In Memoriam – Ruut van den Hoed

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of San Francisco Regional Citroën Car Club past-president Ruut van den Hoed.

Peter Anning has shared this memory:

Ruut was the first member of the SFRCCC I ever met. I was attending the Friendship Day car show at San Mateo Community College with my newly purchased 2CV and Ruut approached me and suggested I join the Citroën Car Club. I wrote a check, completed the application, and joined that very day! After that, I remember how well Ruut connected with everyone — and always wearing a suit and tie. He was gracious to everyone and a pure old fashioned gentleman toward his wife, Johanna — always opening her door for her and offering his hand. His DS was one I coveted for a number of years, and while dementia robbed him of his faculties, I will always remember him as a great guy and true Citroën enthusiast.

And Ruut’s son, Vincent, writes:

On a personal note, I can never fully express what I feel. But I will say this. As we know, it’s impossible to sum up the meaning, value and impact of a person’s life. And my father is certainly no exception. He was charismatic and courageous. He was passionate about design, to highlight just a few of his qualities. As his son, the depth and breadth of my gratitude and appreciation for his support and my pride in being his son continue to grow as I get older. I owe everything to both my dad and my mom and only hope that I was able to make them feel as loved as I felt and that I can continue to make them proud.

Vincent van den Hoed can be reached at or at 19175 De Havilland Dr, Saratoga, CA 95070.


  1. Vincent, please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your father. I haven’t met you but I met Ruut when I was living in Wilmingon Delaware, from 1970 thru ’73. One of those yrs I was meeting Citroen owners on the E. coast, and somehow found your father was looking for someone to salvage his 1970 D special, which he’d just imported to somewhere around Massachusetts or NY state. As I faintly recall, it being close to 50 yrs ago, he told me he had been driving it on a freeway and encountered glare ice. The car evidently spun around, caught a strong pole just inside the left rear corner of the trunk, and bashed the rear wall in as it wedged the left sidewall outward and bent the LR suspension arm out by about 5-10 degrees. Fortunately he was ok. I think the front bumper suffered damage also, and the insurance co. totalled the car but really shortchanged your father on value as the car was nearly new – maybe 5K miles on it. He probably brought it over via European delivery programs available back then, but I can’t remember the details. He was heartsick of course to lose the car so soon after buying it.

    Somehow I heard thru the grapevine about the car – he’d kept the wreck in a junkyard near Albany as I recall. Ruut told me the car was in v. good condition other than the body damage. Think I paid him $950 for the car as-is, in the junkyard. I had just started my career job with Dupont Engineering Polymers in Wilmington summer of 1970. I didn’t have a garage, but was renting a room above one. As the car had so little miles on it, I figured it would be in pretty good mechanical shape and have near new tires, but only saw it when I drove to the junkyard – quite a distance from Del, but with a friend, and confident it was still driveable as-is – damage and all – based on prev experience with a DS I had bought with a really wrecked rear end, sawed in half, and popriveted a decent rear end to the front half after sawing thru the gastank compartment while in graduate school!

    When we got to the wrecking yard, I managed to make the rear fender cover the cockeyed LR wheel, tie down anything loose, but did notice someone had swapped the near new tires for nearly bald ones! Still, we made it back to Wilmington at 70 mph, with the car only squirming around a small bit due to the bent rear arm. Fortunately a Wilmington friend had brought me to the yard, and shepherded me home in his own DS.

    After work, I would work on the car in the driveway, and thought about how I was going to straighten the cockeyed rear arm with hardly any tools. and no shop and no cash to pay for the chassis repair. The car drove fine on dry pavement even with the misalignment – until I got on a wet part – then the rear would squirrel around a bit as each tire changed traction compared to the other one.

    So I decided to see just how well the cars drove on 3 wheels, and removed the L wheel and arm completely! I plugged off the suspension and brake lines, separated the rollbar and arm bearing mount inside the trunk, and studied how the chassis box was engineered. Being a physics major in college, I decided to reverse the stress on the chassis during the crash, and see what I could accomplish. The arm itself wasn’t bent – they’re extremely strong – just the hole in the chassis. For that, I found a 10 foot long piece of large diam. pipe which fit pretty well in the chassis hole, figured a lever this long could be a good prybar, and made the fit tighter by folding up plumbers perforated steel “tape” (strapping) to make a sandwich shim which I tapped into the hole between chassis plate and pipe. Before doing this however, I had located a gas station and repair shop in N Wilmington which was empty on Sundays. With the pipe piaced over the seat tops in the interior, and the LR fender in place, I drove across town, and stopped to add gas before arriving at the repair shop. As I was filling the tank, the attendant happened to walk past the car, stopped suddenly, and dropped to the ground to look for the missing rear wheel! I told him “hey, these cars only need 3 of them” – he just looked goggleyed, and walked away. shaking his head.

    I get to the backside of the repair shop, poke the 10 ft piece of pipe into the chassis hole after removing the fender, wedge it tight, then jack up the car a bit to keep the pipe off the ground, and line up the car with the pole so that if I drive forward, the pipe will strike the 6 inch pole near the pipe’s tip. Taking a wild ass guess at impacting speed, I get the car rollng and whack the pole, torquing the car a bit sideways via the pipe offset. I wiggle the pipe around to see how the hole now aligns or doesn’t – compare with the other side hole by eyeball after removing the pipe. I might have given it one more whack, but then stowed the pipe and drove back to my apartment. I might have been off a degree or two, but that car tracked fine for the next 90K miles until I sold it to someone else, and I don’t remember ever wearing that side tire cockeyed.

    When I next met your Dad it was at the Sacramento 50th celebration that Richard Bonfond had organized along with your father in 2005. After Ruut emceed the event, I introduced myself to him and passed on this wacky story to him! He got quite a kick out of it, knowing it was still probably running somewhere in the country. He was a wonderful guy and enthusiast, and provided me with my first decent Citroen after having lots of rusty ones before that. It was near new and affordable for me back then! We’ll always be grateful for his leadership.

    Best regards,
    Ken Nelson

  2. Vincent, among the many fond memories I have of your father are these:
    Always dapper in his appearance, frequently in suit and tie, Ruut was ever enthusiastic
    about espousing the many superior features of the DS, right down to the cavernous spaciousness of the sedan’s trunk. But wait, a demonstration is worth a thousand words. Dark suit and all, right foot followed by the left over the bumper onto the trunk floor, then a descent to his posterior, onto his back with knees folded and arms behind his head … voila, all smiles as he glowed in the success of the demonstration. Johanna seemed quite accepting of his enthusiasms, but not to the point of joining the show.
    As club President, Ruut was always engaged in the success of group events. Regularly, I would get a call from him a week or so prior to an event, if I hadn’t already RSVP’d my intent to attend, friendly cajoling me to do so now.
    A friend, a gentleman, a devotee of the DS, your dad will remain much celebrated, much remembered, and much missed.

  3. Vincent, Please accept my belated condolences. I am co-authoring a biography of one of your father’s colleagues at Container Corporation, Albert Kner. In my interviews with Albert’s former colleagues, your father’s name frequently comes up, always with great fondness and respect. I sent you an email and wanted to get in touch with you, in case you or other family members have recollections, photos, and/or other materials about Container Corporation, the Design Lab, and/or Albert Kner. I would be honored to hear back from you at your convenience.

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