I started life in 1973 as a blue and white ‘Dolly’ 2cv. Bit of a silly name but just one of the 2CV range. Constructed in France and then shipped to a Citroen dealer in Potters Bar in Hertfordshire and then in the show room for a few weeks. Finally bought by a man in his early thirties who had sold his bigger car for enough money to buy me for £850 pounds.
My first owner was a mature student at a teachers training college and for he next few years I was treated reasonably well and looked after and regularly serviced. Then things started to deteriorate and a few dents and scratches started to appear and the services and general maintenance became irregular. I still passed the MOT but only just. I think drink and lack of interest was involved. Luckily before he sold me on, I had a couple trips back to the old country, camping and that sort of thing and it was nice to smell French air once again.
Eventually he left the college and sold me to a wealthy business man again in North London. His daughter had just past her test and I would be her first car. In the beginning she was thrilled with me so I got plenty of attention and lots of cleaning and polishing. But after less than a year, she started to loose interest and now she could drive, she wanted something a bit more than 602 cc under the bonnet. Before I left there was a gleaming brand new Porsche 911 sitting in the driveway. Not that I cared.
My next owner was a lady driver in her sixties which was surprising. The type of person who likes cars like me tend to be much younger. Mileage was much reduced and really I was looked after for several years in quite a good way. Bit heavy of the clutch which had been changed after a couple of years but all in all, it was pretty good. A leafy suburb this time in on the fringes of London in Surrey, it reminded me a bit of France so that was quite positive.
Then tragically she died and I was put in the garage attached to the house and left there until the inheritance was sorted out, there being no children to leave her estate to. And of course me being part of the estate, I just had to wait to. And wait I did, for several years. One my windows having been left open, a family of mice moved in during the first winter in that garage, burrowing a hole in the seat upholstery and making quite an acceptable and comfortable home. And then the following winter a stray cat moved in and the mice moved out. He stayed for a couple of years. Cobwebs and dust everywhere and a general feeling of morbidity. Not a happy period in my life.
Then in the summer of the forth year, the garage door was opened and I was towed away on a transporter and dumped in a scrap yard. I soon realised that this was probably going to be the end for me. But then at the last minute just before the crusher and final destruction, I was rescued by a young couple who had a thing about 2cv’s and I was whisked off to North Norfolk. My chassis being rusted, it was replaced with a galvanised one and my engine refurbished. By the time they had finished with me, I was almost back to my original state with the only difference being that I had been painted entirely in red. And, I was given a new soft roof in red and white deckchair type stripes.
There followed many happy years until inevitable as these things are, they divorced and I was sold again for even more that I had cost new, to an elderly man living by himself who probably wanted to relive his youth when he had owned another 2cv. Having a big posh black car in his garage I was very rarely used and became more of an oddity in his driveway. People seemed to stop and stare and occasional have a conversation with the old man about the time when they to had owned a 2cv. Not very satisfactory being almost a piece of sculpture and not a working and living car.
Did you know that 2cvs were invented after the second war and the criteria was that the car should be able to hold two fat farmers in the front seats and a large sack of potatoes in the back with a dozen eggs also on the back seat. And with all that on board, the car should be able to cross a ploughed field and not break any of the eggs. Such is the suspension of 2cvs that that was entirely possible.
Ironically my next owner was a Suffolk Farmer who, when he died passed me on to his son. I then became a general dogsbody type vehicle that his son and his family of who were there were several sons and daughters, could use as and when. This went on for several years and gradually as the children started to leave home, I became less and less used and services and repairs became a thing of the past. In the end the son decided that enough was enough and gave me to a local garage for nothing. A bit humiliating but that’s the life of an older car.
And then a miracle happened. 2cvs started to become popular and consequently prices started to go up, which is unusual for cars who haven’t quite reached their vintage stage. Evidently prices have even reached £20,000 for a concourse model. So the garage owner decide to ‘do me up’ and try to sell me. The engine was refurbished yet again and I was eventually bought by an enthusiast who lived just up the road from the garage. He immediately repainted me. The only trouble was that he ran out of blue paint and substituted a lighter colour on one of the doors and the bonnet wasn’t done very well and soon started to peel. He was using me to travel backwards and forwards to his sick mother who lived over two hundred miles away.
Now, I have to admit that being a basic car, things like overtaking are out of the question and in the winter, you need to wrap up warm, as the heat coming from such a small engine is not a lot. So eventually he decided to get rid and now I live in North Suffolk. Bought for £2600, I reckon with a respray, I could be worth double that. Bit of a change from all those years ago. I am in the process of being under sealed and during the winter I will have a car cover put over me. And the owner is keen on keeping me for many years or what he calls, the duration. So things are beginning to look up. Life finally is good and I’m optimistic about the future.
EXPLANATION: We’ve just bought our 4th 2cv. The latest one has had nine owners. So I decided to write the above including me as the first owner and me as the last owner. The in between owners are fictitious.