Fougères International Rally: All Under The Sun

Images: Thierry Quédillac

Fields in Brittany and Normandy are very green, which implies a substantial amount of rain to keep them that way. For that reason, the Fougères touring rally, based in these rural areas, usually shows a rather modest climatic performance but, in 2023, participants couldn’t spot a single cloud during the whole rally. A great treat!

This 1937 Alvis, bodied by Offord, was an exceptional beauty

Over 170 plaques were delivered to regularly registered entrants, but at no point in time were there more than 150 cars together, since the rally is à la carte, meaning that each participant can select the various sequences he likes over the four-day event.

An Alvis TD21 flying through the French countryside

Some hard-working locals may thus only appear on the Sunday, while pensioners from far away would stay for the whole event.

Aston DB2/4 MkII Coupe Tickford stealthily negotiating the forests

The Fougères rally is a purely touring proposition and is traditionally inserted on the FIVA world calendar of events. Created in 1995, its aim is to expose historic vehicle enthusiasts to the under-rated architectural, historic, cultural and… gastronomic heritage of this part of the world.

Austin 7 saloon, from 1932

For the 2023 edition, the 27th since the creation of the event, entrants could enjoy the spa resort of Bagnoles de l’Orne, the Mont Saint-Michel bay, the Avranches historic museum or some private châteaux, greeted by a group of French horn players.

Garden party at the chateau of Bois Cornille

All cars were pre-1970 and Delahaye was the 2023 marque of honour. Nearly 40 percent of the cars were pre-war, which is quite an achievement these days. Participants came from half a dozen European countries, as well as from the US and Australia.

The exceptional 1963 Bristol 407, with Viotti body

The best represented marques were Alvis and Lagonda (18 each, all pre-war for the latter), MG, Citroën and Delahaye.

A CD Panhard from 1962, owned by Robert Panhard himself

As always, illustrator Patrick Brunet designed the rally poster, representing a car of the marque of honour in front of the medieval Fougères castle.

Inside Chateau Felger

A jury of experts closely examined the cars during the various exhibits or presentations to the public and delivered awards to impeccably restored or preserved cars.

An imposing Rolls-Royce entering the Chateau Felger

A delightful Austin 7 won the pre-war small cars trophy, while a gorgeous Alvis Speed bodied in 1937 by Offord of London snatched the pre-war large cars trophy.

A 1948 Delahaye 135MS with body by Chapron

Post-war, the trophies went to a rare CD Panhard, personal property of Robert Panhard, and a spotless Aston-Martin DB2/4 MkII Tickford Coupe.

The other Delahaye was a 235 Coach, from 1954

The Mayor of Bagnoles de l’Orne fell for a glorious 1948 Delahaye 135MS Chapron, while his colleague from Avranches spotted a modest 1948 Simca 8 Cabriolet.
The Fougères City Council, partner of the event, rewarded a huge 1929 4½ Litre Bentley from Australia.

French horns to welcome the participants

Laurent Hériou, FIVA Vice President, Technical and Yannick Plantin, technical guru of APPF, the organising club, presented awards to the owners of a spotless 1937 Lagonda LG45 and that of actor Peter Sellers’ unique 1963 Bristol 407, bodied by Viotti, in Torino.

A 1964 Jaguar E-Type at the Mont Saint-Michel bay

A very good year for the Fougères rally!

A Lagonda LG45, from 1937

The APPF team is all set for the next edition, to take place on May 24th-27th of 2024 in the Cherbourg-Cotentin area.

A 1948 Simca 8 cabriolet

Technical trophies:
o Austin 7 Saloon 1932 (UK)
o Alvis Speed 25 SC Offord 1937 (USA)
o CD Panhard Coach Rally 1962 (F)
o Aston Martin DB2/4 MkII Coupe Tickford 1956 (F)

Cars lined up at Bagnoles de l'Orne

FIVA trophies:
o Lagonda LG45 Coupé 1937 (UK)
o Bristol 407 Viotti 1963 (UK)
• Mayors « coup de cœur »
o Bagnoles de l’Orne : Delahaye 135MS Chapron 1948 (F)
o Fougères : Bentley 4.5litre 1929 (AUS)
o Avranches : Simca 8 cabriolet 1948 (F)

Cars at the Mont Saint-Michel horse racing course

Patrick Rollet

Director, French federation for historic vehicles (FFVE), Honorary FIVA member, former FIVA President (2013-2019), President Fougeres international touring rally. Chevalier French Ordre du Mérite.


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