Twice upon a time and long ago Sarah was the proud owner of two different 2CVs. Here, she tells us the story of the cars that still make her smile today. And she’s not necessarily done with them yet.
“This little vehicle was my first car. Registration DNE 157Y, which means it was made in 1982 or 83. I loved this little car, but am a bit embarrassed by my attire on this photograph, taken in July 1989. I am wearing an awful all-in-one jump suit thing. I recall this photo being taken on my return from a trip to Paris. My colleague at work, Lynne, had found this ‘offer’ for a coach trip to see the Bastille celebrations. It was awful… about 100 hours on a coach and a short stop in Paris, which in fact was the day AFTER Bastille day… with streamers and mess all over the streets. And then 100 hours back to Liverpool on the coach, no hotels were involved, it was France, home of the 2CV – and it was very cheap. But I was glad to get back to my car, despite the all-in-one!
My little 2CV went everywhere (it was my main mode of transport, so here it is up in the Lake District). This is Wastwater. On this trip my boyfriend at the time opened the roof while we were driving along and it ripped. I replaced it with the pink and grey stripey one. And I replaced the boyfriend too, of course. I wasn’t going to stand for that kind of carelessness was I?
The next picture here is at Donnington race track… yes they have 2CV races, which is quite something as the engine size is only 602cc!!! (Hence the name, 2CV means Deux Chevaux, two horses, and the engine size is the same as two horse power).
The little car was replaced when I got a different job and had to drive to Manchester, too far for the 2CV every day. I replaced it with another Citroen, a BX, a red one, in 1990. But I always said I wanted another 2CV.
The first 2CV was a ‘2CV6 Club’ as you can see. I added the ‘turbo’ lettering from a Saab, these were originals sold at one of the many classic car events I went to, to spice up your own classic car! A ‘Club’ differs from a ‘Spécial’, a real enthusiast could probably tell you more, but basically the headlamps on a ‘Club’ are rectangular (see above), and the ‘Spécial’ are round (see the blue 2CV photo below).
I don’t recall when I got the next one… it must have been September 2002, it was Ronnie’s idea for my birthday. The first photo I found of it is this one taken in July 2003, outside the allotment).
This was my car, a ‘second’ car, Ronnie never drove it. Although much loved, this ‘second’ 2CV wasn’t as photographed as the first one. But it did a stirling job as a mainly allotment car. I took the back seats out – they come out anyway so you can enjoy ‘le picnique’ if you wish, but it meant that it became a compost-and-plant-carrying useful little car.
The picture here is an event in September 2006 where we sold plants and produce from the allotments. This 2CV was a very practical car and would often be full of plants and garden miscellany. At times I felt it was co-running the allotment with me as it would nose along the path with another load of tools and supplies.
In getting it I didn’t realise I’d become ‘a demographic.’ I was apparently, according to Bill, my mechanic, one of these ‘around 40-year-old-ish women who had a 2CV when they were younger and are now returning to one’.
In November 2006 I sold the car. For the previous two winters it had become street furniture, hardly ever moving – it hated damp or cold weather… but by then it must have been 19 or 20 years old.
And its final indignity came one bonfire night. We were inside watching ‘Torchwood’ and in all the noise and drama of the programme had heard nothing of what was happening outside the house. Until a neighbour knocked and said ‘Do you know your car’s on fire?’
Apparently a group of lads up to mischief had driven by, punched a hole in the 2CV roof, and thrown a lit rocket into the car before driving off.
Fortunately for us all it wasn’t actually on fire, just smoking rather badly. The Fire Brigade came round and hosed it down. The Police came too, but the criminals were never tracked down.
And so it was that a sorry for itself and smoke damaged car was sold for just £80 to my mechanic – Bill Gale – the same mechanic who’d looked after my first 2CV all those years before. Bill, who if I were to ring him today would say ‘Sarah, I happen to have just the car for you!’
Lovely to remember these very happy times with my 2CVs.
Finally, a special treat for 2CV obsessives – I know you’re out there – a short film of the 2005 2CV World Meet. This took place in Scotland that year, and we were there. Enjoy.”