Biannually, the well initiated classic car and motorcycle lovers come together in Montlhery, just south east of Paris, to indulge themselves on a weekend of pre war splendor.
The motor racing circuit started in 1924 with an especially high banking and a year later a road circuit was added. Grands Prix and speed trials were frequently held until the Second World War, but unfortunately the circuit was never able to regain its former glory after the war. A major stain in the history of the circuit is that in the early years of the war, a Roma concentration camp was located in situ. Nowadays, Montlhery springs to life occassionally and on these special moments, a glimpse of the roaring twenties and thirties can be seen and felt. May 9th and 10th were two of those sparse, special moments during the Vintage Revival at Montlhery.
As mentioned, the Vintage Revival is organized once every two years. It can be best compared to the first Goodwood revival meetings in the late 1990s (from the 20th century ☺) in terms of character, but not in scale!
It has a kind of boyish and mischievous charm about it and each edition has a central theme – this time Salmson took the spotlight -but it is, above all, a who’s who in pre war motoring where old friends meet again. But apart from all the fantastic three- and four wheel voiturettes and full blown race cars, there were also lots of vintage motorcycles and even a few pedal cars and bicycles. However, the cars attending are not really being raced as they do on the Goodwood track, but driven at a friendly pace for everyone to enjoy. That being said, Montlhery can be considered as a unique pre war driving event, where the Goodwood Revival has more and more evolved into a fancy dress party for the whole family with some serious racing on the side.
It’s possible here to run in to Caroline Bugatti -daughter of ‘le Patron’- or a nice Dutch delegation of the Dutch Vintage Sports Car Club (DVSCC), but also petrolheads such as the sympathetic Belgian Marc Hendrix who brought three of his light cyclecars to the event. Hendrix was able to demonstrate, among other things, a very rare Tamplin (only four are said tobe still in existence; Evert Louwman also has one in his unrivalled museum in the Hague).
The Tamplin comes from the early 1920s and has a 1000 cc JAP V-twin on board. Thanks to its low weight – the body is of reinforced plywood- is can still carry a lot of speed and it’s a feast for sore eyes to see it run on the banking and it being used where it was originally build for!
In total over 300 participants were present at the meeting, to show and drive their cars, but maybe even more important, to talk and meet other vintage motoring afficionado’s.
Cinecars was able to attend the meeting as well and shot the following impression. Enjoy these pictures and think of gasoline fumes, sputtering and roaring engines and imagine yourself back in time with makes such as Delage, Bugatti, Voisin and all the others that once were in hot pursuit of eternal glory in the motor racing arena.
Bastiaan van den Berg