by George Dyke….

“Whimsy” the 2CV Artcar has found a new home and I’m pleased to announce that it is with me!   Ever since its first appearance at Rendezvous held at Northfield Mountain, MA in 1993, Whimsy has become an embedded icon as part of the quirky Citroën culture here in North America that continues to exist.  Its history and how it came to be painted like it spent time at a hippie love-in, was mentioned in the tribute we paid to Bill Stevenson that you can find here:

Bill first told the story of Whimsy in Citroën Quarterly back in 1995.  

My connection with Whimsy goes back to one of the early Rendezvous that I attended in 1993 when Bill brought it there from Maine and asked me to drive it in the parade that took place on Saturday morning from our gathering spot at the Motel 6 in South Deerfield, MA to Northfield Mountain.  We were right behind the Police escort and I can still recall all the waves and smiles from fascinated bystanders along the way.  

Though Bill was not an artist he certainly was eccentric. The artwork on the car came about from Bill asking four artist friends; David Cedrone, Dan Britton, Jo Martyn-Fisher and Edith Tucker who contributed their talents in transforming his red 2CV.  The result was a visual smorgasbord of artistry from every angle.  It drew immense interest as everyone at Rendezvous peered into the nooks and crannies on both the exterior and interior.  The spirit of the 2CV is embodied in Whimsy’s art; A basket of eggs is painted behind the back seat, because the original design specs of the 2CV were that it had to travel across a farmer’s field and not break a single egg in the basket. Under the hood, there is a duck looking at a cracked mirror, because the 2CV is also referred to as the ugly duckling.  Bill even did a “Hitchcock” by having Dan paint him into the diverse group of people that appear to be holding up the earth.  In all Whimsy has painted on her: 15 mermaids, 1 merman, 1 king Neptune, 6 fairies, 4 fair maidens, 1 cupid, 55 cartoon nudie characters, numerous other human characters, 4 cats and enough flowers and “hippie renderings” that make you think you’re on an LSD trip from the 1960s.

Bill moved from Maine to Delaware with Whimsy around 2000 to a wooded property near the Atlantic ocean on the Delaware peninsula.  A stroke in 2010 left him unable to use his right arm and curtailed his driving Whimsy.  It sat on a trailer in Bill’s workshop from then on.

When Bill passed away the property and its contents were left to a Hazel Allen – a lady-friend of Bill’s who now resides in Portugal.  She asked Steve Moore, a friend of hers and Bill’s who lived in Annapolis, MD and another fellow locally in Delaware to assist in disposing of the massive amount of stuff Bill collected over the years.  

Another long-time friend of Bill’s initially said that he would purchase Whimsy but decided not to follow through.  I had been in touch with Hazel in Portugal when writing his In Memoriam for Citroenvie.  At the time she mentioned that the physical property was being donated to an environmental group in the area.  Steve was tasked with clearing out everything before July.   When the initial sale of Whimsy fell through, Hazel contacted me as she wanted to ensure that it would be preserved with the artwork intact and be shown to both artier lovers and Citroen enthusiasts at various events.  By this point, Hazel, as executor of the estate, and Steve trying to clear out all the stuff, were both facing an insurmountable deadline.  Having an affinity for Whimsy from the time I first drove it in 1993,  Hazel and Steve asked me if I would agree to purchase it, but it was not without caveats….

Bill never licensed Whimsy in Delaware (the license plates on the car were from Maine – year 2000) and although the trailer it was sitting on had a Delaware registration, it was last renewed in 2010.   I had to get both into Canada and with Bill deceased, I needed to show current and valid titles to both.  

We determined that once the paperwork was sorted out, the best way to do this both quickly and economically would be to drive there in my Dodge Durango, hitch-up the trailer with Whimsy on it and cross the border.   The trailer was going to need new tires and hopefully, the wheel bearings were not rusty and all the lights worked.  (As it turned out, 2 out of these 3 panned out OK.  More on that in a bit.)  

I needed a temporary permit for the trailer, and that was going to require me to go the the Delaware DMV with the expired plate from the tailer in-hand, a Bill of Sale and the 2010 registration signed over to me.   We managed to work that little logistical problem out to what we hoped would be the DMV’s satisfaction.  (I’ll just  just leave it at that.)

Whimsy is a 1958 2CV and Maine’s computer based vehicle records did no go back that far, Steve was able to get a contact he knew in Maine to go to the DMV and claim that the car was at one point sold to him and have a 2025 registration issued in his name.  With a Bill of Sale made out to me and the signed-over registration, that was good enough to send to my Broker in Buffalo, NY to handle the US export of the car to US Customs.  (When exporting a car from the US to Canada, US Customs require such paperwork to be in their hands at the point of crossing at least 72 hours prior to the vehicle physically being present so they can ensure legitimate title and that the vehicle does not have any liens or has been stolen).  

