by George Dyke….
What does this 2CV have in common with the SkyDome stadium in Toronto you ask? This exceptional 2CV model was not built from a kit. It was handcrafted over a 5-year period by professional modelmaker Michel Delomosne.
Michel was one of the modelmakers on the team that built a scale model of the SkyDome in the early 1980s when 8 proposals were being considered for a new sports stadium at the base of the CN Tower in Toronto. Ultimately, it was the winning concept because it provided the largest roof opening of all the finalists, and it was the most technically sound.
I was part of the production crew that shot the video presentation proposal for the SkyDome using the scale model that Michel built. At the time, I had no idea he had a passion for the 2CV and I didn’t even own a Citroën though my first one was a 2CV that I purchased a few years later.
We shot the video at CFTO-TV (McCowan Ave & HWY 401) and I remember we had to be very careful not to melt the model as we were using incredibly bright HMI outdoor feature movie lights because the camera we were using had a long snorkel lens (that absorbed light) to shoot views from center field and all around the model, photographing its many amazing details. I was in awe of it at the time.
Fast-forward to August of 2023, when I received a call from Michel’s wife Anne that she was in possession of a ‘special 2CV model’ that her late husband had made. She was moving from her home to a retirement residence and now at 90, wanted to ensure that the precious model went to someone who would appreciate it.
Initially I was skeptical that what she was describing was a typical plastic model made from a kit, but when she went into further detail and said her husband built architectural models for a living and had built the SkyDome model among dozens of other notable buildings in Toronto and across Canada, my interest was piqued!
Moreover, she said that the model sat on a motorized turntable and when it rotated the lights would flash and the doors would open. She did not know what scale the model was but she said it measured 38 cm L x 15 cm W x 16 cm H. This I had to see and arranged a visit.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only was her description accurate, but the model was even more impressive! The detail work on it is astounding. The realistic headlights, the ripple bonnet hood, tires with accurate tread, a dashboard that looks identical to the real thing, rear lights that just look shrunk — all perfectly scaled and constructed with precision that is absolutely astonishing.
Michel had modeled a 1957 2CV, distinguished as such because in the real car the trunk lid is a canvas extension of the roof, (the last year that was offered), and the rear window was enlarged.
Anne was thrilled that I arrived to see the model in my 1959 2CV that is exactly the same grey colour. We chatted about how enthralled Michel was about 2CVs. She pointed me to an ceramic urn on the shelf containing Michel’s ashes, and painted on it — a drawing of a 2CV!
The whole experience resonated with me and I promised to take great care and cherish Michel’s accomplishment. I came by a few days later in my Toyota Highlander (a more suitable way to ensure the model would not be damaged in transport) and carefully drove it to it’s new home.
Today I took the model to a nearby park for a photo shoot to document its features:
Rather than creating a detailed engine bay, with his architectural presentation mindset, Michel constructed in the engine bay a means for people to visually experience the car’s lights and door features; — the left side doors to automatically open as the car rotates and the rear lights, the turn signals and the headlights illuminate along the way!
I could only find three things that that he visually missed and I’m not about to alter his work of art:
- the front doors are missing the rubber grommets on the upper part that an open window would fit into
- the continuation of the hood line, that little indented ridge, is missing on the body section going to the front doors
- the spare tire is missing the 3 holes for the wheel lugs and of course, the valve stem.
How he managed to craft the thread for the door opening mechanism to go through the gearshift tube in the firewall and hide it all the way up to the roof, is pure genius!
Knowing that all this was created by hand is a testament to the love that Michel had for the 2CV. What a Citroëniste!