It is hands-down the best combined car/bike event I’ve ever attended, whether static or track, concours show or oily-rag festival, because it includes all of that, in the most compelling venue possible, the only original autodrome still in use from the early days of motorsport.  The Autodrome de Linas-Montlhéry, to give its full name, is situated only 40 minutes south of Paris, yet feels of another world and another time.  Currently owned and used by a consortium of car manufacturers (for testing), the 2.4km oval was originally designed to handle racing cars of 2200lbs, moving at 140mph; having traveled over 130mph (in a modern rally car) on the banking, I can assure you the track is in no danger from such abuse, only the car itself, and its madly bouncing passengers.  While not as bumpy as Brooklands, Montlhéry is still a concrete track with expansion joints and decades of shifting movement, and the faster you travel, the harder the hammering.

The romance of 1920s racing returns for a few days in a Paris suburb. [Paul d’Orléans]
The Vintage-Revival caters exclusively to pre-1940 cars and motorcycles, their owners and friends, a few pressmen and caterers, and that’s about it! While the attendees are expected to wear period clothing, it’s nothing like the Goodwood Revival, as there aren’t 50,000 spectators milling around in a mad time-warp circus.  Nor are there cordoned-off ‘rich folks only’ paddocks or seating areas; once you’re in, the whole fantastic gearhead playground is yours.  If you’re really serious about Vintage vehicles being Used, the two day event at Montlhéry is exactly what you need, especially if you want to see something a little out of the ordinary on two, three, or four wheels.  Enjoy the photos!

Vincent Prat of the Southsiders MC gets a shove on his c.1938 Norton M30 ‘International’. [Paul d’Orléans]
The 1904 Slavia CCCC, newly created by Pavel Malanik, a replica of the Czech Laurin-Klement 4-cylinder machine, their last motorcycle design before moving to car production (Laurin-Klement became part of Skoda). [Paul d’Orleans]
The ‘early motorcycles’ class on the banking; a few of these pre-1918 machines had a serious turn of speed, and took advantage of the removal of the chicane from mid-banking to really fly! [Paul d’Orléans]
I dub thee, ‘Eu-Rod’. A recent, nativist movement in Europe towards the creation of European Hot Rods, using original period components in combinations which never existed, but perhaps should have. No Ford bits here, the trick is to source an ancient Curtiss or Hispano-Suiza aero engine, install it in original Brasier or Talbot or even Bugatti chassis, and build a car with a mix of autojumble-sourced tanks, radiators, instruments, steering wheels, lamps, wheels, etc, plus new bodywork, brush-painted, oxidized, and meant to look old. Most are insanely cool, like this example, built by Oliver Way, a leading light in the trend. [Paul d’Orléans]
A wink and a smile, with teeth. The water-cooled, V8 OHV aero engine (Curtiss or a derivative) powering the Oliver Way ‘Mors Aero GP’ special. [Paul d’Orléans]
My favorite BMW, hands-down: an ex-Works R63 750cc OHV racer, with an extra fuel tank strapped atop the flat tank, and twin carbs for more ‘go’. I used to own an R63, but it didn’t go like this one! From the Hockenheim Museum collection. [Paul d’Orléans]
The very special BMW R63 racer from Hockenheim Museum, with many deviations from standard, like 6-stud cylinder fixing and an extra-deep sump. A unique machine. [Paul d’Orléans]
A 175cc Terrot OHV sports racer in action. Terrot, a very old French brand, was a force to be reckoned with in European racing, and built many advanced machines for privateers. [Paul d’Orléans]
The business office of the Amilcar C6 of 1927, with a supercharged straight-6 DOHC motor. Several bits from anAmilcar like this, that was wrecked in Argentina, ended up on my old 1925 Zenith ‘Super Kim’ supercharged V-twin land speed racer. Check out that story here. [Paul d’Orléans]
The lovely little 250cc Benelli 4TN OHC racer of 1938. Benelli sold OHC singles to the public as roadsters and privateer racer, as they embarked on a factory design program of very sophisticated multi-cylinder Grand Prix racers. It’s a shame that in the USA we only got news of Benelli in the 1960s, when they were badge-engineered Motobis and dumbed-down OHV singles sold by Montgomery-Ward. In their heyday, they were a force: check out our story on their racing team here. [Paul d’Orléans]
The original ABC design of 1913, a fore-and-aft flat twin with OHV and a good turn of speed – this machine has Brooklands history. After WW1 (1919), the factory teamed wtih Sopwith to build flat twins across the frame, with full suspension, OHV, and semi-unit engine construction. BMW was ‘inspired by’ the design when producing their first motorcycle engine in 1921. [Paul d’Orléans]
David Borras of El Solitario MC worships at the altar of French engineering….with the unique Koehler-Escoffier ‘Monneret’, a 1928 design taken to its limit by French national champion Georges Monneret, and raced into the 1950s with success. The engine is OHC with twin carbs, and continuously developed for two decades. [Paul d’Orléans]
If you’ve been campaigning your awesome Blower Bentley on the track all day, you might as well stuff the family in the back for the drive home… [Paul d’Orléans]
My favorite madman; George Cohen in his aero-engine ‘Brasier’, with a 1908 and Hispano-Suiza OHC V8 aero engine with 300hp. No front brakes, nominal rear brakes, two speed chain drive, no seat belts or rollbars, what could possibly go wrong?  Yours truly was his ‘will I die?’ passenger. Terrifying fun on the banking.  George is very much missed.
