It took only one wild ride for George Dykes in a sleek 1969 Citroën DS21 to promise his 15-year-old self, one day he would have it. Scene: 1969 at a Montreal car dealership, where the dealer took a dike for a spin in a customer’s car.
“We were going 130 miles per hour, and it was like swimming,” Dykes recalls. “Even in the 1960s, Montreal stands out among Citron’s aerodynamic boxy Detroit cars on the streets.”
Today, Dyke owns his 1969 Citroen DS21 – along with 13 other Citroën models.
With blunt-nosed SUVs now cutting Toronto’s highways, Dyke’s citrons stand out even more. “You can’t tell Toyota from a Buick these days,” he says. When the local Citron Club rolls into a Starbucks parking lot in North York with its winding ride, people double-take with their double lattes.
Dyke your fleet favorite? Deux Cheveaux, or 2CV. In 1948, Citroën’s designer Pierre-Jules Boolenger ordered his engineers to come up with a small car, to land a six-foot-four man wearing a bowler hat on the market on Saturday, leaving four people in the church. In and on Sunday a new retrofit was put in place. Area without breaking any eggs. The resulting rapid 2CV, with the famous “soft” suspension, remained the same for more than 42 years.
In fact, that original design was used for other Citroëns: the Dyke also has a Rakish Ami6 and a dune-buggy-like Mehri, both descended from 2CV.
“The 2CV is the simplest car in the world to keep on the road,” he says. “My 1989 2CV has 60,000 kilometers more drive the day I bought it.”
Dyke has run 2CVs across the United States twice – and made a scenic trip to Maritime in it. He also maneuvered his GS around Gasp, drove the DS to Virginia and Kentucky, and drove his SM to the Blue Ridge Mountains. “If you have Citroën properly maintained, it is incredibly reliable.”
Dyke is not alone in his Citroën obsession. There is a local community of 100 Citroën enthusiasts, tied into the North American community of more than 3,000 “Citronneses”. This is a small group, with members often helping others with tips and tricks. As president of Citroën AutoClub Canada, Dyke used his formidable network to help novice cars buy, find parts and maintain their ride.
“You can easily apply lipstick to a pig, and what you get is junk,” Dyke says. “If you buy the right car, you will enjoy it every moment and enjoy it.”
But the outreach extends beyond the car community. A few years ago, someone wrote to the club about his father, who had stage-four cancer. The father was in Citroën, France and accepted it, so the son asked if it was possible to ride in 2CV.
“We showed up at our door, gave my dad a big surprise and a ride in 2CV, as he remembered,” Diak. “It was really touching.” Dyke understands the pure joy that father experienced in 2CV. He says, “I enjoy going behind the wheel every time, no matter where I go.” “” A Citron trip thrills me, like it did so many years ago. “
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