Retromobile Paris 2015

Reader Contribution by Somer Hooker
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A sea of red MV Agustas at Bonhams’ Retromobile auction.

I had just arrived in Paris for the 40th year of Retromobile, one of the biggest vintage machinery shows in Europe, and was struck by the irony of an announcement by Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, that she would request a ban on all motorcycles manufactured prior to 2000. Automobiles prior to 1996 would face a similar ban. In the same manner that people flock to Las Vegas and Scottsdale, Arizona, for the winter motorcycle auctions, the French version of cabin fever sets in and they, too, show up by the thousands to see some nice vehicles. Quite often, American enthusiasts are incredulous when I mention the importance of French motorcycles. Yet prior to WWII, France was on the cutting edge of motorcycling, and some of the earliest designs originated there. Paris is covered all year round by riders, and the Retromobile parking lot was filled with motorcycles — and it was barely above freezing!

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