The Schlumpf Collection

by HoTWire 3. July 2009 04:05

We all know those one of those guys, the ones who buys up obscure cars that most people are scrapping, who end up with a shed full of them.  The Schulmpf brothers are those guys,.. except with Bugattis and a bit of civil unrest thrown in.

All cars go through a period of being pretty much worthless, or at least relatively worthless compared to their original value, you can see all sorts of cars changing hands for less than a grand right now that were a whole lot more expensive to buy when new.  Maybe their values will bounce back, maybe they won’t, the real enthusiast doesn't care, for the value of the car means nothing, the car itself is the point.  In the 1950's pre-world war two cars were getting thrown on the scrapheap by customers wanting the newest and greatest European sports cars.  The Schlumpf Brothers were there to pick them up, and boy did they pick some interesting things up.

The Schlumpf brothers in question were Hans and Fritz, two Italian born Swiss who had moved to Mulhouse in France with their widowed mother.  Their source of income was spun woollen products they opened their mill before world war two, and with an aggressive growth after the war they ended up very wealthy indeed, putting them in a position to engage their obsession.  Whilst their predominant focus was Bugatti, the brothers collected some of the most desirable pre-war cars they could find, having gained a reputation for this kind of purchase put them in position that dealers sought out the brothers if something interesting came up.  The activity was a one way street, cars went in and were not sold on.

In the mid 1960's the woollen industry started to downturn somewhat, so the brothers moved their collection into disused areas of the Mulhouse mill.  They employed a team of people to work on and restore their car collection, at this point numbering nearly 400 cars.  The people working on the cars were to keep details of the collection secret.  This work carried on as the Woollen industry in Europe gradually fell away.  The brothers planned to open the Mulhouse mill as a car museum, they had everything ready, reception rooms, displays, tickets, the lot but in 1977 they had other things on their mind and their two world collided.

Having had to close a number of factories due to the economic climate, hundreds of current and ex-employees blocked the brothers in their villa as part of industrial action to protest the loss of jobs, the French authorities move the brothers to Switzerland and the striking workforce occupy the mill.  Once inside they discovered for the first time the extent of the car collection.  The workers destroy an unrestored Austin 7, but limit their destruction there, realising that if the textile industry is doomed, then the collection of cars has value as museum.  The workers set to operating the museum, however the brother’s debts continue to rise and the collection comes under threat from creditors.  The French authorities step in at this point to ensure that the collection isn't sold by classifying it as a French historic monument.

The building is closed in 1979 as the brothers are declared bankrupt.  From 1981 to 1999 the French National Automobile Museum Association runs the museum, but it struggles to keep it all in good order.  In 1999 Culturespaces were contracted to take over the museum and renovate it, in March 2000 the museum reopened as the largest automobile museum in the world : Cité de l’Automobile.

According to Wikipedia the current collection includes "over 520 vehicles, with 400 displayed".  The collection contains 123 Bugattis in the 400 on display, including three Bugatti Royales.

Next time you find yourself fancying a long weekend away, you could do a lot worse than heading to the Schlumpf Collection.

More information on this amazing story can be found here.

Most photos taken from this collection.

Comments (19) -

03/07/2009 19:08:25 #


That is now officially on my list of places to visit.


05/08/2009 14:07:10 #

Wealthy affiliate review

Great cars! These are surely worth collecting. I have you bookmarked to show this to my Dad. Good thing you have come up with such blog! Highly recommended! Keep it up!

Wealthy affiliate review United States

03/02/2010 21:09:34 #

buy bmw car long island

gud one........

buy bmw car long island United States

03/02/2010 22:40:45 #

buy bmw from long island

thanks...gud article

buy bmw from long island United States

23/03/2010 21:42:07 #

BMW Special long island

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free.

BMW Special long island United States

24/03/2010 20:58:41 #

BMW X3 long island

The perfectly-sized BMW X3 with xDrive, intelligent all-wheel-drive system. It's big enough to give you command of the road, and small enough to keep you connected with it. Naturally, it's graceful as any BMW. Which makes this SAV the opposite of SUVs in nearly every way.

BMW X3 long island United States

06/04/2010 02:22:51 #


Interesting blog, not like the others! This is the kind of information every blog should have

MONTY Brazil

26/04/2010 08:08:14 #

Marijuana Alternative

How does JWH-018 work?

Marijuana Alternative United States

22/05/2010 05:51:30 #

Intensivo Verano

Intensivo Verano United Kingdom

22/05/2010 21:06:02 #

wholesale laptop adapter

Maybe their values will bounce back, maybe they won’t, the real enthusiast doesn't care, for the value of the car means nothing, the car itself is the point.  In the 1950's pre-world war two cars were getting thrown on the scrapheap by cu

wholesale laptop adapter Norway

30/05/2010 23:20:31 #


You have a good point but I wonder, what about the flipside?

lab0rat United States

31/05/2010 06:31:24 #

American Dad

I prefer Family guy personally, But I guess it has some funny moments still.

American Dad United States

11/06/2010 14:22:48 #


This year the World Cup is going to be very intense!  It comes down to flip of a coin in my opinion but best of luck to both teams! I will be watching for sure!

Kathryn United States

13/06/2010 10:38:59 #


This Cup could be really close!   I give it a coin toss in my opinion but best of luck to both soccer teams! I'll be watching the entire match!

Samantha United States

16/06/2010 19:58:41 #

Homeopathic Tinnitus Remedies

This is the 2nd moment I've noticed your web sites within the last few weeks.  Looks like I ought to take note of it.

Homeopathic Tinnitus Remedies United States

19/06/2010 17:53:33 #

Sammie Krysinski

Great blog post, a bunch of superior data.  I am going to point out to my pals and ask them what they think.

Sammie Krysinski United States

22/06/2010 03:38:32 #

Clement Mccrossen

World cup time!

Clement Mccrossen United States

28/06/2010 18:27:10 #

foxtail palm

What a great blog. I've enjoyed digesting through your site in the last week.

foxtail palm United States

27/07/2010 14:44:59 #

Virility Ex Review

I differ with most folks here; I found this blog post I couldn't stop until I finished, while it wasn't just what I had been looking for, was still a nice read though. I will instantly take your blog feed to keep in touch of coming updates.

Virility Ex Review United States

Pingbacks and trackbacks (2)+

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Powered by BlogEngine.NET