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 Transformed Into Yellow & Black Charleston

Here are all of the completed before and after photos of the Gray on Gray Citroen 2CV that arrived at Eurocar Imports last month.  We did a complete overhaul, from the inside out. The finished product is a gorgeous yellow and black charleston!

Citroen SM Just In!

citroen sm for sale

Citroen SM courtesy of Jalopnik.com

Wow! I am like a kid in the candy store today!  Just got word that we will be soon be getting a vintage Citroen SM for restoration.  Just in time for the SM’s birthday (it turned 40 on March 11th!), we will be having a celebration of our own when it arrives!  Can you believe it was back in 1970 that the world first met the SM? It was at the Geneva auto show that the SM made its mark in history and was considered incredibly advanced for its time.

SM stands for Sports Maserati (though some argue it stands for Sa Majesté in reference to the DS – i.e. Goddess, i.e. La déesse’).  Citroën purchased Maserati in 1968. As such, they were able to use the new 90-degree V6 Maserati had developed. Essentially a V8 with two-cylinders lopped off, the SM’s V6 (also shared with the Maserati Merak) is one of the most fantastically complex engines ever conceived.  The SM featured the world’s first variable-assist power steering system (known as DIRAVI) and one-turn to lock. All were powered by an oil-based hydraulic system.  Besides the steering the suspension, headlights, brakes and transmission were all run off the SM’s hydraulic system. It was and still is an amazing car!

Check out some photos of the SM as she sits now waiting for us to work our magic. Don’t worry, I will be updating you frequently on the restoration progress!

Citroen SM for Sale

The SM will be for sale once the restoration is complete, but I advise anyone who is serious about purchasing it to contact Eurocar Imports today.  Our vehicles do not last long and this will surely be a hot item.

The Citroen Wedding Present

A few weeks ago we told you about a maroon and black Citroen 2CV that we were restoring as a wedding present for one of our customers to give to his son on his wedding day.  The car is going to be waiting outside of the church as a surprise when the bride and groom come out.  We just finished putting the final touches on her and I took these gorgeous photos to share with you.  These restored vintage cars make excellent gifts for car lovers. The look and perform like brand new and there is nothing like owning a true piece of history!

Here are some BEFORE photos of the car:

Citroen Car Wedding Present Completed!

Rebuilding the Citroen 2CV

Vintage Citroen cars are making a big comeback in the US.  From Hollywood to the Jersey Shore; from corporate tycoons to the vintage car enthusiast; the reemergence of these classic cars has been somewhat of a modern day phenomenon.  Noel Slade of Eurocar Imports makes his living restoring and rebuilding used Citroen cars.

Slade has dedicated more than a decade to breathing new life into worn down Citroen cars.  His best seller- the Citroen 2CV- is sought after by businesses, vintage car enthusiasts and modern consumers looking to cruise around in a historically good looking car that is known to sip fuel better than any modern day hybrid.  A vintage Citroen 2CV can earn up to 40 miles per gallon around town and up to 50 miles per gallon on the highway. 

It takes about 8 weeks for Slade to completely rebuild a car, from the ground up.  A custom rebuild includes a new galvanized frame, floorpans, jody box section, exhaust system, seat covers, carpeting, headliner, canvas sunroof, bumpers, a low-mileage engine with new- disc brakes, a rebuilt transmission, new paint in a color of the buyer’s choice, new chrome door trim and five new tires.  Customers can also opt for an engine rebuilt to factory specifications. According to Slade, Eurocar Imports can restore or rebuild any vintage 2CV that comes their way, no matter what its condition.

Hermes Custom Citroen

The Hermes Citroen 2CV

In 2009 Hermes Canada called upon Eurocar Imports to custom build their new promotional vehicle, a vintage Citroen 2CV.  The custom 2CV received a full rebuild including paintwork and frame replacement.  For the finishing touch, the Hermes 2CV was outfitted with a classic Hermes orange shopping box on its new trunk rack. 

Eurocar Imports is one of only a handful of facilities on the entire Northeast offering a one-stop shop for Citroen enthusiasts.  From parts to service, restorations to rebuilds, Eurocar Imports caters to a distinct group of clientele with discriminating taste. 

Consumers who would like to learn more about Eurocar Imports can visit http://citroenimportservices.com/ to view photo galleries of Citroen rebuilds and restorations or call 732-279-6453.

Contact Eurocar Import Services:

46A Flint Road

Toms River, NJ 08757

http://citroenimportservices.com/

[email protected]

732-279-6453

Rebuilding The Citroen 2CV

Here is another Citroen 2CV that has just arrived at Eurocar Imports.  You can see that the body has been stripped bare and is seconds away from being lifted off the old frame.  The rust damage is extensive!

citroen 2cv with rust damage

This car is having a full ground-up restoration including new galvanized frame/floor pans and complete body strip down.  All rust will be repaired and she will get a a fresh coat of 2-toned paint in grey along with new seats and tires. She’s going to look amazing when we’re done!

The floors have been totally cut out, you can see below.  Brand new floors will soon be welded into place.

Citroen 2CV Being Rebuilt Citroen 2CV rebuild

Here is what she looks like when she arrived, and check out the full gallery of her rebuild process below:

Citroen 2cv


UPDATE!!

We’ve been working hard on this rebuild.  The frame is now finished, as you can see below.  Everything is done in primer for now but a new coat of fresh grey paint (customer’s choice) will be applied next.  The engine is very oily but everything is now stripped down and ready to be cleaned!

Road and Track Magazine Interviews Noel Slade

Interest in the vintage Citroen 2CV is soaring amid rising fuel costs and a near meltdown of the automotive industry.  And now the rest of the world is starting to take notice.

We’ve been restoring Citroen cars for the last 20 years.  But it wasn’t until recently that they caught the eye of the mainstream automotive market. 

Noel Slade featured in Road and Track Magazine

Last year, Road and Track magazine dedicated a two page spread honoring the reinvention of the Citroen 2CV, and the exceptional work performed right here at Eurocar Imports.  We are one of a handful of expert Citroen mechanics in the US with the ability to fully restore or completely rebuild vintage Citroen cars from the ground up.

A vintage Citroen 2CV can earn up to 40 miles per gallon around town and up to 50 miles per gallon on the highway.  The 2CV runs on regular fuel.  Beyond the mileage, the 2CV offers an unmistakable element of style, grace and sophistication.   Introduced by the French in the 1940’s, the Citroen was the premier choice of transportation for heads of state and French royalty.

We can restore or rebuild any vintage 2CV that comes our way, no matter what its condition.  There is nothing that is not available for the 2CV.  Some of the parts are aftermarket but are better than the originals. 

For vintage car enthusiasts looking to procure their dream Citroen, Eurocar Imports offers completely customized rebuilds which include a new galvanized frame, floorpans, jody box section, exhaust system, seat covers, carpeting, headliner, canvas sunroof, bumpers, a low-mileage engine with new- disc brakes, a rebuilt transmission, new paint in a color of the buyer’s choice, new chrome door trim and five new tires. 

We can also re-create the  2CV’s two-tone Charleston model. The yellow Charleston with black fenders is his most popular car. It also has chrome trim on the rocker panels and a passenger-side mirror. Consumers can also opt for an engine rebuilt to factory specifications.

If you’d like to inquire about purchasing a used Citroen car for sale, or having us restore your vintage European form, send us an email or use our contact form and we will respond promptly.

Beachcomber!

Extras on top of standard work

  • Recon engine
  • Fog lights
  • Custom made beachcomber top and seat covers
  • Radio/cd player
  • Luggage Rack
  • Full stainless steel exhaust
  • Robri Trims