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Motos at Rétromobile 2019

One of the featured marques was Gnome et Rhône. A similar example like this was ridden from Paris to Moscow.

More than 132,000 people attended the 44th year of Rétromobile at the Paris Expo Port de Versailles convention center during the first week of February. Numerous automobile, motorcycle and memorabilia dealers, as well as many clubs, gathered to celebrate “Les Anciens.” Over 1,000 vehicles were on display in an area encompassing 775,000 square feet.

Cabin Fever also infects many other parts of the world in January and February. In Europe, Rétromobile is the best way to work on a cure! Four auctions, including a day-long auction of only MV Agustas, were part of the tonic. Also, there was a celebration of 100th anniversary of the Gnome et Rhône motorcycle. Their technology dates back to the turn of the 20th century when the French were one of the leading manufacturers of aircraft. Their innovative motorcycle radial engine had a fixed crank that spun the cylinders around, and their boxer engines were also quite robust. One was used in the ’30s in an endurance ride from Paris, France, to Moscow, Russia. They also used other innovations such as pressed steel frames which BMW, NSU and Honda would later utilize. Sadly, the Gnome et Rhône motorcycle did not survive World War II.

Rétromobile 2019 had an incredible display of Bédélia cycle cars, managing to find 14 of the 19 in existence. The Bédélias were once used for anything from ambulances to racers and will also be featured in a forthcoming event at Montlhery Vintage Festival in May.

This Bédélia will be featured at the Vintage Revival in Montlhery, France, in May. Note the JAP single OHV engine.

This year there were several dedicated sections for vending motorcycles. One was for motorcycles only, while another new section offered vehicles (two-, three- and four-wheeled) for under 25,000 euros, which is a great way to attract future collectors who can’t afford the seven-figure cars some dealers were offering. Here you can also see the strong trend for later Japanese bikes.

On Saturday, a large MV collection was auctioned by Artcurial, a French company headquartered in Paris. On offer was an eclectic collection of bikes from late ’40s, from tiddlers to prototypical fuel injection models that showed how far we’ve come in induction systems. There were also some race replicas as well as real pukka racers.

Walking out in the late afternoon with frost on my breath, I could see a convention center parking lot filled with new and vintage motorcycles that were ridden to this event. Such is the enthusiasm in Europe for motorcycles.


A new feature this year was the vehicles under 25,000-euro section as well as a motorcycles for sale by owner section.

This 125 Monoalbero “single cam” sold for 20,000 euros on the hammer.

A sea of red MVs!

Published on Mar 19, 2019

Motorcycle Classics Magazine

Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!