Quietly awestruck at Festival Automobile de Mulhouse

Mulhouse_Festival_Auto (15)Anyone from overseas who has experienced the European classic car scene will be familiar with the feeling of discovering the rarest and most interesting vehicles in the world and marveling as they are almost ignored by jaded locals who seemingly take them for granted. Just another classic car show in France? Worth a look, I guess.

Mulhouse_Festival_Auto (4)Last year I was traveling through France, and on my way to Switzerland I made a detour through the industrial city of Mulhouse to visit the famous Schlumpf collection. I was only intending to stop for a day or two, however it soon became apparent that I had chanced my visit to coincide with ‘Festival Automobile de Mulhouse’, a weekend classic car festival beginning the next day. It seemed to be one of those government tourism commission type events which usually aren’t very good, but I didn’t have any firm plans and I needed to catch up on some writing, so I decided to hang about and take it in.

Mulhouse_Festival_Auto (47)Festivities kicked off on Friday evening with a small display of cars in Place de la Réunion, the historic town square. It was an odd mix of largely B-list modern supercars that was punctuated by a Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse Roadster. I’m not sure what to make of the Veyron. I don’t really like it, but I also can’t help but appreciate the engineering that goes into a fully street legal factory road car with 1,200hp that does 0-100 in 2.6sec and will crack well over 400km/h. And the build quality is superb to match. Continue reading

Around Maranello and a visit to Museo Ferrari

Museo_Ferrari (86)Ferrari is a brand that captivates the imagination like no other. Careful cultivation and strong ties to the legendary racetracks and drivers of decades past means that the Prancing Horse holds an almost mythical status today, arguably outstripping the material value of the cars that wear its badges. These days the commercialization of the brand verges on cringeworthy – how many airport Ferrari apparel stores and red co-branded Puma shoes do you need to see before you’re left with no option but to run into the arms of some obscure hipster car manufacturer that nobody has heard of? I mean, who actually buys a Gumpert for any other reason than Ferrari escapism?

Museo_Ferrari (63) But who am I to comment? Ferrari is and always has been the be-all-and-end-all sports and supercar manufacturer for me. I know that some of them aren’t actually that good, aren’t that reliable and the wrong one can make you look like a drug dealer or attention seeking poseur, or both. But I don’t care. I dream of driving them, I dream of owning one. My pulse rises every time I see one. I regularly check Carsales to see what the cheapest Ferrari is, and then ponder the realities of dropping fifty large on a thirty year old hunk of rusting Italian steel with dodgy wiring. Would I? In a heartbeat if I could.

Museo_Ferrari (2)When I set out on my recent Vespa trip around Europe I had almost no plans – I didn’t even know what countries I was going to visit. The only thing I had was a small handful of places in the back of my mind that I wanted to experience, and number one was Maranello.

Museo_Ferrari (1) Because you don’t really visit Maranello – you experience it. Museo Ferrari is the hot-ticket tourist attraction, but the rest of the small industrial suburb of Modena, steeped in so much legend, sits there waiting to be discovered. Just around the corner from the museum are the famous factory gates, looking almost identical as depicted in period photos of the 60’s and 70’s. Continue reading

The Cartier Style et Luxe at the Goodwood Festival of Speed

DSC_0914The final chapter in Any Given Reason’s coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed is The Cartier Style et Luxe, a premium concours d’elegance for around fifty hand selected and high quality examples of mechanical art.

DSC_0502Set in a relaxed yet tasteful atmosphere on the lawns of Goodwood House, far from the noisy din of racing engines tackling the hillclimb, the Style et Luxe features possibly the widest spectrum of entrants spread over ten classes spanning automotive history.

DSC_0272Given that the Festival of Speed was celebrating 50 Years of the Porsche 911, it is no surprise that the rear engined cars from Zuffenhausen featured prominently in a class of their own. Taking center stage was a 1973 Carrera RS Lightweight, which was raced by Fritz Muller in the European and German National GT Championships.

DSC_0515Right alongside was one of only a handful of what has to be the ultimate air-cooled 911 – the 1995 993 911 GT2.

DSC_0282Right across was the most extreme 911 to have ever been built – the 1998 911 GT1 Street. New regulations in international GT racing in 1998 meant that manufacturers could enter a car that had been designed from scratch, providing a road going version was offered to the public. Strangely enough this is the only road going version to be built and none ever reached any customers, however the model finished first and second at Le Mans that year, giving Porsche its 16th victory. Continue reading