Achim’s Citroën Deux Chevaux is not just a car, it’s a passion.
Hildegard remembers “A guy with, surprisingly, the surname ‘de Villiers’ - a family name that carries substance in the history of Cabrière and Franschhoek - helped Achim design the first label for Pierre Jourdan and then decided to emigrate. He had a red Deux Chevaux, the apple of his eye…
This being the famous little car that everybody drove in the olden days, since end of WW2 for the next 40 years -from student to granny - as a mode of transport in France. Achim had spent 4 summer college holidays away from Geisenheim in French cellars, late 60’s - early 70’s, and was surrounded by people who drove these little cars with the power of ‘ 2 horses’ deux chevaux (jokingly given that name; it has, of course, slightly more horsepower).”
“Many years ago,” says Achim, “I worked in a village called Bages near Perpignon on the French Spanish border. Mr Nogue the Kooperative manager drove a Citroën Pallas and the Spaniard who drove me to the local restaurant for lunch drove a Deux Chevaux - which literally means two horse power .I remember she cornered particular well. I fell in love with France and promised myself that one day I would drive Citroëns like these. Since then, we have had five Pallas, white, black & white, bronze and currently a red & white and blue & white. The Deux Chevaux is my personal car and my dream come true.”
“Memories and nostalgia overpowered Achim’s emotions,” continued Hildegard, “when he heard that ‘de Villiers’ had to sell this car, and, even so Achim had pledged to spent every penny he could spare on the development of his newly acquired smallholding Cabrière, he dared to spend R1000 on the purchase of this rare find!! We were subsequently, found by the original owner, German Joachim Fassmann, who had driven from Europe all the way via the Sahara to the tip of Africa and onto India with this little Deux Chevaux and had videos and many hair-raising stories to tell of his adventures with this little gem of a car.”
One such story Achim recalls, “Joachim spotted a tree in the middle of the Sahara, but the track stayed clear of the only shade for miles. He found this strange but he needed a break to eat and rest so he drove under the tree which turned out to be a thorn tree. Hearing a hissing noise of four punctures at once, he realised why nobody parked the vehicles in the shade.
To add insult to injury, to get out he had to reverse out along the same track. One learns by ones mistakes and there is always a reason!”
“My Deux Chevaux has such personality that I always say that I am having an affair with her, not in her. She was built for the farmers so that everybody could afford one and I like that there are only the essentials like flap up windows ,the back seat can easily be removed and she then becomes a bakkie. I am very fortunate that I have a dear friend who loves the Citroëns as much and can service and fix mine. The drive shaft and crank shaft that have had to be replaced are positioned in a prominent position of honour in my office and tell their own story. My Deux Chevaux is red and white - our family colours. She was meant to end up in the Quartier Français of the Cape, better known as Franschhoek. She is a permitted love affair and starts even on the coldest mornings - which is more than I can say for the Citroën Pallas which needs a garage. Vive la France. Vive la Deux Chevaux. Vive Franschhhoek!!!”