Ihere is something in common between Georges Pompidou and Janis Joplin. Both had a Porsche 356 coupe that they loved to drive fast. If the Frenchman, as he said before, “love the car”the second president of Ve The Republic is no exception.
Georges Pompidou, then the managing director of the Rothschild bank, bought a Porsche 356 in February 1962, with gray paintwork and a blond tobacco interior. Two months later, he was appointed Prime Minister of General de Gaulle and decided to give the car to his wife whose name is on the car’s registration document. Apart from this reasonable concern, Georges Pompidou does nothing to hide his discovery. Every Friday evening, he leaves Matignon or Elysée at the wheel of his bomunette to his home in Orvilliers west of Paris. Claude Pompidou, who sometimes had to force himself to drive his car, will say that they liked to drive fast and really enjoyed smashing the Citroen DS of the security officers.
Pompidou is a car enthusiast. Although this exercise is considered a syllabus for any President of the Republic, he is like a fish in water when it comes to launching the Paris Motor Show, where he sits on the Porsche stand but also in the Alpine Renault. Eager to give the president’s appearance a splash of glamor and highlight the luminaries of French car manufacturing, he commissioned two large ceremonial limousines from coachbuilder Chapron, based on the Citroen SM. Long forgotten by the presidents, these two cars are always carefully maintained. In 2001, Claude Pompidou sold his 356 coupé to Porsche France, which restored and exhibited it regularly.
The era of the queen’s car
The President’s relationship with the car in the first part of the 1970s is based on its time, that of the queen’s car, but also on the very high road deaths to which public officials responded by introducing, in December 1973, a speed limit of 90 km/h on the road and 120 km/h on the road. After Pompidou, the car’s aura will fade considerably in power circles. Its stakes become political. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, his successor, will probably drive a Peugeot to mark the break with “Citroënism” that accompanies Gaullism. And if Mitterrand presented the new Twingo to him in the courtyard of the Elysée in March 1993, it was above all to mark his relationship with a public company facing fair privatization projects.
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