I have long proclaimed that I could never be without my 2CV. This is a rather bold statement really, especially as when I married my wife (in a Humanist ceremony) we proclaimed only to love each other as long as love lasts. We didn’t fancy that whole ‘until death do us part’ thing, even though we have no intention of bringing our relationship to an end.
So, it would appear that I am declaring a stronger attachment to my car than my wife. Even taking my love of motoring into account, this seems a bit off!
So, today I’m rescinding my previous comments. I will keep my 2CV until I no longer want to. So far, and absolutely incredibly, she’s managed to last 13 years on my fleet, and over 100,000 miles. By far and away (by about 11 years by my reckoning) she’s beaten every other car I’ve owned into submission. They come and go, but the 2CV remains.
Problem is, I don’t seem to be enjoying the 2CV as much as I once did. Perhaps I’m out of practice. Perhaps I’ve recently spent too much time enjoying other cars. Perhaps the deafening scream of a horizontal flat twin engine has damaged my brain. Whatever, I’m really not liking the 2CV as much. I’ll qualify that by adding ‘on longer journeys.’ For a quick blat around the Welsh hills, the 2CV almost always comes up tops. But driving the 2CV 320 miles at the weekend really was hard work! If you don’t drive a 2CV long distance regularly – and I don’t think I’ve used it on a long trip since July last year – you do forget what it’s like. You forget how precious momentum is, and how easily it is lost when hills are encountered. You forget what it’s like to have your ears pounded by wind, road and engine noise for hour after hour.
It’s like this in fact. (Warning – requires several minutes of your time)
I’m not sure if it’s me or if there’s something wrong with Elly the 2CV at the moment, but she ‘feels’ rough to drive and not all that pleasant. I was seriously glad to make it home on Sunday, so I could get out and rest my ears and brain. Ok, so three hours on endless twisty roads is hard work in any vehicle. Maybe I’m just being harsh on my poor 0.6-litre, 29bhp tin can on wheels. It was at least less exhausting than driving a Reliant Scimitar on such roads.
Don’t worry though. I’m not ready to hurl in the towel just yet. Elly and I have been through too much together. We’ve lived in the City of Birmingham, a lovely, rural Northants village, the bland open spaces of Cambridgeshire and the eye-wateringly pretty scenery of Wales. Elly has transported me to at least six different places of work, to my own wedding, on (first) honeymoon and to the funeral of a best friend’s mum. I’ve taken her apart, rebuilt her, transplanted engines, driven across continents (well, one but we did cross four countries in one day), driven her to Land’s End and John O’ Groats, gone greenlaning, drag racing, sprinting, auto-testing, rallying and off-roading. She once met Pat Moss and Erik Carlsson (Pat liked her a great deal). She appeared on the Live Stage at the NEC Classic Motor Show in 2006 and dragged Mike Brewer off the stage as he clung to the rear bumper. I once made her tow a caravan (she responded by blowing a rear tyre and then blowing her indicator relay).
I’ve built up a stash of memories and while memories are good to have, I’m not sure I’ve finished adding to them just yet. She’s some how become more than just a car, she’s a rather enormous part of my life. One day, I fear that I’ll find the magic car that makes me lose my need for a 2CV. That time is not now, and history suggests it isn’t going to be any time soon!