“When you ask Richard Keller if he has the best job in the world, his reply is enthusiastically affirmative. As the curator of the world’s biggest car museum, one could say that Keller is the caretaker for a portion of the automotive heritage of human endeavour. When Keller walks the corridors of his 17,000- sqm exhibition hall in Mulhouse, he passes hundreds of engineering marvels that tell of the wonders of the automobile revolution. To his left and right, astride beds of polished marble chips and punctuated by 845 Parisian lamp posts from the early 1920s, are some of the oldest witnesses of modern mobility – a collection of the most avantgarde and extravagant vehicles the world has ever seen.
Gleaming chrome, polished brass and artistic bonnet mascots evoke images of busy Parisian streets and the dimly lit entrances of elegant five-star hotels, where aristocratic gentlemen and graceful ladies stepped out of their vehicles on arrival for a sumptuous dinner. The door would be opened by a velvet-gloved doorman bowing his head in deference and hoping to be granted a coin flipped by the master. On turning to check his appearance in the car’s coachwork, a smile would cross his lips. “The cars of this golden era weren’t made to outshine but to com- plement their owners’ extravagance,” explains Keller. In these times, cars – just like clothes – were made to measure, meaning they were all unique one-offs. The engine may have been born in Germany, but the most beautiful car bodies in the world came from early 20th-century France. In the 1920s and early 1930s, France was not only the world’s leading automaker but also the epicentre of luxury design – and not just in haute couture but also in hand- crafted custom-made vehicles. Until the middle of the century, French luxury vehicles counted among the finest and most prestigious in the world. Kings, actors, politicians and wealthy businessmen ordered their cars from the Maitre-Carossiers of brands such as Delahaye, Hotchkiss, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot- Lago, Panhard, Dalara and Voisin. And Bugatti, of course.”
Auszug aus einem Beitrag für das Bugatti Kundenmagazin, Delius Klasing Verlag 2018