Shooting cars found on the streets is hardly a new thing, even if we here have elevated the disease to new heights. But imagine being a young American car nut spending a year abroad to study in Paris, in 1953. Thanks to the crippling luxury tax and enacted after the war, the flourishing pre-war French luxury car industry was now essentially dead. And as a consequence, owners of these classic and exotic pre-war cars are still driving them as regular cars. Not only French brands, but also cars from other countries too.
In this remarkable book, Robert Straub documents 120 of these he found parked at the curb or shot on-the-go. Voisin, numerous Delahayes, Salmson, Tatra, Talbot-Lago, Delage, Hispano-Suiza, Ferrari, Bentley, Imperia, Panhard, Bugatti, including an Atalante coupe, and so many others. And in use as regular drivers, like the older gentleman driving his slightly battered Bugatti to the hardware store and loading buckets of paint into it. This is a remarkable time capsule.
I’m not going to show you all 120 of them, but here’s a fine sampling. The book (published in 1998) is available, although not widely. And I’m dedicating this to Tatra87, who has enlightened us about so many of these classic French (and other) cars.
Robert Straub didn’t confine his curbside classic hunts to Paris; he also shot in other cities as well as back home in the US. There’s a couple of cars from the latter in the book, the most remarkable one being the following:
No less than a Bugatti Royale, the ultimate curbside find in the world!