by David Cossitt-Levy….

 

This year’s family vacation was strategically planned so that I could go to the ICCCR 16 in the Netherlands.  This would be my first ICCCR since 2004 in Interlaken, Switzerland and I learned quite a bit while there that I thought I would share with you.  Here you have:

Ten things I learned at ICCCR 16 in the De Steeg, Netherlands

1. Parts, parts, and more parts ~ Over the past few years, the amount and quality of restoration parts for our beloved Citroëns has exploded. Vendors had reproductions of everything from complete interior kits to the little rubber bumpers for the gas door on your DS.  Add to that the used and NOS parts and we should be able to keep our cars rolling for decades to come.

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2. Traction owners love to drive their cars ~ One of my favorite things about Citroën owners is that they are usually never shy to jump in their cars and hit the open ride.  As we arrived to check in and pick up our registration pack, we saw an SM Opera parked with all the others in the somewhat muddy field.  This contrasts this with some American muscle car owners I know that won’t hit the road unless clear skies are forecast for the next week.  Even among Citroën owners, though, Traction drivers seem to drive even more.  They were out in force at the show and we saw them in the biggest numbers at the tourist spots we visited after the big weekend.  Great to see these 60+ year old cars out and about!

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3. Fine dining includes any meal sold from an H-van ~ There was a field towards the back of the site that held about a dozen or so food trucks, most of which were H-vans.  All sorts of food was available and, based on the lines, it was delicious!  One of the H-vans was converted to fully electric operation.

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4. Only a Citroën show would have Champagne available and not one, but two giant, inflatable rubber ducks ~ As many of you know, the Citroën community runs the gamut of personalities which can lead to some really interesting juxtapositions.  For me, this was highlighted by a couple of hours on Saturday.  After meeting up with Greg Long and Fernando Alva Mirás, we sat down to chat over a glass of champagne…sold from an H-van of course. About 2 hours later, as I wandered through the campgrounds, I saw a giant, 20 foot tall inflatable rubber duck.  Walking closer, I realized, he was not alone.  There was another just beyond the hedge. 2CV owners take the duck nickname very seriously indeed.

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5. Not just Tesla is building beautiful electric cars ~ Thanks to a Dutch company called Traction Électrique, you can now convert your classic Citroën to fully electric. (The Traction Électrique crew built the fully electric H-van food truck mentioned previously.)  Seeing the work of Traction Électrique brings the best of old and new together. I got the distinct impression that the Dutch have really embraced electric cars.  Finding our way to the bus queue at Schiphol Airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see a half dozen Tesla Model S’s in service as taxis.  We quickly changed plans and took one to our hotel in Amsterdam.

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6. There is something very fun about seeing friends in another country ~ Though I missed seeing a few North American Citroën-ists, I was able to catch up with quite a few folks from home and a couple that have moved abroad.  While always great to spend time with fellow Citroën devotees, it is even more fun seeing them in another country!

IMG_3716  Check out the chevron sunglasses!

7. Travelling post ICCCR is highly recommended ~ If you are able to make it to an ICCCR, be sure to explore the country you are visiting.  Not only will you see more of the host country, you will undoubtedly see classic Citroëns, especially Tractions, wherever you go. It was expected that we’d have more than a few at our hotel near the show field but it is was an extra treat to see DS’s, 2CV’s, Ami’s, and Tractions almost everywhere we went after the ICCCR officially closed.  And, it was not just 1 or 2. Every parking lot seemed to have 5 or 6!

8. Technology continues to amaze me ~ OK, so this is not really car related, but being able to stand in a field in the Netherlands, take pictures of a car for sale, send the pics to a prospective buyer in Louisiana, and call the car’s owner all from a device that fits in your pocket still blows my mind.  This is exactly what happened as Carter Wiley and Gabrielle Isenbrand checked out a Truckette for a friend.  As Andre Pol translated for the seller, I gave the Truckette a looking over and thought that even 10 years ago, this would not have been so simple.

9. I need a barn ~ <sigh>

10. Few things in life are better than being surrounded by 2,000+ Citroëns and their fanatics ~ Some people wonder why car people enjoy standing around in a field looking under cars’ hoods.  For me, Citroëns are beautiful and their engineering captivating.  Seeing them in big numbers keeps me motivated to keep my cars on the road.  Add to that a terrific and eclectic group of people that are likewise attached and you have the makings of a stellar weekend.

One encounter I had captured this spirit.  As I was walking from the back fields to the main vendor field, I was stopped by 2 women who had to have a picture of my Citroën Rendezvous 40th Anniversary t-shirt.  As we chatted, I learned one was French and another Dutch.  Both were now living in Germany and had come to the ICCCR with their families in a DS wagon and a Traction.  It was a small example of the comradery that comes from our shared passion for Citroëns.

 

Start planning your trip to Torun Poland for ICCCR 17 to be held August 5th to 9th, 2020!!  Watch ICCCR2020.pl for news & updates.

Read George Dyke’s report on ICCCR 2016 here.