by George Dyke…..
While perfect weather helped make the 42nd annual Citroën Rendezvous at Saratoga Springs NY on Fathers Day weekend a great event this year, it wouldn’t have happened without the organizing efforts of the ‘Chauffeurs’; Michaela Hellman, David Cossitt Levy, Tim Kinnel and Chris Westfall who once again spent many long hours before the event and constant effort during it ensuring that all activities planned were executed smoothly. Here’s a rundown of what transpired and a photo gallery of the event that can be viewed here: (Click on the pic below).
There was a great turnout with 292 people and 150 cars in attendance! One of the guests from France was Alain Thuret, the president of Amicale Citroën in France who is planning the 100th Citroën Anniversary Party in France from July 19-21, 2019.
We departed from Toronto in a small convoy on Thursday morning. I drove my 1960 ID19, Jeff Teerlinck and Larry Lewis each drove their Tractions 11B Normales, and Simon Walker, our youngest member of Citroën Autoclub Canada and making his first trip to Rendezvous, made the trek in his 2CV6. CAC Treasurer Steve Loria tagged along in his new Chrysler minivan, as he was taking some parts to Paul Riccardi and acting as a support vehicle in case we needed one. As it turned out the original group made it there, but we met up with Gary Magwood in Belleville along the way, and Gary’s Traction lasted about 15 minutes in the convoy before it bellowed blue smoke and lost power. Hence, he retired it at a local service station and jumped on board with Steve in the minivan for the rest of the trip. In any event, we made to Saratoga Springs by early Thursday evening, arriving at the Saratoga Springs Motel in time to see the arrival of may other folks!
Things formally kicked off on Friday, June 15th at 2 PM with the Ice Cream Social at Ollie’s Grill ‘n’ Chill just east of town. I was given a special treat by Greg Long from Seattle, who had recently purchased a 1967 DS Cabriolet. Greg tossed me the key to the car for the drive there. Along the way he explained the history of the car that can be traced back to a suspected drug dealer in the San Francisco area who parked it downtown and was never seen again. The car sat in the parking garage for a couple of years! It eventually showed up in Oregon after being sold for $200 by the parking company to a friend. The woman whose husband disappeared sued the garage owners. The car was then sold to a gentleman in Silicon Valley who in turn sold it to a woman who owned a vineyard in Napa. She ended up moving to New York City and the cabrio was put in storage at Dave Burnham’s shop. The cabrio drove beautifully and we pulled into the Ice Cream Social in style!
By 6 PM we had all returned to the Springs Motel for the traditional reception & pizza party at the Springs Motel and a night of Citroën tail-gating!
Saturday morning was “Le Grand Jour’ – the snowfield event commencing at 9 AM at Lakeside Farms near Ballston Lake just south of Saratoga Springs. Cars were parked in rows by model and parts vendors had an enticing smorgasbord of goodies here a visual feast in itself. We had a great turnout of cars, especially SMs. I counted 18 a one point and I think there were even more! Traction Avants were also present in impressive numbers and mid-afternoon a group of Traction owners, led by Mark Gluck, took a driving tour over to the Saratoga Lake.
Toward the end of the day, a special 2CV showed up; a one-of-a-kind twin engine rally car built in France by the late great Jack Hannon equipped with Citroën GS front and rear 4 cylinder engines! Back in November 2014 Frank Locker bought it from a fellow in Montreal. It was listed in our Cars for Sale marketplace section of Citroënvie and we featured it at: https://citroenvie.com/if-you-need-a-bit-more-power-in-that-2cv/. It is the only 2CV to break 200 km/hr off road. It became known as “Crocolion” as in crocodile-lion. Frank’s mission since then has been to bring it back to life (as it had been in storage 15-20 years).
At the end of the day at Lakeside Farms we had a silent auction of various Citroën items donated to cause, a banquet dinner, 50-50 raffle and presentation of The People’s Choice Awards. (The winners are listed at the end of the article). Then it was back to the Springs Motel for more late night socializing.
Sunday morning we gathered at the Saratoga Auto Museum for a continental breakfast a tour of Saratoga Auto Museum and People’s Choice award winners viewing. Just after 11:30 many partook in a driving tour to The Round House Bakery & Cafe in Cambridge, NY, about a 60 mile round trip.
And for those that chose to stay for the all the events, there was a lovely closing dinner Sunday night at the Saratoga Auto Museum – a last chance to hang out with fellow Citroënistes – until 2019 when the 43rd Rendezvous will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Citroën (the company).
Sunday evening was a special treat for some of us, especially Simon Walker. After dinner, as it was such a lovely evening, I organized an impromptu drive around Saratoga Lake. I asked Greg Long if he would like to drive my ID19 which he did, and Greg gave his keys to the DS Cabriolet to Simon, who got the chance of his lifetime to not only drive a DS for the first time, but a cabrio no less for an evening sunset jaunt that couldn’t have been better! Simon was all smiles for the balance of the trip!
Rendezvous is far more than just the cars that show up. It’s about the people. The ability to see old friends, recount great stories from the past and laugh with a heartiness and sincerity that truly does your heart good. It’s all about renewal and being a part of a continuing tradition where new experiences will be recounted in future years. It’s enjoyment personified. Sure it’s a great chance to learn about Citroëns, but each year you learn something more. For example, this year I was taught how to efficiently eat a banana! Greg long passed on this tip that he got from his son, who for some reason was studying how monkeys eat bananas. They never open them by the stem but rather by pinching them on the other end. Try it – it works better!
I make a point each year of taking a route back home that takes us through the rolling hills of New York State. It’s such a pleasure to drive these roads. The trip was uneventful and I am so looking forward to Rendezvous next year!
Rendezvous 2018 – People’s Choice Award Winners:
|2CV & Truckette||Citroën||1972||Truckette||Barreiros, Manny|
|Ami, Dyane & Mehari||Citroën||1969||Dyane||Gambony, Martin|
|Best in Show||Citroën||1961||D (early)||Schwarzkopf, Donald S|
|CX/CXA & BX||Citroën||1976||CX (series 1)||Royer, Kevin|
|Distance||Citroën||1984||2CV (sedan)||Kaliske, Axel|
|GS/GSA, XM/C6, H-Van||Citroën||1983||GSA||Towle, David|
|ID/DS||Citroën||1974||D (wagon)||Smits, Eric|
|Non-French||Mercedes||300 TD Wagon||McCarville, Dan|
|Other French||Panhard||1960||PL17||Brown, Paul|
|Traction Avant||Citroën||1952||Traction Avant (15)||Erb, Carl|
I hate to end the article on a sad note, but I was made aware of the loss of one the nicest DS that I know of – the 1974 DS23 belonging to Daniel Noiseux caught fire and sustained very heavy damage on Fathers Day on the way back home from Saratoga Springs to Montreal. You can read more about it here: https://citroenvie.com/1974-ds23-cooks-in-montreal/