The Coste family, lifelong competitors on two and three wheels (and parents of Jérome and Dimitri Coste) ready for the track in their Morgan, in groovy Ruby ‘Shibuya’ helmets! [Paul d’Orléans]
A pair of Unicorns; the 1904 Laurin-Klement ‘Slavia’ and the 1909 Torpedo ‘4’, both built from scratch using period photographs, by Pavel Malanik in the Czech Republic, an area traditionally rife with clever engineers. They both run well, and quickly. [Paul d’Orléans]
If you’re going to build a non-extant engine, make it a good one; the Torpedo was built from period photographs, and goes like stink! [Paul d’Orléans]
From the Brooklands Museum collection, the Titch Allen-built replica of the supercharged Triumph Speed Twin which terrorized Brooklands in the late 1930s. [Paul d’Orléans]
From far away they came, bearing gifts for the eye… the Torpedo and Slavia, ready for a blast around the track. [Paul d’Orléans]
Unique! The Sevitame military-spec prototype, with a twin-cylinder two-stroke engine under all that alloy finning. Note the leaf-springs above the handlebars; these aren’t ‘Gazda’ sprung ‘bars, but the springs for the front fork, which has a central rod sliding through the steering head to connect the girder forks with the spring. Clever. [Paul d’Orléans]
Built by Simca, the Sevitame has an ‘inverted’ engine, and is meant to be semi-amphibious, using a propeller extension drive out the back; it could power a small boat, with all electrics, carb, etc safely tucked or shielded from a possible dunking. [Paul d’Orléans]
Owned and ridden by Francois-Marie Dumas (co-author of ‘A Century of Japanese Motorcycles’, author of ‘Unusual Motorcycles’ – and this one qualifies!) and , here speaking with fellow motorcycle author Jean Bourdache (read his blog ‘Z’Humoriste‘ here). [Paul d’Orléans]
The 1919 Leyat Hélica in all its mad splendor.  An ‘airplane on wheels’, powered by a Scorpion aero engine, with a lightweight plywood body weighing only 550lbs.  One was tested at Monthéry in 1927 at 106mph…[Paul d’Orléans]
Attending the Amilcar gods…the 1927 C6 racer of Mr Kawamoto, former chief of Honda, who flew the car from Japan to France for the occasion. [Paul d’Orléans]
An impromptu ‘Road Test’ of a 1921 Ner-A-Car on Montlhéry’s banking.  The most successful hub-center steered motorcycle in history is remarkably stable: I did several laps hands-free, taking photographs.  Top speed perhaps 35mph…check out the Road Test here.
