In 1929, Henri Malartre founded a car demolition firm in Lyon to retrieve and resell usable parts. In 1931, he was given a Rochet-Schneider car from 1898. Unable to bring himself to demolish the vehicle, it marked the beginning of his automobile collection.
In 1942, Malartre joined the French Resistance. In 1944 he was arrested and spent time in Fort Montluc (cell 123) before being deported to a concentration camp.
After the war, Malartre discovered seventeen old cars were safe, hidden in a warehouse and undetected by the Gestapo. Following a number of popular exhibitions of his collection over the following years, Malartre bought the castle at Rochetaillee to establish the first car museum in France, inaugurated on 31st May 1960.
Malartre was born in 1906 and passed away in 2005.
The museum is notable for its presentation of one of Hitler's armoured Mercedes, captured by the French in Berchtesgaden.
For current visiting hours, please visit the website of the museum.
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- Text: Mr Bojangles
- Photos: Mr Bojangles