Say 'ZX, GTO, Carrera or SL' and the classic world is shivering on your lips. Say "Renault R6 or Simca Horizon" and the opposing party will ask: "Do you want some boiled coffee and how are your mother-in-law's difficult feet?"
The missing magic
Some brands and / or types simply miss 'The Magic' when it comes to tickling our imagination. They are too ordinary, too slow, too small. And that is all due to the Calimero effect and our dream factor. 'Ordinary' stuff does not sell. Or it should go to a selected group of gourmets.
That still applies to classics in the 1: 1 scale
Yet that was 'normal stuff' that determined the street scene. But where a Rolls, Ferrari or SL300 Gullwing by definition had a reasonable chance of survival, the usual conventional classics disappeared to reincarnate via the blast furnaces as a Tomado drying rack or sandwich maker.
Out and not wanted
That type of image-defining classics has disappeared, has hardly been sought after and - always nice - not expensive. For us, the range of classic cars of this kind is best in France, on the other side of the Loire where the weather is always nice. There are still quite a few forgotten smaller Renaults, Peugeots and Simca / Chryslers / Talbots. These have often been neat cars from older people. And they are still there because they have no value, are not in the way and because the average Frenchman is simply not interested in old cars, motorbikes or houses.
Add to that the fact that there are still reasonable documents in France where the Internet is still very slow and that older French people do not like modernity. The only way to get hold of such toys is to speak French fairly well, go to France and take the time to let the potential sellers unwind. Our Dutch openness and directness is seen locally as barbaric behavior and never make the mistake of just teaching people like - the otherwise rattling French speaking - Ilja Gort does. Start conversations with the usually gray villagers in the afternoon or in the evening with a long, quiet start. If they see that their conversation partner is not a rude Dutchman, but almost a civilized person, then they want to thaw.
There are still plenty of them
And then it turns out, as we have mentioned before, that there are still some old cars in every French village. Also this summer we spotted a couple. The TAs, DSs, Matras and Renault Alpines and Peugeot 504s are long gone. But R21's, R11's and R6jes? A sporadic GS, a Peugeot 505? They are still there. 305's can also be found. Plus the aforementioned 'small' cars such as R6ssen and the various cars that were made respectively under the banner of Simca, Chrysler Europe and Talbot.
Martin Nijenhuis is a fan of classic French cars of the endearing and almost forgotten type. A few years ago he was actively working on this with Auvergne Classics pro by bringing that kind of clean sleepers to the Netherlands. But that action has been put back a bit. But browsing through his photo album made us very happy.
And this winter you can also follow simple conversation courses for little money at an Alliance Française in your area. That can make your next vacation much more interesting.