For the past decade, 2CV Truckettes belonging to French Truck Coffee have been trundling around the southern city of soul delivering coffee just after it’s roasted.
The owner of the business, Geoffrey Meeker, started his venture when he was inspired by a bag of coffee brought to him in 2009 by a cousin from San Francisco. The coffee had been roasted only two days before, and suitably caffeinated after making a cup and drinking it, decided that fresh beans delivered immediately was what New Orleans needed. He also realized that a differentiated means to deliver them was paramount. His passion for Citroën had him originally wanting to go with an H Van.
He had purchased an H Van through Noel Slade in New Jersey that continued to balloon in cost. (We have covered some of Noel’s questionable past dealings on Citroënvie. See: https://citroenvie.com/hes-back-beware-of-noel-slades-scams/).
Having second thoughts about the H Van acquisition, he decided a smaller Citroën would be the preferred route to take, and a 2nd attempt with Noel and threatening a lawsuit resulted in his 1st 2CV Truckette that turned out be a “Frankenstein attempt at restoration”
Geoffrey now has a total of 7 Truckettes, 2 are now “retired” and in need of a full restoration, a 1955, and 1 x 250. Presently he has roadworthy; 2 x 250’s, 2 x 350’s and 1 x 400’s.
They shot a video with a drone of 5 of them driving around the city. You can view that here:
All but 2 of his current 2CV Truckettes either came from or were facilitated by Carter Willey and Gabrielle Isenbrand. Sander in the Netherlands (Sander AAlderink 2CV Garage) is building a full electric one that Geoffrey is looking forward to seeing early next year. (We wrote about Sander’s efforts to e-power a 2CV back in April of this year. See: https://citroenvie.com/e-power-your-2cv/).
Although the original one really did make deliveries around New Orleans, today the Truckettes are used pretty much as grocery store displays and to drive around town for advertising purposes. “People loved a little old truck cruising around on runs” says Geoffrey, “It made them smile and in some cases had them feeling it was a New Orleans thing”.
Geoffrey notes that it is interesting the way the tourists react to them. New Orleans is perceived as french city (though it really has Spanish roots). Tourists assume because it is french truck that the business has been around for 50 years! In fact, French Truck Coffee has only been around for 10 years.
Although he has used them for deliveries in the past, Geoffrey has found that the Truckettes are not really practical for day-to-day use in business. Geoffrey is 49 years of age and worked on farms as a kid. He knows what a carburetor is and knows how to service one. He does a lot of the servicing on the fleet but if it’s outside of his comfort zone, they go to his mechanic Cedric Vaumoron who has a garage called European Cars in Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans).
With 20-something employees who are driving but not familiar with the foibles of classic cars let alone Citroëns, handing a 2CV over to them who might experience a clutch, sticky throttle pedal and such, has proven that they are not really safe in their hands.
He has had some odd experiences with his employees driving a 2CV. One young man had no idea how small the car is. The fellow had what he thought it took to drive through a puddle. Well, he got stuck and Geoffrey got a call and went to help him. “I went to help him and didn’t realize at the time that he had tried to drive it through a foot and a half of water. So much so that water had gone into the fan. It ingested water like you wouldn’t believe. I found oak leaves stuck to the upper firewall. That’s when I found out what he had done! This car had points (not a 123), nothing to seal out the moisture. I just looked at him and asked, “Did you just drive that through that?!” and pointed at the puddle. He said “yea, is that a problem?” We towed it back to the garage and managed to get it dried out. Fortunately it was OK, but it was one of those things where the water was up past the sills of the doors and he didn’t understand why it wouldn’t run.”
On another occasion Geoffrey recalls an employee taking a Truckette out and he could not figure out why the brakes weren’t working. “He didn’t tell me that the master cylinder had blown a pipe. He knew it had happened, but he didn’t understand that it was important. So he came to a stop sign and nearly rolled through it, with another vehicle coming at him.” (Sort of scene you’d see in a Peter Sellers pink panther movie.) “The other vehicle saw him at the last minute and an accident was avoided but he was pretty scared and upset to the point that he blamed me that the brakes would fail.”
And so, with experiences like these to name but a few, Geoffrey decided that the Truckettes should be retired from daily use. However, he hasn’t lost his love for them and can hardly wait for his latest electric 2CV Truckette to arrive and spark continued interest in his brand.