By Richard Bonfond….

Hosted by the Citroën Car Club of Southern California, this year’s event occurred in Santa Maria in California’s Central Coast region on September 29 & 30. As cars started to roll in on Friday afternoon, the Santa Maria Inn parking lot was showing more and more of a French accent with every 2CV, DS, and SM that arrived. Registration was ongoing throughout the afternoon, with light hors d’oeuvres and beverages welcoming the attendees during the early evening. The rest of the evening was on your own with friends getting together for dinner.

A light rain welcomed everyone on Saturday morning just in time for “La Grande Tournée” (a fun drive) to depart at 9:30 AM. The weather didn’t dampen the atmosphere as most cars left the parking lot. The drive, organized by Steve McCarthy, headed west from Santa Maria to the Guadalupe Cemetery, which has a rich multicultural history dating back to 1840. From there, it was off to the Hitching Post for a second photo op and the first of several opportunities to replenish one’s taste buds. After continuing to Los Alamos and Los Olivos, it was the perfect opportunity for lunch and a Car Show, perusing the shops and stopping at Zaca Mesa Winery before returning to Santa Maria. Steve ensured that this drive wasn’t all fun and games, as it included a quiz that took some research. The lucky winners, Eric Libbey and Shannon Horn were given a copy of Steve McCarthy’s book Road Trippin.

By mid-afternoon, everyone had returned to the Santa Maria Inn to view the swap meet and silent auction and vote for their favorite car on display per category. Once everyone had a chance to rest and freshen up, they went to the Santa Maria room for cocktails and dinner. If my choice of salmon were anything to go by, I would say that the quality of our dinner choices was excellent.

The evening’s program started with light entertainment and renditions of Frank Sinatra songs organized by Melisa Giles Martin. The next order of business was to announce the winners of the car show per category, which were:

Traction Avant       Thomas Schneider1955 11B
DS/ID SedansFabrice Vuillemey1964 ID 19
DS/ID WagonsSteve McCarthy1970 DS 21 Break
2CVEric Libbey 1973/1985 2CV6 Club
A Series otherDene Barrett1956 2CV Truckette
Other CitroënRobert Chicha1973 SM
Other FrenchRodney Grabinski 1969 Matra M530
BEST OF SHOW     John Billings1966 ID 19 Chapron
Best of Show and Design Book winner John Billings.

Another award handed out by the Southern California club was the “Wally Escherich Award,” with this year’s recipient being Hein Gysen for outstanding contribution to the Citroën community. For those who did not know Wally, he was a second-generation Citroën owner and member of the Citroën Car Club and was an integral part of the club. Wally passed away in 2018.

The next order of business was the annual auction, with the MC being Bruno Sere and his assistant George-Alex Chicha, who had the critical task of choosing the winning tickets. Anything from books, T-shirts, and wine bottle holders were handed out, with many of the prizes donated by members of the Citroën community. As the evening ended, some went out for a nightcap while others went straight to bed.

Thirty-five cars and approximately 130 guests were registered for the annual Rendezvous.

A big thank you goes out to Chuck Forward, Tina van Curen, Steve and Marianne McCarthy, Jean-François and Melissa Giles Martin, Bruno Sere, and George-Alex Chicha.


  1. Congratulations Richard,
    Great to get a perspective from the UK of those spectacular years of the Citroen brand being celebrated on the West Coast .
    Fellow D and SM enthusiast,
    Paul Buckett

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