by David Cossitt-Levy – with addendum by George Dyke. Photos, by Dale Martin, Jeff Teerlinck and George Dyke….
This year’s 40th annual Citroën Rendezvous was a tremendous success. Since the late 1970’s, the Rendezvous has been held over Father’s Day weekend. With folks coming from all over the US, Canada and even Europe, Saratoga Springs NY has served as our adoptive town and provided a perfect backdrop for the festivities since 2003. Friends new and old descended on a small city better known for horse racing than classic cars
The new organizing Chauffeurs; Michaela Hellman, David Cossitt-Levy, Christopher (Toaph) Westfall, and Tim Kinnel were amazed at the turn out with over 300 attendees and ~160 cars! While that may seem daunting, the rookie organizers had a well established program to follow and an enthusiastic group of volunteers who helped to keep everything flowing seamlessly.
Rendezvous of past years have given out a long distance award. It would have been a challenge to give out just one this year. Attendees joined the fun from such far away states as Florida, California, & North Carolina. Canadian attendees made up the biggest portion of the international delegates. In addition, there was a large number from Europe with folks coming France, England, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, & the Netherlands.
As expected, the majority came from all over the northeast of the US and from Ontario & Quebec. Even better is that most of these folks drove their cars the entire way! Over the weekend, sections of Broadway, considered the best main street in the US, were transformed to scenes of 1970’s Paris. Perhaps you needed to squint just a bit to see Paris, but it was certainly a sight to behold.
While most of the cars were Citroëns, our Peugeot cousins showed up in force with about 15 cars. A few Renaults, Volvos, a lovely Olds Toranado, and even a first generation Honda Insight rounded out the rest of the European, non-French and the non-European categories.
The official, un-official start to the weekend was on Thursday evening with many early arrivals stopping by Mama Mia’s for dinner and to see some familiar faces. From there many settled into their hotel rooms or stopped by Rendezvous HQ at The Saratoga Springs Motel to catch up with folks they may only see at the Rendezvous.
Friday saw an earlier than usual kickoff. Long time Rendezvous-er, Joseph Petry, offered up a demo & rides in his 20 foot steam launch. While only 20 years old, the boat is based on the design of the first passenger ferry to exceed 35mph. Joseph pulled it to the Saratoga Lake boat launch behind his red H-Van. Many came out to see the boat in action with Joseph kindly taking several folks out for a relaxing float on the water. Though seeing a steam boat captain in action, you quickly realize that only the passengers get to relax.
From there, the Rendezvous moved to Furlong’s Family Fun for an ice cream cone to cool off and a chance to socialize and see even more cars up close.
The evening was capped off with a pizza party back at the Springs Motel. Volunteers had draped all sorts of Citroën banners and Christmas lights from the balcony to set the mood. The parking lot was jammed with cars & people and folks stayed up late into the night.
The main event started at 9:00 AM on Saturday at Lakeside Farms in Ballston Lake NY, just a few exits south of Saratoga Springs on I87. Lakeside is the perfect venue for the big show day. Volunteers (voituriers) got all the cars parked by model on the show field. Registration and a light breakfast were found under the big tent.
Also under the big top tent, you could find 4 of our Event Sponsors: Dave Burnham Citroën, Brad Nauss Automotive, French Parts Service (Kenji & Marion Yoshino), & Classic Motor Cars International (Erik DeWidt).
While all the sponsors brought parts to keep our favourite cars on the road, the hit of the show was the body-less 2CV that was on display from Erik and showed the many goodies available from Burton. George Dyke, president of Citroënvie, another key Rendezvous Event Sponsor, spent most of Saturday buzzing the show field in it and giving demo rides.
After a great day with perfect weather, we all headed into the Lakeside barn for the grand evening repas. Thanks to the generosity of our community, there were nearly 100(!) items available as part of our silent auction. Long time Rendezvous friend, Kevin Royer, who is an antique trader, donated several kitschy cool items and Dale Martin, of Rallye Import and an Event Sponsor, put in several beautifully framed DS photos. If that was not enough, Rose Anderson, who unfortunately had to miss the fun this year, sent her husband, Paul, with so many auction goodies, we wondered how he fit his luggage in his DS!
Donations from the group did not stop there. Roving volunteers sold what had to be a record number of 50/50 raffle tickets. The Rendezvous netted $750 as winner Gabe Bandy handed a big chunk of his winnings back to the Chauffeurs to help them plan and even better Rendezvous for 2017!
Awards were presented after our dinner with the Favourite of Show going to a 1959 2CV Truckette that had been converted to an open bed truck. It was a particularly touching moment as the Truckette was a passion of Michel Larouche who completed the 2 year project last year but unfortunately passed away last December. His wife Danielle Belanger drove the car from Montreal to Rendezvous and was most appreciative of the recognition that was extended by so many. As expected, she was very emotional. For the Chauffeurs, it highlighted the best part of our 40 years of the Rendezvous, the people. (See the full list of winners below.)
After the dinner and awards, many returned to The Springs Motel where partying continued well past midnight for some, with spontaneous dancing to live accordion music and impromptu percussion accompaniment.
Sunday started with a lazy breakfast at The Springs Motel. From there dozens left on a Sunday cruise, that was kicked off with our annual “Moment of Noise” to pay tribute to those Citroën-ists that are no longer with us. Local Maserati owner, Art Harvey, mapped out a long route to highlight the beauty of upstate New York. There was also a short cut so folks could sneak back early. Hearing the reports afterwards, there seemed to be 3 groups: Long distance drivers who did the whole route, short cutters, & those that, ahem, took a wrong turn. Regardless, all three groups had a blast!
With a break in the program Sunday afternoon, several took a break at the hotel or strolled through downtown Saratoga Springs. Many later came back to The Springs Motel for Sunday dinner and one last chance to see friends and tell stories.
After dinner Jeff Teerlinck, Larry Lewis and George Dyke took a tour around Saratoga Lake in Paul Riccardi’s iconic Mehari. Perfect weather and a setting sun made for a memorable drive and quite a sight for the various cottagers relaxing lakeside!
Monday morning was departure time for those who decided to take in all the activities of the previous four days. For Canadian attendee Gary Magwood, (his first time at Rendezvous) driving his Traction proved to an enlightening experience because he managed to pick up about 15 mph more top end speed by taking to traction owners and making some simple distributor adjustments. However that new found speed proved hazardous on his rather old tires. He had to blowouts on the way back. The second one required that he get towed back home on a flatbed because he had already used the spare. Lesson to all; Keep fresh rubber on your Citroën particularly if you are going to Rendezvous!
Rendezvous 2016 Show Winners:
Favorite of Show: Danielle Bellanger – 1959 2CV Truckette
Traction Avant: Jean-Jacques Sanfacon – 1955 Traction Avant 11
2CV & Truckette: Danielle Bellanger – 1959 2CV Truckette
Ami & Dyane: Kim Walter – 1972 2CV
Mehari & H-Van: Paul Riccardi – 1971 Méhari
Early D: Dave Agar – 1966 DS
Late D: Gabriel Bandy – 1968 DS21
SM: Angus MacDougald – 1971 SM
GS: Ronald Straub – 1970 GS
CX / CXA: Kevin Royer – 1976 CX (series 1)
XM/C6: Jerome Pettinga – 1998 XM
French (Peugeot. Renault, Panhard): Paul Brown – 1960 PL-17
European (non-French): Andy Pickett – 1969 Saab Sonnet
Not French Not European: Manny Motashaw – 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado