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The little Euro car

By Stan Stewart

I had not seen one for years. Then – first, I saw one. Two hours later, there were two. Then I saw three Citroen 2CV’s. What is this? The invasion of the Francophiles?

Don’t panic! They come in peace. The Auckland Citroen Car Club, 2CV division was on yet another adventure trip. Seventeen 2CV’s were on an excursion to Port Jackson and beyond, and Whitianga was just one stop on the way.

I hadn’t seen one for years. Way back I had wanted to own one. I was completely convinced by advertisements of this car negotiating South American jungle horror roads. I had read that this strange little car could traverse a plowed field carrying eggs and not breaking any. Could that be true?

Steffen Linder of the Embassy of Friendship introduced me to Walter Dean a member of the 2CV Club. He is an engineer by profession, and he is the fix-it man for 2CV’s when they on the road to adventures like this trip to Colville. He invited Steffen and me to take a small trip with him. We journeyed to Kuaotunu in style with the roof rolled completely back. Drivers of the Mercs and BMW’s gave us a toot. I bet they were jealous.

Believe it or not, this vehicle, which looks like a rather large up-turned washing basket on wheels, is very comfortable to ride in. I am a bit stiff but getting in and out was easy and the seat was as comfortable as that of the modern car we use.

The 2CV is a triumph of French ingenuity. They were built for the rural market – for farmers to cart their stock to market and on Sundays to take the formally dressed family, the driver wearing a top hat, to church. The design was brilliant – simple, hard wearing, and affordable. The protype was developed in 1937 but it was not officially launched until 1947. Citreon’s production ceased in 1990, but it is still being produced in Argentina. To date, over 5 million 2CV’s have been produced.

Walter tells me the car can handle any conditions, mud, snow, terrible roads. He bought his 2CV in England and had it shopped to New Zealand. Owners fall in love with the car. Women love it. Walter’s eyes glisten when he starts talking of 2CV adventures. The club members stay overnight in motels or whatever accommodation is available in the distant destinations they visit. Friendships and 2CV anecdotes keep the drivers intrigued and amused at every night stopover.

The French have always treasured a love affair. My feeling is that the owners of the little 2CV do not just like their cars; they fall in love with them.

 |  The Informer  | 

By Stan Stewart

I had not seen one for years. Then – first, I saw one. Two hours later, there were two. Then I saw three Citroen 2CV’s. What is this? The invasion of the Francophiles?

Don’t panic! They come in peace. The Auckland Citroen Car Club, 2CV division was on yet another adventure trip. Seventeen 2CV’s were on an excursion to Port Jackson and beyond, and Whitianga was just one stop on the way.

I hadn’t seen one for years. Way back I had wanted to own one. I was completely convinced by advertisements of this car negotiating South American jungle horror roads. I had read that this strange little car could traverse a plowed field carrying eggs and not breaking any. Could that be true?

Steffen Linder of the Embassy of Friendship introduced me to Walter Dean a member of the 2CV Club. He is an engineer by profession, and he is the fix-it man for 2CV’s when they on the road to adventures like this trip to Colville. He invited Steffen and me to take a small trip with him. We journeyed to Kuaotunu in style with the roof rolled completely back. Drivers of the Mercs and BMW’s gave us a toot. I bet they were jealous.

Believe it or not, this vehicle, which looks like a rather large up-turned washing basket on wheels, is very comfortable to ride in. I am a bit stiff but getting in and out was easy and the seat was as comfortable as that of the modern car we use.

The 2CV is a triumph of French ingenuity. They were built for the rural market – for farmers to cart their stock to market and on Sundays to take the formally dressed family, the driver wearing a top hat, to church. The design was brilliant – simple, hard wearing, and affordable. The protype was developed in 1937 but it was not officially launched until 1947. Citreon’s production ceased in 1990, but it is still being produced in Argentina. To date, over 5 million 2CV’s have been produced.

Walter tells me the car can handle any conditions, mud, snow, terrible roads. He bought his 2CV in England and had it shopped to New Zealand. Owners fall in love with the car. Women love it. Walter’s eyes glisten when he starts talking of 2CV adventures. The club members stay overnight in motels or whatever accommodation is available in the distant destinations they visit. Friendships and 2CV anecdotes keep the drivers intrigued and amused at every night stopover.

The French have always treasured a love affair. My feeling is that the owners of the little 2CV do not just like their cars; they fall in love with them.