June was a busy month for me and Whimsy had to be off the property by the end of it.  The paperwork for Whimsy wasn’t sorted out until June 13th and my wife Marijke and I were off to Rendezvous in my Citroen Visa that same day, leaving just 2 weeks to get Whimsy, factoring in our return from Rendezvous.  I wanted to leave an emergency window of the last week of June if needed, so the plan was to come back from Rendezvous on the Sunday, switch over to the Durango and head down to Delaware Monday night arriving near Bill’s in Georgetown, DE Tuesday night and Wednesday morning be at the property.  Steve noted that Wednesday was “Juneteenth” holiday and the DMV would be closed, so Marijke and I postponed our Toronto departure by a day and left on Tuesday night to arrive in Georgetown Wednesday evening and be at Bill/s first thing Thursday morning June 20.

Before departing Toronto, Steve sent me info on the trailer connection and the tires.  I made sure to have a 2” ball hitch and a “U-Haul type” 4-pin standard electrical connector with bare wires on the other end to connect to the trailer that had a weird 4-pin plug that I planned to cut off to fit on the 4-pin standard connector. 

The trailer’s wheels had 165/80 R13 tires mounted on 4-hole rims.  The only 4-hole rims I could find locally looked more like they would fit a small gardening trailer rather than an auto trailer and they had narrow and cheap tires mounted on them.  Steve felt that trailer tires mounted on 4 bolt rims could be purchased near Bill’s and at the very least if 4 bolt 13” rims could not be found, fresh 165 x 13 tires could be purchased and mounted on the existing rims.  

Our strategy worked for the 12 hour drive there.  We got to Georgetown without incident.  Upon arrival Thursday morning, the first thing I figured I should do is find a trailer hitch shop and get some tires.  Our first stop at Trick Trucks, proved to be an ominous outcome.  They had nothing in a 4-bolt rim and no 13” tires on hand.   I wasn’t about to chase tires at this point and figured it best to deal with the DMV so I at least have a licensed trailer with a temporary permit!   Off we went to see Whimsy for the first time in 31 years.

Arriving there at 8:30 am we spent a few minutes of fascination going over Whimsy and the trailer, but knew the job at at hand was to pull the license plate off the trailer and head over to the DMV.

Arriving at the DMV we were faced with a 3 hour line-up, due to the backload of the DMV being closed for the “Juneteenth” holiday.  Not something I was expecting and I needed to get back to US Customs near Niagara Falls NY before 3:30 pm Friday (the next day) because their export closes then and does not open until 8 am on Monday).  

With about 150 people ahead of me I asked Marijke to wait it out for a bit at the DMV, while I went to try to solve the tire issue.  After canvassing 3 other local trailer tire shops, none of them had inventory of 13″ tires.  We were going to have to bank on the old tires holding out until we could find some place that sold fresh rubber that fit!  

I returned to Marijke at the DMV and waited out 90 minutes on my part before getting to the counter — amazingly getting a temporary trailer permit for $20 without any hassle!   Back to Whimsy to connect the trailer…

By the time we arrived it was just after 1 pm and what was supposed to be a 15 minute electrical connection job to the trailer turned out to be a 4 hour nightmare.  The Durango has two types of trailer connections; a 4 pin and a multi pin round RV standard type.  No matter what combination we tried for the 4 pin, we could not get the trailer’s running lights to work.  Thinking the fault was in the trailer we tried to trace the issue to no avail.  We even found a pair of magnetic towing lights among Bill’s stuff — the type that tow-truck drivers put on dead cars they are towing.  Of course the towing lights had another weird connector and we cut it off tying its bare wires to the 4-pin.  We could not get that to work either.  By this time it was almost 3:30 and with a near 30 minute trip to get to town, let alone the return, time was of the essence to get a solution in place.  

I made a beeline to the nearest AutoZone to purchase a set of magnetic towing lights.  Fortunately they had some in stock and the fellow at the counter said I could take a fully refundable purchase trying them on the Durango parked outside.  To my surprise, they didn’t show running lights and with that outcome I concluded that since my 2023 Durango that had never towed anything to date, could be contributing to the problem.  I quickly looked up the nearest Dodge dealer and lo-and-behold there was one just 1-1/2 miles away.  

The service department was just closing up for the day but one mechanic was still there and he had a tester for the RV socket on the Durango.  It showed continuous power on one pin (that I could use for running lights) as well brake lights and turn signals.  They couldn’t book me in for a repair, but knowing I have connections to make do on the RV socket, I went back to AutoZone and purchased for $49 an RV plug with bare wires on the other end.  Back we went to  Bill’s and by this time it was near 5 pm so this solution needed to work to at least get on the road with trailer lights.  While there was still no running light output on the Durango, on the RV socket there was a direct 12 volt connect to the battery, and with that I was able to feed running lights.  Turn signals and brake lights worked so we were finally in business.  I just had to remember to disconnect the RV plug to the Durango if we stopped to eat or rest as the running lights were on when it was plugged-in.  By now it was near 6 pm and we pulled away with the trailer in tow hoping that the tires would hold out.  (I have a bone to pick with Stellantis and about missing trailer running lights in the tow connectors of the Durango but that is for another day.)

