Throughout his life Richard Bonfond has been constantly surrounded by Citroëns. From his childhood days observing his father, Albert Bonfond, working in his automobile repair shop in Belgium to the family moving to the United States in 1956 where Albert went to work for Citroën Cars Corporation, and Richard later followed suit, ultimately working for Citroën both in the United States and in Europe.
In his new book, “What a Ride!”, Richard tells not just about growing up around Citroën, he also provides a first hand account of Citroën’s history in North America, something that has never been throughly documented to this extent.
Richard begins the book with a history of Andre Citroën, detailing with things you probably didn’t know about the man. It’s a refreshing primer to understand the basis of the Citroën company and to dive further into the book.
Writing about Citroën’s history in North America, Richard discloses a treasure trove of information, things like; US technical research for Citroën Cars Corporation was run by Arthur Lowenstein and Jean Ostheimer, the man who was responsible for putting Andre Citroën into liquidation in 1934! And at the Citroën display at LA Auto Show, DS and ID models were configured to operate the hydraulic systems without running the engines inside the auditorium.
Richard has also provided great reference material, such as the excellent summation of the American dealer network at the beginning of chapter 4.
There are so many tidbits, such as Richard explaining why only American 2CVs had horizontal chevrons mounted where the turn signals would normally be found on the C pillars of European 2CVs and that Meharis, when they arrived in the US, were far from complete vehicles. Each came with a box attached the vehicle jammed with interior and body parts requiring assembly prior to sale!
This large format, hardcover, 152-page book includes some never-before-seen pictures, and letters pertaining to Citroën’s history on the North American continent, from its infancy to its ultimate demise.
The book is an incredible read – (and a great Christmas gift) – especially for Citroën owners in the USA and Canada as it offers an entertaining history of Citroën in North America told by one who actually experienced the era and helps keep the Citroën interest alive here to this day.
“What a Ride!” can be purchased for €43.50 + shipping through Citrovisie: https://citrovisie.nl/en/products/what-a-ride