Automedon : I don’t really know why, but I love it
It’s a guilty pleasure, I don’t know how to explain it, but I love this fair. The most pointed petrolheads will probably not know about this event and the French will probably throw stones at me. I can already hear them yelling, “boooooo, there’s nothing exiting in Automedon ». What? A Ferrari 250, that’s what you call nothing? Apparently you get it wrong.
I’m taking about the 19th edition of this show and I’m going to explain why it has its place in your annual calendar of automotive events.
19 years of mechanical passion and more with Automedon
It all began in the mid-1980s with an underground (literally) spare parts flea market in the basement of La Défense. A kind of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meeting. In 2001, I was 10 years old, and the first Automedon show opened its doors in Le Bourget. So what could be better than using the name of “Automedon”, Achilles tank driver during the Trojan War, to launch a real exhibition for mechanics enthusiasts?
In the early years, Automedon was very similar to a regular spare parts show for vintage vehicles, full of little old people with dusty car parts (you know it’s true). But over time, exhibitions, tributes and meetings spiced the event. In 2010, for example, Automedon celebrated the 100th anniversary of Alfa Romeo by organizing an exhibition and a parade in the streets of Paris. I would have loved to participated. Unfortunately I was a broke student.
Since 2017, Le Bourget exhibition space has been so successful that it has become too small. Indeed, the dust had given way to smiling professionals and young enthusiasts. So the booths have started to take over the adjacent parking lots. More than a question of logistics, this lack of space created something that we hadn’t seen coming: the show joined the visitor parking lot to create an improvised open-air show, that make this salon both charming and unique.
A 2019 Automedon edition full of surprises
What’s spectacular when you arrive in Automedon is to cross the car parks. Anyway, you have to do it before you reach the hall where the meeting takes place. You know me, it’s not a criticism at all, on the contrary. In fact, I love to get lost in the Automedon parking lot, it’s a bit like an Easter egg hunt. When you find something that interests you, you look up and you come across something incredible again and so on. The risk is to forget the time and to spend the whole day outside. No worries, you can come back on sunday. Oospie you get lost again the next day.
Quite naturally, cars park lanes are made of cars of the same type. Nothing is mandatory but nature dictates that American cars go with Americans cars.
Speaking of Americans, you can’t miss them. They are big, they are shiny and sometimes they even rise (the suspensions) as in music clips from the West Coast. Things we’re not really used to see in France. Talking about France, just next door, the old Frenchies are wise. Dozens of Citroën DS and SM (and a fantastic Panhard CD!!) are lined up with their owners sharing tips and archival photos academically. They face British gang with some elegant Rolls Royce Corniche Fixed Head, Jaguar E-Type Series I and Austin Healey 3000. An Aston Martin DB6 is just coming to the party. A little further on, the Italian are flexing their muscles. Lancia Delta, Alfa Romeo Giulia SS, Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTV, Ferrari 612 Scaglietti and Maserati… Oh! A Maserati 3200 GT! I love this car. We rarely see them, especially as well preserved and with this dark green livery.
Behind them, the young timers are a real eye-catcher. Renault R5 Turbo, Turbo 2, Peugeot 205 GTI, Renault Clio Williams, there is something for everyone and everyone here love that. In the middle of all these people, I notice a rather unusual car. This is a barquette that I don’t recognize right away. Closer, it’s La Douille. The one and only. Designed on a Renault 4CV basis by Joseph Douillard, this car can reach 160 km/h! With its well designed round lines (rare for a homemade car), and its patinated fiberglass bodywork, the car is just superb!
What I love the most about Automedon (apart from these discoveries) is the constant traffic of cars. You never really know what you’re going to find. There’s something magical about it. You turn your head, the car you admired has disappeared and left its place to an even more incredible one. That’s exactly what happened to me when I saw a Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet Pinin Farina. And yes, you wouldn’t have thought you’d see that at Automedon. Neither did I, which means it’s always worth a visit.
By the way, I noticed something else incredible. As soon as the drivers pass through the entrance gate they change. Indeed, they become incredibly relaxed, open and caring, forgetting all the problems of everyday life. Each with his own car, each with his own culture, each with his own interests but everybody curious and attentive to others. What surprised me the most (apart from their fantastic car) were the owners of the Ferrari 250. They installed their folding chairs next to it (in a relaxed way) to chat with visitors who were happy to exchange a few words with a petrolhead couple. You will tell me that it’s usual in Automedon, yes, but is it really usual when it comes to a car worth 1.5 million euros? Have you ever seen this before? In the middle of Citroën 2CV, Elcamino and VW Golf GTI? Probably not, because it’s rather exceptional and really pleasant.
Citroën, Opel, Vipères, Christophe and dozens of clubs in Automedon
This 19th edition of Automedon was of course also held in Le Bourget Exhibition Center. If you missed the exhibition hall, you missed a magnificent show that looked back at Citroën‘s 100th anniversary by presenting rare models such as Citroën DS Chapron, SM rally cars and prototypes like Citroën C-Métisse. A ride “In the footsteps of André Citroën” was also planned throughout Paris to pay tribute to the brand’s great boss and the history he shared with the French capital. It should be remember that Citroën’s factories were located at Javel in the 15th district of Paris.
Opel was also celebrating an anniversary: it was the German brand’s 120th birthday. An opportunity to admire numerous of mythical car models like the GT (that I personally love). This bolide is clearly underrated. A little further on, it’s a booth dedicated to the Vipers which attracts me. These cars are incredible machines, very pretty and at the limit of driving, that rocked my childhood. I terribly want to try one, so crossing a viper’s nest is amazing.
« In 1968, I won a price at Magny-Cours. I liked beating the pros. Porsche wanted to hire me, but I had a 5-year licence cancellation. Three speeding violations with my Ferrari Daytona. So I’ve sold my cars » Christophe, famous French singer
In the midst of the dozens of passionate clubs gathered as every year, Christophe was also one of us. He was in a way the godfather of this edition. With his 70s design objects and his legendary outspokenness, he perfectly embodied Automedon’s free spirit for this year.
I hope this honest experience at Automedon made you want to get lost in the middle of all these cars. If that’s the case, book now your mid-October weekend for the next edition of one of the most surprising and unifying automotive event in France. And don’t forget to bring your own car and own passion.