Old is relative. This morning I heard children's voices singing while walking the dog. They were the children of the neighbors. They sang "He will live long". For their rabbit. For Flappie.
Because of the song Youp van het Hek once sang, that rabbit is called Flappie. And also because of that song, his birthday is celebrated every Boxing Day. Sweet right? But how old can a rabbit get? How old can things get? How old can a car get?
A lot of old stuff
This summer we found another kind of classic recluse in France. Someone who for seventy years had found, bought, scored and towed all kinds of old stuff on wheels.
The scratchy old man still had old restoration work for a few centuries. It argues for him that he made the assessment that he would not quite succeed.
No more time ...
He was therefore cautious in deciding to put the cars, parts of cars and remnants of cars from before 1910 on sale. Not immediately ... But still ... We saw remnants of Really Very Old Cars. Parts, engine blocks, chassis axles ...
Basically all loose stuff. I was reminded of those learned excavators who can effortlessly reconstruct a six with high dino on the basis of a single toenail segment found. To me, projects like this seem a few bridges too far.
Of course nothing is impossible
To reconstruct such a really old classic you need a lot of money, even more money, time and craftsmanship. A Bugatti Royale was built here in the Netherlands on the basis of an enormous amount of research. That battleship may have cost a million.
Now I can imagine that driving a Bugatti Royale is a party. But driving a La Buire from 1905?
Much faded glory
The collector knew a lot about French car history. Brands like Cottin & Desgouttes, Mieusset, Delauney Belleville? Those are not the brands that first come to mind when we think of classic cars. And how 'old' is a veteran reborn based on the front part of the chassis, an incomplete engine, two axles and some small stuff? We find that difficult matter.
Museum material too. Because even in the most rustic French surroundings, a Panhard Levassor is no longer the transport where you can get a fresh baguette from the bakery.
Not our cup of tea. Or "far from fin"
We dreamed away with other cars from the collection, a collection that we only got access to because A) We reported ourselves at the gate with a Citroën BX, B) My Beloved is a pleasant-looking lady (real collectors are always single) and C) because we both speak French well. This helps considerably in finding hidden collections in France.
The remains of the primeval times of the French automobile industry were not interesting to us. The rest of the collection is. But that is not for sale. And not actually visible.
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