I will shortly be undertaking a very important journey in the life of my 2CV – a 500-mile road-trip that will see my humble Tin Snail clock up her 200,000th mile – and 111,000th in my ownership. I’m terribly nervous about it! I don’t really know why.
Firstly, this isn’t just a roadtrip for the sake of it – no, we’ve been invited to and see my good lady wife’s family and their worryingly adorable children. We are remarkably happy at playing the eccentric Uncle and Aunt role and I think we do it quite well.
Naturally, that means attempting the journey in the least-suitable vehicle for the task. So, the majestic, comfortable, peaceful, mile-munching XM will sit on the driveway while we don earplugs and head East in my shouty 2CV.
I think I’m making a big fuss about nothing really. Last August, Elly the 2CV clocked up 1000 miles in a couple of weeks thanks to various events in Anglesey, Stratford-upon-Avon and Wiltshire. But, the truth is that poor Elly is feeling her age somewhat. I’ve still no idea what the next stage of her life will be, so perhaps one last roadtrip is a good idea! After all, she clocked up her 100,000th mile on roadtrip-in-a-day to Snowdonia in 2002, when I was living in Birmingham. I was desperate for her to make 100,000 miles before her original chassis gave way.
Now she’s in dire need of overhaul again, I’m determined to get her to 200,000 miles. That has to be a pretty decent innings for a tin escargot designed for motorising French farmers. She really is increasingly ropey though. I’d love to know how she’s now managing to leak water in that pools beneath the rear seat as well as the torrents that wash my shoes on a regular basis. I’m also concerned that the headlamp bar might simply buckle under the pressure of extended motorway use. The powder coating is structural it seems. (never again). I also have to be careful where I put my feet to avoid going all Fred Flintstone. Thankfully, the brakes are in fine order…
It isn’t nice seeing my car in such a state, but such is the reality of a wet climate, old cars and zero budget. 2013 was a dreadful year, where the 2CV barely had chance to dry between downpours for most of the summer. I was staggered at how quickly the 2CV deteriorated in these conditions. We’d already said goodbye to our Mini the year before, accepting that necessary restoration work on TWO cars was entirely out of order. I hope that was a good move – certainly B61 UND is MOTd until July this year, so that’s nice. If Betsy the Mini was still with us, I fear we’d just have two piles of rust with just the badges to identify them.
It does rather heap on the pressure to get something a bit more modern. Something that might stand a reasonable chance of surviving more than one Welsh winter. You’d be surprised how many moderns still rot though – Ford Kas, Pumas and even Focuses are far from immune. So there’s still the danger of rot, mixed with a dull ownership experience. I can’t see me being likely to give a Ford Focus a name. To be honest, Elly and Betsy are pretty rare in being named, but they’re the sort of car I love to own. Cars with character in abundance where every journey is an adventure!
Hopefully, this 500-mile round trip won’t be too MUCH of an adventure…