– by George Dyke….
For the past few years the Micro North meet, held at Ralph and Wendy Hough’s country home near Coldwater ON, has been on the same weekend as the Citroën Rendezvous at Saratoga Springs, NY. But not this year, and that that gave some Citroënvie members in Ontario the opportunity to participate once again in a fun-filled day of fascinating automobile oddities that are collectively known as microcars. The Citroën 2CV actually is a microcar because its engine displacement is under the 800cc qualification for this event. But in body size the 2CV looks like a 59 Lincoln alongside the BMW Isettas, Messerschmitts, Vespas, King Midgets and the others that turned out for the weekend jamboree. Even an extremely rare US-built Austin Seven.
View a full photo gallery of the Micro North event here.
Simon Walker and I went for the day from Toronto on Saturday, June 21 in my 2CV6 affectionately called “Bezy”. Gord Linkletter and Fannie drove in their DS23 from Waterloo and Dave Innes and his son Gabriel drove Dave’s Traction Avant down from Sudbury. And though not microcars, they were warmly welcomed! The Traction and a the DS stirred a lot of interest with the micro car folks; – the Traction for its straight-forward engineering and robustness and the DS as a technical ‘tour de force’ with it’s supple ride and luxurious interior compared to the near zero suspension and cramped seating of the non-Citroën microcars.
Ralph goes out of this way to ensure the meet is very casual and all about experiencing microcars and that’s why we were there. As impractical as they are, it is infectious being among them for this not only “show it” event, they actually drive them. About 50 kms actually and one can, if one wishes, be a passenger in them. I have even been given the privilege to drive a few and they are definitely a blast!
For the drive this time we ventured to the nearby village of Craighurst where in 1906 the Canadian Pacific Railway came through. The railway still operates today but alongside it Ambrose Cook operates a miniature railway that he and his father built in stages commencing in 1978. Today it sprawls throughout his property and we were given the opportunity to ride on one of his trains powered by a fully functioning miniature steam locomotive!
Simon managed a ride to the train with Ralph Hough in his Messerschmitt, and I while Simon drove my 2CV back to the show field, I was privileged to get a ride in a totally original 1953 Messerschmitt KR175 that Brent Myers recently purchased from the Bruce Wiener microcar auction in Atlanta. It was a terrific experience.
The afternoon passed all to soon and by 5:30 pm we had to say our goodbyes and head back south. But as it was the summer solstice and the weather was perfect we made our way to Orillia and took the lake shore road on the west side of Lake Simcoe to Barrie, where we stopped for a delicious Thai dinner as we overlooked the bay. And from there went on to Toronto, arriving home a twilight.
What a perfect day!