 30 old cars. Its engine was dismantled and in a box – but not seized. It was basically sound and a good project. I bought a second Simca 5 as a donor.
‘The restoration was nearly all consuming I did everything myself. It took ten years and many thousands of hours, but I’m pretty satisfied with the result.’