By George Dyke with contributions from David Maclean, Michael Gillespie and Erik de Widt….
Back in the 1980s and early ’90s, if you wanted a Citroën, there was a good chance you got in touch with David Allen who operated a business importing and brokering Citroëns to enthusiasts. His specialty was the 2CV though he had a particular soft spot for any Mehari he happened upon.
From a modest home at 4975 Little Mill Rd. in Buford, GA, David came into this unique business as a Citroën owner who loved his cars. (He owned nine 2CVs). He told a local reporter at once; “Other people started asking me where they could get a car. It grew and mushroomed into what is now a full-time preoccupation.”
David was born in Atlanta, GA in 1940. His first love was photography. He was quite young when he was sent to Germany where he studied at the Leica School of Photography for two years. Upon his return to the US he was considered for a position on the photographic staff of the National Geographic Society. Always a fiercely independent spirit, he decided to pursue an independent career in photojournalism instead. First he worked as a school photographer, then switched to industrial photography not many years later. His experience in that environment helped him to branch out into another venture: the design and construction of trade show displays. He was awarded two patents for his original ideas. The extra money coming in from this part-time enterprise allowed him to take on yet another interest — Citroëns!
David appeared the 1983 Citroën Rendezvous in Massachusetts for the first time. In the following years he traveled regularly between Europe and the USA, making friends and business partners for his burgeoning enterprise. Advertising in trade publications like Hemmings Motor News and being a regular presence at the various Citroën meets in the US and abroad, he became recognized as the man to call. He was also known for offering a hand to people who would call him whenever they ran into US importation roadblocks. Many a hapless 2CV was saved from the Customs’ crusher through his intervention.
David was one of very few individuals in the USA who received a special recognition from the Citroën factory. He received a letter written by Jaques Wolgensinger, the company’s main PR man at that time. In the letter, Wolgensinger thanked David for his extraordinary efforts in promoting enthusiasm for the Deux Chevaux in North America.
In the mid-90s David and Pat Wilson, his companion of many years, moved to Mustoe, in Highland County VA. They had bought extensive mountain acreage there and had a cabin built to their own design. Removed somewhat from “civilization,” David spent a bit less time with the cars and more with Pat and their small herd of llamas they had acquired a by this time!
He suffered a minor stroke in 1999 and never quite regained his former robust persona. On October 8, 2001 he was rushed to the Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, VA where he passed away on October 10, 2001.
David is perhaps best remembered as being vital in the sales transactions of a few notable Citroëns in the USA;
- He tipped off Red Dellinger to his purchase of the Madame Michelin 15-6 Traction Avant Cabriolet from Augie Pabst.
- In the fall of 1990 David received a phone call from musician Billy Joel. Joel was trying to find a 1967 2CV for his wife, model Christie Brinkley, as a Christmas Present. He located a Burgundy and black Charleston in Europe and it was delivered to the couple’s Long Island, N.Y., home three days before Christmas.
- In 1991 David located a pair of matching 2CV4s for Ronald Lauder, chief executive of Estee-Lauder Corp. in New York. Lauder wanted one car to be delivered to New York and the other to France.
- And it was David who Chrysler corporation contacted in 1994 when they wanted to purchase a 2CV and examine it as the basis for their CCV (China Concept Vehicle) program.
It was in researching the article for the China Car that Citroënvie member David Maclean, who owned the 2CV David brokered to Chrysler, provided us with a treasure trove of information about not only the car, but many of the documents David used in brokering Citroëns. In a time when the way to do business was by faxing paperwork or mailing it and before the advent of digital cameras, it’s interesting to see what David sent to his customers and how he defined and promoted his services.
The following (very long list of documents) shows the methodical, and some would say pedantic way in which he did so:
Thank you for contacting me letter:
David also produced a 24 page 2CV Q & A pamphlet:
2CV Rebuild Brochure
Citroën Locating Service Description
We found 3 examples. This early one from what we think is the early 80s:
This one from the late 80s where revisions have been made — like at end, deleting the P.S. where David asks if you have some other plans and wants to know if a car was sourced by some method other than him:
And this Introduction to Citroën Brokerage Service dated 1992:
La Introduction – 1992:
David also had another introductory package that he sent out in 1992 that he called “La Introduction”:
Locating Service Contract
It seems that David had 2 types of contracts for his Locating Service; one that was casual brokerage request and one that engaged customers in a formal manner when buying a vehicle.
Here is the casual “request” version:
And here is the formal agreement to secure an automobile when purchasing it that appears to be from the mid 80s:
Then there is this agreement to Secure & Purchase a Vehicle dated 1991:
Introduction & Fee Schedules
We found 3 later ones. The first is from 1990:
Then this full Introduction and Price List from 1991:
Then there is this Introduction and Fee Schedule from 1993:
Brokerage Agreement Terms:
End of 2CV Production Letter
Details About The Automobile:
Photographing Your Citroën:
CX info – 1991:
CX Letter Attachment to David Maclean:
David also sold a product called Lubritech 2000: