Thursday, 1 October 2015

Circuit Des Remparts 2015 - Angouleme - Days one and two

This post, and the next, will chiefly appeal to classic car fans, but due to its longevity, this motor sporting event  is such a fundamental and important part of the year for the city and its people (they are named the Angoumois), I hope that every reader, car fan or not, will find something of interest in it! Below is this year's poster for the event, which has been held every year since 1939, interrupted only by World War II. That's quite a record!

Signs like this below are erected on every major road entering the city. They set out brief details of the activities, held over a long September weekend from Friday to Sunday. The events  comprise a Concours D'Elegance on the Friday evening, a (fairly gentle) rally on Saturday (because most of the cars are old and/or valuable!), with the grand finale on Sunday being flat-out racing around a street circuit in the old town - all closed to normal traffic, of course! Participants often come from far away in their enthusiasm to participate in one or other of the above; many are French but a large contingent comes from the UK, as you will see. Without them, I felt that the event would be much smaller and much the poorer!

A beautiful 1939 Alvis 4.3 litre drophead coupe below, driven all the way from England by a mature gentleman and his wife! This car won the open-top class in the Concours, a competition in which cars (and some motorbikes), divided into classes, are judged by a panel, for their condition, style and the way in which the driver and passengers are attired to match the looks and age of the car! The contest here is all fairly light-hearted, but the long and unseasonably cold and rainy evening must have tested the patience of the entrants!
 The Alvis was snapped in daylight, on its way to the evening event, but I found it very difficult to take shots of many of the entries on the judging ramp due to the artificial lighting set-up and the intermittent rain squalls, so I only have two other class winners worth showing! The car below is a Porsche 356C from the mid '60s, cleverly  decked out in a winter sports mode. The engaging boy (on the right) throwing fake snowballs at the crowd must have added a few points to the car's score!

A host of vintage motorbikes below, mostly French, with the class winner being a teenager who had rebuilt his vintage bike himself!

After a late night with the Concours, the car rally started early on Saturday morning, following a 180km (115 mile) route around the local countryside, taking in sunflower fields and the extensive estates growing grapes for wine and Cognac (that famous town is not very far away). There was an official entry of some 300 cars, of which only 200 were in the programme, so that made identification difficult for us! The lunch  break was in Jarnac, a small town SW of Angouleme, so we headed there to get some shots of the competitors as they drove in from their morning's challenges. The whole town came to a standstill and streets were gridlocked as many locals arrived to show off their own oldies. The gendarmes battled valiantly to keep the traffic moving!

Of the hundreds of cars milling around, here are a few which caught my eye, illustrating the wide spectrum of motor transport developed in the middle years of the 20th century. The unusual car below is a Citroen-based Lomax from the '70s. Not so good to look at as the much earlier English Morgan 3-wheeler, I reckon! Still, the owner is obviously proud of it!

A stunning, rare and  valuable Bugatti type 35B below; more of a racing car, really, so the owner was very courageous in undertaking the rally day, just ambling along country roads for hours! These cars were produced in the mid to late 1920s and powered by 2.3 litre straight eight engines producing up to 130 horsepower. You'll need to find around £500,000 ($US750,000) for some examples, but this one would be out again the following day for the races around the town!

Now a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 from England; the same model was used in the James Bond films and that is worth £1,000,000 ($US 1,520,000). Whew!!

Below a 1920/30s Bentley sports, again , all the way from the UK, but not being an aficionado of the marque, I'm not sure exactly what it is!

Chenard Walcker, a rare French make, was manufactured in the '20s and some cars were built for racing. Indeed, there is an example in the Le Mans motor museum. Cars were built into the '30s, in association with the better known Delahaye brand, but after that the factory apparently closed down. This is French owned, as is the Citroen further below from the same era.



What looks below like a American Willys Jeep, seemingly converted for use by the French police. It didn't have any rally number plates on it, so maybe it was being driven around by some locals just displaying their pride and joy!

A Jaguar XK120 roadster, the first of their beautiful post-war XK series cars. The body styling caused a sensation when the car was introduced in 1948. Another car which came all the way from the UK.

This next one, again from the UK, possibly an MG M type "Midget" from the 1930s, fitted with a supercharger to improve performance. It  only had drum brakes to help the driver make it stop!

Below a local Peugeot 301 saloon, of which 70,000 were produced between 1932 and 1936. Its 1500cc engine helped it achieve 80 mph and it was one of the first cars to be designed with independent front suspension.

And last but not least, a well-restored Porsche 356 cabriolet from the mid 1960s. I seem to remember this particular car came from Holland, so quite a long drive in a 60 horsepower, 50 year old car! Don't miss the forthcoming part 2, the exciting race day!

