When he was 4-years-old, Richard Romagny fashioned himself a cardboard steering wheel so he could drive the family Citroen CX while sitting behind his father, who actually was doing the driving.
The young driver grew up to become the head of Forges et Mécaniques, an oil and energy company based in the Loire region of France. In the 1990s, he had an opportunity to drive a 4×4 vehicle and liked it so much that, since then, he has competed three times in the Dakar Rally and five times in the Atlas Rally, another endurance rally across a desert.
Beginning November 4 and running until November 22, Artcurial Motorcars will stage an online auction, “A French Collection,” of the Richard Romagny Collection of the Dakar driver’s more than 100 “Youngtimers and Popular” vehicles.
Romagny sold his company in 2006 and, Artcurial reports, “threw himself into building this incredible collection, sourcing vehicles he remembers from his youth.”
“There are many flagship French models on offer: the Peugeot 205, including the legendary GTI, along with Renault’s rival to the GTI, the R5 GT Turbo and the celebrated Super Cinq,” the Paris-based auction house reports.
“This is more than a simple collection; it is a tribute to French marques and the best of French engineering.”
It also will be tribute to Romagny’s personal tastes and driving style, as he became known for doing desert rallies without a co-driver.
“I drive alone in the car as I’ve been told it’s almost impossible,” Romagny is quoted in Artcurial’s announcement of the auction. “For me, it’s a challenge, the only competitive element is seeing if I can do it. I just hope to make it to Dakar, even last, that doesn’t matter.”
Among the vehicles on the auction docket is the Toyota PHZJ 75 Protoy AMS1 that Romagny drove in the 1999 Paris-Dakar event. Also on the docket are 18 motorcycles.
The auction features 37 Citroens — including five Citroen CX models — 24 Peugeots and 13 Renaults.
“This adventurer has been very particular in his choices,” according to Artcurial. “He decided to build a collection of all the cars he remembered seeing on the road when he was a child. Being demanding in his search, he only selected cars in excellent condition, with low mileage, transparent histories and logbooks.”
The French Collection auction follows on the heels of the recent Automobiles sur les Champs-Élysées sale that posted a 73 percent sell-through rate with total sales of nearly €6 million (nearly $7 million).
At that sale, a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider conversion sold for €488,720 ($567,365), a 1986 Citroen BX 4TC Evolution Group B rally car went for €417,200 ($484335), a 1960 Aston Martin GB4 brought €393,360 ($456,660) and a 1986 Nissan 240 RS rally racer got €214,560 (249,087).