Paris Unconventional: Part Three

Major Waffle
It's time for part three of PetrolBlog's Paris Unconventional. The final update from the Paris Motor Show 2012.

It's time for the third and final part of PetrolBlog's Paris Unconventional. A look at the stuff you may not have seen on bigger and better automotive websites.

In this episode you'll find more retro police car action, a broken De Tomaso, the 208 GTi and some more words on the Vauxhall ADAM. Oh and of course, another Citroën C6. As if I'd forget.

So this is it, the final words from Paris. 

Second best retro police car: Peugeot 309


Peugeot 309 police car at the Paris Motor Show 2012


Just edged out by the Renault 5 that featured in part two of Paris Unconventional, this Peugeot 309 looked superb. There is no way it saw service on the streets of Paris, as the bodywork is remarkably free of dents, scrapes and scratches. That said, we did see a totally mint 309 parked by the side of the road in the Left Bank district. Annoyingly, nobody took a photo. Fail.

Best Renault at show: Renault 5 GT Turbo


Renault 5 GT Turbo at the Paris Motor Show 2012


To be fair, there was a great deal of interest on the main Renault stand. The new Clio looks appealing, although it's upstaged by one of the most interesting electric cars to go on sale, the Zoe. It was designed to be an electric car from the ground-up, so we can expect little in the way of compromises. Sadly, I think they missed a trick by not calling it the Nicole. Perhaps Renault is keeping that name in reserve for the launch of the Zoe's tearaway cousin. Papa?

But once again, nothing in the main hall could come close to this Renault 5 GT Turbo. An icon.

Best essence of petrolhead: De Tomaso Mangusta


De Tomaso Mangusta at the Paris Motor Show 2012


As I wandered around one of the less populated halls, I noticed an overwhelming whiff of engine oil. Much like the Bisto kids, I followed my nose and found a pair of De Tomasos lurking behind a big screen. The sight of well dressed man, raised engine cover, box of tools and bucket said it all. The Mangusta had arrived in Paris on a wing and a prayer. And this was only day two. Still, it smelt delightful and made a welcome change from the stench of Gauloises.

Best Range Rover: Original CSK, Reg. H1 FAA


Original Range Rover CSK at the Paris Motor Show 2012


Range Rover proudly took an original CSK (named in honour of Charles Spen King) along to Paris to demonstrate the evolution of the Range Rover. A kind of ‘look how far we've come’ message to promote the 2013 Range Rover. And yes, the new Range Rover appears to be a glorious machine.

But I only had eyes for the original two-door CSK. Beautiful.

By day two it had magically disappeared and was replaced by a Land Rover from the forthcoming Skyfall movie. Nice.

James Bond 007 Skyfall Land Rover at the Paris Motor Show 2012



Most eagerly anticipated car: Peugeot 208 GTi


Peugeot 208 GTi at the Paris Motor Show 2012


Has there ever been a more eagerly anticipated hot hatch than the 208 GTi? A car that could finally lay the ghost of the 205 GTi to rest.

Peugeot showed off the limited edition GTi, which will be priced at £20,495 when launched in May 2013. Only 54 will be made, of which 29 are destined for the UK. The fact that over 50% are headed for these shores just goes to highlight what an important car this is for us Brits. The limited edition model which provide a better spec rather than improved performance and dynamics. But they will be numbered!

Rear of Peugeot 208 GTi at the Paris Motor Show 2012


The standard GTi is expected to be priced below £20k, so it remains to be seen whether the limited edition is worth the extra cash. Should the 208 GTi go on to reach the dizzy heights of the 205 GTi, then the launch limited edition might just become an instant classic.

Time will tell, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's as good as we hope.

Gratuitous Citroën C6


Citroën C6 outside at the Paris Motor Show 2012


Rear of Citroën C6 outside at the Paris Motor Show 2012


This one was parked outside in the staff car park for two days. Lovely, isn't it?

Best modern interpretation of the Frog Chorus: Vauxhall ADAM


Rear of red Vauxhall Opel ADAM at the Paris Motor Show 2012

The more I see the ADAM, the more I like it. It's brave of Vauxhall to fight against the retro charm of the 500 and the MINI, but that needs to be applauded. Do we really want to look back on this period to see that the most successful cars were based on previous success stories? I think not.

The ADAM's styling is growing on me, the interior is delightfully different and it looks like Vauxhall has remembered the importance of personalisation in this sector. Can't help thinking it looks better with an Opel badge though.

Interior of yellow Vauxhall Opel ADAM at the Paris Motor Show 2012


But hats off to Opel for the best modern rendition of Paul McCartney's Frog Chorus. Throughout the first press day, they had a DJ on set who was playing a catchy ditty based entirely on croaking frogs, barking dogs and someone sawing wood. It was better than anything I've heard in the pop charts over the past decade.

Long service award: Suzuki Jimny


Suzuki Jimny at the Paris Motor Show 2012


How many motor shows has the Suzuki Jimny seen? In its present form, it's been around since the 1997 Tokyo Motor Show, but it can trace its roots back to 1970.

A long service award is therefore long overdue.

Tallest model award: Fiat 500L


Fiat 500L and model at the Paris Motor Show 2012


How do you solve a problem like the Fiat 500L. Simple, hire the tallest and arguably the prettiest model you can find and get her to stand next to it.

And yet, despite her obvious charms, she still can't disguise the horror of the 500L. Just as well you had the brilliant Panda 4x4 to provide some balance.

PetrolBlog show star: Skoda Rapid


Skoda Rapid at the Paris Motor Show 2012


Can bland be beautiful? If the Skoda Rapid is anything to go by, then yes.

I've spoken to a few people who have driven the Rapid and they all conclude that it's a worthy yet dull car. I can't comment on the way it drives, but I'm a big fan of the way it looks. It's styled in the way Skodas should be - free of fuss. And for this very reason, I can't see it dating that quickly.

Rear of Skoda Rapid at the Paris Motor Show 2012


In fashionable white and under the bright lights of the Paris show, it looked rather elegant. It's a car where wheel and colour choice will be very important. With the Octavia getting bigger and moving more upmarket, the Rapid could represent all that is good about Skoda. Can't wait to try one.

And on that note I'll conclude this, the final episode of Paris Unconventional. There are rumours of a special Shatchback in Paris blog coming soon though. Watch this space.

In the meantime, if you're short of things to do, have a look at Part One and Part Two.