For many of us who are into vintage iron, there is a deep interest in brands and machines that we have no interest in owning. If we like one particular marque, then there is usually an interest in one or two others that we may never have owned or have any desire to in the future. For some strange reason though, we have accumulated a level of knowledge about these other brands or vehicles. For me it is French cars. Perhaps it is because I have never owned one that there is such interest as I have owned vehicles from many countries ear to France. Countries such as England, Italy, Germany of course, and Sweden, but nothing from the country which founded motor racing.

This makes Carlisle’s annual import show an anticipated event, as you can see all of these nationalities and more in one place. It is also one Of a few events of the year where Saab may outnumber BMWs, or where Opels may outnumber MGBs. By the way, what is the plural of Saab? It seems like one of those words where the plural should be the same as the singular ie: I have 9 Saab. But I digress…..the French section is a mixture of Citroen, Peugeot, and Renault. Perhaps because of the multiple Citroen DS present, it feels like there is an air of sophistication surrounding the ownership of French cars. Not in a snobbish way, it’s just that there are no ratty unfinished French cars at any event where I have seen them present. Even the common man’s 2CV is usually well preserved or restored. They seem much more like Jaguar or Mercedes.

Speaking of Jaguar and Mercedes, both were well represented on the showfield. Mercedes W109 models and Jaguar E-Type were particularly plentiful. The aforementioned Opel is another reason that this show is a delight. While the Opel GT is most abundant, this is the place to see multiple generations of Rekord, many Mantas (Manti?), Asconas, and more. This is another favorite section of the showfield. Favorite section #3 is the for sale corral. Just for variety it cannot be beat. A fully surface-rusted beetle, a Triumph TR4, a BMW 2002, a Cobra kit car, a Jaguar E-Type, a Mercedes SL, a Subaru Microcar, a Porsche 356 Replica, a Volvo PV44, etc. the prices were just as varied as the machines from the ridiculous to the great deal.

I have not even touched on the growing Datsun/Nissan presence, the Rovers, or the Volvo wagon brigade. This is the beauty of the event, you can walk across the globe and sample vintage vehicles. But be warned, globe trotting can be very time-consuming, and does not lend itself to a rigid schedule. You could get stuck in Sweden drinking vodka with the natives as the sky grows dark…..

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