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Thirteen Prancing Horses, countless conversations, thousands of photographs, hundreds of espressos, two wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano and a fair few stifled yawns later, the dust has finally settled on our Ferrari-themed week in Paris. Now he’s just about got his voice back, here are Max Girardo’s five takeaways from Salon Rétromobile in 2023…

If you were there last week, you’ll know what I mean when I say the atmosphere was fantastic. There was a real feel-good vibe – the sense that everybody thoroughly enjoyed being back in Paris for the industry’s traditional curtain-raiser. Simply put, Salon Rétromobile has reestablished itself as the collector car trade show of the year.

I thought that RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Artcurial all did an exceptional job in curating what was a really strong and diverse selection of cars. But as the results showed, the market is still a realistic one. People are sensible and considered when it comes to buying collector cars at auction – if the car isn’t noteworthy for the right reasons and has a greedy reserve, it’s simply not going to sell. There seems to be a growing gap than ever between owners’ expectations and what the market is actually willing to part with.

Perhaps the most obvious trend at the exhibition itself was the prevalence of more modern cars – especially modern-era endurance machines. It felt like you couldn’t turn a corner without stumbling upon a Dodge Viper or a Porsche 911 GT3 R. That said, on our stand at least, the 1950s and ’60s cars showed zero signs of being left out in the cold. In fact, I’d go as far as to say the 365 GTC and the 400 Superamerica generated the most interest and, in turn, inquiries all week. Breadth is a great thing and telling of the strength of the overall market. It’s fantastic to see the top dealers in the world, exhibiting in the same hall, presenting everything from a Subaru Impreza WRC and a Ferrari 458 Italia GTE to a Maserati 250F and an Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B.

A few months back we set ourselves an ambitious target to present a Ferrari-only stand at Rétromobile in 2023. Curating the selection of 13 Prancing Horses we ended up exhibiting was by no means easy, but, behind the scenes, the process was so enjoyable. I know it sounds a bit clichéd, but there really is something indescribably special about a Ferrari – and thirteen-fold thirteen of them!

The hallowed Cavallino Rampante emblem represents so much more than just an automotive manufacturer – for many people, it’s a way of life. I certainly can’t think of another company which evokes the same sense of passion and devotion. That much was clear in Paris. The reception to our Ferrari fantasia was overwhelmingly positive, so much so that we’re tempted to give it another go again next year. There’s nothing like a bit of self one-upmanship, is there?

If you thought Rétromobile was purely a place to sell, then you can think again. The show attracts the top automotive collectors, dealers, historians and event organisers from right across the world and provides a rare chance for us to meet and catch up with them face-to-face.

Sure, we’ll get selling leads on which to follow up. But perhaps more importantly, we’ll learn of other cars we can chase, paint a picture of the general mood and feeling among the most important people in our world, and get a good feeling for how the coming months will look – be it which kinds of cars we’ll target or which events we’ll try to attend, for example.

“We’ll learn of other cars we can chase, paint a picture of the general mood and feeling among the most important people in our world, and get a good feeling for how the coming months will look.”

We’ve already got our sights locked on a number of great Ferraris and that’s as a direct result of our presentation in Paris. For us, Rétromobile is a springboard from which to really kick off the year – both from a transactional and a marketing point of view.

 Photos: Tom Shaxson for Girardo & Co.

You can discover more about each of the 12 exceptional road and competition Ferraris we presented at Salon Rétromobile in 2023 by clicking here.

If you’d like to order a copy of our new definitive book on the Ferrari 550 Maranello Prodrive, please click here.