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10.09.08: Car show’s French flair

Time 13 years ago

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It’s 29 degrees C, the sun is shining and I’m at a car show. Even on a short break I can’t seem to get away from cars – but this show sure beats a wet NEC in Birmingham!

 

As the latest issue rolled off the presses this week, the better half and I headed to Marseille to visit some good friends who have the fortune of living in a part of the world where the sun pretty much always shines.

 

After a 9am Sunday morning flight to France with Ryanair (a shockingly efficient airline at pocket money prices), it wasn’t long before our French attaché introducing us to that glowing thing in the sky we haven’t seen in the UK since June with a walk along the beach.

 


As we strolled we stumbled across this Max Power-a-like car show. Ok, so it might not be the Paris Motor Show being mostly packed with modified continental hatches – but there were some unmolested treats among the French Frankensteins.

 

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My favourite was this Lancia Delta Integrale. I’ve long held a place in my heart for the rally-spec monster. When I was 17, my brother ran a small used car lot and took in a Lancia Delta HF Turbo in part ex. He let me take it for a spin and I instantly fell in love.

 

As cheap as the car was, I was unfortunately unsuccessful in my attempts to find an insurance company that knew what it the Delta was, let alone quote a spotty teenager for cover! 

 

I’ve long since hankered after its bigger brother – the Integrale – and this dusty red example in Marseille was more than enough to reignite my desires. I have not, repeat have not, spent my first day back in the office looking at the 16 examples currently available on Auto Trader… honestly.

 


Other cars that caught my eye included a tasty Ford Escort Cosworth – another car that adorned my wall as a teen – a Lamborghini Gallardo (this looks more and more like a hammerhead shark every time I see it), a 911 GT3 complete with scaffolding (ok, roll cage), and a Megane that had been so beautifully sculpted by its owner that it really did have an ass worth shaking.

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The only thing that spoilt our incredible three-course lunch (enjoyed within earshot of the show) was the fact a number of the boy racer delegates persisted in lapping the event while popping their 1.6-litre engines off the rev limiters. 

 

And all the time this was accompanied by a trance track bass line from speakers the size of giant paella dishes. I suppose, wherever you are in the world, our baseball cap-wearing Max Power-loving friends are never far away.

 

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Anyway, thought you might like to see the pics. I hope you enjoy the next issue which will be arriving on your desks later this week (Friday September 12 onwards).

 

Happy selling…

 

James

 

 

 

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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