The First “Chrysler Anciennes en Berry”
(Bourges vicinity in France)


The weekend of Chrysler Anciennes has come and gone, April 21 and 22, respectively. After months of preparatory letters, phone calls, faxes, e-mails and other planning, 17 cars turned up for an exceptional gathering in the Bourges/Sancerre region. Here’s how it went at this first, and surely not last, event.

Four MoPar “nuts” put the meeting together, with logistical help from J-P Armandet’s TTP Association. There had not been any such Chrysler reunion in France, focused on the classic years from the 1930s through the ’60s. Hubert André, Robert Louis Brézout, Raphael Brunet and I resolved to correct the omission.

Since I had many acquaintances from my activity in the American Car Club of France, we were able to contact about 40 owners of Chrysler-builts. Most of them didn’t enter, and I think they’ll wish they had, because people who were there will be glad they showed up.

Thanks to the Internet and mailing lists, two couples from outside France took part: Tony and Jacky Vickers from the UK, and James and Yollande Dellinger from the USA. Tony brought his ’61 Imperial. James had to rent a Peugeot  but next time his ’59 Imperial convertible will be ready.

I left Friday morning with my wife, Sylvie, from our home in Pau. We joined M. and Mme. Mendez in their ’58 Dodge convertible, because my Imperial still has some restoration work ahead. We drove the entire 700 km, some of it through snow (!!), to meet arriving participants that evening and be ready for the opening of the event Saturday morning.

The gathering place was at the foot of Bourges’ mighty cathedral. Saturday didn’t get off to an auspicious start, for it was a cold morning, with rain. Other cars had arrived, and their owners kept warm with coffee. We distributed badges, rally placards, programs. One couple came from Nancy just to watch, since their ’57 Imperial, like mine, still had things to be put in order. Their appearance was heart-warming, even if our bodies were cold.


After sampling some special wine, kir berrichon, a feature of the Printemps de Bourges festival that was in progress, everyone headed for a restaurant that was truly restorative, for its warm environment as well as its food and drink. Back to the cathedral for the start of the rally, leaving in the direction of Sancerre. A road book had been furnished for the rally, and some delays and irritation ensued because not everyone could follow the maps, but those were soon dispelled. Mercifully the weather got better, so the lovely spring landscape along the way glowed in sunlight. We visited the chateau of Monnetou and the wine cellars of Sancerre, a town situated picturesquely on its rocky eminence. Sheltered parking awaited everyone’s cars at the barracks of the CRS (special police to suppress civil disorder), who kindly took us by bus to our hotel.

An excellent dinner followed. Most of the entrants didn’t stay up late, because Sunday morning departure on the return trip was set for 8:30 a.m. The chill in the air, 41° F., did not encourage evening walks aroundthe town.


Sunday dawned under a clear blue sky. What a beautiful sight, all those MoPar veterans under the sun! We left from Sancerre’s “panorama” or belvedere overlooking the fog-wreathed Allier river - another superb sight. From there the Allier canal would follow us the rest of the way. We visited an ancient cemetery, the magnificent village of Apremont, and the chateau of Sagone. Lunch there was preceded by a little contest of driving skill, for the entrants were to be graded. The day before there was a written quiz about Chrysler-builts to be answered, and participants were asked to record their arrival at checkpoints along the road, rally-fashion. On the basis of these tests, first prize was awarded to Jean Eric and Blandine Raoul, with second prize going to Tony and Jacky Vickers.

So the weekend closed, with participants offering congratulations on a successful event. Others will follow - when? In 2002? In 2003? And where? You’ll be notified in plenty of time to enter. Those of you who didn’t come this time will wish you had. Anyway, don’t miss the next one!

A happy ending Sunday evening, and a good thing, because we still had 435 miles to drive that night.

Phil C.


Click to enlarge !

    Plymouth Belvedere 1954
DeSoto Fireflite 1955
  DeSoto Diplomat 1954 Chrysler New Yorker 1959
Imperial Newport 1955 Chrsyler VP70 1926 Dodge Custom Royal 1957     Au restaurant
Au château de Mennetou   Imperial 1955 DeSoto "business coupé" 1948 DeSoto 56 / 48 Le PT cruiser du sponsor Chrysler
France vient de sortir !
DeSoto Fireflite 1956 Imperail 1961 x 2 Imperial LeBaron 1960   Chrysler Imperial 1954  
DeSoto 48 Imperial 1955 Chrysler NY 1959 derrière
un aileron de NY 58 ...
Dodge Custom Royal 1958    

Château de Mennetou

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