We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Dave Kane, a longtime member of Citroën Autoclub Canada/Citroënvie and a true legend in our Citroën community.
Dave’s life concluded on December 25, 2019, at the age of 66 after a brief hospital stay in Peterborough where he was admitted a few days prior due to a heart attack. Dave is survived by his wife Riki Kretschmar, stepdaughter Michele and three daughters by a previous marriage; Crystal, Natasha, and Robyn. He is also survived by his brother Raymond and niece Jocelyn. Dave was also the proud grandfather of Madison and Thomas.
Growing up, Dave was always into cars. As soon as he could drive he was racing – taking cars like the VW Beetle, working on the engine and for better handling, taking the rims and reversing them to get more width and hence better traction.
Dave wanted to study engineering but his parents did not have the funds to send him to university. Instead, Dave and his first wife, Julie, started off in business in the early 1970’s selling van accessories and doing raised roof conversions in Brampton, ON.
Being a car guy with an engineering mind, Dave naturally gravitated toward Citroëns and their inner workings. He became acquainted with Glen Fryer, the first president of Citroën Autoclub Canada, and other stalwarts of the Club’s first era like; Freddie Fix, Andy and Greg Lamb, and Ken MacKenzie, who managed to find numerous Citroëns in Southern Ontario that had gone off the road for one reason or another. By the early 1980s, Dave and Julie moved onto a rented a farm just north of Toronto, on Yonge St. in Richmond Hill, and over the course of a few years, it became a resting place for over three dozen Citroëns that “just needed a clutch”.
By that time, Dave had got out of the van business and remained self-employed on the farm selling auto parts as well as manufacturing replacement Citroën parts such as; plastic fuel tanks for the Traction Avant, and front valences and rear fenders for DS and ID.
There was a barn on the property that Dave packed with cars and also kept a space for a workshop. Being the ever-practical and budget-minded innovator, when Dave wanted to insulate the barn, he bought old school buses and took the seats out of them. They fit perfectly in the wall studs and rafters. Ultimately Dave needed more covered space and constructed a geodesic dome on site. Still, there were so many Citroëns as by that time, folks had dragged them over to Dave’s to get them off their property. Many sat in the outer concrete pad where, on a typical farm, cows would be penned, but Dave’s place was solely cars. Others lined the driveway while even more sat up on a hill behind the barn.
Along with the Citroëns at the farm, there was a smattering of Renaults, a Truimph, a BMW Barvaria, an Isetta and a Jensen FF among others, in what became affectionally known in Citroën circles as “The Dave Kane Collection”.
People driving up Yonge St. in the late 1980’s and early 1990s knew something “Citroën” was going on there because Dave parked a 1966 blue 2CV, that was once owned by rock and roll musician Ronnie Hawkins, at the driveway. You couldn’t miss it when passing by!
Dave was a regular attendee at Eastern USA Citroën events such as Carlisle and Rendezvous, though not always driving a Citroën. Some years, like in the photo below from 1996, Dave drove to Carlisle with his three daughters in his Renault Fuego.
In the late 1990’s, Dave’s landlord sold the farm and Dave, Julie and their three girls were forced to move everything off the property. Many of the Citroëns ended up in Dave and Julie’s large backyard at the new home they moved to in Tottenham, ON. They lasted there about two years before complaints about all the cars from neighbours forced Dave to find another home, and Dave and Julie to go their separate ways.
Most of the Citroëns ended up on a farm just south of Picton, ON that Dave co-purchased with his friend Gunther. Ultimately, a number of Renault Dauphines came to rest there. Dave acquired them when he was consulting in 2000 with Feel Good Cars, a Toronto company that planned on electrifying them by adding some sealed lead-acid batteries, a DC electric motor that was “separately excited,” and other critical bits. They planned to offer them for sale in Canada for $22,500 (Canadian dollar price at that time). Unfortunately, they went out of business just after just a couple of “demonstrators” were built and shown at the Toronto Auto Show in 2001 and about a dozen Dauphines were added to what was being referred to as “Dave’s field of dreams” at the Picton farm.
We stopped by Dave’s property in Picton during our Fall 2010 outing to Prince Edward County. https://citroenvie.com/cac-prince-edward-county-fall-outing-sept-25-2010/
Shortly after Dave relocated his cars in Picton and moved there, he met Riki Kretschmar and he left cars behind at the farm to live with her in Peterborough. Dave’s interest in Citroën took a backseat to Riki and he getting married and travelling about North America practicing Alchemy and the virtues of Ormus. Dave also became involved again in building geodesic dome structures.
Dave may be best remembered to many Citroënthusiasts by the role he took back in 1996 extracting a 2CV from a boathouse at a cottage on an isolated island in Muskoka’s Black River. It was documented in the video that Citroën Autoclub Canada made of the day: https://youtu.be/ucr4LuKSVjU.
In the video you can see Dave pulling the 2CV’s headlight bar as he tries to get it out of the boathouse, standing on the raft as the 2CV was floated across the river, and at the end towing it away – to where else but to rust away in Richmond Hill.
Dave’s legendary Citroën exploits extended well beyond Southern Ontario. One he is particularly noted for is the DS camper he built in the early 1980’s that he drove to Rendezvous a few times when the event was held in Greenfield, MA.
We wrote about his camper here: https://citroenvie.com/a-look-back-at-this-ds-camper-conversion/
One of Dave’s prized Citroëns, still in need of a restoration, is a Pre-WWII Traction 15-6. It, along with the Ronnie Hawkins 1966 2CV, are two Citroën’s that have managed to get stored indoors from the time Dave moved off the Richmond Hill farm.
While we can go on and on about Dave’s countless Citroën adventures, suffice to say his open mind and heart will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Dave and Riki, along with his daughter Crystal and granddaughter Madison, attended our 2019 Citroën Autoclub Canada/Citroënvie Christmas party in Toronto on December 7. At the party, Dave mentioned that he had recently been watching some whimsical commercials on YouTube that were made for Pelephone in Israel. They feature animated microcars and automotive contraptions. He made the point that they were very cleverly done and great to inspire kids. Young or not, or just young at heart, we thought you might like to see them – and think of Dave when you do.
In keeping with David’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a Celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
UPDATE — Oct. 3, 2020: A Celebration of Life for Dave has held today as part Citroën Autoclub Canada’s Fall Outing and a new award that has been created by the Club called the “Dave Kane – All it Needs is a Clutch” was presented posthumously to his eldest daughter Crystal.
It will be presented annually to Club members who have found a Citroën barn find, or worked to preserve a Citroën from the fate of going to the crusher. The award will be offered on an annual basis, in Dave’s memory, to the Club member who has come across a Citroën barn find, or has worked to preserve a Citroën from the fate of going to the crusher.