Classic Days: Back To The Past

Historically, France is a country where the car has been witness to great know-how, technological vanguard, great sporting moments and a shared passion for almost 150 years. Even if the glory years seem behind us, it’s clear that the flame that drives our mechanical passion is far from dying! The Classic Days is a unique event, with more than 1,000 vehicles massing in the center of France to create the largest event dedicated to older vehicles.

Because there is no selection process, the participants come from all countries with their cars of various origin, just to participate in this great celebration of the automobile, and perpetuate the traditions and history. Of course, most of the cars you see over these two great days are shown in museums, but at Classic Days these exceptional vehicles, which may cost a fortune, gather for one purpose: to be driven! Engines are awakened to stretch their mechanical internals, because there’s nothing more beautiful than a car in motion, right ?

For a large event, there must obviously be a suitable place to host it, and there’s no better place for it than the legendary Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, which even a few years ago hosted the Formula 1 World Championship. This circuit was the scene of many historic moments in motorsport, and the surroundings are still echoing from the sounds of the powerful machines that have battled here.

The sun rises just as the first sounds of engines can be heard; a soft melody that spreads into the surrounding countryside. It’s also reunion time for some of the long-term participants.

The mix of cars is eclectic: European cars mingle with powerful ones from the USA, the elegant English or the Asian legends.

Some are committed to experiencing the authenticity of a bygone era, and to put themselves in the shoes of a driver from yesteryear. To feel the air on your face and see the curves of the circuit through these old goggles must be an incredible experience!

This shiny MGB GT V8 came to do battle on the track!

The first cars soar in the early morning. The pit exit is a place that visitors frequent to enjoy the enchanting sound of the engines during acceleration: a treat for the ears!

Rolling in the same tracks as some of great drivers who have used these curves, like Jacky Ickx and Alain Prost.

The sound of engines reverberates along the stalls and stands, exactly the same way as they did in the past.

Amateur drivers, some of whose talent is not far off the professionals, are determined to give their best to offer the spectators an unforgettable experience.

Only 69 Europa Cup Alpine GTAs left the factory of the French brand. This model was built for a single make series and has a rather efficient V6 Turbo!

The ‘pre-war’ class had a lot of participants. This 1931 Bugatti 51 is a perfect example; it can reach 200km/h thanks to its near 160 horsepower. Driving this ancient machine is a real test for the driver’s body!

The detailed aerodynamics of motorsport is a real treat. The owners, who are very friendly, respond with pleasure and passion to the questions of the curious.

These enamel plate marks would offer a vintage touch to your garage?

The village consists of exhibitor stands which are full of rare parts. We can also appreciate the great qualities of these objects and how they were fashioned with patience and know-how. A far cry from the soulless assembly lines of today.

This shop specialized in replica helmets that have been worn by some of the greatest drivers in the history of world motorsport.

Not all cars fit into the paddock as there are too many. Thus, the huge parking lots were turned into a temporary show to accommodate the hundreds of vehicles present. This Alfa Romeo GTA 1300 Junior, in near new condition, is a true collector’s item. The owner had no hesitation in bringing it on track either.

This incredible BMW 320 Group 5 was a huge success with the spectators, especially for fans of the propeller brand. The aerodynamic features are  rather impressive!

Club Datsun France had to participate in the event, with several Fairlady Zs including this superb track-ready car. This proudly represented the glorious past of the Japanese sports car!

Seeing a Porsche 935 like this in a museum or show is reasonably common, however, to see them on track and to be able to assess its performance is a rare experience!

Large and aggressively designed French sports cars, as seen here with an Alpine GTA V6, are typical of the ’80s style.

Inspired by the achievements of Colin Chapman at the circuit Monthléry in 1963, André Marcadier created an inexpensive sports car, that was lightweight with a tubular chassis and a Renault engine with approximately 170 horsepower. Buyers could order this car and receive it as a kit to assemble.

One of the unique aspects of Classic Days is the free access for all visitors to the paddocks and pits around circuit. This is a great advantage since it’s possible to experience the event from the inside, and you can enjoy the cars and mingle with drivers. Proximity greatly intensifies the show!

The lucky owners of these racing cars can enjoy the most pleasant and relaxed conditions, unlike the heated races of yesteryear.

The American cars were pretty well represented with imports from the other side of the Atlantic, by collectors following the ‘American way of life’ rare models. Look at this beautiful 1965 Chevrolet Corvette coupe.

This beautiful BMW 2002 Touring was not there to make up the numbers, but to satisfy the urges of its driver.

Braking when approaching the delicate curve of Estoril gives a cold sweat to the drivers of the more prestigious and rather expensive cars! Unfortunately, there would be some crashes here over the weekend.

Seeing a Porsche using its racing slicks as they were intended on a circuit like Magny-Cours is an indescribable pleasure.

Several Ford GT40s came to stretch their wheels at Classic Days. A legendary car with many successes in the ’60s at the 24 Heures du Mans. The Circuit de la Sarthe is only a few hundred kilometers away.

In the late afternoon, a parade is held on the circuit. This year almost 600 vehicles drove together at the same time!

Imagine the roar as hundreds of drivers rev their engines at the same time! A magical moment!

More than just a car event, the Classic Days is a unique human experience that brings together not only the cars but also a huge community of enthusiasts from all backgrounds.

This was the end of a memorable weekend, one of the events that would impress any Speedhunter. Two exceptional days that fill our heads with memories, encounters, and discoveries. A look into the mirror of the history of the automobile that reminds us how the world has evolved, but also how lucky we are to witness the rolling art and enjoy them with our own eyes and ears.

Amaury Pinson



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