Car Show Classics: 10th Salon Autos-Motos Anciennes à Bazas (July 2023) – Part 3: Foreign Cars

This is the final instalment of the series, but will be a bigger post than the previous two. For a summertime car meet in a small French town, there sure were was a lot of Detroit iron present. There were literally dozens of Mustangs – either really old or really new, none of those 4-cyl. types – and a very varied bunch of everything else. This Cordoba, with its 20’’ rims and curious colour, is a case in point. The Caddy behind it was a real looker and will have its stand-alone post sometime.

Just a couple of early-model gen 1 Mustangs to illustrate what I was claiming above. There were just too many to keep track.

Didn’t see any of those obese early ‘70s Mustangs, bar this one. It was so unexpected that I needed to take a photo.

Crown Vics might be downright common where you are, but in France, they’re rather exotic!

My pick of the US Fords was definitely this ’64 Thunderbird – surrounded by a pair of those ever-present Mustangs, for good measure.

A few hot rods were also present, but apart from this one, they kind of blended in the background for me.

Prowlers are really a breed apart, though. Always an impressive sight.

The older stuff is much more my speed, so that’s what we’ll chiefly be focusing on. It may be kinda dumpy-looking, but this 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook still brought a smile to my face.

GM’s 1958 offerings get a lot of flack for their fussy styling, and justifiably so. But they did a pretty decent job on the Cadillacs, in my opinion. Best of a bad MY.

These need no introduction. What this particular one does need is a different colour.

Amidst the flock of Mustangs, this Trans Am (circa 1980?) looked a little out of sorts.

Same for this Camaro RS, the only on of its kind I spotted that day. But I will admit that the Buick right next to it was rather more interesting.

Here’s a closer gander at it. I’m not overly familiar with these and the web is not helping much, so anybody know if this is a ’71 or a ’72?

Corvettes were pretty numerous, but this early C3 was one of the highlights. No idea why my phone turned the red interior into a strange shade of pink. Incredible condition, though!

It was refreshing to see a Corvette in blue instead of the eternal red. The best-looking C1s were the pre-quad ones, in my view. But if quads must be included, the late ones like this ’61 (or a ’62), with their defanged grilles and their duck tails, are the best of that lot.

I don’t know if it’s because this Chevelle is such a simple (almost plain) design, but those quirky wheels really stuck out to me. Surely not original, but an interesting addition.

Speaking of wheels, those really don’t fit that otherwise very sweet ’67 El Camino.

Ten years earlier, Chevy pickups were a lot chunkier! Love that design.

Why is the middle child of the tri-five Chevrolets routinely overlooked? They’re beautiful. OK, that hood ornament doesn’t know if it’s a bird or a plane, but that’s the only oddity.

Not a fan of the fender skirts either, but I imagine that can be easily remedied. The interior is probably one of the best of the period for GM.

One of the absolute gems of the whole show was this 1953 Studebaker Starliner.

Pity there were a few non-stock items – those rims are especially awful. But the aftermarket steering wheel is less problematic. Makes the car look even more “European”…

Sometimes, trying to look “European” took things a little too far.

Just what nationality would you say the DeLorean is? American-financed, British-built, Italian-designed and French-engined – a true world car.

Predictably, the Japanese contingent was quite limited. Still, a handful of noteworthy finds included this Celica drop-top.

There are a lot of these old Land Cruisers in France, especially down south. Few are this clean, though.

There were a couple old Nissans about, but nothing worth a quick snap. This RX-7, on the other hand, warranted a lot more attention. Best wheels of the show?

Onwards across the Channel. Can anything be more British than a Morgan +4? An MG, you say? Hold that thought.

Finally, something prewar. Alas, it’s an MG, and those all look a bit too alike to me to identify.  Anyone? Anyone?…

Not the same car, but close. Still no idea what model it is exactly, but looks like a late ‘30s Tickford T-Type.

Now that’s postwar. And now I know my bearings. It’s a 1950-53 TD, looking quite spiffing in silver.

Last MG of the post, but it’s a great one – the MG A coupé. But we’re not out of the sports car world yet, far from it…

I’m not sure I’d seen a big Healey with this colour combo – very classy.

Quite a few Triumphs were also about. Early Spitfires are especially attractive, much more so than TRs in my view.

Even later ones like this Mk IV (1970-74) look very cool. Interesting way to get your spare tyre stolen.

That 1300 TC (1968-70) was a pleasant surprise! Triumph roadsters are a dime a dozen, but these little FWD saloons have all but vanished from the roads. Not that they were all that common in France to begin with…

Old Landies make for a pretty impressive charabanc. Bet you could fit eight people in the back there.

The last Englander of this post will be this absolute minter of a late model Rover P6, in the regulation dark brown. Not every BL car was a shoddily-built penalty box drawn by 7-year-olds.

There are many classic Alfas in Tokyo, but not many mid-to-late-‘70s Alfetta GTVs. Actually, there used to be quite a few in France when I was a kid, but I guess they’ve all disintegrated. Bar this one, thankfully. Ain’t rust a bitch?

As much as that yellow ’59 Cadillac looked atrocious, it works a lot better on an early ‘70s Autobianchi A112. Funny that, eh?

Fiat 500s may be cute as a button, but their Autobianchi cousins are almost sexy! The painted dash should make this a 1962-65 Bianchina Berlina D.

The Italian car that really stole the show (and yours truly’s heart) was a stunner of a 1933-37 Fiat 508S Balilla Spider. Designed by Ghia, these tiny works of art initially got the same underpinnings as the rest of the 508 range, but soon got upgraded with an OHV engine (36hp for 995cc) and a 4-speed gearbox. Some of these were made in France (by Simca), Czechoslovakia (by Walter) and Germany (by NSU), but this seems to be an Italian one.

Keeping the best for last with the German cars, natürlich! Fewer Benzes here than in Japan, but still a few nice ones, like this late model Pagoda.

The only breakdown I witnessed over the entire event was, oddly enough, that of an ordinarily bulletproof W111 cabriolet’s 3.5 litre V8. Unmöglich! But what a gorgeous interior to wait for the tow truck in…

Try as one might, it is impossible to escape the W123. It’s a scientific fact.

Porsches, Porsches everywhere, but most of them water-cooled or otherwise boring. Then I spotted this 356B and things were looking up!

Great period colour on that 911. And the old-fashioned yellow headlights are a great touch.

I have a serious soft spot for these “angry” 1962-69 Type 3-based Karmann-Ghia 1500s. Another winner of a Corvair-inspired design.

I hadn’t seen a non-Quattro one of these in ages! For whatever reason, there are very few classic Audis where I now reside, so seeing this one got me all nostalgic.

Older Opels are very rare in Japan as well – Isuzu filled that particular market, in the ‘70s / ‘80s. These Kadett Cs are the only T-cars that look “right” to me, as those are what I grew up with.

My personal pick of the Deutschers was, unexpectedly, a small Ford. You just don’t see these early Fiestas around anymore, and this one was just astoundingly immaculate. The interior was so perfectly late-‘70s you could almost hear the Abba music.

Speaking of which, the last car will be this Swedish beauty. I wish I had taken the time to photograph it more, but I’m sure I’ll find one in Tokyo. It’s a Volvo, so it’ll be there.

Over the next few months, I will be returning to my Bazas photo archive to feature more individual cars in greater detail – ones that were not covered in the last three posts, or that you may have noticed in the background somewhere. All in all, this was a really cool show, though the amount of cars far outstripped the town’s parking capacity. A traffic jam made of classic cars is still a traffic jam, so I guess the locals must have not had that great a Sunday. But the rest of us sure did.