I am walking on the grounds of a special French museum. The motorized France of that time comes no closer than in Salviac-Pepy. Pre- and post-WWII patina bears different names and emblems. And those names are mostly French. The historical shapes charm and enchant, especially in combination with the many original traces of use. And there are quite a few. I also find them on many Peugeot, as I find a lot more with the classics from Sochaux-Montbéliard.
On the spot I realize that the photo of a row of Peugeots convinced me to visit the Musée Agricole et Automobile de Salviac of Benoît Jouclar and his family. The 204 gave me the final push amid the announced collection of more than 200 historic vehicles. Vehicles, I see, that are scattered in a mainly semi-open and open setting. In addition, they are somewhat subdivided by theme. Somewhat in French, that is. And that is nice.
It is that quintessential and invigorating organic setting that makes the time travel to ancient France smooth. You can hear birds chirping and crickets chirping, which enhances the peaceful atmosphere. The sight of the mostly unpolished heritage puts me in a comfortable and very relaxed mood. Vive La France I think, when I greet another row of French sales successes and real rarities. The 4CV, my dad's first car, takes me back to daddy's early days. I see how he picks up Mom at her parental home in Haarlem. I never experienced it. My idea is pure. My weakness for the 4CV too.
I am impressed in Salviac-Pepy. From rusted bicycles to very special trucks, from old tractors to beautiful motorcycles and mopeds. Under the roof is a Panhard Dyna X among memorabilia. Old 2CV's, Ami's, a TA, a Dauphine, a 16 TX: they get me in all their purity. And then, under the green tarpaulin of one of the semi-open dome tents, I notice. The lure of the Leo that does not roar, but always subtly charms. I suddenly think of statements by Wim, which I was with Wouter about two years ago to make a report with the 404 Coupé. "Not every Peugeot is perfect, but from my youth I have been attracted by the typical and comfortable atmosphere of a classic Peugeot."
Several Peugeots in Salviac come from my early childhood. Like the 204, which after a period of habituation in 1969, 1970 and 1971 was France's most in demand. Regardless of the state, a 204 still tells why in 1965 he caused a culture change at the then modestly selling Peugeot. Pleasant, slightly individualistic, a little light, idiosyncratic operation and smooth. And all without disdain. With beautifully designed light-footedness, just that little bit different, without drifting miles away from the convention. Made subtle thanks to the competence battle between La Garenne and Pininfarina, a fact that even more Peugeots benefited from cosmetics. Delicious.
Of course: the 304 and the favorite 504 are also there. They, the patinated guest making love, now offer plenty of space to the insects at rest, at the pace of mother nature. Even then, the 504 enchants, which no human simply can't love. And there is more Peugeot. Very special pre-war models reveal the same philosophy, the 201, the 202, an open 190 S from 1931. I see a few faded D4b buses, with the coach from Chenard & Walcker. And an old J9 that is increasingly taking root as a vintage bus, camper and aspiring food truck in the Netherlands.
A 404 Berline causes mixed feelings, it is a bit too much neglected in the corner. It looks like Monsieur Jouclar is not a big 404 fan. The sight hurts me more than a little. It does not match the dignity of a 404. A 203 and a 403 also belong in this museum of course. They are Peugeots' strongholds from an era when the manufacturer was number four in France in terms of size. They are there in plural, especially the 403 Break remains wonderful in every condition. Very special I think the 402 Camionette Mk 5, which served as a tool for the Dordogne department. Vehicle and ornament are marked by life, but I see it immediately. A Peugeot was also notable in work uniform.
The collection with Peugeots in Salviac-Pepy runs up to and including the -04 types. The Peugeot 05 is not yet in the museum clock. The 5 is in my clock. It is time to go, there is another one and a half hour drive through the beautiful Lot and the Dordogne. I don't want to say goodbye, but I have to. One more time I look at the 204s that lured me to Salviac-Pepy. In the distance Benoit Jouclar - keeper and culture keeper - leads a group of people around, his enthusiastic sounds fade. The birds are chirping, and I also seem to hear cheerful and light-hearted classical music. I don't summon it, it comes naturally. I enjoy, as I enjoy everything I see today. But in Salviac-Pepy especially the classic Peugeots play the light-footed notes of the music. In their own subtle and charming way.