Rendezvous 2019 – Par Les Trois Chauffeurs

by George Dyke…..

As Citroën celebrations for their 100th anniversary are being staged all over the world this year, the annual tradition of gathering Citroëns on Fathers Day weekend at Saratoga Springs, NY continued unabated. With a mild reference to Citroën’s Centenary, for the most part, it was just the same gathering as before, and that was a good thing as David Cossitt Levy, Tim Kinnel and Chris Westfall, down one person (Michaela Hellman) from the 4 people at the helm last year, made all the event arrangements.

Though the drive there on Thursday was rain-soaked, and Sunday the same, perfect weather on the Friday and Saturday helped in making the 43rd annual Citroën Rendezvous the best event of the year in the USA as far as the number of Citroëns that attended.

Over 125 cars and more than 240 registrants made for a show day on Saturday that was varied and a great opportunity to see old acquaintances and meet newbie Citroën enthusiasts.

I gave a practical tech session on GS carb cleaning on Friday morning it the Springs Motel parking lot. Simon Walker, who drove in convoy from Toronto, noticed as he crossed the border into the USA, that he could either run his GS at idle or flat out, but the car would stall at any other setting unless he ran with the choke pulled. As the rain was coming, down we felt it best that he manage to make it to Rendezvous using the choke and we would sort out the problem there.

As it turned out, the jet feeding the main barrel had become plugged. Taking the top off the carb and cleaning that, along with a clean of all other jets, passages and the choke screen in the barrel of the carb, resulted in Simon going for a road test and coming back all smiles, giving the repair a “thumbs-up”.

With the field fixes behind us and some adjustment to distributor timing on my 1960 ID19, we powered over to the first official event of the weekend – Friday afternoon’s Ice Cream Social. From there we went back the Springs Motel for the Tailgate Welcome Pizza Party.

Here is a full photo gallery of the weekend: (Photos by Alex Landart and myself – click on the pic below).

Chuck Forward and Tina Van Curen from the Citroën Car Club in Los Angeles paid their first visit to Rendezvous in the east (they host a western Rendezvous in September), and drove in style, borrowing Robert Monteleone’s SM upon arrival in NYC, and driving up to Saratoga Springs.

The main show field and dinner on Saturday was held once again at Lakefield Farms just south of Balston Spa. There was a large selection of parts available for our beloved classics from Dave Burnham, Brad Nauss and Kenji Yoshino.

One of the highlights of the show was seeing Paul Anderson’s newly acquired SM, a European spec model he found in France. It is a fuel injection model with a cloth interior, and in amazing shape! I was surprised how comfortable the seats are – even more so than that subtle leather seats in my SM.

Aside from Citroëns, the Peugeot club made an appearance with a half dozen models, and a Renault 17 showed up as a well as two Volkswagen minibuses, a BMW 2002, an Autobianchi and a 2001 Honda Insight ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) in a lime green “Citrus” colour (offered only for the initial year).

At the end of the day at Lakeside Farms we had a silent auction of various Citroën items donated to cause, a buffet dinner, 50-50 raffle and presentation of The People’s Choice Awards.  (The winners are listed at the end of the article). 

The Favorite of Show People’s Choice Award went to a 1979 Acadiane Truckette decked out to be a Michelin tire Livery vehicle. Though congratulations go to its owner Bruno Sere, who trailered it to New York City and then drove it to the show on California license plates, having Nanking tires on the vehicle and not proper Michelins was just plain wrong. I had heard that he had requested tires from Michelin in lieu of his Michelin motif decoration, but the company declined to provide them. But seriously – Nanking tires on Michelin Livery truck? Come on!

After dinner, it was back to the Springs Motel for more late night socializing.

Sunday morning we gathered the Springs Motel for a continental breakfast. Rain meant that many explored the shopping in downtown Saratoga Springs or went for an extended lunch at one of the local pubs in the area.

For those who stayed over Sunday night, enduring the rain all through the day, a Mexican themed buffet dinner was provided at The Canfield Casino, a spectacular hall situated in Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. The Canfield Casino is one of Saratoga’s most talked about landmarks. The Casino, originally dubbed the Saratoga Club House, was built by John Morrissey as part of Congress Hall, which was a large resort hotel that contributed to giving SaratogaSprings its fame as the Spa City.

Rendezvous is far more than just the location and the cars that show up.  It’s about the people.  The ability to see old friends, recount great stories from the past and laugh with a heartiness and sincerity that truly does your heart good.  It’s all about renewal and being a part of a continuing tradition where new experiences will be recounted in future years.  It’s enjoyment personified.  Sure it’s a great chance to learn about Citroëns, but each year you learn something more. 

I make a point each year of taking a route back home that takes us through the rolling hills of New York State.  It’s such a pleasure to drive these roads and to begin looking forward to Rendezvous next year – June 18-21, 2020.  

Rendezvous 2019 – People’s Choice Award Winners:

Voting CatagoryMakeYearModelOwner
Traction AvantCitroën1955Traction Avant 11 NormaleJean-Jacques Sanfacon
2CV & TrucketteAcadiane Truckette ~ Michelin Livery1979Acadiane Truckette ~ Michelin LiveryBruno Sere
ID/DSCitroën1971DS21 PallasAndré Verner
SMCitroën1972SMBrian Peters
CX/CXA & BXCitroën1976CXKevin Royer
Ami, Dyane & MehariCitroën1973Ami Super ServiceGert Larson
GS/GSA, XM/C6, & H VanCitroën1978GS C-MaticSimon Walker
Other French (non Citroën)Renault197217 GordiniNick Dimopoulo
Non-FrenchAutobianchi1972A112Luc Martin
Favorite of ShowCitroën1979Acadiane Truckette ~ Michelin LiveryBruno Sere

Update: June 29, 2019: Bruno Sere, People’s Choice Award Winner, for Favorite of Show, the Michelin Tire Livery vehicle has informed us that Michelin has decided to provide 5 proper Michelin tires for the vehicle. No doubt Michelin also cringed when they heard it was running around on Nanking tires. Congratulations go to Michelin for retaining their brand image with their support!

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