The trailer in tow rode surprisingly well and it was most amusing to watch Whimsy bob up and down as we traversed our way north.  

It was getting late and all appeared to be well as we approached Lewisburg, PA.  As it was 12:15 am and it looked like we could make Niagara Falls by 3 pm Friday if we stopped and got some sleep, we pulled into a Best Western hotel.  As we got out of the Durango we noticed that the right tire on the trailer had shredded and steel shards we sticking out of both sides of its circumference.  Amazingly it still held air.   Marijke had asked me if I heard something odd about 10 minutes prior, but I did not and could not feel anything odd while driving.  

Once we checked in and carried our bags to the room I came out to check on the trailer to find the tire totally flat.  Clearly there was no way we were getting home on it.  At 12:30 in the morning I tried to get the tire off the trailer in the hope of mounting the spare even though it was cracked far worse than the tire that blew.  I had brought a cross tire spanner with me but none of the ends were the size of the lug nuts on the trailer.  I had a socket set with me that fit, but the nuts had been torqued and they would not budge.  I gave up and went up to our room where I Googled tire shops and set my alarm for 7:00 am figuring that a few hours of sleep would be the wisest thing to get and then worry about making contact in the morning.  

After a quick breakfast I made a call at 7:30 to one shop that was open near Miffinburg about 30 minutes away.  They had 170 80 R13 tires in stock at $89 a piece.  I lifted the spare off the trailer (the 2 lug nuts holding it were not torqued) and put that in the Durango and headed out for Miffinburg leaving Whimsy and the trailer in the Best Western parking lot.  As I drove south on route 15 through Lewiston, I came upon Kost Tire & Service just a mile away from the hotel.  They were open and I stopped in to explain my predicament and show the spare.  They had 4 170 80 R13 tires in stock and their price mounted was just $69.95 each.  I immediately said I would buy 3.  The service manager said they could fit a tire to the spare right way and fit the other 2 on trailer as soon as I could get it over.  Now the only issue was getting the trailer there so I went back to hotel, hitched up the trailer and drove at a walking pace for the 1-1/2 miles with the flat thumping.  It made it there with no damage to the rim and within 30 minutes the 2 other tires were fitted on the trailer and I was on my way. 

I made it back the to hotel just after 9:00 am — much to Marijke’s relief who stayed in the room.  She said that she had prayed that God would enable us to be on our way and  it certainly was a miracle that we are back on schedule.

We headed off toward Niagara Falls and arrived at US Customs at 2:57 pm — good timing as I had heard that if you arrive after 3 pm they don’t like dealing with processing documents 30 minutes prior to cut-off.  I still had to wait for 40 minutes for US Customs to give me export approval, but at least I got it and with that it was off to the Canadian Border Services to declare Whimsy and the trailer, fill out Vehicle Import Forms for both and pay the Canadian Goods and Services Tax on them.  I was then told to go to the inspection office in the building but as I approached the door, 2 customs officers came out.  I guess that they had been favourably eying Whimsy because all they asked was who is the person with me in the Durango and did I have any correspondence with me substantiating the purchase other than the bill of sale.  I said  I do and offered to get my laptop out of the Durango but they said “Don’t bother, you are clear to go.”  And with that we were back in Canada and on our last leg of the trip home to Toronto.  

Over the course of the weekend I went over Whimsy to discover that it is in remarkable condition for a 2CV that has sat for at least 14 years. 

The engine turns, the starter motor engages though it is missing the starter cable from the dashboard, brakes need to be gone over, a new roof is in order and of course, 5 fresh Michelin 125 x 15 are needed.  But other than these things, it appears that Whimsy can soon be back on the road getting the adoration it deserves!    

As a bonus we not only found in Whimsy Bill’s top hat, and the sunflowers that he stuck in the B pillar door hinges when he showed the car, we also found in the trunk the giant blow-up tiger that he used to place on the VW Vanagon artcar he called TopCat that he used to tow Whimsy to events.  I connected it’s 12-volt fan to the Durango and blew it up when our 3 grandkids came over to visit on Sunday.  

I am very thankful to be the new custodian of Whimsy and somehow I sense that Bill was looking down from heaven guiding us home and giving his blessing that it is in good hands.  


  1. Very cool story and great save. Thank you foe saving Whimsy for the future generation of enthousiasts

  2. Hello George Dyke, I’m so glad to see Whimsey find a new home ! I was friends with Bill Stevenson and was involved with art cars for a couple good years. He and I both towed our cars Whimsey and The Red Car to Texas in 2001 for the big Orange show in Houston. That was one fun crazy trip ! Bill was always a fun person to be around and could fix anything. I got to drive his Whimsey once in Baltimore after an art car event at Artscape. I hope you have as much fun as Bill had making people smile. I wish I could have bought Whimsey , love those Citroens, but I have 3 other antique cars and other responsibilities so ENJOY ! Love the newsletter !!!

  3. What a gripping story, George. Enjoyable for us to read about your adventure but hard for you and Marijke to live through. I’m sure that you’re enjoying Whimsey to the fullest.

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