A home for Italian legends in the most unlikely of places

DSC_0088Riding 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.

DSC_0105But 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.

DSC_0089The red Integrale and black F430 initially caught my attention, and I didn’t know which way to look when I saw this clean Testarossa sitting out the front in factory fresh condition.

DSC_0100There 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.

DSC_0095The 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.

DSC_0097Another Integrale sat gathering dust in the corner of the workshop.

DSC_0101There 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.

DSC_0106Around the side of the shed sat several cars. It looks like some are just awaiting major work, however others were definitely just there for the parts they contained.

DSC_0108There were a couple of HF 16V Integrale’s…

DSC_0107… and a regular Delta HF 4WD (the model before the Integrale name was bestowed – you can pick these because they don’t have the box flares and aren’t nearly as quick)

DSC_0117Up the front of the pack sat an Integrale HF 16V in nice condition. This one was definitely driven regularly.

DSC_0109A reminder of these parts cars’ rally heritage.

DSC_0112There were plenty of other oddities too, such as this Alfa 145. These aren’t really anything special, but they are to me because we never got them in Australia, and I’d never seen one before.

DSC_0103In 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

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  1. Viano July 10, 2013 Reply

    Another magnificent post from what is becoming an outstanding adventure. I'd like to publish this post in "Le Automobili Alfa." Is that OK with you, Andrew?

    • Andrew Coles July 13, 2013 Reply

      Thanks mate! And of course, go for it. Let me know if you'd like any photos without watermarks etc. I'm working on some other Alfa stuff too which you can have. And just wait until I actually get to Italy! :)

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