By George Dyke and Peter Kristensen….
The trek to Citroën’s at Carlisle is always worthwhile because you never know which Citroëns your buddies will bring, and more importantly, you don’t want to miss catching up with good old friends, and the chance to create new ones.
This year’s event proved to be enlightening in many aspects. For the authors, they got to drive their GS series Citroëns from opposite directions to Carlisle, PA. George took his 1972 GS 1220 on the 400 mile trip from Toronto, Canada, through mountainous Route 86 in New York and Route 11 in PA. Peter, accompanied by his brother Thomas visiting from Denmark, drove his 1982 GSA Club, this year through the Catoctin Mountains which is perhaps best known as the site of Camp David, a mountain retreat for presidents of the United States, and on the return via the Gettysburg battlefield historic park. Both experienced the virtues of incredible Citroën engineering, passing cars at 75 mph while in comfortable seats and with a Goddess-like ride that is arguably more pleasant than anything offered today!
Dale Martin with his 550-mile ride from Midland, MI, traveled further than anyone (though in a 1962 Mercedes 220), and the runner up was Ben Boyle from Flint, MI, in his 2CV!
Held on May 12 & 13 in conjunction with the Import & Performance Nationals event at the Carlisle Fairgrounds in Carlisle, PA, “Citroëns at Carlisle” has seen our beloved classic marque owners converge there for over 50 years. However, this year was special as it was the first time being organized by Paul Anderson who has taken over Brad Nauss Automotive. The passing of the baton demonstrates the commitment of the Citroën community to keep building great linkages even stronger. The community is grateful to Paul for ensuring continuity of the event. Thank you, and let us know if we can help in any way!
What a Display!
23 Citroëns attended, some even rarer than the 2CV, DS,, SM and GS models that graced the two-day show field.
The star of the show was a freshly restored 1939 Traction Avant Commerciale owned by Per Ahlström. Only two are known to exist in the USA. It literally was the world’s first station wagon. Citroën engineered the back of the Traction to open so that the window portion lifted upward and the tire-mounted-on-tailgate could be tilted back for access. – There are even mounts in the trunk so that the lower tailgate can be lifted off and fitted so that it becomes a ramp to the trunk area.
The rear side doors can swing open to touch the front ones so there is unobstructed rear door access to load items from each side. The front passenger seat can be folded forward for longer items or more needed space. Clip-on door coverings protect the cloth door panels from damage when carrying loads.
If you were carrying animals, provision was made with a floor panel that could be removed to drain urine and push out any excrement that might have accumulated.
And another feature that Per drew our attention to was the additional lip in the body that surrounds the rear window — that is missing on later Tractions, — presumably to simplify body panel stamping. (Read the full and fascinating history of Per’s Traction in this Citroenvie article.)
Notably, two Oltcit models from Romania showed how Citroën engineering could be cleverly re-packaged into economy cars for that country. Oltcit was a joint venture between the Romanian government and Citroën. The Oltcit is fitted with a GS engine and the other Citroën traits in them were a dashboard layout derived somewhat from a Citroën Visa where the “vertical control canisters” are flipped to the other side and then mounted horizontally. The suspension is much like a Traction Avant with longitudinal torsion bars running back from the front but for more modern anti-roll ability the torsion bars are connected to a transverse leaf spring that acts as a torsion bar.
Those with an eye to seeing other pristine Citroëns weren’t disappointed. Paul Anderson had his 1968 DS21 on display along with his 1974 SM and Brian Peters brought his 1981 CX Pallas with a unique provenance having formally belonged to Prince Rainier III of Monaco and actress Grace Kelly.
Every single Citroën was a special sight, whether European or US Spec, in the sun on Friday or in the drizzle on Saturday.
The seminar highlight of the event was Paul Brown telling about his quest to get significantly more horsepower from his recently acquired 1981 2CV. (Read about how he accomplished that feat here.)
And yes, we would be remiss not to mention the dogs. Who knew that a Choco, a 40-pound Bernadoodle, could fit on the rear window shelf of a Citroën CX!
View a full photo gallery of the event here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjADTas
The fulcrum of the weekend was a Saturday evening dinner buffet at Mayapple Golf Course where the winners of “People’s Choice Judging” were presented with their awards: –
• Best early D series – Dan McCarville
• Best late D series – Paul Anderson
• Best 2CV sedan – Paul Brown
• Best A series Truckette – Manny Barrieros
• Best Ami – N/A
• Best Dyane – Ben Boyle
• Best Series One CX (74-85) – Brian Peters
• Best Series Two CX (86-91) – N/A
• Best SM – Paul Anderson
• Best XM – N/A
• Best GS.GSA – Peter Kristensen
• Best Traction Avant 11CV – Per Ahlström
• Best Traction Avant 15CV – Carl Erb
• Best Citroën: Special Category – Gert Bue Larsen (Oltcit Club 11R)
• Best of Show – Per Ahlström (1939 Traction Avant Commerciale)
Excellent article George! It was a fun day despite the miserable weather. This group of people sure do bring a bunch of very interesting Citroëns!