The easiest way to talk about the R16 in this eBay ad would be to rave about how much confit de canard and wine that tastes like raspberry jam you can fit in the sizeable hatch area while you drove around town wearing a mime outfit on your way to a Jerry Lewis appreciation event at the Franco-American Cultural Center. But let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment – that asshole drives a 2CV.
You’d have to be way weirder than that Marcel Marceau-looking mofo in the 2CV to pull this R16 off. Simple French cliches just aren’t going to cut the Grey Poupon. First of all, you’ll need a lot of tweed in your wardrobe. Scratch that – everything in your closet needs to be tweed. This includes your underoos.
If you haven’t driven a French car from this vintage, I won’t mislead you by saying they’re quick or handle as well as even a Kia Rio, but they do have an unbelievable totality of the driving experience thing going on. The strangely plush suspension with gobs of body roll that somehow sticks to a corner harder than it has any right to. Throne-like seats. Quirky switchgear that is surprisingly entertaining to use. And with the R16, a very usable hatch area. But you already know this, and that’s why you’re not going to sour the experience by insisting on wearing a goddamn beret every time you’re driving it like it was some kind of medal you were awarded for being a cliched asshat. Using it to transport a case of Pernod home, however, is acceptable.
Let Us Be Honest With Ourselves For a Moment
Ooh, three lug wheels.
I feel obliged to post Jeff Cooper's beret quote again (I posted it over at AT a few weeks ago):
"The beret, of course, is a Basque headgear which serves no purpose whatever. It does not hold off the rain. It does not keep the sun out of the eyes or off the back of the neck. It blows off in a wind, and it offers no protection against bumps and knocks. I have nothing against the Basques, but the beret is a silly hat and should not be given consideration as part of the modern military uniform. The fact that it has assumed a certain badge−glamor is apparent, but not irrevocable. There are ways of making a man's uniform more distinguished looking without attempting to be "fashionable." – Jeff Cooper
If you aren't familiar with Jeff Cooper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper
A historically important car but that doesn't mean I want it. However, I think I might have found a buyer…
<img src="http://bluenred.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/frenchman.jpg" width=320>
<img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5302/5600648065_1cce953440.jpg" width="500">
Cars in the fleet that will go head-to-head with a 2CV for Frenchiness: Two (one shown above).
Berets, scarves, and generally mime-ish items in the wardrobe: Zero (none shown above).
I prefer to be insufferable on my own terms, thank you very much.
Hatchback with the cargo area cover and folding rear seats – You're looking at the biggest segment buster of 1965 model year right there. Now, like a true bunker buster, this one had a somewhat delayed fuse, but fast forward to 2011 and what % of non-station wagon family cars sold in Europe are 5 doors? Almost all?
Here are a few shots of a pristine R16 I saw.
Guys, look at the build date will you? When my father & mother when driving this thing with me at the back, they had hairs down to the middle of their back – yes, my father too – over collarless shirts open all the way to the navel – yes, my mother too. Sandals over bare foot where mandatory, of course. This was the Urban Elite car, not to be mistaken by the proletarian 2CV and utilitarian 4L which where, indeed, intended for the country masses.
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