One of my fellow students was snazzing around in a Deux Chevaux, one of those friends jobbies with a two cylinder engine and a canvas top. Great for students, excellent for getting everyone's attention and best of all almost no petrol needed. Those things go a few thousand miles on a tank. I exaggerate of course, but they are cheap to run.
In addition there's the one piece front seat and the shiftstick that comes out of the dashboard. Just knowing how to handle one of this means instant credibility and attention from the femininas...
"Huh? What's going on with this guy?" I hear you think. "The picture you posted is certainly NOT a french Citroen but a very bright green VW Bug!"
Thanks for pointing this out. The thing is, I talked to my father about getting a Citroen and we drove all over town, two saturdays in a row to find one that fit the budget and that was not something I was "going to kill myself in within a month", according to my dad.
Two saturdays and some 100 km of city driving later (and that in my dad's DAF, ahem, but that's another article for another time) we had checked out and test driven about 15 Citroens in pretty much every colour of the rainbow.
They were all rotten to the core, welded together from various cars like a jig-saw puzzle or they carried a prize tag way beyond our budget.
My dad tried to understand why these two cylinder citroens were so cool. "What is the deal with these terrible cars then, is it the soft suspension, the gears, the seats you sink into so low you can barely see the road, the wafer thin material they are made of? You know that one accident is enough to break every bone......"
"Yeah, I know, but the best thing is the shape. you are rolling around in that curvy round moving thing. How cool is that."
My father lit his pipe and blew out smoke while a spark burnt another hole in his shirt. One that my mum would certainly notice when we came home that night.
He started the DAF variomatic and through the whining noise of the cold rubber belt driving the rear axle, he muttered something about a VW Bug.
My desire didn't have far to change position. Both were cult cars demanding respect and interest, loved by young and old. Heck, small kids and old people couldn't even notice the difference half the time.
My father was persuasive with arguments such as "it's cool with the engine in the back instead", half cm thick metal, a 1500 cc engine and a very unique engine roar out of double exhaust pipes". So persuasive that I never even wondered why I was listening to a guy driving around in a colourless DAF (let's face it, all the standard DAF colours were a hideous old man's pants colour existing somewhere between brown, dirty white, dirty yellow and cream. Yes cream, let's not forget that great cream colour).
As it so happened on our way back home we saw one in city's main shopping street. it was a dirty orange, but it was cool. Fine chrome, MOT'd and taken care of. Only one problem. The price was very challenging to my budget, even when throwing in half my dad's pipe tobacco budget for the year.
It was a no-go and disappointed but decided I clung to the classifieds for about a month.
As it turned out, a friend of a friend had one for sale. A sleek 11 year old apple green VW Bug with a 1500 engine and big round tail lights had been parked for a few months in a local barn.
We took it for a test drive. Apart from some hay on the back seat (wonder how that got there, Mr Farmer), a strange rattle in the engine which we pretended not to hear and some small unexplainable bullet-type holes the size of a thumb, it satisfied our check list. And above all.
She was apple green. A pretty unique original colour even then - it would serve me well in future for many reasons.
We lived happily ever after, well at least some 3 years or so. We did a nice filler job on the holes, washed and polished her and Apple and I were good to go.
We were best friends until the MOT in year 3 required such extensive welding work that I would have had to spend my university budget on fixing her up. A colleague of my sister's had his eye on it, and, being a part time mechanic I trusted him to look after her.
Tears rolled down my cheeks when I saw her drive away.
Apple with the engine rattle. The hunt for another car was back on.
But that's another story.