Régis Mathieu is known throughout the world for his work with chandeliers and light fixtures, but once a year he focuses his attention on cars and invites clients to display their vintage automobiles in his museum-like showroom.
Located in a small village in the picturesque Vaucluse department of France, the showroom is decorated – and lit – by over a hundred chandeliers that come from Mathieu’s personal collection, creating a very unusual decor. There are no harsh neons anywhere and each car is displayed below or next to a light fixture that was chosen specifically for it.
The theme of this year’s collection is “Shedding light on a century’s worth of French cars.” Thirteen prestigious automobiles are on display, including a 1903 De Dion-Bouton 8CV, a 1907 Aries Type O, a 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B and a 1926 Voisin C15 Petit Duc.
Cars from the 1930s are represented by 1936 Peugeot 302 Darl’mat, a 1936 Citroën Traction Faux-Cabriolet, a 1937 Delage D6-70 and a 1938 Delahaye Type 135.
The post-war cars consist of a Renault 4CV-based 1955 Alpine A106 (the very first Alpine model ever built), a 1958 Facel Vega Facel II, a 1965 Matra Djet V and an elegant Citroën DS 21 convertible. The newest cars there are a PRV-powered Venturi 400 LM and a current-model Bugatti Veyron.
The Veyron drew the most attention from show-goers, which is surprising because the other cars on display are far more impressive in nearly every respect. The pre-war machines differ greatly in age and value from what we usually feature on Ran When Parked but they are particularly noteworthy because they are truly works of arts on wheels. They were designed and built in a time when the concept of a luxury car as we know it today didn’t exist because simply owning a car was a luxury for a lot of people. As a result, even the most discreet details such as door hinges that are typically overlooked on new cars are crafted as if they were meant to be displayed in a museum.
We’ll let the photos speak for themselves. For those interested in visiting the collection, it is located in Gargas, France, and is open nightly until January 13th, 2013.