- History of the museum
- The cars
- Outside the cars
- Guided tour
- Facilities for the public
If you’re looking for supercars, Formula 1 cars, or luxurious limousines, you’ll have to pass. However, if you are looking for authenticity, variety, to find your memories, to discover or explain the past, then the Museum of Agricultural and Automotive Heritage of Salviac will be an exciting visit. On the heights of this small Quercy village, a few kilometers from Rocamadour and very close to the Périgord Noir, Benoit Jouclar has established his museum on the 15 ha of the domain of the old family farm.
Remnants of the farm, large green canvas awnings, once used for strawberry and tobacco growing, now house a large part of the many vehicles recovered by the creator. With the help of a team of volunteers, Benoit Jouclar has restored, fitted out and built several buildings around the site, which house part of the collection, especially the most beautiful pieces. There are also presentations of life scenes, and thousands of objects related to the automobile or the life of yesteryear.
A vast and well-equipped garage has been fitted out to allow the repair and maintenance of the vehicles. This is the domain of Alain Fournier, a friend of Benoit’s and more particularly in charge of the mechanical aspects. The team stores a large quantity of spare parts and machines waiting to be put back on the road.
As Benoit Jouclar himself says, “I collect everything”, and these objects will then be put on stage.
The collections of the museum of Salviac may seem heterogeneous, but it is in fact a patrimonial ensemble that retraces the life of the countryside (and more) in the 20th century. A few favorites not to miss:
- Benoit’s demonstration on his Grand Bi, and his stories more widely, try the guided tour!
- The decoration with many mannequins and objects which really put in situation and in value the objects
- The Citroën SM, always a pleasure to admire this great French roadster
- The cars models windows
- The 2 perfectly restored Citroën Torpedo
History of the museum
Benoit Jouclar, founder and animator of this museum, started by finding and restoring his grandfather’s tractor, an American Farmall Club financed at the time by the Marshall Plan. He was 14 years old at the time, and this was the first step, more than 30 years ago now, in the development of his collection. Later, he recovered other abandoned tractors, agricultural equipment, but also all sorts of everyday objects. In 1999, he installed his collection on the family farm. A new step was taken in 2006 with the creation of an association that allowed the creation of the Museum and its opening to the public.
The addition of the cars to the collection was done on opportunities, in particular by satisfying Benoit’s passion for the Citroën brand.
Since then, Benoit Jouclar continues to collect cars, farm equipment, and objects with a passion for authenticity that guides him in the development of the Museum of Agricultural and Automotive Heritage of Salviac.
The collection today
Vast, eclectic, and very authentic, the collection of the Museum of Agricultural and Automotive Heritage includes about 250 tractors, 150 cars, utilities, and not far from 200 two-wheelers, bicycles, moppets, motorcycles… It has been built up by recovering abandoned vehicles, donations, or purchases. Benoit and his collection are well known in the region and word of mouth works well! Most of the vehicles are in working order. No flashy restoration, more new than new, they often remain in their juice, but are in working order, and the owner regularly starts them during the guided tours. However, some rarer models or those recovered in good condition have been well restored.
We also discover pedal cars, miniatures, toys related to the automobile, but also many other collections: kitchen utensils, agricultural tools, cameras. There is enough to satisfy the curiosity and interest of all visitors, young and old, car or tractor enthusiasts or simply curious.
As we said, the idea is not to restore the cars, especially considering the cost and the time needed for the number of vehicles. However, a good part of the cars presented, even in their juice, are in very good condition. Some ancestors are voluntarily decorated with straw, dust and rust are present, sometimes cobwebs, but is part of the staging.
The reception building houses rarer cars or those whose state of restoration justifies a shelter from the elements, as well as a few old ones awaiting restoration. As you enter the building, a Renault 4CV modified as a “1063” rally car sits proudly between a Traction 7 and a gendarmerie motorcycle. If its driver poses next to the 4CV, it is a bride who waits next to the Traction, also a tribute to the favorite car of the FFI (the Resistance) during the war.
Indeed, it is not only an alignment of cars, Benoit Jouclar tries to create an atmosphere with mannequins and various objects and accessories, thus making the visit more attractive for a large public. A little further on, another 4CV, with its gallery and suitcases, ready to leave on vacation, accompanies a 2CV Fourgonnette topped by a DS with pedals. There are also many toys around, including several pedal cars, and an Indian motorcycle with its side car, whose passenger does not seem to feel totally safe.
At the back of the building, a vast room exhibits both restored or received cars in good condition, and the “barn pullers” which thus avoid further deterioration.
Pell-mell, a Citroën SM, an iconic French sports car from the 1970s, a Teilhol Citadine (electric car) with its front opening (like the Isetta), the Ford T of the bride and groom, a 1922 UNIC Georges Richard, which was at one time in the family of former French President François Hollande.
Among the “out of the barn” cars, we discover a Willys Knight from the 1920s in its original state, a Peugeot 201 and 301, a Citroën Type C and some pre-war Renaults…. In this room, a few motorcycles remind us of the French brands that have disappeared (René Gillet, Monet Guyon, Ravat), next to a curious Moto Guzzi racing sidecar. Stop to admire the display cases of miniatures which present several hundreds of models, among others one devoted to the fire trucks, another with all the vehicles of the Pinder circus or a beautiful panoply of 2 CV.
Along the reception building, a canopy shelters some cars in the middle of scenes of the agricultural life of yesteryear. For example, 2 beautiful Citroën 10HP Torpedo of the 1920s ready to drive. Also in very good condition a Ford Type A, a Peugeot 202 or a beautiful Hotchkiss 1934. Some of the pre-war Citroën, Peugeot or Renault cars are preserved as found, even if the engines have been restored to working order.
Under the large canvas awnings (about ten in total), we find mainly the French cars that were on the roads from the post-war period until the 1970s. And they are almost all there: Citroën (Traction, 2 CV, Dyane, Ami 6, Ami 8, GS, DS, CX…), Renault (Juvaquatre, Frégate, 4CV, Dauphine, 4L, R6, R8, R12, R16, R21, R25…), Peugeot (202, 203, 403, 204, 304, 404, 504…), disappeared brands like Simca (Ariane, Aronde, 1000…) or Panhard, often in several copies.
Here, no barrier, you can approach the cars as close as possible, turn around and take all the pictures you want. A few foreign cars like a VW Beetle and a small Daf sneaked in to complete the family picture. Some youngtimers like Renault R5 Alpine or Peugeot 205 GTI prolong the history of popular cars.
One can thus wander through this vast domain according to one’s inspiration. Several awnings are also reserved for old tractors, mainly pre-war or immediate post-war models. Here, no air suspension, no air-conditioned cabins, but rather “rough casting”. We have fun comparing the size of these machines with what we see today in the fields. We discover for example steam engines, tractors with metal wheels (without tires).
Not being a tractor expert, I won’t go into too much detail, but among the curiosities is a Porsche tractor, a brand better known for its sports cars than its agricultural machines.
Beside the cars
As we said, there are not only cars or tractors, there are also a lot of utilities and various vehicles. Vans complete the landscape of post-war roads, but others are more exotic, like a large Dodge ambulance of the American army. Still on the topic of mobility, the Museum of Agricultural and Automotive Heritage in Salviac has a very large number of two-wheelers.
I mentioned the motorcycles, mopeds, there are a good hundred of them in total. Here too, the condition varies from barn-raised to a very nice collection. On the bike side, there are also many models, including some very old bikes, such as the grand Bi, those bicycles with a huge front wheel and a small rear wheel.
Benoit and his team take great care in the decoration and the staging, which gives a very dynamic side to the collection and creates interest for all, which is the objective of the owner. If you are not interested in mechanical devices, toys, cameras, everyday objects or large clocks will pique your curiosity. In the last room of the reception building, several spaces remind us of the country life of the old times, with a store, a hairdresser or a classroom. Outside, there is a post office with a telephone that served the whole village.
When the number of visitors allows it, Benoit Jouclar leads guided tours full of anecdotes. He knows how to adapt to his audience, insisting on technical aspects, engine details, or stories of daily life around the objects exposed. In his black suit, white shirt, hat and wooden clogs, he is completely in tune with the museum’s heritage. Don’t miss his demonstration of the Grand Bi, which he pilots through the museum’s aisles, chased by his dog in a perfectly orchestrated ballet!
Facilities for the public
In addition to a large parking lot, with space to park motor homes, the Salviac Heritage Museum offers visitors a free picnic area, with a terrace and a well-equipped covered room, with tables and chairs. The animation team also strives to make the entire museum area accessible to people with reduced mobility.