Thanks Nigel for your research and help again.



See also my daily Photo Diary Here


My Life Before Charente   - New post 13/08/2015
Will catch up with the latter soon!!

58 comments:

  1. Wow, the Jaguar is gorgeous! I love old cars and we have quite a few collectors in my neck of the woods. Every time I see one I swoon. Also, my husband spent some time in Angouleme for a comic book festival and loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sonia for the comment, I agree old cars are great but expensive to buy and expensive to maintain :( The comis book paintings around the town are amazing. Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  2. It is so lovely to see your post today, and I love all the vintage cars! Lovely series of photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Linda, there ere some really great cars there and I took hundreds of photos!!!! Hope you are well Diane.

      Delete
  3. Wow, wow, wow, my husband would go car crazy. Several years ago we saw something similar in St. Remy and took lots of pictures. I can't wait to show this to my husband....
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sam it is quite something to see and race day is still to be posted. I have so many photos it is taking me some time to go through them all!!! Hope your husband enjoys. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  4. What a stunning aray of cars. We've never managed to get to this event but hopefully next year x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kerry, we have been to the rally 3 times but this was our first visit to race day as well. Thank goodness after all the rain we had a sunny day for the races. See you soon I hope Diane

      Delete
  5. What beautiful old cars. Such style and originality they had then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah, I agree, old cars and old buildings have much more style and they were built to last. Modern things may be more practical in many ways, but they generally do not look as good or last nearly so well. Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  6. Hi Diane - must be an amazing annual event - love all your photos ... not being a car fan as such these models were good to see and the different brands and early versions ... so incredible they are still fit to drive those distances. I bet the Brits enjoy bringing their cars over ... they are usually pleased as punch to show off their amazingly restored and much loved vehicles. The Police jeep is fun to see ... looking forward to part 2 ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary I don't think you really have to be a car fan to enjoy looking at these old models. As with the older buildings they are far more interesting than the modern day 'stuff'. Most of the British cars seemed to have been driven over as well so they are pretty amazing. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  7. We are not lovers of old cars or cars in general really. But I would love to have a Citroen 2CV again. I had a two toned grey one in the UK and I loved driving it!

    By the way, have posted a response in regards to your comment about dehydrating on my blog which might be useful to you. Vx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vera we had a look at a 2CV with a view to buying one as we also love them, but we then realised there was a problem. My husband is 6'4" and he could barely roll himself up inside it, let alone drive it. Oh well one of them things! Thanks for the response, much appreciated. Have a good weekend Diane

      Delete
  8. What a great event and a super set of photos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mo for your visit and comment, much appreciated. Have a great weekend Diane

      Delete
  9. This is a wonderful post. I do love to see vintage automobiles. My husband's parents collected them and I loved to ride in them. Wishing you well! Cathy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cathy, we love the old vehicles but they are so expensive to maintain. They are such fun though and so much more interesting than new cars. Have a great weekend Diane

      Delete
  10. What wonderful photos Diane. This sounds like a special event. Sorry about the 2CV, but I suspect Nigel will find another "baby". I hope ou are both well. Have a great day. Hugs and blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :-) it was a pity that the 2CV was so small but the average French man barely comes up to my husbands shoulder!! We keep looking for something perfect, but the price of what we really want is way too high. Have a wonderful weekend Diane

      Delete
  11. The lovely Hilary sent me an email to alert me to this post, as she thought I might enjoy it. (Smart lady!) My husband is a car guy, so we go to quite a few car shows, either to enter one of his vehicles, or simply to enjoy the sights. The cars you've shown here are marvelous, and judging by the picture of the Jaguar, the setting is so beautiful, the cars almost become secondary. Wait, let me revise that. The setting merely enhances the experience.

    It's nice to meet you. It's also nice to know I'm not the only female who posts pics of automobiles on her blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your visit Susan. It is not the first time I have blogged about cars but they are generally pretty rare I have to admit. We are both 'old car' fans but I am not sure how many of my followers are. The setting for the rally was beautiful, every year they pick a spectacular spot to enhance the cars. We are both Porsche fans, but all old cars are pretty spectacular. Have a fab weekend Diane

      Delete
    2. Thanks Susan! Glad you got across and enjoyed Diane and her hubby, Nigel's, post; and how lovely you had South African friends with you .. fun ... cheers Hilary

      Delete
  12. Interesting with all the cars and how it's a large event for the city. Love the Aston Martin and that great red Jaguar! Pretty classy cars! Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Pam. The owners of the Aston Martin were sat next to me during the concourse so I learnt a little about the car :-) Hope you are both well, you have a great weekend also.

