By 11.00 the château's courtyard was filling nicely. All the convertible tops were down, sun hats and Factor 50 were de rigueur, and French automotive delights were abundant. Such as? In an earlier column I wrote of the Panhard PL17 and its 24CT coupé derivative, both slippery of body and tiny of engine (an air-cooled flat twin), and one of each was at Cassan. A Peugeot 203 Cabriolet sat next to a late Citroën DS, opposite Alpines A110 and A310.
Old Mustangs and Corvettes joined the new ones, British sports cars were represented by an E-type, a bright yellow Austin-Healey 3000, various Triumphs and MGs and a phalanx of Morgans. In the château's front garden lurked an orange, rally-prepared NSU 1200TT. A beautifully restored Mercedes-Benz 230SL 'Pagoda' from 1967 was displaying its very shiny engine, freshly rebuilt by a specialist in Alsace.
And what were these? A pre-war Berliet saloon in pale blue? A pretty Simca Aronde Weekend cabriolet? You certainly don't get to see those at a British classic car show. And then, as we left, we spotted in the adjacent car park an immaculate Renault 16 – squashy seats, soft suspension, properly old-school French – and a patinated machine called a Pembleton, clearly inspired by a pre-war, barrel-tailed Morgan 3-wheeler but with four wheels and a 2CV engine.