by George Dyke…..
Rendezvous is affirmation of life, not only for Citroën loving friends that annually congregate each Father’s Day weekend at Saratoga Springs New York but for the various models of the iconic marque that reappear showing their venerability and enduring appeal.
View a full photo gallery of the event here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskYNhuFM
This year, as ever there were some that showed a bit more age, and those that with a bit of perseverance have been improved. (A statement that interestingly enough can be applied to both the human and automotive components of the event. An experience that can only be appreciated by actually attending). And oddly, just when you get comfortable and think you have ingested all the milieu for this year, there appears out of nowhere someone who just happens upon Rendezvous and regales a whole new tale that entertains us. Such was the case this year when a couple walked by the Springs Motel (Rendezvous HQ) on Sunday afternoon while we were lounging on the veranda. Édouard and his wife just happened to see a “chevrons banner” as they were passing by and stopped in only to be astounded that Citroëns were actually present in the parking lot. They came up to us and mentioned that they have a DS is California that isn’t running at the moment, but they have driven it extensively across the USA since it was brought over in 1979! Originally it came into Halifax Nova Scotia in Canada and after a bit servicing by Peter Fyfe became operational enough to get Édouard to Montreal. He recounted how it managed to get him all around the US, but required constant adjustment of the semi-automatic gear engagement. One time driving through Vermont at night the alternator gave out and to make it to his destination Édouard engaged stealth mode by driving without lights. Quite the adventure when time pressed to be at his destination he exceeded the speed limit by a factor greater than 2!
As Lon Price was sitting there listening to his recollections, introductions were made so that Édouard could get his DS over to him in nearby Santa Cruz and back on the road! What are the chances of that happening on on a typical vacation trip in the USA? Destiny surfaces again at Rendezvous…
Of course the weekend didn’t happen without considerable pre-planning on behalf of the organizers who once again did an astounding job making the 3 day event memorable and activity packed for the almost 215 participants.
Some that arrived as early as Thursday evening to gather at Mama Mia’s restaurant for the traditional get get-together dinner. We arrived Thursday evening but missed that as we convoyed from Toronto with a contingent of 3 2CVs travelling from Seattle and a Traction, DS, GS and 2CVs from the Southern Ontario. We had some rain on the way down and had to repair a 2CV roof on one of the Toronto cars that managed to blow open (it was an externally latched roof) and required not one but two gorilla tape fixes along the way. Eventually we made it and celebrated with a Mexican meal just down the street that managed to allay our frustrations by serving 3 pitchers of margaritas and a round of Tequilla shots along with dinner.
Friday was more rain, but that gave us an opportunity to visit a pub downtown and the taproom of the Saratoga Brewing Company. By the time we were done with that, the rain had stopped and we were in for lovely evening evening weather at the official welcome reception back at the Saratoga Springs Motel. Others followed the official agenda for the afternoon did a horticultural outing to and visit to Yaddo Gardens just on the edge of town. (https://www.yaddo.org/yaddo-gardens/about). During the reception I installed a new roof on the 2CV, and process I was happy to have some help with and it took a bit of finagling because we installed the inside locking and needed to mount the latch bars and interior clamps along with getting it properly aligned at the rear. With that accomplished it was time relax for a bit before going out with Canadians for some more Saratoga Springs cuisine.
There’s no question the crowd is getting older… we went for dinner downtown and when we returned just before 10:30 pm, the only two people still up where Paul Anderson and David Cossitt-Levy, who were sitting outside. Other than them the place had an era of a retirement home! Not feeling over the hill quite yet, we maintained our Canadian tradition of staying up at until at least midnight and having a few beers while socializing on the balcony.
Saturday was the main event and show-field at Lakeridge Farms, near Balston Farms which is about 20 minutes southwest of Saratoga Springs. The weather was perfect for the day… slightly overcast in the morning and not too hot. Perfect for walking about the 114 cars that gathered on the show field and browsing the extensive parts collection that vendors, Dave Burnham, Brad Nauss, Eric DeWidt and Kenj Yoshiko had for sale in the main tent erected for the event. Dave had a 1971 ID21 Break for sale with just 43,741 miles on the odometer that sold in an instant for the $10K asking price. It was a one owner car without any rust and actually ran quite well. Although a bit tired looking on the outside its interior was in nice shape and needed only a minimal restoration effort to make it really sweet!
Early afternoon Mark Cluck organized a tour over around Saratoga Lake for the Traction Avants that were in attendance. You can see a video of that here: https://youtu.be/3vQSFlvVJ0I
Mark Gluck and his 1949 Traction 15-6
The Silent Auction was run during the day under the big tent, and results of that along with the show awards were announced at the Saturday night BBQ dinner at Lakefield farms.
- Favourite Overall – Grant Slinn – 1923 C2
- Traction Avant – Richard Boudrias – 1955 15-6H
- ID/DS – André Verner – 1971 DS
- 2CV/Truckette – Steevie Lavoie – 1977 2CV
- SM – Doug Stein – 1972 SM
- CX/CXA/BX – Micheal Cannon – 1985 Series 1 CX
- Ami/Dyane/Méhari – Ethan Giffin – 1970 Méhari
- GS/GSA/XM/C6/H Van – George Dyke – 1971 GS
- Other French – Grant Slinn – 1923 C2
- Favourite Overall – Jim Peeler – Ageless Simca
- Non-French – Luc Martin – 1972 Auto Bianchi A112
With dinner behind us we headed back the Saratoga Springs Motel, where there was much more of a party atmosphere that the previous night. So much so that some of decided to extend the celebration and go downtown carrying on partying until 2:30 am. That involved going into a six-story nightclub packed with 20 somethings and ending up on the rooftop terrace overlooking downtown Saratoga.
Sunday morning’s breakfast at the Saratoga Auto Museum proved to be most welcome, but after our debaucherous adventure of the previous night we elected to bypass the organized drive over to the Saratoga National Historical Park and take it easy back at the Saratoga Springs Motel just relaxing outside (which is when Édouard stopped by). Funny how that siesta took us right to dinner time…. For that we went back to the Saratoga Auto Museum and had a Mexican buffet dinner toped off with some delicious surplus pies that managed to make their way over from the Saturday night dinner. Sated once again, we ventured back again to the Saratoga Springs Motel and socialized until just past midnight.
Monday morning meant travel back home… My GS took a little coaxing to get going (which proved to be a stuck carb valve controlling the bowl floats). A blow out of that and we underway back home without further incident.
As always it’s great to attend Rendezvous and know that there is a rich part of our lives that we can appreciate not only owning these most unusual cars, but meeting a variety of people that make the experience interesting. Each year we leave with an already determined desire to return.
Thanks go to, Michaela Hellman, David Cossitt-Levy, Christopher (Toaph) Westfall, and Tim Kinnel for organizing Rendezvous again this year, and for the 30+ volunteers that attended to help make it all go so smoothly!