You could describe Régis Mathieu as a jeweller; but a jeweller who specialises in chandeliers.
In little more than 10 years, he has turned the family business into a force to be reckoned with in the world of lighting. Based in the Luberon, in the South of France, Mathieu now restores chandeliers for the Palace of Versailles, the Palais-Royal, the Palais Garnier and other opera houses around the world. He has become a point of reference; and, for him, his workshop and his museum are clearly the ideal places to exhibit his collection of classic cars.
For the last three years, mid-December has also seen him organising an exhibition focused on French classic cars, with a different theme each time – 'Bugatti' or 'The forgotten French manufacturers'.
We asked Régis Mathieu to show us his collection and tell us a bit more about his cars… especially his outstanding Porsches.
A conversation with Régis Mathieu
Every Porsche tells a story
The Porsche 901 that Mathieu currently owns was a press car and, when he bought it, the Porsche factory gave him the full story. Not only was it a press car, but also the car used for a great many period advertisements, posters and catalogues – the most famous image being the one with Ferry Porsche. His Porsche 914-6, meanwhile, has a custom colour that can’t be found on standard Porsche colour charts, as it was ordered in… (ahem) a Ferrari red. The Porsche 911 2.7 RS is an unmolested Touring version with a sunroof, kept in excellent condition and still with its original wheels. And last but not least there is the Porsche 904, one of the lowest-mileage examples you’re ever likely to find. It has only 3,300km on the clock and, once again, has been preserved in an exceptionally original condition – but Mathieu nevertheless drives it regularly: “Even if I drive 1,000km a year, in 20 years it's still likely to be the lowest mileage of all 904s!”
Why Porsche and VW ?
Initially, I loved Beetles, and everything came from that. The Beetle is a clever car, very carefully thought out and well-made in comparison to many popular cars of that era. It’s a simple car, a popular car, but there’s an incredible 'empathy' element to owning one: you want to share it with other people! Actually, I feel as though I collect only one brand, not two, as all my cars were thought out and created by the Porsche family. And it’s important to me to collect something that carries the name of its creator. That really counts.