We were not only taken with a whiff of nostalgia when we met the San Francisco Region Citroën Club. We had the pleasure to meet with Citroën enthusiasts, amateurs of beautiful mechanics, and of the “je ne sais quoi” that characterizes these French collector cars… Food for thoughts: Americans call the Citroen DS “the goddess”, a beautiful mark of respect, isn’t it?
The club, the SFRCCC, brings together about 150 active members, Americans, Canadians, and French, all living in the bay area and have a passion for French vintage models. David Bruckmann, one of the members of the board invited us to one of the group gatherings.
Once a month, the gathering takes the form of a caravan route of around 35 miles. This time, we met these real amateurs after a trip between Los Gatos and Anderson Lake County Park. Among them was Roy, who spent two years in France when he was in high school. He is the proud owner of a 2CV, a DS, and a GS … “It was a kid’s dream” declared Roy. That day, he had come with his Citroen GS.
We also spoke with Sharon and Dan who were driving an Albatross color DS in perfect condition for the occasion. In the conversation, they confess owning and driving a René Bonnet Djet on the race circuits, this legendary car drove by Jean Pierre Beltoise in 1964 at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (if you do not know Jean-Pierre Beltoise, here is his bio. He appeared in multiple episodes of the Michel Vaillant comic strip. If you do not know Michel Vaillant, it is because you didn’t grow up in France in the 70s-80s…).
Here is a link to the history of the René Bonnet (scroll down for the English text) for the most enthusiastic of you because it is a part of modern French automotive history that was written with him and his contemporaries.
As for David Bruckmann, he drives a magnificent orange and blue 2CV today. Let’s face it, it’s a bit of nostalgia for any French person who grew up in France with its horizontal and not very intuitive gear lever, its windows which fall on your elbow at the first pothole, or its seats which give off such a special smell …
We could tell you about each of these marvels, the technological daring of the Citroen brand, but instead, we decided to show them to you, quite simply so that you can dream a little …
If by any chance you want to acquire a French car from the last century, not just a Citroën, contact the club. The members will be able to guide you both for the acquisition and for the maintenance of these beauties. And if you join the club, you will have an ear to talk about mechanics, performances, pistons, and bearings in good company and have the pleasure of being part of a friendly and dynamic community. Your annual subscription ($ 30) will help with the production of its very complete newsletter, the organization of monthly outings, and the end of year banquet.
Let’s face it, passionate about cars or not, we do not resist in front of an object that reminds us of our childhood, our grandparents, a scene from an old film … Anything that can make us think of the 60s and 70s. Tesla may have the same effect on future generations, but that’s another story …
By the way, did you know that you can have a lunch break in a Citroën van type H in the Cow Hollow neighborhood