Weak “static” events
Vintage car enthusiasts, whether they own them or not, form a vibrant community that wishes to meet regularly to share their passion. Frequent events are car rides and trade fairs (exhibitions – exchanges) organized almost everywhere, from simple gatherings of regional clubs to major events such as Retromobile in France, or Essen Techno Classica in Germany. If these events in a certain place remain interesting, if only to hunt for something sought or for the simple pleasure of the eyes, or even to spend time with friends, Many “static” events gather few visitors (and also fewer exhibitors) than ever before.
In Paris as in the countryside
However, the deprivation, which lasted almost two years, gave hope for a record flood during the recovery. Some shows, such as the Epoq’Auto in Lyon, have been popular, but many, especially the more popular ones, have seen a decline in attendance. That was the case in Paris, Brussels, or Essen to name just a few. The fear of this epidemic does not explain everything, because, even outside, the small regional Sunday stock markets are placed in the same boat.
Others cite the economic situation, the cost of travel, the price of admissions, the increase in events of varying quality. Others now have the convenience of getting parts or documents online, without the need to travel. Of course there is some truth in this, but the truth is more subtle. Because it also affects modern motor shows, whose number of exhibitors continues to decrease to the point of canceling international meetings such as Geneva (even moving to Qatar) or transforming the Paris Motor Show into a “Motor Show” focused on mobility, and short term (6 days). Additionally, the tendency to shorten the duration of shows, both old and new, has been important for several years. So much so that some organizers are wondering about the sustainability of their event, especially as the number of developers present is rapidly decreasing. The fact is that static events capture fewer exhibitors and visitors, and they have to reorganize. Car museums are not immune to this environment, struggling to reach the number of entries that allow them to cover their costs, forcing some to close shop. Does this mean that a car, especially an old one, is less desirable?
Noise and smell: a living spectacle
A new generation of collectors want to use his cars. We have seen clearly for ten years, in the expression of the reliability needs of cars, sometimes at the expense of sprains to the sacred nature. Traders also say: customers buy drive a car, enjoy their carand not just by showing it in their living room … Since then, the opportunities for outings are constantly increasing: more sports walks or meetings, simple walks with friends.
money on the move
Beyond the personal use of more work, the enthusiast is more or less willing to spend time, and if necessary money, to see cars go. When this show is free, enthusiasm runs high, as evidenced by the crowds of spectators that fill the streets of the Tour de France Automobile or Historic Monte Carlo. In the special stages of the meetings of the North as in Corsica, the public does not want to miss anything to pass tens, even hundreds, of old cars in the condition of the roads that promote them. The noise, the smell, the atmosphere… Seeing and hearing the Matra 670 during the Tour Auto or Le Mans creates a real riot.. Everything contributes to sharing emotions, reminding the older ones of the “great hours” of the car and teaching the younger ones the concepts of heritage and clean driving. Even when the event pays, the ticket office increases, especially if the athlete can participate with his car within the system of space reserved for clubs.
Everywhere and at all prices
France can be proud to host major international events such as the “Le Mans Classic” organized by Peter Auto (also Tour Auto organizer). The 10th edition, held last July, hosted 700 racing cars from 1923. (the date of the first edition of 24 Hours) until 2010, 8,000 old cars were distributed in the spaces reserved for clubs, some of which were able to light the track, and more than 200,000 spectators who paid 131 euros per person, without parking. or access in the stands… That success is almost comparable to that of a modern event.
Other events organized by Peter Auto get the same interest, such as the Tours du Castellet 10,000, at the end of August, more common, but which nevertheless attracted 15,000 spectators, including 500 vintage cars parked in special spaces near the paddocks made. up to 300 historic race cars. In the same season, in England, the Goodwood Festival of Speed, whose audience entry starts at 100 euros, received 150,000. entrance ticket from 500 eurosthis can reach a peak of up to 3 500€… In comparison, large international exhibitions offer an entry ticket of the order of 15 to 30 euros.
noise and smell
So the public prefers the spectacle of power. He wants to see cars moving, hear the sound of engines, smell their aromas, and vibrate more broadly to the rhythm of their performance. A simple static state is not enough. Although cars are beautiful, they have to live in their nature, road or track. Collectors also choose to use them, sometimes for free, while their price can sometimes exceed hundreds of thousands of euros, or even more. For them, an inert vehicle loses its soul and moves away from its raison d’être. Their happiness, like that of the public, is not limited to contemplation, but is expressed by the situation, by what they are made of. The result is an exciting concert, evoking passion and excitement on the part of the participants and the audience alike. Summer has only shown its reality through the events mentioned, in Europe or America.
An inspiring paradox instead
This distinction between static and dynamic phenomena does not call into question the existence of fairs, exhibitions or stock markets. Enthusiasts, including those who also go on cycles, will continue to visit them regularly because they share in the pleasure of meeting and also fulfilling the needs of living one’s passion. But the question of their evolution arises. If, on the one hand, exhibitors see little interest in it knowing that their presence represents a cost, and that visitors avoid them, the organizers will have to review their economic structure and the very concept of their event. Some have already started by refocusing on one sector (spare parts for example), others offer all specializations (cars, motorcycles, trucks, parts, documents, scale models, etc.) to bring together a larger number. of amateurs within the framework of what they call “show” or festival (Avignon for example).
Ready to pay the price
The fact is that the old car is popular, considering the changes in the special media, the increase in the number of cars circulating and the spread of protests every week. Interest does not decrease, but as we have seen, the public has new needs that they are ready to use. He wants life, action, emotion. For him, a car must be… mobile.
This study is rather interesting, because it encourages the use of vehicles made for this. Unfortunately, this allows many people to live around this passion: restorers, restorers, producers, parts suppliers, event companies, service providers… In the end, the important thing is that enthusiasts share their love for old cars without restriction . , the owners fully enjoying their cars, like simple visitors who have come for the enjoyment of the senses and to meet.
So the concept of “rolling heritage” loved by the Federation of French Vintage Vehicles (FFVE) takes on its full meaning. The future of the classic car, as confusing as this creation may seem, depends on its ability to stay in motion, keep cars running and thus prove the saying “as long as there’s life, there’s hope”. It gives an optimistic view on the relationship with the car.