A trip back in history to the time of board-tracking and concrete ovals was, for Colin West, just a trip over la Manche and a short run to the southern edge of Paris.
You can almost hear the latent roar of the 1925 Grand Prix reverberating around the oval-shaped circuit – rather like whispers in the upper gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral, albeit a tad noisier.
The motorcycle Grand Prix de France was held at Linas-Montlhéry from 1925, then it was the turn of the Bol d’Or, in 1937, that brought the concrete alive with sound and exhaust smoke.
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Now the circuit is no longer licensed for racing and has a less than perfect surface, but it is a wonderful venue for historic (and often enthusiastic) demonstration parades.
Vintage Revival Montlhery is for pre-war motorcycles and cars and runs every two years, with entries very much by invitation – and it’s a wonderful event.
Among the exotica – and there was a lot to choose from, with 212 bikes on the roster, and even more cars – some bikes deserved to be singled out for a mention and can be seen on these pages.
After no less than 57 years of near hibernation, a rare and unusual two-stroke DKW SS 250 from 1937-38 was enjoying being out on the track again.
It features a twin-cylinder bore with a common combustion chamber engine; the rear piston has a permanent lead on the forward piston to improve fuel filling, and both are supercharged by a third cylinder.
All this wonderful German technology results not only in blistering performance but also in a paralysing noise that, frankly, would wake the dead.
Read more and view more images in the July 2019 issue of OBM – on sale now!