      Delete
  13. Hi Diane, what a fabulous opportunity to see this event. An amazing array of super cars. As you say a majority of them come from the UK . Shame but good that they are still around and able participate in this rallye. Thanks for sharing , take care xox Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne you would have loved the weekend. It was really good, and and it was great that we could also enjoy it with friends from South Africa. So much more interesting being with car people as well. Have a good weekend, hope that you are managing OK. Diane xox

      Delete
  14. What a great event. This rally seems to have transformed Charente.
    So many beautiful classic cars, in perfect restored condition. Wow.
    Great shots.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rick it was a great weekend. We have talked about going several times before but it took friends from South Africa to arrive here for us to actually make it. We have though been to the rally 3 times. Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  15. Love the old cars as they are so classy compared to modern cars. I enjoyed the post, Diane. I'll be showing it to my husband…I know he will enjoy it as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Karen, I could not agree more, modern cars are not nearly as interesting or fun. Hope your husband enjoyed the post, Diane

      Delete
  16. Dear Diane, I'm so happy to be back again as you must have noticed I was away for a long time, but back in business and happy to visit you once more, your posts are always such a pleasure to read, and in this case to look as the great pictures, not that I am very fond of cars and races, but in this case I truly enjoyed the cars, so well preserved, just lovely, thanks to you and your husband ! Best regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to have you back though I have been struggling to keep up, too much to do now we are retired!! Glad you enjoyed the post despite not having an interest in cars. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  17. This looks right up your alley, especially the Porche.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaelyn just wish we could have drive the 356 home it was in great condition. There were quite a lot of Porsches around but this was our favourite. Have a good week Diane

      Delete
  18. WW, how exciting! Gorgeous cars! My favorite is the RED jaguar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the comment, the Jag is nice but we are both Porsche fans so we find it hard to not to pick our favourites :-) Hope you and your daughter are well Diane

      Delete
  19. Fantastic cars! Love the poster on top too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks José,it was a good couple of days and the racing was even better I think. Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  20. There are some real beauties among them, isn't there

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some fabulous cars Jonker, sadly we sold our 356 when we left RSA, it is now worth a lot of money!!! In £'s and even more in R!!! Thanks for the comment. Have a great week Diane

      Delete
  21. Quelle chance d'avoir assisté à un tel événement et d'avoir pu admirer de tels véhicules.
    A bientôt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nous avons été chanceux. Les voitures étaient belles. Bonne journée. Diane

      Delete
  22. Isn't that red Jag the same one driven by Inspector Morse? My great uncle, an automobile fan from the time he was old enough to drive (around 1920) had a large number of old cars, and I think a couple of the ones you photographed were the same as or similar to models in his collection. I believe his sons sold said collection when Uncle Robert went to the Great Race Track In The Sky, but I did love to wander through his barns and admire them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marjie, yes the Jag is a similar one, a Mk2, to the one Morse drove. Last year a barn was 'discovered' here in France after the original owner, then his son died. The grandchildren had no idea what had been hidden away in the barn for the past 50 years. The cars all sold for just over £20 million, a nice little inheritance!!! Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  23. What a wonderful event. I love the vintage style posters and love all the old cars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Denise, as always the older cars (and buildings) have more class, built to last and are much more interesting. Have a good week Diane

      Delete
  24. Awww look at those classic beauties My husband would love to see all these.

    PS. Sorry, it's been a while since my last visit. Been busy!

    Take care always.

    Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment Rose. I know the feeling, time seems to get less and less!!! Keep well Diane

      Delete
  25. I have to say modern cars don't interest me at all Diane, but j'adore these old vintage motors beautifully shown here, merci beaucoup.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree totally, the old cars have so much more character. Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  26. Marvelous photos! I have always loved the old classic cars. I also liked the vintage poster very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Denise, it is a great poster I agree. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  27. I so admired that Aston Martin when I was a boy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Wow that puts some excitement into your town. The cars are just amazing and your ufo very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its a great weekend, sad about the rain but at least race day was dry. Will blog about it very soon :-) T'other Diane

      Delete
  29. Just catching up with this post Diane. I used to love that weekend in Angouleme. I'm always amazed at the quality of the cars on display, especially the ones which drove all the way down from the UK! I'll take the lovely red XK120 please - no need to wrap it!
    Great photos!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and pass a comment. Every comment is appreciated and I try to reply to each and every one. All comments are verification free but will come to me for approval first :-)) No Anonymous Users!