2 (CV) Degrees of Separation

We were so excited to see that one of our clients, Mr William Garrett of Long Island City shared his love of the Citroen 2CV with two Citroen enthusiasts from France.  Read their captivating story about their whirl wind of a road trip in a 2CV and what brought the 2 French men to Long Island City to connect with Mr Garrett.

Have Citroen, Will Travel

(this story was originally posted online at NYTimes.com and was written by Richard S Chang)

In 2003, two Frenchmen, Edouard Cortes and Jean-Baptiste Flichy, drove a 1977 Citroën 2CV from Paris to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. They subsequently wrote a book about their 10,000-mile adventure across Europe and Asia, and in the epilogue they told readers they had left the car in Cambodia. If anyone wanted to bring it back to Paris, they added, they would gladly hand over the keys.

“Jean-Baptiste said he got 50 calls, but no one came,” said Tristan Villemain, a friendly 23-year-old from Nantes, France.

Mr. Villemain, a student, was the one who finally picked up the keys. He later found the car in a muddy field. With his friend, Quentin Renaud, 26, he embarked on a journey back to Paris — the long way.

The 2CV is the French equivalent of the Volkswagen Beetle. The quirky Citroën is a beloved car, in part because it remained relatively unchanged for more than 40 years, until production ended in 1990. The two men took their 2CV through Vietnam down to Malaysia and shipped the car to Australia, where the car was then sent to Chile.

They drove up through South and Central America. They headed north through Mexico into the United States and Canada, before hooking down through the Midwest and driving back east to New York.

They have crossed four continents and traveled 25,000 miles — all in a car powered (barely) by a 2-cylinder engine with a top speed of around 50 miles per hour. But speed wasn’t the primary concern. “It’s very comfortable,” Mr. Villemain said.

Mr. Villemain and Mr. Renaud were in New York last weekend as the guests of honor at a fund-raising barbecue in Long Island City. (Their Web site, letapesuivante.free.fr, said they raised about $15,000 through donations and sponsorships.) Outside of Evandro Tech Motors, the garage where the car was being stored, burgers and sausages were sizzling on a grill. A bluegrass band played inside the garage where the Citroën was the center of attention.

Mr. Villemain was standing next to the black-and-tan car, drinking red wine. He wore a white shirt and jeans, the only pair he brought for the trip, he said, though he and Mr. Renaud looked freshly scrubbed and well relaxed for two people going around the world in an old car with no top.

Mr. Renaud, who has known Mr. Villemain for five years, explained that he had had no intention of joining his friend. But shortly before Mr. Villemain was to depart for Vietnam, Mr. Renaud asked if he had found a co-pilot. Mr. Villemain said no.

“I thought that was not right,” said Mr. Renaud, a carpenter. A week later, he showed up at Mr. Villemain’s apartment with his letter of resignation.

“He came into my house with a letter,” Mr. Villemain said. “He told me, ‘I left my job, I sell my car, I give back my apartment. I am free. I am coming with you.’ ”

The two men travel light. The 2CV carries no more than a bag for each, a cooler for drinks, spare parts and a toolbox. Food is stored in a wine box, and each have a pair of gloves for driving.

A Paris mechanic who is a friend of Mr. Villemain traveled to Vietnam to get the car in shape for the trip — it needed a new engine and chassis because of a flood — and it has pretty much held up. The car had a flat tire in Australia, and they had to change some parts in Lima, Peru, and Bogotá, Colombia, where they bought a colorful blanket that covers the front bench seat.

They said they enjoyed their travels through South America and Mexico the most, in part because the hospitality there was so at odds with the warnings of danger they had received. “Everyone was so nice,” Mr. Villemain said, adding that they never felt threatened anywhere they went.

Indeed, he said that he and Mr. Renaud had not paid for meals or lodging at all during the trip. The car is such a novelty that they were treated as minor celebrities, and townspeople would open their homes to the amiable Frenchmen. Arriving in a village, they gave rides to children. “We also use the French touch,” he said. “A bouquet of flowers for the grandmother, a bottle of wine for the father.”

In New York, they were the guests of William Garrett of Long Island City, a 2CV enthusiast who lives near the garage. Mr. Garrett had never met the men either, but had read about them.

“In the world of people with 2CVs, it’s a super-friendly, nice community,” Mr. Garrett said. “Of course, I cleared it with my wife.”

Mr. Villemain and Mr. Renaud maintain a travel blog that Mr. Renaud updates occasionally from the road. From the United States, the two will ship the car to Senegal, where they will begin the final leg of a journey through Africa and into Europe that Mr. Villemain says has changed his life. He is planning to write a book about the yearlong drive.

“For me, it’s O.K.,” Mr. Villemain said. “For my mother, it’s difficult.”

Citroen DS- Restoration in Progress

Citroen DSQuite possibly one of Citroen’s most beautiful cars, the Citroen DS, has arrived at Eurocar Imports in NJ.  We plan on doing a full restoration on this beauty over the winter months.  This is the DS21 PALLAS model.

