Model: 2CV Charleston

Engine: 2 cylinder 602 cc air cooled horizontally opposed.

Owner: Reg Taylor

My First Love Of The Citroen 2CV

It was way back in 1969, I was working in Paarl and lived in a little neighbouring town of Wellington some 12 km away. A Hollander colleague of mine by the name of Pim Stalling commuted to and from work in this little ugly car called a Citroen 2CV. In the late 1950’s Pim and his wife decided to visit Europe after a long absence, when they arrived in Amsterdam they needed transport so they looked around and purchased this little Citroen 2CV Belgium built, it was about a 1956 with a 425cc engine and a centrifugal clutch.

They toured the whole of Europe in this 2CV and then travelled through Africa back home to Paarl. They never encountered any problems with the 2CV during the whole journey, it took them about 7 weeks.

I fell in love with this little car and asked Pim on a regular basis if he wanted to sell it to me, he reply was always the same “over my dead body”. Towards the end of 1970 he came to me one morning and said he has decided to sell the 2CV, so the big question was price. After much debate he said R90,00 cash, now where was I going to get R90,00 to buy this little car that I loved so much. Fortunately I was not married so did not have to ask permission, I begged, borrowed and stole and got the R90,00 together and Wow I bought the 2CV, it was mine.

It was dull grey with grey interior, seats were like hammocks, it was left hand drive and in good condition, with the car I got some spares and a 7” single record, it is a song all about the “Little Duck” as they are sometimes called. I still have this record today, unfortunately it is in Dutch. I used the car for several years commuting to and from work, never gave a moments trouble. It was very well known in the towns of Paarl and Wellington, everyone would laugh and joke when I drove passed.

One Saturday afternoon I was in the Commercial hotel in Wellington socialising with friends and the 2CV was parked outside with the roof down, those days in small towns one never locked your car or home it was all very safe. A couple of youngsters walked in and asked who’s 2CV is parked outside, of course proudly stood up and said it was mine. These youngster asked if it was for sale, I said no, but if it was you would not have the money to buy it, they said try us, so I said R350.00 cash and you can have the keys. They walked out and we carried on with what we were doing, wasn’t long and these youngsters returned with the R350.00 so I had to honour my side and give them the keys and said good bye to my little 2CV.

I saw the car again some months later, it was white and had flowers all over and surf boards on the roof, it was a real hippie car. I was really hurt and started on a mission to locate another 2CV, well this took many, many years, in 1998 I found a similar 2CV in Jeffery’s bay, it was a year older and a right hand drive (Slough built model). Her name was “Kalahari Ferrari”, she was a two tone yellow, I am sure some members still remember her. In about 2001 she had a name change this happened at Cars In The Park, the 2CV was on display an elderly Afrikaans speaking couple walked up to the 2CV and gave it a good look through, the old lady nudged her husband and said “Pappie will jy nie vir my so ‘n pampoentjie koop nie” so she was then christened “Pampoentjie” from there onwards.

We had a lot of fun with her but unfortunately she was just too slow for today’s traffic. I was approached by a lady from Stanford in the Cape who begged me to sell her “Pampoentjie”, after much negotiating we finalized on a price and she then became the new owner. Last year June I found myself in the area of Hermanus and decided to take a drive to Stanford and look up “Pampoentjie”. This lady was so excited to show me her pride and joy, I even had to take it for a drive. Believe or not she does all the maintenance herself, changes oil, greases her, changes the plugs etc. I am pleased that “Pampoentjie” is in a good home and well looked after.

So there I was once again without a 2CV, I was once again on a mission to try and find a “modern” 2CV with a 602cc engine so I can at least keep up with modern day traffic. I found my current 2CV Charleston in Johannesburg, we negotiated on the telephone for several months, then finally the lady who owned her agreed that I could purchase her, we set a price subject to me viewing the car. I purchased a one ticket to Johannesburg, I was knocking on her door the next morning at about 08:30. Took the 2CV for a drive, we negotiated on the price a bit and then drove her back to Durban. Her name is “Charly”.

The strange part is that in 1998 just before I found Pampoentjie I heard of a 2CV in Pietermaritzburg, made contact with the owner and he said he had just sold it to a couple in Johannesburg. At Cars In The Park 2009 the same gentleman approached me and asked me details of the car and it turned out to be the same car that I was after in 1998. The brief history of this 2CV Charleston, it was purchased new in the UK for an amount of Pounds 2,785.00, I have the original invoice, the car was then shipped to Cape Town, then sold to the gentleman in PMB, then to the couple in Johannesburg and now myself.

I will not be without a 2CV again if I can help it.

Reg Taylor

October 2012