Sep 30th, 2018, 07:29 PM

120 Years and Counting for the Paris Motor Show

By Annelyse Gaston-Carrere
Mondial de l'auto 2018. Image Credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere
On September 30 the Paris Motor Show celebrated its 120th birthday with an exposition and a parade showcasing a variety of older and newer cars.

All car lovers in Paris, rejoice! The Paris Motor Show celebrates its 120th birthday this year. To honor this, car manufacturers and owners presented cars ranging from 1898 to today and presented to the public the evolution of the car industry. Car fans, families and anyone else interested in this event joined at la Concorde last Sunday, September 30, 2018. In the morning people were able to talk to the owners of cars and get learn about the stories associated with those cars. They also learned about newer concepts and car designs. The parade started at 1 p.m. and went all around Paris. 

The car industry is not only for men; Marie-Laetitia is an excellent example of this. Marie-Laetitia, 28 years old, came to this event because she loves cars and was interested in learning more about the older cars and the stories behind them. She was also excited to hear about the evolution of the car industry and see the improvements and changes made to them. 

Other people came to this event for a more specific purpose. Aurelie, 31 years old, and Nancy, 34 years old, are two ambitious women who initially came to see the Blue Summer car that was used for the Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles, which is a that rally takes place in Morocco, which is only for women and it is 100% off-road. This rally can be quite laborious as it is done without GPS or map but only a compass. 

Blue Summer automatic car made by Bollore. Image Credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

The Blue Summer car (pictured above), is part of the e-gazelle category as it is an automatic car. This is a recent category and does not contain many teams but is an interesting and challenging category. For example, the teams have to control the battery power during each day and make sure they can go on during the race. Nancy and Aurelie wanted to be in this category because it facilitates the way of driving through sand, but also for environmental purposes.

In the 2018 rally, two significant figures drove an automatic car and were in the e-gazelles. These two celebrities were Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin, and Jazmin Grimaldi, daughter of Prince Albert II. They joined the rally as the Saint Honore company team, a partner with the Rallye des Gazelles since 2003. Learning more about how the e-gazelle category works and how the car functions provided great insights to Aurelie and Nancy and allowed them to better prepare for the rally in 2019

Chaplin and Grimaldi joined the e-gazelle category. Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

How police cars evolved over the years 

A former policemen from 1976 to 2008, Mr. Chagrot, 62 years old, talked about the evolution of police cars over the years. The former police car (pictured below) is a Renault R8 police car and was presented at the salon in 1966. At the time, there were no other options but Renault cars so policemen had no choice but to choose these cars, as impractical as they may have been. 

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

Up until 1985, all the police cars were black and white because two colors would allow the cars to be visible and show that they represented the police. They were different from upper-level policemen to show the different status between a gendarme and policeman. Before 1975, the beacon was big and orange for people to notice the police and be aware of the car and today only the firetrucks have this big beacon since police cars now have a smaller blue one to provide discretion. 

Mr. Chagrot talked about the evolution of cars and how the cars today are much more discrete and comfortable and pleasant to work with. He insisted on the fact that back then there were no other options but to choose those cars because at the time there was not enough money to produce different types of cars and people could not afford more expensive brands. Renault was the leading manufacturer of the time and produced most of the affordable cars. Today there are various type of car brands and more casual cars for all policemen that provide comfort and prudence. 

If you want to learn more about this, come to the salon between the 4 and 14 of October. Mr. Chagrot and his colleagues will be there at Hall 2/2 Row A, placement 81. 

The story of the great Packard Eight

Packard Eight. Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

Mr. Jean-Pierre Antoine is the proud owner of a Packard Eight 1938 coupé chauffeur car since 1996, which he restored himself by painting most of the car but keeping the original technical tools. With this car, he has won the Chantilly prize in 2016 for the elegant car in the travel before the war category. The car is 6.23 meters long and was mainly used for long-distance traveling as it was seen as one of the most comfortable cars of the time. The back seats were made of wool with a well-covered roof and great heating. As for the driver, the seats were made of copper and have an independent heating system. 

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

Throughout the years Mr. Antoine owned the car, he had the privilege to drive Madame Sarkozy, wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, around Paris. He also drove into the court of the Invalides, which allows only the president's car to park in the court. His car was also used in multiple movies as it was an elegant car and seen as prestigious in older times. Even though our cars today have changed design and format, this car was one of the most comfortable cars at the time and remains elegant.

New concepts

In addition to cars this year, Paris has decided to add motorcycles to its salon and thus included them for its 120th birthday parade. There were multiple old and newer motorcycles and one, in particular, stood out. This is the Peugeot Metropolis scooter which has an interesting design compared to the older scooters.

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

The H.H. Carosserie Services, founded by Hubert Haberbusch, created a whole new design for the Peugeot metropolis scooter with the help of intern Valentin Lallemand. This scooter is hand-made with a body crafted entirely from aluminum. No outside information was found and an interview was not available for more details, but the scooter will be in exposition at the salon, which is from the 4 of October through the 14. The design looks interesting and a lot of people came to observe the scooter and its original look. 

Another new concept idea was the Renault Symbioz Demo car, introduced in 2017. This car was designed to give an idea of the future of Renault's cars in 2023. Symbioz Demo is fully connected, autonomous and automatic. One of the changes involved the side mirrors, which completely disappeared and were replaced by cameras.  Quite small and on the side, they are better designed safety is still a question, as is reliability. As for the inside of the car, everything was designed to provide the passengers with comfort. Three different screens were also included, providing information about the driving, the car and also allowing passengers to watch movies. To learn more about Renault Symbioz Demo and the concept idea, check out their website

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

Tony, a 62-year-old man, was impressed by the design of the car. It remains simple in style, he said, and the color of the car is not too aggressive so it looks more appealing. When asked if he would be open to driving an entirely connected and automatic car instead of the traditional manual cars, he said he would be willing to drive this car for a few reasons. The first one is that everyone has to adapt to the changes in life and get on board with the new developments. He also said that it would be a good way to learn more about technology. Another reason is that driving an automatic car is reassuring for Tony, especially on highways because there is not the stress of changing into the right gear or changing lanes. He just has to let the car do the job and drive safely without worrying. He was very impressed at the evolution of cars and how today it is all automatic and far from the traditional ideas, both stylistically or technically.

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

On the contrary, when speaking to 21 year-old Siranlee, the car did not seem appealing. He prefers older cars for their design as well as their manual aspect. Manual cars bring more pleasure to driving because the experience is greater than being driven by a car and doing nothing. This is just useful for people who want to be moved around but not necessarily for the people who like to drive and find pleasure in using all the functions of the car.

It was interesting to see the contrast between two different ages and see that Tony, the older man, seemed more open to the idea when this car should be appealing to younger people due to its usefulness and technology. Young people are always connected to everything and a car like this would make their life easier. It could be harder for older people to manage, as Tony said, because they need to adapt and learn more about technology. 

Image credit: Annelyse Gaston-Carrere

On this great Sunday morning, spectators were able to talk to owners of traditional cars such as a Antoine, owner of the Packard Eight. They could also learn from associations like Amicale Police Patrimoine or talk to former policemen such as Mr. Chagrot. In the crowds, they could also hear about why people came to see these cars and listen to their own opinions on the evolution of the car industry. If you are interested in the older cars but especially interested in what famous car brands like Peugeot or Renault are coming up with for new automatic and technological cars, come to the salon exposition at Porte de Versailles between October 4 and 14 and talk to the popular brands about their innovation. Come to listen to the stories and opinions on the evolution of cars and get an idea of what future cars will look like.