By Peter Kristensen, with contributions from Gert Bue Larsen, Paul Anderson, and Judy Reiter…..
What a turnout at this year’s “Citroëns at Carlisle”! Cars, friends, and dogs could finally meet up again after so many cancelled events over the past year.
There were 25+ Citroëns, including Traction, 2CV, Dyane, Ami 6, Visa, DS, SM, CX, GS, GSA, and for the first time in Carlisle an Axel and an Ami Super! The diversity was impressive and attracted lots of attention.
Jim Heaney’s US spec. Ami 6 Break hauled in from Indiana was a very special and rare sight.
Participants joined from North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington, DC. We missed our friends from Canada!
It was also great to see the many other car groups socialize: The Swedish car groups always have many participants, and this year featured a rare 1955 Saab 93A and a 1968 Saab Sonnet II, and several Volvo P1800. The Renault group held a seminar on the rare R5 Turbo2, and two Alpine A310’s were on display as well as an impressive selection of R12’s and Dacias.
There were two Citroën seminars, both of which were informative and engaging:
Paul Anderson spoke about his journey of importing his 1969 DS 21 and 1974 SM from Europe. He imported the DS in 2013 and explained that it was somewhat more worn than expected, but nothing serious. It basically just needed a good owner to give it the attention it deserved. His SM imported in 2019, on the other hand, is a highly original car, but because it had been in a collection and rarely driven, it needed quite a few relatively minor repairs to get it sorted out, all of which are done now.
Both cars are original as they stand and just need a continued love and care—which he said is the way to go unless you are very skilled mechanic! As for the transport from Europe to the US, a broker like Erik DeWidt – Classic Motorcars International can facilitate the process. When organizing the transport by roll-on-roll-off or container, be sure to leave instructions to the dockworkers to wait driving the car until it has risen. While both cars are now spotless, Paul’s driveway is not, as should be expected with hydro-pneumatic Citroëns!
Gert Bue Larsen presented the Citroën Ami that just turned 60 years old. And what an eye-turner that has become; from the Bertoni-designed sedan to the GS-engined Ami Super, and the rotary-engined M35. It was produced in the Rennes-la-Janais Citroën Plant that was erected in 1961 and has since served to build the Dyane, GS and GSA, BX, XM, Xantia, C5, C6 all the way to the present day 2021 hybrid-electric Citroëns.
Peter Kristensen presented the G series that turned 50 in 2020. With 2.5 million sold, it successfully filled the void for a small family car. While a few GS’s were brought to Citroën showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Vancouver, it was never commercialized in North America. Nevertheless, about 45 G’s now exist in North America, as Peter explained, based on his ongoing work on the GS-GSA Registry in tracing the vehicles in North America, now documented in his new book that will soon be available.
What do the Ami Super, GS, GSA and Axel have in common? The answer is the flat-four, air-cooled engine developed for the GS. The engine was produced in six versions and four were represented at this year’s special display: the 1015 cc type 2 in Gert Bue Larsen’s 1973 Ami Super his father in Denmark bought new and which Gert restored in 1999; the 1222 cc in Ryuji Ueno’s fully restored 1973 GS Club, which he imported from France in 2020; the 1129 cc in Antonio Conceicao’s 1984 Axel, that he imported in 2020 from Portugal; and the 1299 cc in Peter Kristensen’s like-new 1982 GSA that he imported from Europe in 2018.
We also had the chance to pay tribute to Carter Willey who sadly passed away in January 2021. Carter was an authority on Citroëns, starting his career with a Citroën dealer in New York and later in Los Angeles. With his wonderful personality and passion for details, he excelled in helping so many out over the years.
And to conclude the day, Judy Reiter organized a raffle with a selection of her Citroën memorabilia, some of which had been donated by longtime Citroën enthusiast Russ Spears including rare books, miniature cars and brochures. Everyone got to go home with a thing or two!
The weekend would not be complete without a tasty meal at the usual Fiddler’s Restaurant on Saturday night, followed by a Sunday morning brunch at the 101 Café in the small quaint town of Boiling Springs, PA, both of which offered a safe outdoor venue.
A big thank you goes to Brad Nauss for tirelessly pulling off the event this year that allowed us to share good old stories, learn a few things, meet nice people, and take our minds off of a difficult year.
All in all, it was a great weekend!