Among the first: the Bert LeVack designed DOHC JAP 350cc engine of 1923, from the Hockenheim Museum, one of a half-dozen such machines built. LeVack was an Olympian figure of early motorcycling, from the era of the designer/builder/racer, of which he was a prime example, along with the Collier brothers of Matchless. His contemporary George Brough was more a stylist/builder/racer (not being an engineer, or making his own engines), but LeVack pushed innovation in his engine designs, which moved all of Motorcycling forward technically. These futuristic little JAP gems with their shaft-and-bevel double-overhead-camshaft motors were also installed in Zenith and Coventry Eagle chassis, at a time when a simple pushrod overhead-valve motor was considered radical, and Norton, Sunbeam, and Douglas were just entering production with ‘super sports’/racing OHV machines. LeVack worked with JAP and Motosacoche as engine designer, after a successful career tuning motors and racing at Brooklands. He was never a road racer, more a ‘speedman’, although he did pay attention to chassis development as power from his engine experiments began to rise. Long Live LeVack. [Paul d’Orléans]
Three men, three wheels, two cylinders with this 1927 Morgan-JAP Aero Super Sports. [Paul d’Orléans]
Montlhéry’s concrete banking looms behind the proceedings like a fixed wave, waiting to be surfed. [Paul d’Orléans]
Moto-porn if ever there was. The 1935 Koehler-Escoffier ‘Monneret’, so named because Georges Monneret rode it successfully for decades. Georges organized the Velocette 24hr/100mph run at Montlhéry in 1961 – read the story here. [Paul d’Orléans]
The Big Guns…the engine dep’t of the awesome Koehler-Escoffier ‘Monneret’. [Paul d’Orléans]
English powerhouse: the 1927 McEvoy 1000cc racer with a pushrod, two-valve Anzani engine… [Paul d’Orléans]
…and its forbear, a 1924 McEvoy with a British Anzani 8-Valve, twin pipe engine; both from the Hockenheim Museum, which brought 6 magnificent machines. [Paul d’Orléans]
A tale of two Magnat-Debons…one a simple pushrod racer, the LCMP 175cc of 1934, and behind, a 500cc machine transformed to DOHC by Nougiér. [Paul d’Orléans]
The little Magnat-Debon LMCP, with a gem of a 175cc racing motor. [Paul d’Orléans]
The unique dashboard of a Majestic, among the most distinctive motorcycles ever built. Note the ‘crackle’ or alligator paint finish; while this machine is restored (and the owner taught himself how to paint it!), such a paint finish was originally offered, hand-painted by artisans. Trés chic! [Paul d’Orléans]
Handsome, unusual, and impressive from any angle. They handle beautifully with their hub-center steering and sliding-pillar front suspension. Read my road test here. [Paul d’Orléans]
The red 1930 Majestic with 350cc Chaise engine…underpowered for such a strong chassis. Read my Road Test of a 1930 Majestic here. [Paul d’Orléans]
Les Atelier Ruby’s designer Jérome Coste modeling his family ’35 Norton ES2 racer, and his El Solitario coveralls…en peu Orange Mecanique! [Paul d’Orléans]
More fantasies! This cyclecar was built by Tim Gunn of the Old Bicycle Showroom in London, using mostly bicycle components, with a JAP sidevalve engine. The steering arms are made from bike pedal crank arms, the axles are bike cranks, the steering hubs are bicycle headstocks, etc. All very simple, clever, and it works! A good look at cyclecars makes me wonder why more people don’t build them just for fun…dangerous fun its true, but hey, we’re bikers! [Paul d’Orléans]
Stylish young gents in period attire! [Paul d’Orléans]
Fastest by a lap: Frank Chatokhine and his super-quick Triumph racer. [Paul d’Orléans]
Rare bird! A ca.1925 Moto Guzzi C2V, a pushrod-OHV production racer, one step down from their immortal C4V with four valves / OHC. [Paul d’Orléans]
A late 1930s Norton Inter/Manx, with a large square-fin Manx Grand Prix-type cylinder head in a pre-war International chassis. [Paul d’Orléans]
Related by color only – a 1934 MG KN monoposto racer with an equally blue Bugatti twin-seater. [Paul d’Orléans]
A pair of sweet Velocette KTT production racers: a rare c.1935 MkV and a c.1931 MkI, both OHC, with the MkI especially successful in European racing. [Paul d’Orléans]
The psychedelic Art Deco grandeur of a Voisin ‘Lumineuse’ interior, with fabric designed by the great couturier Paul Poiret. His geometric design is loomed, not printed on the fabric, meaning its a very expensive interior to replace on your Voisin, and nothing else will suffice, as its such a feature of the car. The fabric also came in red! [Paul d’Orléans]
Another grand Voisin ‘Lumineuse’ tourer, from the esteemed maker of cars and airplanes. More than 10,000 Voisins were built at their factory near Paris, yet less than 200 exist today (at least until every barn in scoured!). After decades in obscurity, they’re having a day in the sun, recently winning the Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance. With their elegant lines, Voisins were popular with wealthy artists of the day; both Man Ray and Le Courbusier drove them. Corbusier famously worked with Gabriel Voisin to re-design Paris with a ‘modern’ plan, boldly taking challenging the Baron Hausmann redesign of that city from the early 1800s. The Plan Voisin for Paris is a nightmare of well-intentioned hubris; unfortunately, Corbusier created very compelling images of a tall-towered city, surrounded by characterless parklands…which were unfortunately built in many cities as ‘public housing’, and are now crime-addled guard-less prisons, or at best, horrifically ugly. [Paul d’Orléans]
The crew who made it all happen…sine quo nihil (without whom, nothing). [Paul d’Orléans]
All hats off to Vincent Chamon, the organizer of Vintage-Revival Montlhéry, for another fantastic event! [Paul d’Orléans]


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.




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