Although Pascal Gaudard, the founder of Sioux Automobiles, speaks with a Swiss accent, it is actually a US accent that quickly comes through. Those who know him will most probably agree, because Pascal has lived, breathed, and been driven by the sound of American V8s for almost as long as he can remember, as he tells us: "I fell in love with a Mustang in a movie when I was a kid, then I bought my first Mustang, a 1969 Mach 1 when I was 15, before creating the Mustang Club of Geneva which I ran for ten years".
What followed was a logical sequence of events, as he explains: "In parallel with the Mustang Club, I launched a business selling car parts. Then, I joined forces with a business partner to develop a workshop dedicated to the restoration and race preparation of Mustangs and Shelby Cobras. The next step was the creation of the commercial branch of the workshop in 2002. This is how we started Sioux Automobiles."
Sioux Automobiles focused on the purchase and sale of racing cars. In 2016, Pascal and his partner decided to part. Pascal then managed Sioux Automobiles on his own, focusing on the research, purchase, and sale of genuine Ford GT40s, Shelby Cobras, Shelby 350GTs and GTRs.
If we had to write down the values that define Sioux Automobiles, the words discretion, rarity, and authenticity would come first. The majority of Sioux Automobiles’ activity is focused "off-market", i.e. purchasing the rarest racing cars on behalf of customers. As a matter of principle, Pascal has chosen not to trade Cobras or GT40s made by Kirkham, Gelscoe Motorsport, or Superformance, even though they are all seen in the historic racing scene.
As he explains to us, this very specific knowledge of these cars allows him to offer a turnkey service to clients, half of whom are Swiss, while the rest are mostly European, but also from Singapore, Canada, and Argentina. "Recently, a client gave us a mandate to search for a racing Cobra. We identified a very good one in Indianapolis and, thanks to a solid network of partners, we were able to ensure the inspection of the car, its payment, collection, transport, import, manage its FIA HTP, and ensure its restoration and preparation for racing."
However, their showroom in Meyrin near Geneva does not only include American V8s. Open by appointment only, it includes cars for sale advertised on Classic Driver and storage, "mainly for customers who spend half the year in Switzerland.”
Pascal has seen the evolution of the market, which has become globalized and more professional, for better or the worse as he recalls: "When a Swiss banker called me to become his personal advisor to provide him with car value estimates, asking to commit on margins of financial growth, I didn't really like this situation.”
We can easily understand him when he admits that he prefers a car in original condition with its defects to an over-restored car. Pascal is a real enthusiast, his daily car is a 1973 Porsche 2.7 RS. There are also the cars he regrets having sold, such as a first-owner 1967 Mustang, but as he adds: "You can't keep everything. I love driving old cars and selling is necessary to discover something else.”
Another side of his passion is racing. This year, Pascal plans to race the next Le Mans Classic with one of his clients, a friend who owns a Jaguar E-Type Semi Lightweight. He will also drive his own Corvette, which is a replica of Henri Greder's ex racing car: "I love Le Mans, especially the drive at night at very high speed where I reach more than 310 km/h, it is an incredible pleasure.”
Pascal also does not hesitate to line up at the start of Spa Six Hours with an authentic Cobra. Last but not least, the duo enjoy racing in the Sixties and the CER championships by Peter Auto, while Pascal also has found memories of racing in a GT350 Shelby and a GT40.
This racing world has been a long-standing customer base for Sioux Automobiles since 1995: “It's a small world where everyone knows each other, I continue to source and sell three or four racing cars per year, but today I mostly sell road cars. I know some Cobra 289s that have passed through my hands two or three times.” And he then adds, “Yesterday, I test drove one of the best Porsche 906s around. It’s a car that I just sourced for one of my clients. We will preserve it while continuing to drive it.”
This sale of the 906 belongs to a market that Pascal considers to be strong: “cars with a clean and impeccable history have a bright future”. Pascal believes the market has been very active for the last eight months, "It is difficult to find a beautiful Ferrari 275, although there have been corrections on some cars such as the 911 2.4 S or 2.7RS. “
Pascal does not see many grey areas in the long term, "of course our ability to appreciate our cars will depend on political decisions, but I remain confident when I see that Porsche is investing in a synthetic gasoline. I think that iconic cars will always be coveted, and in this respect I always refer to the car collection that Peter Livanos patiently built between the 1980s and the 2000s. He clearly had great taste and a huge knowledge of cars. Such taste is timeless and will remain. Of course, we could add some more recent cars to this list of iconic cars, and as long as there are car meetings, I don't see our passion declining".
When it's time to say goodbye, we ask him about his top three cars. Although he’s had the most beautiful Italian, English, and German cars in his hands, it is naturally towards the USA that Pascal turns: “My top car is a car I sold, the Ford GT40 #1016 ex Le Mans 1966 that Claude Nahum drove, an exceptional car in every respect. Then comes the Corvette Filipinetti #3, and finally the GT 350-R 096, with which I have a really nice memory. In 1999, at the start of Tour Auto in Trocadero in Paris, I saw that Rob Walton's team was having mechanical issues; involving parts they could not source locally with such short notice. I promised to help them, made some calls around, and thanks to Paris-based friends I managed to fix the car by the end of the day. A beautiful friendship followed. Years later, I bought this very same car for Claude Nahum.”
Photos by Daniel Zizka