Saturday, May 15, 2010

Car shopping for Toad

Some may remember that last summer I gave my car to #2 son, who continues to scare the wits out of me with his chosen career as a forest fire fighter. This summer, he is on a first responder crew stationed in Couer D'Laine, Idaho.

I haven't missed not having a car, Mrs. T and I very rarely have separate places to be, and in a pinch, Camilla can always be dusted off. That hasn't stopped my car buddy from daily submitting can't miss opportunities for my perusal.

Two this week, will give you an idea of what he's shopping for me for. Those of you too young to recognize them don't think I'm jealous. I'm not.

This is a Renault Dauphine, early '60's. It's also the French version of a British Morris Minor of the same era, although a Brit would have apoplexy at the thought.

Someone in fairly good shape could out run either of these on level ground. Many years ago, Car and Driver magazine had a story of the lucky stiff who had the coveted Morris franchise in San Francisco.

Eventually, the owner got word his ship had come in and he could pick up his cars at the wharf. On the appointed day he emptied the sales floor and garage to get drivers to pick up the cars. All went well, until they got to the first hill. The cars weren't powerful enough to climb the hill. Sales were slow.

A good rule of thumb in the US is to only buy French cars, in France for driving in France. If one day you catch stupid and decide to buy a French car in North America, ask yourself, before leaving home, who is going to fix it? Follow up with, where can I get parts? Honest answers to those two should set you straight.

If family and friends have always publicly thought of you as something of a dolt consider the Citroen 2CV Sahara.

The 2CV is a great little car. Primitive, but sturdy. The Sahara, just stupid. The French wanted a 4x4 of their own. Something to traipse around the colonies with. So how did they do it? Two engines of course. 1 in front, 1 rear, with all kinds of gizmos to get them to run in synch. Somehow they found almost 600 takers.

Next Saturday I'll show you what I'm really looking at, maybe.



Martha said...

Loved the post! Haven't thought about either of those cars in years!!!!

Suburban Princess said...

The Sahara is gorgeous!! But no, not very practical at the top of a hill lol! But sooo nice to look at!

M.Lane said...

Sigh. You are right about French cars.

From my first car to my current car, I had never really been in love with one of them until I fell hard for a Peugeot 505 sedan back in the mid 80s. Man, did I love that car. My dad [a car expert] just shook his head, acknowledged that I was a hopeless romantic, and didn't say a thing. I had it for five years and it only left me on the side of the road five times. You see it had not one, but SEVEN fuel filters scattered about the car and when one would clog you couldn't tell which one it was and had to replace them all. There was one mechanic in my town that was a Peugeot nut and had a bunch of them scattered around his property so I could get parts. He also could get new fuel filters etc from some unknown source.

But man did I love that car.


ADG said...

I'm car shopping today. I figure my Saab has about another thirty days.

The Ancient said...

My 62 Saab also had trouble with those San Francisco Hills.

(The engine wasn't much better than what powered a lawn mower.)

Anonymous said...

Up here in Canada, French cars were more commonly seen than in the US (they even used to assemble Renaults here at one time). In my time I have had several, include two Peugeot 505's (a wagon and a sedan) and two Renault 30TS. I have been without my wagon for a few years now and miss it more than any other car I have owned. Toad - I would like to see you in that Dauphine, if only for us to hear about the inevitable adventures you will experience!

Loweryhyjc said...

Probably the four best known opal mining towns in Australia are Lightning Ridge, Coober Pedy, Andamooka and White Cliffs. The government will just confiscate it again. Beans are the seeds of the plant order Fabaceae. This article chronicles her experience. product that they didn't want.