Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Well, I started restoring cars when I was 17 years old. Cars, like skateboarding, were my thing ever since I was little, even if this was not the case for the rest of my family. I ended up repairing and reselling cars all by myself, to make a living from my passion. Then, this activity ended up overtaking my other work. From there, I started my company Cobalt Automobiles.
Take us over the history of this Porsche which we shot together
This is a car that was in the hands of Robert Buchet, a private racing team driver. He did Le Mans in 1966 with it, and crashed. He didn‚Äôt want to repair the frame and bought another one from Porsche. The next season, he won the French circuit championship. Afterwards, as cars evolved with the passing years, the 906 changed hands many times, eventually ending up in the possession of Eugene Paoli from 1970 to 1974. In 1974, he was touring around Corsica. He had his picture taken, which made the cover of Echappement Magazine. Two turns later, he blew out the steering and ended up in a ditch. He finally left the car in a barn until Dieter Eisner stumbled upon it in 1994. This guy is a huge connaisseur of these kinds of cars. He entirely restored it, starting from the original frame and engine, made it new again. He ran around with it from 1995 to 2003, adding on 100 000 kilometres in races: Le Mans Classic, Goodwood, Targa Florio, Silverstone Classic, Nuremburg Classic, Spa Classic, etc. The car was acquired in 2006 by the current owner, and even more original parts have been restored.
Give us a little story about the sale
It was a Spanish guy, he told me ‚Äúthat‚Äôs great, I‚Äôll take the car, there‚Äôs a truck showing up tomorrow‚Äù. He was a farmer, and the next day a truck arrived, filled with potatoes. They loaded the car, put the potatoes on top, and took off.
What is the future of your garage?
I subscribe to a movement that is breaking down traditional business codes. We each do this in our own way. No suits and ties. Jeans and sneakers, this either makes sense for you or it¬†doesn‚Äôt. I do it like this because of who I am. The majority of my clients are attracted to me, my expertise, and not my brand. Some of them don‚Äôt even know the name of my company. I run a garage as I see fit, that is to say sticking to the things I am best at : new Ferraris, 2 or 3 beautiful Aston Martins. I am less specialized in newer Porsches, as there are too many people in this market.
How do you identify with Deus Ex Machina?
We knew each other through mutual friends, then became friends ourselves. I have the impression of being on the same wavelength as you, we go against traditional business ideas. We are part of the same movement, and we both respond to the different needs of a different clientele. We don‚Äôt think according to a marketing plan, we think and act as we do because that‚Äôs who we are. You will never see me give a bottle of champagne to someone who has bought a car from the collection, namely because I don‚Äôt want to, but also because I think it‚Äôs stupid to give them alcohol. Another important point shared between us : if tomorrow I sell my business, give up my position, put it under new management without me, Simon Duchassin, Cobalt Automobiles would mean nothing. It‚Äôs like the creativity of Carby (co-founder and artistic director of DeusEx Machina), it is beneficial for Deus, he is making its own photos and creations, and you could tell yourself that the brand is the representation of one person. The soul of our brands is linked to one single person. And lastly, I‚Äôve never had the feeling of what we do together being truly ‚Äúwork‚Äù, and I like that a lot.
What‚Äôs the next car you are going to bring us?
I would really like to leave a Groupe 4 Rallye for you, it works with your upcoming Summer 2020 collection. Then for some in-store atmosphere my Africa Twin, which I am restoring right now as Rothmans and the T√©n√©r√© sitting in the store here, those would be nice too !
A little bird tells us you are going to start racing again.
I did already in a very loose way, some competitive rallys. I did the Tour Auto two times, some little local races, some track days, but nothing in a professional manner. It was really for the pleasure of it. But yes this year I‚Äôm taking it seriously ! What is the most beautiful car you ever sold? It was a Porsche Carrerra GT, midnight blue, brown interior, utterly unique. It was my unicorn as one says. Other than that, I have sold other cars like my 205 GTI, which was bought by the President of the Peugeot Museum. That was extremely gratifying for me.
All photos by Vincent Perraud
Cobalt Automobiles ‚Äì Simon Duchassin
63 Avenue du Mar√©chal Juin, 64200 Biarritz
06 58 09 23 80
Instagram : @cobalt_automobiles
Website : https://www.cobalt-automobiles.com/
Photos : Vincent Perraud
Instagram : @vinceperraud