Riding through small villages in the middle of the French countryside, there are plenty of things you expect to see: people on bikes with baguettes strapped longways, white Citroen vans hurtling at great speeds and beautifully crumbling cathedrals. But a workshop specializing in Italian sports cars in the middle of nowhere is about an unexpected as you can get.
But that’s exactly what Thierry Autos is, and as the sign on the front proudly proclaims “Specialiste Sportives Italiennes”. You don’t need to speak French to know that’s a good sign. And having just ridden through miles of deserted roads, one can only smile at how the mechanics must test drive these cars.
There was another Testarossa inside on a hoist undergoing some fairly major work. As is becoming a bit of a trend on this trip, the language barrier prevented me from finding out exactly what they were doing. But having heard stories of what working on Testarossa’s can be like, they were probably just performing an oil change.
The other hoists were occupied with Fiat product of the late 90’s/early 2000’s, with quite a few Fiat Coupe’s dotted about. It’s funny to think that the few privately imported examples in Australia are quite rare, but I counted 9 at Thierry Auto alone.
There were late model Alfa, Fiat and Lancia parts lying around everywhere, in particular several Lancia 16V heads. It’s quite funny to think that these are quite expensive and hard to find in Australia as they easily fit (relatively speaking) onto the Fiat 2.0 twin cam block found in the 124’s, yet I counted about 4 in just this pile. If this were Australia, there would be several rocking horses nearby.
In fact, that’s what made this serendipitous visit so interesting, and why the mechanics there probably thought I was a little strange for looking past the Ferrari’s to the Integrale’s, Fiat Coupe’s and Alfa 145’s. Those are just commonplace cars to these guys. But to me? This place was something else.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles