A recollection by Stan Smith, Oak Hall PA…..
It was during the 1960’s that my passion for the French front-wheel-drive Citroën began. I had a few that were bought used from Penn State professors who had brought them to State College from Europe. One of my first Citroëns was the air-cooled two-cylinder model that was called the 2CV. When I read an advertisement in CARS & PARTS newsmagazine that there was a 2CV Truckette which was the station wagon version of the sedan I had been driving for a number of years, I had to buy it. At $99 I couldn’t pass it up.
The only problem was that the 2CV was in Paragold, Arkansas which was over 800 miles away. The owner told me that he had put new tires on it and the distance should not be a problem. So I bought a ticket to fly to meet the owner at a nearby airport and when we arrived at his home I began to wonder what did I get myself into.
A trial drive around the block convinced me that no way would this worn out machine get me back home. When I mentioned my concern the gentleman said he has another Citroën in which he had replaced the engine. It was the larger 4-cylinder model called the DS that made use of a hydraulic suspension. “For $300 you can have them both and just tow the 2CV home” was his suggestion. There was one problem, neither of us had a tow bar and if we did there really was no way to hook one up since both vehicles had independent suspension. After much thought, we came up with a solution.
We decided to use a heavy-duty chain to interconnect the bumpers of the cars together and to minimize the scruffing effect of the front wheels of the 2CV, first lower the DS all the way that the hydraulic suspension would allow. In that position it would allow the DS’s rear bumper to fit under the front bumper of the 2CV. Then the two were lashed together. When the DS was raised to its normal height the 2CV virtually had its front wheels off the ground.
The gentleman was so happy to see me leave, and my $300, he offered to let me use his Arkansas license plate….. Just be sure to mail it back to him were his last words.
I left just as it was getting dark, which meant I’d be driving all night. That actually was a good move since the highway police would have a hard time noticing this crazy land-train of vehicles speeding home to Penna!
By mid-morning the next day I was past Pittsburgh and made it to State College by 2 PM after having overheating of both of the DS ignition coils causing loss of power. Once home, I realized that I was a lucky person to have made the trip without any incident and to start using a trailer for bringing home any future treasure. Plus, I should think twice before going a third of the way across the USA for it.