Citroën sold nearly 1.5 million D-series during the model’s 20-year production run. The DS came in third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, recognizing the world’s most influential auto designs, and was named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine.

Citroen DS Photos

See our photo album of the ‘before’ photos of this Citroen DS at Flickr.

Citroen Truckette; Rebuilding & Restoring

citroen trucketteThis is the latest Citroen Truckette to arrive at EuroCar Imports from Arizona. This model is from the early 50’s and we are going to upgrade it with the larger 602cc engine, new disc brake gearbox, LHM brakes and 12 volt electrics.

We get tons of requests from all over the country for Citroen Truckettes.  People want to buy them to use for their current businesses.  Not only do they get excellent gas mileage, but they have an unmistakable classic look that demands attention on the road.  For small businesses, the Citroen Truckette make great promotional and transport vehicles.  The Truckette is roomy enough to transport goods and materials and eye-catching enough to attract more awareness to your business.  They can be outfitted with any custom colors and lettered with your business name.

citroen trucketteThis one will be done soon so be on the lookout for updated photos!

Citroen Truckette Photos

See more photos of Citroen Truckettes at our Flickr Photo album.

Citroen 2CV Truckette

citroen 2cv trucetteAnother one of our famous rebuilds is in effect and this time we are working on a rare Citroen 2CV Truckette.

The Truckette was originally designed to be a commercial version of Citroen’s immensely popular 2CV. During the late Fifties and throughout the Sixties and Seventies, the Truckette was the vehicle of choice of most butchers, bakers and candlestick makers throughout France. The Truckette also caught on with small families as the Truckette could be fitted with an extra rear seat and side windows.

Today, business owners love the Truckette for many of the same reasons it was revered in the 50’s and 60’s; small enough to be a comfortable daily driver with enough room to transport goods and equipment with ease. Because they have such a unique look and are rarely seen on the road, the Truckettes make great promotional vehicles. We can outfit any Citroen model with your business colors to act as a moving billboard on the road and get seen by hundreds daily!

citroen 2cv trucketteOnce we have finished with this rebuild, she’s going off to California!

Photos of the Citroen Truckette

See our entire photo album of these ‘before’ photos of the Truckette in our Flickr photo stream.  Then check back often to see the completed version!

1976 Citroen Dyane for Sale

citroen dyane for sale

Citroen Dyane

We have the unique opportunity to have in our possession a very rare 1976 Citroen Dyane.  This model is particularly unique because it is a Spanish built model with the original paper work!  This Citroen Dyane model has the following equipment that was never available on a standard model:

  • Wind down front windows
  • Sliding rear windows
  • Hard top not soft canvas top (hard top can come off to be replaced with soft top)

This is the only Citroen Dyane in the states with these extra features!

Our model has only 80,853 kms on it–like new!   It features a 602cc engine with drum brake gearbox.

Before being sold, we  are going to install a new galvanized frame.  We also have the Spanish paperwork on the car which documents it authenticity.

Citroen Dyane

citroen dyane

Original Spanish Paperwork

The Dyane was designed from the outset as a hatchback with some other styling differences, such as conventional round headlamps set into the front fender with a squared chrome trim ring – as opposed to the old-fashioned separate units found on the 2CV – and chromed wheel embellishments as standard. It is often believed that the Dyane was intended to replace the 2CV, but it was aimed slightly higher in the Citroën range – between the 2CV and the Ami – and attracted a different clientèle seeking the versatility offered by the Dyane’s hatchback

Photos of the Citroen Dyane

See our complete photo album of the Citroen Dyane on Flickr!

4 Citroen H Vans Arriving From France

Eurocar Imports is excited to announce that we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of 4 more Citroen H vans from France.  With an impressive collection of these rare vans already on our lot, we are excited to extend our selection of Citroen H van inventory.  All of the vans will be completely restored to be 100% like new before being sold.

Citroen H Van

The HY van was used as a delivery van and still serves the same great purpose for business owners today.  This van is especially great for restaurant owners or for food delivery businesses that need the added cargo room and also want to make a statement.  We can customize the van for your company. They make GREAT promotional vehicles for business.

Technical Features of the Citroen HY Van

Engine and gearbox are nearly the same as in the Traction Avant and later the DS, only mounted with the engine to front.  Headlights and speedometer were identical to the 2CV for a long time.

The distinctive corrugated or ‘rippled’ swaged body work was inspired by German Junkers (Aircraft) of the 1930s, the ribs added strength without adding weight, and needed only simple, low cost press tools. The flat body panels were braced on their reverse side by ‘top hat’ box sections, at right angles to the ribs.

Citroen H Vans on the Road

Have you recently seen any Citroen H vans on the road? Chance are, wherever you are in the US, if you’ve seen a Citroen H van, it was most likely rebuilt or restored by Eurocar Imports.  We have one of the largest selections of rare Citroen H vans for sale and we are excited to extend our collection with these 4 new arrivals.

If you are interested in purchasing the van give us a call at 732-279-6453.