IN GAY PARIS
MANY SPORTS CARS AT THE SALON. FIRST DETAILS OF THE GRAND PRIX DELAHAYE
AS London is different from Paris, so is the annual Salon de l’A utomobile in the French capital entirely different from the Motor Show at Earl’s Court. This year’s Paris Show was particularly notable owing to the International Exhibition going on at the same time, and many British motorists took the opportunity to. see both exhibitions in:one journey. The M.G. Car Club, for inStance, ran a special trip to Paris for the occasion, and found the city crowded to its limits with sightseers.
For the sporting enthusiast the Salon was of considerable interest, for whereas at Earl’s Court sports-cars had to be sought out with some difficulty from amongst the host of touring saloons, in the Grand Palais many firms proudly exhibited actual racing-cars, while a place of honour in the centre of the exhibition was accorded to a real Grand Prix machine, the new twelve-cylinder Delahaye. ‘This must be one of the first occasions on which a Grand Prix car, built to the next year’s formula, has been exhibited to the public 80 well in advance. At the last Berlin Show, it will be recalled, the Grand Prix Mercedes-Benz and Auto-Union racing-cars were On exhibition.
A Colourful exhibit including actual ears that have taken part in races would not be allowed, incidentally, by the rules of the S.M.M. & T. at Earl’s Court, where, save in special circumstances, all cars must be new and offered for sale, Exceptions have been made in such eases As Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird—the car, in other years, and, this year, the boat.
Paris has a reputation for gaiety, and the sporting cars on the various stands, painted in the national colours, and decked with the French tricolour sash, certainly provided a vivid note. Technical designs, too, were fur more iinconven
lion al thau in the case of British fitu rs, for t he Continental public is not: so conserv ;Ltive. ‘t he Grand Palais itself, light and spacious by day, with its glass roof,
became a place of beauty at night, when the whole scene changed as the Neon tube designs in pink, green, and pale blue were switched on, and gave back
myriad reflections off the glistening cars beneath. Independent suspension for the front wheels still excites comment on a British car, though an increasing number is now so fitted, but on the Continent it has
already ” arrived.” There was scarcely a single Continental car at the Salon without independent springing for at least one pair of wheels, if not for all four.
The main trend of design was the appearance of new and interesting small cars. The success of the huge Renault firm was built up in the early days by a string of racing successes, beginning with the Paris-Toulouse race of 1900. This was the first big victory of a comparatively small-engined car, and now Renault have produced a 1-litre ” juvaquatre ” model, not in any way a sporting car, but interesting none the less because, with full four-seater body and independent front suspension, it costs in France, at the present rate of exchange, no more than t1.10. Another new ” baby ” CAT was the 1,100 c.c. ‘Sinica-Fiat, produced by the French branch of the Italian factory. This is a four-cylinder car, but a new small ” six” was the 1,100 c.c. Rosengart, an exceptiOn to the prevailing tendency
for bigger four -cylinder engines. This car was one of the few without independent front springing. The small 747 c.c. Rosengart, with transverse front spring and axle layout similar to that of the Austin Seven, is also continued. Ten years ago, when French racing supremacy was at its zenith, the Amilcar was a name to conjure with in sporting circles. This firm has now been amalgamated with Hotchkiss, but at the Salon the two had separate exhibits. On the Amilcar stand appeared the interesting 1,185 c.c. car with front-wheel drive and independent suspension of all four wheels, at the rear by torsion bars and in front by transverse springs. This car, with its bi-metal frame, of Alpax light alloy at the front, bolted to a pressed steel rear portion, with integral fiat floor, was also seen at Earl’s Court on the Hotchkiss
stand. In Paris, Hotchkiss created interest by the first appearance of their new 2.3litre four-cylinder car.
One of the finest exhibits of sporting machines was that displayed by the French Talbot Company. The actual car which -won the French Grand Prix, driven by Chiron, and the Tourist Trophy at Donington, driven by Comotti, was on show, and this type is now to be produced for sports touring work as the Lago special. These cars have six-cylinder 3,996 c.c. engines, and, besides the racing-car, several of the Lago models were on view, fitted with self-change gearboxes. The sports two-seater was a particularly handsome car. The new Grand Prix 41-litre Delahaye has already been referred to as the high spot for sporting enthusiasts. The unsupercharged V12-cylinder engine is of 4,490 c.c., and has four valves and two plugs per cylinder. Between the two banks of cylinders are three large Solex carburetters. The car is built to the new formula, which lays down a minimum weight of 850 kgs. (approximately 16.7 cwt.) for this size of engine, and is said
to be capable of about 160 m.p.h. It has already shown its paces by averaging 91.07 m.p.h. for 200 kms. over the Montlhery road circuit. Peugeot also had a racing-car on their stand, the machine which gained second place at Le Mans. A new Peugeot model, based upon this car, is the “402 legere,” with the 1,991 c.c. four-cylinder engine in the light ” 302 ” chassis. The “302 ” model has a 1,760 c.c. engine
Bugatti stood apart from the other French sporting makes in exhibiting no racing-cars on his stand. His repute is such that beautifully-finished saloon and convertible bodies on the 3.3-litre chassis were deemed sufficient, and an aerodynamic coupe of the type seen at Earl’s Court was also shown. This was nevertheless an ” exciting ” corner of the Salon, for next to Bugatti was Mercedes-Benz. The splendid 5.4litre supercharged car was shown with a particularly handsome four-seater cabriolet body, a feature of which was a
disappearing hood and a rear screen which could be folded down neatly inside a cover with zipp-fasteners. This body was not shown at Earl’s Court, but a 2.3-litre sports roadster of the same type that was seen in London was at the Salon, and the new 3.2-litre model, designed for high speeds over long stretches on the Autobahnen, excited much favourable comment.
On the other side of the Bugatti stand were Bentley and Rolls-Royce, both with fine French coachwork. In the special coachbuilders’ section, magnificent bodies were noted on the Vanvooren Bentley, the Labourdette streamlined Delage, with its four outside exhaust pipes, and the Franay Rolls-Royce. Lagonda showed a “V12,” with cabriolet body, and other British exhibitors were Humber, Hillman and Singer. On this last stand, arranged only at the latest moment, appeared an
open sports four-seater body on the if litre model, which shows French enthusiasm pour le sport, as this model is not included in. the official 1938 Singer range.
Finally, one of the most interesting ears in the show was the PanhardLevassor, once a famous sporting make. The frame is of the tubular backbone type, with only one light cross-strut. The bodies are mounted on six large rubber cushions, and otherwise are quite Isolated There are three sizes of sleevevalve engines, 2.5, 2.8, and 3,8-litres, and springing is by torsion bars all round, independent at the front. The steering box, mounted on the back of the engine, operates two steering arms, one on each side of the car. Unconventional, perhaps, but then conventions are not always followed in France 1