By George Dyke…..
It has been almost 5 years since we learned that Ivan Frank passed away, but his Citroën legacy in the USA lives on.
For those that don’t know about Ivan, he became involved in Citroën at the age of 22, when in 1959 he purchased a band new ID 19 from Carl Bartz’s dealership in Denver Colorado. He cut his teeth mechanically on a different ID 19 when a year later he bought a 1957 ID19 that had car caught on fire. Ivan towed it back home from Ogden, Utah and by getting it to drive again, became locally recognized as a successful Citroën mechanic.
By 1963 Ivan was working at the Carl Bartz Citroën dealership helping to promote Citroëns as well as service them. A year later, when Carl decided to retire, Ivan took over the business calling it “Classic Cars”. He sold about 30 Citroëns a year until 1973, when Citroën pulled out of the North American market abandoning their dealers.
Ivan also wrote some technical bulletins for Citroën USA, particularly for SM where he offered “corrections” based on his experience with them.
Ivan continued to service Citroëns for decades after Citroën left the USA.
I was fortunate to meet Ivan at the 12th ICCCR meet in Amherst, MA back in 2002. John McCulloch and I, along with a couple of others, spent an all-nighter listening to him recall his Citroën experiences. His enthusiasm and joviality was contagious.
Ivan certainly deserves to be remembered and fortunately the Citrowagon website in France, put up a page where Ivan tells his life story first-hand along with some great photos of his cars, the dealership in Denver and a trip he made to Citroën West coast headquarters in Los Angeles. You can view it here: https://www.citrowagon.fr/734a_ivan_frank.html
Thanks go to Ivan and Edouard from Citrowagon, for documenting his efforts and giving us an opportunity to look into the part he played in Citroën’s US history.