A pair of outlandish cars designed to look like swans are among the highlights of a vintage car show in Paris. Opulent automobiles once owned by Indian Maharajas go on display alongside classic sportscars and historic record setters at Retromobile.

The Brooke Swan – commissioned by Robert Nicholl Matthewson, a wealthy Scotsman living in Calcutta – caused quite a stir. "Women screamed. Carriages went careering off the road. Water buffalo, oxen, goats, donkeys, elephants, camels and natives, after one glance, took off at top speed in every direction," ran a report in a Calcutta newspaper in April 1910.

The Swan was banned from the roads, and Matthewson sold it to the Maharajah of Nabha, who developed the Cygnet, a smaller single seater electric version for driving around in his estate.

Also on show at Retromobile is the BABS, which set the world land speed record in 1926. This behemoth, designed by Thomas Parry, had a huge 27-litre V12 Liberty First World War bomber engine under its bonnet. Parry was killed in the car the following year trying to set another record.

IBTimesUK looks at some of the cars on show at Retromobile 2014, at Expo Porte de Versailles in Paris until 9 February.