by George Dyke…. (Title photo featuring Mark L. Bardenwerper, Sr. in a 1972 DS)
Other than a shower during the Saturday evening dinner and a a few drops of rain overnight, the weekend was dry, cool and perfect for driving to and from the event and having our cars on display.
View a full photo gallery of the event here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzVec4
After 2 years of being unable to attend Rendezvous (due to Covid restrictions — the Canada US border was closed to the public who wanted to cross) it was so refreshing to be able to make it there and see that Rendezvous is as healthy as it was pre-pandemic. Over 160 cars and close to 250 people attended the traditional Fathers’ Day weekend event at Saratoga Springs NY.
Driving through Northern New York state on the way there, I was reminded of the beautiful scenery and serenity that abounds. The rolling hills, and quaint villages that we passed through set the tone for the whole weekend.
And aside from bringing ourselves from Canada, we ushered in some cool Canadian weather so the show field day was comfortable and mostly overcast. No sweaty heat and cloudy sky for the most part on Saturday — the perfect canopy for photography.
Marijke and I arrived on Thursday evening June 16, as did many others. We came across a fellow visiting Saratoga Springs who had no idea that Rendezvous was on, never owned a Citroën but was admiring a D Super across town where we stopped for lunch in Friday. Of all things, he showed us a keychain he has been carrying since the 1960s, engraved with the image of André Citroën.
Informal commencement began at 2 PM on Friday for the ice cream social at the Kaleidescope Cafe on Lake Ave, just out of town and east along Lake Ave.
Registration was at the Holiday Inn host hotel from Friday 6 – 8 pm along with a welcome reception that included pizza, deli wraps, salad, and veggie and fruit/cheese platters. And of course, festivities moved to the parking lot to eye the Citroëns that had gathered. Being the 50th anniversary of the SM, the grand tourer was well represented.
Show field day was Saturday at Lakefield Farms, where folks got to see not only a plethora of Citroëns, but Peugeot, a couple of classic Mercedes Benz, Volvos, and even a Heinkel Trojan microcar.
Citroëns were marshaled into designated display areas, and attendees got to mull about and purchase parts from Brad Nauss, Dave Burnham and Kenj Yoshino (who came all the way from Seattle on a red eye flight).
Erik DeWidt displayed a unique and beautifully restored AWD 1960 2CV 4×4 “Voisin” custom-fitted with a Visa 652 cc engine. Unlike the 2-engine 2 4×4 Sahara that Citroën offered and has become “the 2CV collectors item”, this 2CV is arguably far more practical in the way it achieves AWD with its single Visa 652 cc engine as opposed to the 2 x 425 cc engines in a Sahara. With the Voisin set-up the back differential can be completely disengaged so you have just a FWD like a regular 2CV. Fitted with a late 1960’s front end (to accommodate the engine) and a mid-70s dashboard for practicality, at $48,750 US, it wasn’t cheap but it is still much less than a Sahara and way faster.
At 2 pm Mark Gluck led a Traction tour of seven Traction Avants through the region, including circling the scenic Saratoga Lake. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLA77IQ-Sd8
Those that participated in Citroënvie zoom meetings over the past two years got together at 5 pm to meet in person for a change, rather than virtually, and all got a Citroënve Zoomers coffee mug.
Zoomers were also treated to an amusing story by a special guest from California, Scott Sorbet, who was part of the genesis of Tesla. He told us how it was he who inspired Elon Musk to fit a Tesla Roadster on top of a Space X rocket and launch it on an infinite space voyage.
The Saturday night dinner at Lakefield Farms was a delicious buffet of barbecued ribs and chicken with all the fixings followed by strawberry shortcake and pies galore for those that weren’t already stuffed from the main course. The silent auction yielded dozens of takeaways to lucky bidders and the show favourite winners were announced in the following categories:
- Non-French: Derek Karabec – 1962 Heinkel Trojan
- Other French: Christian Noel – 1960 Peugeot 203
- GS/GSA/XM/C6/H-van: Paul Stockton – 1976 H-Van pickup
- CX/CXA/BX: tie: Jeff Brown 1986 CX Ambulance; Tom Hale – 1981 CX
- Ami/Dyane/Mehari: Steevie LaVoie – 1965 Ami
- 2CV/Truckette: Stewart Schuenemann – 1964 2CV
- SM: David Cossitt-Levy – 1972 “Matchbox” SM
- ID/DS: Lauri Virkkunen: 1966 DS
- Traction Avant: tie: Andy Picket – 1950 Traction; Alain Dumas – 1951 Traction
- Longest Distance: Fernando J Alva Mirás – 1970 DS21 Wagon
- Best in Show: 1972 “Matchbox” SM (award presented to David Burnham and Alan Bentsen)
Sunday morning we got a chance to meet again at 9:00 am for an “Au Revoir petite déjener” at Congress Park in downtown Saratoga Springs. A few people, including Marijke and myself decided to spend another day and relax before driving home.
It was heartening to see that even with gas at $5.58 a gallon (US dollars and volume) for premium, it did not deter the gathering of about 160 Citroëns. It was great to see old acquaintances again and meet many new friends that are equally enthused about them.
To top it off, I got back home in my GS without a single stone chip to the car. Astounding!
The only incident on the road for me was going over a gap in the pavement at the right side of the road at 55 mph near Johnstown, which resulted in a direct impact to the front right wheel. I saw something in the air on my right side and at first hoped that I had not damaged the rim. Thinking about it as I drove along, I realized that might have been the hubcap, but a GS hubcap is secured by 2 tabs – 180 degrees apart at the edge of the hubcap that fit into 2 holes on the rim. It is near impossible for it to come off. Lo-and-behold, after stopping about a mile down the road, the rim and tire seemed fine, but the hubcap was gone! A return to the gap and a search in the nearby grass resulted in my wife quickly spotting the lost projectile which I fitted back on the rim again. The GS tracked straight and with no imbalance. Lucky me!
For the hubcap the come off, the tabs on it must have been perpendicular to the road at the point of impact, and the force must have pushed the hubcap down for the tab at the top to become unseated. From there, the tab at the bottom wasn’t going to hold and the hubcap was airborne, fortunately clearing the body of the GS altogether. Something to note for GS owners who might be in the same predicament.
Another great Rendezvous and it could not have happened without “the Chauffers”; David Cossitt-Levy, Christopher (Toaph) Westfall, and Tim Kinnel and Lawrence Wood who organized Rendezvous again this year, and for the many volunteers that attended to help make it all go so smoothly!