RAV Garage - My Classic Ride by Ondrej Hajek

RAV Garage

  • February 3, 2017
Located not far from the “Seine” in a landscape that inspired the Impressionists at the beginning of the last century, it’s in an old automobile upholstery workshop, given to the taste of the day by its owners, that we take you today. An unusual place and marked by a certain magic that regularly comes alive once the sandman passed. No need to search this place, the RAV Garage isn’t set out on the street. Steve Bastien "The Boss" shows us his "Midnight Garage".
Text and Pictures: Cyril Cheval/ The Rascals Cats

For all the Volkswagen’s addicts, summarize their often disproportionate passion for the classic cars seems to be utopic, especially in a few lines. Passionated peoples often have in their personal history a common denominator, a triggering event, which makes today the brand of Wolfsburg as an integral part of their daily life. All around the hexagon, the story of this passion often has a taste of already seen or already heard and Steve Bastien does not escape the rule. It was by buying the specialized press at fourteen’s years old that everything began…

Steve Bastien

“One day I’ve come face to face with a Super VW magazine by rummaging the shelves at the newsagent, once read and read again, the result was clear for me, I was in need of a Volkswagen beetle… My parents don’t necessarily have the money for such a purchase, so I have accumulated odd jobs and I can offer myself my first car. I was then 15 years old and I set my sights on a 1974 1200cc beetle which was not very far from the family house. Besides it’s a car that I still own but that has changed much since the first rounds. I had a good time to restore it and at the time I even managed to convince my father to do a part of my “driving accompanied” with my own beetle(In France you can begin to drive with your parents at the age of 16) … Driver license in my pocket I also started to go see what was happening in the others brands, I rode in mini, in 204 break and even in a Mochet Velocar (which I still own by the way), but somewhere the VW always caught me. At the same time, for fun I and a friend registered in a regularity rally and I must say that I’ve been quickly got caught up in the game. The Eure valley and the Seine valley are rich in multi-brand events, I could easily satisfy this need to ride in classic cars with a competitive trend, but at the end only with a cool attitude…

The rest of the dream was of course to possess a garage / workshop to store my cars acquired over time and especially to maintain them. One day Caroline, my wife, calls me and tells me that just a few steps from our house an old upholstery workshop is about to be put on sale. A place where a few years back, prestigious brands like Hispano-Suiza, Bugatti or Delage were legion. I don’t really take time to think about it, finally if in reality in my head it was quickly seen, it was necessarily the ideal place. This is how the RAV Garage, this club created twenty years ago, became more than a club, a place in its own right. An incredible place where I can compile as it seems to me my devouring passion for everything that rolls and tinkering with buddies on the cars of each other or on my own projects. A place necessarily too small, it is well known our garages are never big enough, but a great place where I can pile my findings without any complex and also a place where I managed to collect and combine family life and passion …

“Definitely it was necessarily the ideal place …”

Racer Aircooled Volkswagen

In 2014, after finalizing the residential area, the building that houses the garage has been completely redesigned to be more functional. We re-designed the warehouse and it’s now the same space which groups a zone reserved for the mechanics and a zone for parked cars, all staked out of shelves to store my treasures and parts for projects underway in good conditions. The walls of the RAV Garage proudly wear the traces of the overwhelming passion of Steve, the plates of the Rally “Les Boucles d’Eure” which he organized for 8 years, photographies of cars passed by the garage, a handful of trophies, stacks full off magazines and also tons of goodies accumulated over the swap meets and flea markets … But today he is a busy family man trying to slow down the pace… If the organization of the Boucles d’Eure became a little too heavy to manage, he set up last year a more flexible formula called “Asphalt and Cochonnailles”, a kind of ballade between farms and small winding roads that met a great success. But he also organizes the “Normandie OFF Road Vintage” a muddy ballade reserved for tires with nipples, don’t forget to mention all the participations in various multibrand events like the Vintage Revival on the mythical ring of Montlhéry, “La Traversée de Paris”, the Lions Night, the European bug In, the VW Fest and so many others … “Slow down the pace,” we don’t have the same dictionary.

A good number of cars rolled under the colors of RAV Garage. To this day Steve still owns his first 1974 beetle now prepared in a rally version, a 1970 Coupe Karmann Ghia also rally treated; motorized by a 1776cc joined to a 8/31re-stage gearbox mounted on a set of Porsche Steel rims and equipped with Kersher disc brakes in Porsche drilling; a 1966 Type 3 Variant in original configuration, an 181 prepared Offroad Rally / Raid; with a 8cm Bodylift and powered by a 1600cc with double Kadrons carbs and equipped with a homemade arch (It’s with this vehicle that in early 2016 it participates in the Rally of the pioneers); a 1967 Buggy GP and an Auto Dynamics formula Vee that he prepared to run on the circuit of Le Mans during the last VW Fest. If you stumble a little in his garage there are also a handful of mopeds and his Mochet Velocar (between us, enter this in a Google search bar, it’s truly an incredible gear …).

Inveterate Dreamer

In good steam Steve does’nt intend to stop in such a good way, recently he acquired a Covin kit, an English kit produced beetween 1980 and 1990 which consists of a Porsche 911 fiberglass shell positioned on a Volkswagen Type 3 frame. The idea is to build a replica of the 911 Porsches which caused sensations and surprise at the 1984 Paris Dakar. The parts accumulated softly and bet that a bestial craft will leave the garage in a few years, born of the imagination of his genitor. For the time being, Steve rolls his cars as he sees fit and as often as possible, whether it’s simple ballads or through events he organizes, he does’nt hesitate a second to share his cars with his friends for the simple pleasure of seeing them roll.

We will certainly meet again Steve Bastien, always bubbling with ideas and no doubt that the RAV Garage will reopen its doors for a new visit. Stay tuned.

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