Monday, September 29, 2008

Going Continental

I may not have mentioned my intention to move to France. Some may have guessed, after I mentioned "driving a lot in Europe" while considering my next purchase, that I may not be long for the UK. Well I can now inform you my specific intended destination is the south of France, somewhere between Nîmes and Perpignan. I'm not sure where yet.

And at this rate, the Lotus and the Fiat will be going with me. Actually, I never really intended to get rid of the Fiat, though transporting it to the south of France could be, um, time consuming. The Lotus, however, is not selling. It seems a global banking crisis is not the best time to try and sell a luxury item. Who'd have thunk it??

Ironically, I think I'll have a better chance of selling it in the Côtes d'Azur than I do in the UK. This is a millionaire's playground, where £10,000 is an evening's bar bill and Jaguar XJ-S convertibles go for £25,000, even though they struggle to reach a third of that value back in Blighty.

I was contemplating this when it dawned upon the French are probably as big in the classic cars scene as the British. It is they, after all, who host the most prestigious classics race in the world, the Le Mans Classic. And when the classic sportscars tour came to Silverstone this month (I got complimentary tickets from a nice chap called Guillaume, who is a classic sportscars organiser from Paris) the pitlane was awash with French accents. Far more French folk than British, even here in Silverstone. In fact, since my car has been for sale, two thirds of the serious approaches have been from French people.

If I were going to move anywhere in Europe, I can't think of a better fit for the classics enthusiast than France.

The Italians love cars, but can't be bothered with old ones (with a few notable exceptions). The Germans love efficiency, so that's that really. The Spanish are indifferent. The Swiss government positively hates cars, and while the Swiss themselves drive around in some of the most expensive cars in the world, the only Swiss person I know who is fortunate (and rich and half English) enough to have a stable of vintage sportscars only bothers to drive them when he's going to France for a few days. The Dutch are up there and enjoy their motorsport, but the French beat all comers hands down when it comes to passion and enthusiasm for classic cars.

I actually look forward to driving the Lotus on French roads for a few months. We're aiming to move in spring 2009 so, savings permitting, I may well be flinging the Lotus around some French country lanes in the spring sunshine.

That would be nice.


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CarLover said...

I agree, I heard that France is a great place to go with your classic car. Hope you and your car had a safe trip