By Peter Kristensen and Judith Reiter…..
In May 2021, during the pandemic, an hour after the monthly Washington DC area Citroën breakfast at the Corner Bakery in Bethesda, Maryland, Judy Reiter was walking back to her 2CV after some errands. She saw a young couple taking photos of her car which is not unusual. As she approached, she said her usual line, “Any questions, comments or concerns?” The young man excitedly said that he had only seen a few Citroëns in real life. Judy told him that if he had come an hour earlier, he would have seen several different models of Citroëns. He then told her that he was the great-grandson of André Citroën! He even showed Judy his DC driver’s license… and sure enough, it read “Phillip Citroën”!
Phillip has an eagle eye when it comes to Citroen cars! He said they had run into the post office a parking lot over from Judy’s 2CV. On his way out and back to his car, he immediately spotted it. It was almost like it was perfectly placed for him to find it, and he just had to see it up close. He jumped back into the car and told Danielle, his fiancé, that they had to make a quick detour. She quickly figured out what was going on when she saw what he was driving toward with wide eyes and a big smile. Phillip always gets excited when he crosses paths with a Citroën, and this was no exception. And Judy made the moment extra special, letting him take in every detail of the car.
Judy offered to take them for a ride in her 2CV. Of course they said yes! Judy rolled back the top for the full experience. Then she asked Phillip if he wanted to drive it and once again, he happily agreed. Phillip took the 2CV for a few exhilarating laps around the parking lot.
Phillip and Danielle were engaged, and Judy told them to let her know when they were going to get married and she would hook them up with a Citroën or two for the wedding. Phillip and Danielle were impressed and inspired after their encounter with Judy and her 2CV.
Everyone knows Judy, and her tireless efforts of keeping the DC area Citroënistes together and engaged around our shared passion. Even after all those years of seeing anything and all about Citroëns, she was flabbergasted from meeting Phillip.
Fast forward to July 2022, Danielle and Phillip contacted Judy that they had a date and location for their DC wedding and needed an engagement photo shoot. Neither of Judy’s 2CVs were in shape for these events, so she started contacting the local Citroën community to help. Peter Kristensen, Ralph Smalley, Paul Robinson, Bruce Logan, Shaun English and Brian Peters all stepped up to the plate without hesitation.
As the exact time and location of the engagement photo shoot was confirmed, the cars and people that became available were Ralph Smalley with his 1973 SM 3.0 in gris sable and Peter Kristensen with his 1980 CX GTi in gris perle. There is never a dull moment with a Citroën, and Ralph’s SM is no exception. Up until the day before the photo shoot, Ralph’s SM had a fuel leak, and the tank was off for inspection and repair. Thankfully, Paul Robinson, a SM owner in Virginia, kindly offered to get the fuel lines repaired and the tank mounted, so that Ralph’s the day after could drive his SM to the photo shoot in Georgetown. What a great display of community and commitment from a fellow Citroëniste! Where there is no Citroën mechanic, there is always a friend!
Emily Gude, a renowned wedding and lifestyle photographer, did an amazing job. The photo shoot took place at the cobblestoned P Street in Georgetown, Washington DC which features the last remains of the 200 miles of streetcar tracks that were used from 1862 to 1962.
Phillip said it was the perfect setting, perfect cars, and with the perfect woman! It was his first time seeing a SM and CX in person, and was blown away. The unique details of Citroën cars are unmatched, and always a site to behold.
Asked about which Citroën he’d like to own, Phillip said that is an impossible question to answer! He would want various Citroën cars throughout his life – or why not one of each? The 2CV is simple yet iconic. The SM is quirky, sporty, and beautiful. The futuristic and inspirational DS. The distinctive H Van. Or why not get totally classic and elegant with a Traction Avant. “Is there really a right answer?”, he said. Anyway, Danielle looked gorgeous in that 2CV, he recalled thinking, and the seed for possibly owning a Citroën car here in the US was planted unconsciously. Phillip will not be making the choice alone as Danielle is equally fascinated with the unique style of the Citroëns, and the engagement photo shoot that evening definitely made a big impact.
Phillip was born and raised in North Carolina by his Dutch father carrying the Citroën name and his American mother, who had met each other on vacations, and later married. He is proud of his Citroën heritage but has not yet had time and opportunity to dive into all the details around the marque, as he’s been busy starting a career as a lawyer, engagement, marriage and all that comes with it! Nevertheless, a tacit fascination exists and that is what triggered the immediate reaction on that day in 2021 when he and Danielle came across Judy’s 2CV in Bethesda.
This story would not be complete if we did not do one more fast forward. This time to the wedding on September 3, 2022. With the backdrop of the beautiful District Wharf in Washington, DC, Danielle and Phillip gathered family and close friends for a romantic wedding. Needless to say, the ultimate romance includes a Citroēn 2CV, and Judy Reiter made it in time, despite multiple road-closures around the Tidal Basin, and parking restrictions to have her 2CV, for the perfect moment: a kiss aboard the exact same 2CV that Philip spotted on that day just a little over a year ago.
Congratulations on your wedding, Danielle and Phillip!
Judy comes through again!
Great story Judith & Peter. I can’t imagine that this great grandson does not already have several Citroens!
Waving with excitement and glowing from this beautiful story……. Coincidence does not exist.Johan Ruimzicht, eldest dutch 2cv workshop
Quelle belle histoire non seulement pour les jeunes mariés mais aussi pour Judy, Peter et Ralf grâce à une rencontre fortuite et à l’enthousiasme de DC Citroëniste.
What a great story. Thank you, George