Road Rug Roots

It all started with toy model (and real big cars)

Everything really began in the early 1990’s, on the French Riviera, on a beautiful BMW black leather seat. When a young father bring back his first little boy from maternity hospital. He was driving very slowly, so carefully, taking care of his new born. He has probably never driven like that and he will probably never drive like that anymore with his brand new dark blue E34 525i. It was Nico’s very first car experience. 

Probably the second car experience of Nico aboard Granma’s Classic Mini in 1992, that is why he loves Minis

A few years later, it is now Franck’s turn to be born. This time, his first ride was a little more sporty. Our dad got a fantastic black BMW E30 M3. Powered by an incredible 2.3L, 4 cyl. engine of 200HP, coupled to a fabulous (and hard) chassis : it was impossible to drive peacefully. Makes you wonder how he could have to put the baby in the 2-doors coupe… it is a mystery, maybe on the knees face to the road. However, it was Franck’s first-ever car experience. The second one was to start himself the same car. He was two years old (true story) and a pilot soul awoke inside of him.

Franck’s pilot soul expression near 1995

In the mid 1990’s, as many children, we spent a lot of time playing in our room. As long as we can remember, we used to chase each other at top speed around the block of our road rug. This is most likely our first car memory. It was a lot of negotiating to know who will take the 1/24 Ferrari F40 and who will be on the McLaren F1 and this all always came to an end in a giant pileup made of burst of laughter, roar and tears. This is a classic children’s playtime rug story. It is 100% nylon and machine washable at 30 degrees of chase and race adventures for many of us. Our was a Formula One track, and that where it all started …

Nico Franck Galiffi childhood 1990 carpet track circuit road rug cars roadrugcars brothers car voiture auto automobile vintage car super car hyper car toys toy
It is the right one, found on the web 25 years later.

Motor oil in the veins

According to our father, Sunday was a holy day. We became early accustomed to this fact and we looked forward to this weekly car day. It was always the same : French TV car show in the morning, car washing at lunch, Grand Prix in the afternoon (every other weeks) and car ride until the very late afternoon. Braced ourselves as far back in the seats as possible of the father’s and uncle’s black BMW E36 M3 (yes they had the same car at the same time), that was a wonderful time. We could dreamt in the morning in front of the TV and live our dreams in the afternoon. We used to discover all kind of rare, sporty and luxury cars during our regular road trip on Côte d’Azur. We could literally put of our finger on Ferrari 355, Porsche 993 or Lamborghini Diablo and at this time it was enough for us.

Nico off-road racing in 1996, Franck was crying on the other side of circuit because he was too young to hit the road

By dint of see our dad driving all the time and admire pilots on the screen, we wanted more : to get behind the wheel. That is why we started to drive go-karting regularly.

At six and nine, we drove more than our mom in her entire life.

At the same time, we lived a very memorable moment : attending our first Formula One Grand Prix. We will always be remembered the amazing feeling of seeing race cars in the streets. Obviously it was 2001 Monaco GP, a legendary Michael Schumacher victory. From children’s eyes, brightly polished cars, V10 loud melody through the streets, hot tires perfume, automobiles piece of art and festive atmosphere were completely insane. That is probably why Nico is passionate about design and Franck made semi-pro karting races, thanks to our dad, grand father and mother, uncle, friends and their memorable cars. BMW E30 M3, Jeep Willys MB, Peugeot 205 GTI, Jaguar XJ6, Renault R5, BMW E36 M3, Austin Mini, Alfa Romeo 164, Audi S8 D2, Maserati 3200 Gt or Renault 21 Nevada (maybe not this one) are probably cars from which our motoring passion is born.

Joining the freeway

When the age of driving was coming, we spent hours and hours on the web discussing our first dream car. Starting with two wheels Solex and Vespa, it will be definitively a vintage car. First they were cheaper, second they were much cooler to drive, third they were far most beautiful. Naturally, couple of years before having our driving license, Franck fell in love with a splendid 1975 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT and Nico with a stuning 1986 Austin Mini. So we purchased them. While we drove grandpa’s Jeep Willys for many years (on mountain trails), not being able to drive was a legal torture. Being tired of waiting, driven in ours cars by our dad, the license sounded like a liberation. From that day we started to cross south of France and north of Italy in the excessive heat of precooling cars, that was fantastic. And we finally understood the real meaning of fun-to-drive.

Franck and Nico telling secrets in the back seat of a Jeep Willys around 1997

At this time, we also started to care about watches maybe because all our friends had ugly giant quartz on wrist. So we decided to read books, visit museums, fairs and flea markets to

understand what was watchmaking. In horology we found what we appreciated in car world : beautiful and well-made pieces. So, from Lip and Chromachron to Pequignet and Jaeger, we have begun our collection.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end, so Nico went to live in cloudy Paris and Franck to freezing Montreal. Although we are far apart, we still share our cars and watches fever together with events and test drives our separate way : an European and an American point of view. And as soon as possible we obviously enjoy brothers road trips as in the good old days.

Inspired by our story from the road rug to the open road, we launched RoadRugCars.com trying to share with you the most immersive experiences and the most authentic stories.

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