OUR HISTORY

ELEGANCE CAR: A story of three Generations.
“The golden age of the automobile“

Everything began with the birth of Georges Lefevre in June 1900. Passionate about mechanics and beautiful American cars from a very young age, Georges opened his garage in 1924 and became one of the first General Motors dealers in Belgium. Official distributor of Opel, Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac, the "Garage Lefevre" became a success.

“Spa Francorchamps“

In 1950 and after brilliant studies his son Louis succeeded him. Having a consuming passion for motorsports, Louis entered competitions in 1953 and in the same year won his first race behind the wheel of an Opel Kapitan on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit.

In 1955, at the motor show in Paris, Louis was attracted by the German Borgward cars and became a dealer within the same year. Alongside his work, he continued racing and won the Belgian hill climb championship in 1957 behind the wheel of a Borgward Isabella. He also won several touring car Grand Prix on circuits ahead of his direct competitors such as Lucien Bianchi, Fritz Jüttner and Bill Blydenstein. Backed by a reputation of an outstanding driver and mechanic the Garage Lefevre reached international clientele.

“The third Generation“

In 1982, Frederic was born. He learned the motor trade at a very young age with his father who was considered a "wizard of the automobile." Bitten by the passion of the family Frederic inherited a rich savoir-faire in mechanics, bodywork and car sales. Despite an unconditional love for the craft, Frederic noticed that the mechanical field in which he was born was undergoing a significant technological change with the arrival of electronics. A trade losing its authenticity and at the mercy of computers encouraged Frederic to step back and realize a dream of travelling.

In 2009 he spent a year travelling on the American continent and began a journey of twenty thousand kilometers during which he experienced an epiphany that initiated the birth of Elegance Car.

Back in France a friend and old client, expressed his disappointment of not finding the attention and the quality service he had received at the Garage Lefevre and feeling like being a number on a waiting list to purchase a model with a precise set of specifications. A customer who felt that a car must be like himself, an amateur rather than just a consumer, an esthete! Frederic felt concerned. He prospected the European market to find the desired model and thus started to select the top suppliers, now enabling him to respond quickly to the most demanding expectations.

ELEGANCE CAR: Everything starts with a Cadillac 49
"From an American journey to the birth of Elegance Car"

After four months at the University of Vancouver to improve his English, Frederic travelled across Canada and arrived 4800 km away in Brockville, a small town in Ontario on the St. Lawrence River where he met his old Quebec friend Rejean, an epicurean who introduced him to the Thousand Islands region on his boat and spoke about his dream of owning a Cadillac Coupe Deville 49! Frederic realized that Rejean was talking about a rare model that his grandfather Georges had had and which was the pride of the Garage Lefevre. That coincidence gave him a new idea.

"My friend has a dream about Cadillac, I want to achieve it for him"

From Quebec to Mexico via Detroit, New York and the famous "Route 66" Frederic stopped at the most unusual garages and most extravagant dealers and encountered fans like himself where all models were subject to discussions, including the famous Cadillac 49. As a hunter of rare models, Frederic made friends and contacted collectors, owners and organizers of classic car rallies across the country who provided him with many ideas but ultimately no success in finding the specific model.

After 3 months in Mexico to learn Spanish, Frederic took the road up to the north towards the last frontier of the United States: Alaska. On the Californian roads through Los Angeles and San Francisco, he saw some Cadillacs which had suffered because of time and which were ready to end up in the Texas cemetery of the Cadillac Ranch. A thousand miles away, he arrived in Astoria, a small town in Oregon that looked like one of the most remote places on earth. He stayed in the most unique B & B of the region, at Clementine’s, who mentioned a small car museum amongst the local attractions. He went there and found a place where time had stopped. A tiny museum of just fifteen cars full of history amongst which was nothing less than the old 1924 Charlie Chaplin Packard! Frederic opened a conversation with another visitor called Josh who was the only other person present and who coincidentally turned out to be a big fan of classic cars.<:p>

The two men got along well and decided to go for a beer. Frederic shared his adventures and talked about the Cadillac 49… Josh was astonished, saying:

  • I know this model! A friend of mine in Seattle has one. “A convertible”

Frederic’s heart missed a beat... Surprised and excited by the story of this passionate traveler, Josh called his friend Bob and an appointment was made.

“Seattle“

Frederic discovered Seattle, starting with the legendary Public Market before his appointment with Bob at the Whisky Bar. Bob was a very nice guy with whom he discussed classic cars restored in his family workshop, including a unique American model of a 1939 Studebaker Commander convertible that evoked the dream of his friend Rejean. Then Bob told him the story of his Cadillac and invited him to discover it by adding:

  • I’ll like to show it to you, but not to sell it...
  • Thanks Bob, I appreciate it, “replied Frederic with a smile” but let me tell you that a Cadillac convertible like yours is not made for a region like Seattle where it rains more than 200 days per year. Personally I think that she would be better in Ontario not far from her hometown: Detroit.

Arriving at a beautiful property Bob opened the door of the garage to proudly reveal the Cadillac,

  • This is my Baby!

Frederic couldn’t resist his instinct to inspect it: Sound Body, healthy engine, the venerable lady was in superb condition. With a small ignition timing set and a change from 6 to 12 volts it would be perfect. Frederic decided then to share this wonderful moment with Rejean and called him,

  • Guess where I am? “Says Frederic“ I’m sitting in “your” 1949 Cadillac Coupe Deville with Bob its proud owner.
  • Are you kidding? I must have it!
  • Don’t get carried away! Bob has not decided to sell it yet, but he told me he would be happy to meet a bon vivant like you, an amateur of Cadillac’s, cigars and whisky... I’ll pass him on to you !

The two men got on very well on the phone and invited each other to meet when Rejean quipped:

  • I'll tell you Bob, it's been two years since my wife nagged me to take some vacation near Seattle on Vancouver Island. What would you say if I asked her to pack immediately?

Frederic continued his journey towards the north with the certainty that the two men will meet and find a way. It is just a matter of time.

From Alaska to France

Frederic joined a friend in Alaska aboard his sailboat. From Skagway to Vancouver Island via the ancient Russian capital of Sitka, he enjoyed it immensely before returning to Europe.
A few months after his arrival in France, Frederic received a call, it was Rejean.

  • Frederic! Guess where I am?
  • In Seattle I suppose! With Bob?
  • How did you guess? She is sublime ... I’ll pass you onto Bob, he'll tell you!

Bob agreed,

  • Frederic! And yes you were right, the Cadillac will be better in Ontario, at the home of my new friend Rejean!

Frederic had created his method: a good relationship, a bit of patience and instinct. But he still had to find the name of his company which became...

ELEGANCE CAR
 
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Address : Domaine du Plan de Noyer 83780 Flayosc Var France | Fix / Fax line +33 (0) 964 423 510
contact us / www.elegancecar.net
 
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