One person, one collection. Retromobile owner’s garage [+ vidéo]
Romain Grabowski, the new boss of Salon Rétromobile, loves collectibles and cars. For one day, he opened the doors of his garage to us and made us explore the roads of Berry at the wheel of his cars: Citroën 2CV, Peugeot 304 Cabriolet and Fiat 850.
From a young age, Romain Grabowski loved cars. It must be said that he was in a good school with a Fiat-Alfa Romeo-Lancia dealer dad in Picardy. In our first meeting with the new boss of Salon Rétromobile, we mentioned his burgeoning interest in old cars. He then revealed to us that he owns several collectible cars. for his greatest pleasure and his companion Constance. This was enough to pique the curiosity of the editorial staff of The argument and passed in the direction of Berry farm discovery of Romain’s “amazing garage”.
Back to the 50s-60s
When we arrive at Vierzon station, our host puts us in the mood. Along with his shiny red Fiat 850 that came to pick us up. The cabin is small but we manage to accommodate our videographer (1m95 all the same), his equipment and…me! After a few kilometers of driving, we parked in front of a large wooden gate. When it fades, it’s another leap into the past. Here we are immersed in the atmosphere of a bistro from the 50s and 60s. ” I’m kind of nostalgic for this period that I didn’t have the chance to know Romain admitted. “I think this is a time when there is a real made in france, a real quality “. No detail is left to chance in this piece with a beautiful surface. Romain and his partner are looking for things all year round to decorate the decor of their garage. It’s not just a counter, old bottles and a formica table in this space.A two-tone Renault Estafette Alouette adorns one of the back walls.
The Renault Estafette Alouette
Unable to afford a Volkswagen Combi, whose prices had skyrocketed, Romain turned to an Estafette Alouette he bought from an acquaintance. The glazed vehicle, initially red, is used to transport firefighters. It is equipped with banks that Romain will remove in favor of a “Star” kit bought with leboncoin! This equipment makes it possible to convert the van into a fitted van. Everything you need is there: bed, kitchenette, storage unit… The perfect combo for spending the weekend under the stars!
For lack of time, we will not have the opportunity to take their heels behind the wheel of this two-tone vehicle. But this is just a postponement, because we don’t have time to sit behind the wheel of the Renault Rodeo for a ride with the wind in your hair. Romain just received the keys, just a few days before our arrival. ” Failed to have a Combi and Méhari, I have Renault equivalents! he laughs.
The Fiat 850 of his childhood
In another space of the garage, the Fiat 850 winked at us with its beautiful red dress. Romain did not hide it, his taste in vintage cars was born with him. ” It’s a pretty symbolic car for me.” entrusted to admire “as soon as he can This car was bought by his father’s business partner.
This Fiat 850 fascinated him when he was young.
This Fiat 850 fueled his passion for cars. Today it is a rare and sought after copy.
Equipped with its 850 cc, this Fiat is no thunderbolt. But behind the wheel, it’s the Dolce Vita.
Fiat 850 counters are in Italian. An invitation to travel.
Twenty years later, during a discussion, this famous partner offered Romain to buy the racing car that marked his childhood so much. He then jumped at the chance. ” This is an unknown car of which there are few copies left. he confessed. It is not so unusual that he appreciates what it brings out. The spirit of this “Dolce Vita” with counters subtitled in Italian, ” it immediately travels to you “he assured me!
The 2CV: his first car!
Different car, different story. The time has come to sit in his Citroën 2CV 6 Club. Here again, this is a model that Romain is very attached to. This is the first car he can afford to buy, well “which was offered to me” he corrects. While at business school in Amiens, he submitted a business project to an insurer. The latter salute his work and want to thank him. ” And there, it came to me without having to think about it “, he explains. He then told his tutor of his desire to take part in the Rallye des Deuch’s, a competing event with the 4L Trophy, adding that he ” find sponsorss”.
Then Romain said that this boss offered to buy the car, put it in his name and return it to him. The model he still owns, 20 years later, is in its own essence with stigmata that make it beautiful. This 2CV allows him to get his bread as well as go to the recycling center or ride with friends. It’s a car” All purposes with an enormous capital of sympathy.
The 304 Convertible from Constance
Romain Cabriolet’s garage also has a convertible. It’s a Peugeot 304 bought with his partner in Portugal… while in prison! ” We can’t move said Romain, explaining that he judged the condition of the car from thousands of kilometers away with an interposed camera. ” Suffice it to say I wasn’t too sure “, he continued. then” almost clapping each other’s hands together with the mechanic, he put the car on a truck. “ He told us it hadn’t been driven in 20 years Romain explained, “ I confirm that it has not been driven for 20 years ! “.
Together with his friend, they have to redo the brakes, the cooling system, the fuel supply, the tank… That keeps them busy “bbeyond imprisonment Romain said laughing. Once the restrictions are lifted and the vehicle is ready to go, Romain and Constance traveled the roads covering more than 3,600 km at the wheel of their 1971 cab through France, Switzerland or Italy.
A garage consisting of other curiosities
Romain Grabowski has other vehicles in his incredible garage, including a flatbed truck, a large vintage van, or even a Lada Niva with a unique history. It is with a similar example that his father, Denis Grabowski, took part in the Dakar in 1982. Unfortunately, he had to retire due to a mechanical breakdown. It doesn’t matter, Romain wants to continue the adventure where it left off. Forty years later, he and his friend Constance took part in the second edition of the Dakar Classic with a fully restored 4×4 that was sure to join the couple’s collection.