An unprecedented exhibition of vehicles and machines, courtesy of the Musée de la Gendarmerie Nationale

The Musée de la Gendarmerie Nationale (national gendarmerie museum) is responsible for conserving and promoting a fleet of more than 80 vintage vehicles owned by the Gendarmerie, hidden from public view. For the first time, 11 vehicles will be on show at Rétromobile.

A DIVERSE COLLECTION

Cars, motorbikes, armoured vehicles, trucks, buses, a helicopter, a boat and even a snowmobile: all of these are part of the mechanical legacy of the Musée de la Gendarmerie Nationale. Withdrawn from the fleet to make way for newer replacements, these machines were selected by the museum for their particularities: good condition, mileage potential, rare versions or prototypes.

Displaying broad diversity, they reflect the technical evolution of the missions of the Gendarmerie and how their resources have been adapted to them.

AN UNPRECEDENTED EXHIBITION

Very rarely accessible to the general public in its overall configuration, the mechanical legacy will be exceptionally displayed at Retromobile.

This is the first time that the Musée de la Gendarmerie Nationale exhibits so many vehicles from its collection. Spanning more than 400 sqm of exhibition space, 11 vehicles and machines will share the spotlight for the 5 days of the show, evidencing the diversity of the collection.

Department Gendarmes on patrol on their BMW R 80-RT in the 1990s.
Department Gendarmes on patrol on their BMW R 80-RT in the 1990s.

You will therefore have the opportunity to discover the Alouette II deployed in 1959 when the Malpasset dam burst, a VBRG (gendarmerie wheeled armoured vehicle) with the VXB 170, and a snowmobile used by the gendarmes during the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.

Alouette II:

This helicopter was mainly used by the Gendarmerie for passenger transport, load transport, medical evacuation, or rescue missions.  With its removable tail and blades, it can be transported quite simply on a trailer. 

Gradually replaced by the Alouette III in the 1970s and the AS-365F Dauphin in the 1990s, these helicopters continued to provide pilot training and support missions for the Mediterranean Test Centre.

The model presented was assigned to the Fréjus  air force section in 1958. The Alouette II JAY was the first to arrive on the scene when the Malpasset dam burst in December 1959, devastating the valley and the west of Fréjus.

Yamaha ET 340 P snowmobile:

The first snowmobileto equip the Gendarmerie's mountain units, it was used in particular for the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992. Manoeuvrable and fast, it could be used to rescue people in the mountains, carrying a passenger or towing skiers.  It was also equipped with a sled and even a trailer for equipment and an avalanche rescue dog.

Yamaha ET340P
Yamaha ET340P © Coll. Musée de la gendarmerie nationale

The stars of the collection, Véhicules Rapides d’Intervention (Rapid Response Vehicles), will also be on show, with the presentation of the Matra Jet V6 and the Subaru Impreza. Two-wheelers will also be represented by the BMW R 80 TIC and the R 50/2 but also the Norton 750 Atlas used to provide security during the Tour de France from 1966 onwards. This high-profile event will also serve as a platform for the launch of the Musée de la Gendarmerie nationale endowment fund, to support the museum in the upkeep and expansion of its collection.

Matra JET 6
Matra JET 6 © Coll. Musée de la gendarmerie nationale

Two-wheelers will also be represented by the BMW R 80 TIC and the R 50/2 but also the Norton 750 Atlas used to provide security during the Tour de France from 1966 onwards.

The BMW R 80 TIC was used in the mobile brigades at departmental level between 1988 and 1992 in addition to the R 80 RT. This motorbike was the first to be fitted with flashing lights.  They were also used for the surveillance of forest and mountainous areas.

The BMW R50 appeared on the market in 1951, but only arrived in the Gendarmerie fleet in 1956. Assigned to the mobile brigades, it was mainly used for road safety missions. The 2 series, which entered service in 1960, were renowned for their road handling, comfort, reliability, cleanliness, quiet operation, efficient braking and easy maintenance. The BMW R50/2 can be recognised by the indicators on the tips of the handlebars.

The gendarmerie fleet was completed in 1960 by the 594cc BMW R60/2, 30 bhp and capable of reaching 150 km/h.

BMW_R_50, années 70_(3145)
BMW_R_50, années 70_(3145) © Coll. Musée de la gendarmerie nationale

 

This high-profile event will also serve as a platform for the launch of the Musée de la Gendarmerie nationale endowment fund, to support the museum in the upkeep and expansion of its collection.

These vehicles will be exhibited on stand 7.3 F 041

With the creation of the rapid response brigades (BRI) on the motorway, the Gendarmerie Nationale acquired 3 Matra Jets[PH1] , alongside the first Alpine A 110 Berlinettes.

The drivers authorised to take the wheel of these fast vehicles were first trained on the Le Mans circuit with a certificate of aptitude. Wearing a helmet was then compulsory.

They patrolled the motorways from 1966 to 1967. In the end, they did not meet the requirements of the gendarmes, as they were considered difficult to drive at high speeds, with poor road handling and difficult defogging.

ALPINE A 310 V6

Alpine 1
Alpine 1 © Coll. Musée de la gendarmerie nationale

The Alpine A310 in Gendarmerie gradually replaced the legendary Berlinette, but retained much the same equipment inside and out. The side silk-screen printing is still present but the rotating beacon changes colour and size. The first models were delivered to the gendarmerie in 1971. In 1976, the A310 V6 was delivered to motorway units. Some A310s were also used to train drivers on the Le Mans race track.

This single unit in 2 series was assigned to the Auxerre BRI alongside a Citroën CX 2400 GTI. It was no longer compulsory to wear a helmet.

Renault Estafette

Estafelle
Estafelle © Coll. Musée de la gendarmerie nationale

In the collective memory, it is the gendarmes' vehicle par excellence. As a patrol and liaison vehicle, assigned to brigades and squadrons, the Estafette came in many versions: The minicar for mobile brigades and squadrons, which could transport 8 gendarmes and their office or observation equipment; the detainee transport version with a mesh-partitioned cell; the anti-pollution version for exhaust fumes; or the transmission workshop version with a roof rack and workbench for the teams in charge of the brigades' radios or fixed antennas... The last of these were withdrawn from service at the beginning of the 2000s. This specimen was assigned to Maisons-Alfort.