As we talk about electric cars, the ban on thermal cars, “more and more people want to rediscover the historic car, synonymous with fun, thrill, musicality of the machine”, enthuses Matthieu Lamoure. The director of Artcurial Motorcars thus intends to carry out the largest French sale of collector models, on February 3 and 4, with more than 80 million euros in estimates. And this, on the occasion of the Retromobile show (February 1 to 5) that expects 125,000 visitors. The 1964 Ferrari 250 LM alone fetched 25 million euros, ahead of a 1979 Porsche 911 SC owned by Johnny Halliday (250 to 300,000 euros) or Jean-Paul Belmondo’s Ford Mustang in The wrong from 1983 (200 to 400,000 euros)! So, are collectors really rich? Not needed.
Artcurial’s auction also includes more affordable models… like a typical Citroën GSA, new condition, from 1983. This mass-produced tricolor compact is estimated at 15-20,000 euros. And not just Artcurial. The Retromobile show itself, held at the Porte de Versailles in Paris, offers for sale “150 to 200 cars for less than 25,000 euros”, specified its director Romain Grabowski. In the market itself. Because the average value of an old car in France does not exceed “17,800 euros, with an annual expenditure of 4,000 euros on maintenance”, underlined Jean-Louis Blanc, president of the FFVE (Federation of vintage vehicles). Therefore, it is not the most prestigious brands that hold the upper hand.
400,000 French collectors
In fact, most of the 400,000 French collectors want nothing more than to find the car of their memories. “These are the family cars in which we sit in the back and we buy to ride forever”, explains Matthieu Flonneau, transport historian at Paris I. “It is a passion that reaches the greatest number”, insists Xavier Ang Peugeot, manages the heritage of Peugeot, Citroën and DS. As a result, more than 70% of the fleet of cars registered in the collection consists of models from the 60s to the 80s corresponding to the childhood of the owners! The Isn’t Citroën the most popular brand with enthusiasts, ahead of… Renault and Peugeot, according to Hiscox, an insurer specializing in period models?
In any case, there are more collectors in France. By 2022, 36,000 certificates allowing models over 30 years old to be classified as collector cars have been issued. Against 32,000 five or six years ago. Total sales of vehicles over thirty years old also increased last year by 3% to 98,100 units, of which only a third are classified as collection models, according to the special magazine. Argus. The Peugeot 205 is (by model) the most popular. The sector generates 4 billion euros in turnover, 400 million more than in 2016, and employs 24,000 people, against 20,000 before. An enthusiasm maintained by the proliferation of demonstrations of old cars, 6 to 7,000 per year in France, but also car races such as the historic Monte-Carlo Rally held at the end of January.
It is the preservation of heritage
A symbol: Rétromobile now has more exhibiting brands than… the Paris Motor Show for new cars last October! And this show is presented in a more lavish way than the Mondial, with carpet everywhere and more luxurious stands. “Faced with systematic and kind criticism of the car, the French have proven that they love their automotive past”, exclaimed Luc Chatel, president of the PFA (Automotive Platform). “The classic car is the safeguard of historical heritage”, adds Matthieu Lamoure. A passion that can be lived every day. Because the advantage of cars classified as a collection, and at least, is that they are allowed in the low emission zones that currently exist in France, which however in principle prohibits old cars! “No municipality refuses to date”, specified Jean-Louis Blanc, which evokes the sympathy encountered by elected officials for old cars.
A way to avoid bans? Nope. Because a classic car is not driven much: less than 1,100 km per year on average! Logic: as exciting as they are, older cars require maintenance, parts are not always easy to find and, along with the gray card collection, are prohibited from commercial use. Cars come out about fourteen times a year on average. Therefore, they generate less than one in every thousand polluting emissions from vehicle traffic, according to FFVE.