Upcoming Paris orphan car rally promises to be an amazing sight


Paris has been in the news lately because of its perceived (and actual) aversion to classic cars, not to mention the city government’s plans to phase-out internal combustion-engined cars next decade. Both plans, as well as the enactment of monetary fines for driving cars made before 1997 in the city center, have seen plenty of pushback from classic car enthusiasts and owners of cheaper, older cars alike, with some likening the measures to a tax on poorer people who continue to use older cars.

But a few times per year, Paris still welcomes hundreds of classics on a 30-kilometer run through the city, which grew out of weekly classic tours in the 1980s. The Traversee de Paris, which now takes place twice a year, is expected to attract over 700 cars from several countries on Sunday, Jan. 7. The theme of this year’s tour of the French capital is French and international marques that are no longer around, such as Simca, Facel Vega, Panhard and others.

Porsche 911

700 cars are expected to take part in the January tour of the capital. Photo by Thibault Le Mer

1972 Citroen SM fall colors

The event is open not just to French marques: We’ve seen plenty of American classics take part in the event over the years, including fairly recent models such as Corvettes of the 1990s. Yes, relatively recent American cars are collected in Western and Eastern Europe, even though the Traversee de Paris generally attracts older European marques — some quite rare.

What’s the closest thing in the Western Hemisphere to something like this? Every summer on Bastille Day, dozens of French cars gather in New York City and travel from the FDR Memorial to the French Consulate. The annual event attracts plenty of Citroens, Peugeots, Renaults and even more obscure marques, accompanied by vintage mopeds and bicycles. We’ve seen the event in person on several occasions, and it’s quite a sight as classic 2CVs squeeze through midtown Manhattan, dwarfed by just about everything.

H/T: Hemmings Daily

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Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey

– Jay Ramey is an Associate Editor with Autoweek, and has been with the magazine since 2013. Jay also likes to kayak and bike.

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