Citroens cir­cling North Is­land in raid

Stratford Press - - News - By JA­COB MCSWEENY

Next month 20 lit­tle French cars will raid the North Is­land — and they’ll be com­ing through Strat­ford.

The cars are Citroen 2CVs and David Gerrie and two friends have or­gan­ised the driv­ing trip with other en­thu­si­asts to co­in­cide with the first pub­lic re­lease of the car 70 years ago.

Of the 20 cars mak­ing the trip, which starts on Oc­to­ber 5 and ends on Oc­to­ber 9, one of them was made in 1956 and a cou­ple of oth­ers are from the 70s.

The 2CV fans re­fer to it as a raid be­cause of its use as a French term for a motoring tour.

David says the car was made to help mo­torise the large num­ber of farm­ers still us­ing horses and carts in 1930s France.

“It’s a very com­fort­able and easy car to drive. It’s ba­sic. Not much can go wrong with it.

“The fea­tures of the car — how did they ad­ver­tise it? They used to say it had cen­tral lock­ing [be­cause] you can reach all the doors from the driver’s seat.

“Four per­fectly round wheels — one on each cor­ner. It’s air cooled — there’s no ra­di­a­tor and no wor­ries about run­ning out of ra­di­a­tor wa­ter.”

The raiders will kick things off with a din­ner at the Grand Ho­tel on the night of Oc­to­ber 5.

The group then leave Whanganui the next day at 9.30am and head to­wards Strat­ford. David says the group plan to stop at Taranaki Pi­o­neer Vil­lage for lunch around 1pm, be­fore driv­ing on to Waitara for an overnight stop. They then travel to Tokaanu where they will cel­e­brate the make’s 70th birth­day.

The fol­low­ing day they head south to Raetihi and then a lit­tle far­ther south turn­ing east to travel the Whangaehu River road then the Tu­rak­ina river road to Pa­panui Junc­tion School.

The group then heads east to Man­gaweka for their penul­ti­mate stop. On their fi­nal day of driv­ing the lit­tle Citroens wil travel Peep O’Day Rd down to Hun­ter­ville, then across to Whanganui. They will mostly take back roads — some­thing David says the cars were es­pe­cially made for.

“It was de­signed for the peas­antry of France over roads that were re­ally horse and cart roads.

“It’s got a very high clear­ance. It’s got an ex­tremely long sus­pen­sion move­ment. The jack to jack it up is nearly a me­tre long. It’s per­fect for the back roads, the bumpy roads, the rut­ted roads — it can go any­where that a four-wheeled drive would go ex­cept of course up slip­pery, steep slopes. In terms of clear­ance and bumps . . . it’s pretty good.”

David says while they didn’t have a for­mal club — there is a great 2CV com­mu­nity.

“It leads to lots of friends. It’s not just the car I sup­pose — it’s the peo­ple that sort of hold it to­gether. The 2CV own­ers, we don’t ac­tu­ally have a club, we just know each other and keep in touch.”

A 2CV in the Ran­gi­tikei area last year on the rally

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