I park the Opel on the site of Autobedrijf de Roy. In the cozy Schalsum, near Franeker, I am looking forward to what is to come. I could be found there more often. After the first report with Peter and his son Thomas, I regularly went to Peter de Roy's garage. And then it often happened that curious villagers came to get a cup of coffee or a beer. After such an afternoon I sometimes helped to clear the garage. I always felt at home there.
From the start, the contact with Peter and Thomas, which once arose during a Beetle meeting in Leeuwarden, was beautiful. It became less intense over time, but never jaded. Peter's village garage was also always a special place for me. Because of Peter and Thomas themselves, because of the village geniality and because of the fleet of Peter and Thomas. I followed the restoration of the VW 1303 Cabriolet, which had to be finished before Thomas and Kim's wedding day. Father and son succeeded cum laude, and the stories appeared in Auto Motor Klassiek and Beetle World.
There was more air-cooled work, like the beautiful Saving Beetle in Phoenix-Rot. This VW 1200 was one of my first report cars for Auto Motor Klassiek. The VW 1600 TL (Typ 3) and the VW 1500 Cabriolet later purchased by Thomas (initially with 1.192 cc engine) also attracted a lot of attention. Speaking for a moment about Thomas's Beetle: it was also beautifully restored a few years before the 1303 Cabriolet by Peter and Thomas.
I'm back in Schalsum, hangout of air-cooled love where the Volkswagens I know are. And the said 1600 TL is being restored in peace. The Fastback is a favorite of Peter, but even the little ones from France touch are weak. Moreover, during the eighties, Peter already wore out a few R4 copies. His current Renault 4 looks fantastic. I already saw that during the RRR MFA Sexbierum rally, and now again. Today Bart, Peter and I are going to do something beautiful with the Renault because of the model's sixtieth anniversary.
Thomas joins later, he is now the father of two girls and brings the eldest to grandma. Thomas arrives with a 1500 VW 1970 Variant. Talk about cool. Previously was neighbor Bekkema I had just arrived with a Neue Klasse of the purest water, an enchanting BMW 2000 Automatic, a long time ago that I saw it. And long ago feels like yesterday, it is like old times, just like the stories of Bekkema and the mutual fooling around. Nice nice.
Bart Spijker and I drive the Renault 4 GTL, Peter follows with the excellent VW 1303 Cabriolet. A lot comes back together for me, not least because we are on the road with cars that have been deep in my system for a lifetime. So deep that I don't even have to cherish that feeling. That is ineradicable. And today the Renault is the centerpiece. The cuddly and charismatic Frenchman immediately proves why this was one of the most practical, useful and clever concepts in the history of the automotive industry.
This is a 4 GTL, so with a 1.108 cc engine and a gearbox with long transmission ratios, which fits perfectly with the engine characteristics that are still smooth. The fine power source enables the Renault in all relativity to move forward very nicely and also runs at higher speeds in three and four low revs. The very sympathetic French evergreen is also very comfortable. On this Saturday Bart and I quickly concluded that simplicity can be very versatile, and this beautiful Renault continuously proves that during the beautiful route over the beautiful Frisian countryside. It is not without reason that the R4 was a huge success.
While Bart takes pictures at the Wadden dike and I meet a neighbor with a BMW 420d, Thomas again joins up with his sturdy Variant. After this part of the photo session we head for the Schalsumer mill, one of the places that was central during the first report with Peter and Thomas. That's a nice prospect, and Peter proposes to me to drive the open Cabrio there. I can hardly refuse that offer, but I want to learn more about Peters' Renault, today's protagonist. In a column of three we drive to the mill, which always evokes beautiful sentiments in me because of that first report with Peter and Thomas. Meanwhile, the Renault does its job excellent, it is still wonderful to drive.
Under the shadow of the windmill at Schalsum I still take a seat in the Cabrio. Immediately I feel how massive everything is, how good I am right away, how logically all operating functions are placed and above all: how everything grips. Hop on the back of my bike, that idea. That Beetle gene never goes out with me, and when I move the Convertible a bit, it feels like all the quarters fall in the right place. I have that with more cars, but still: it says everything about how intertwined I am with the Beetle. It doesn't take away that I'm melting again for the charms of the Renault. I've been doing that since my early childhood, and undiminished.
“Hey”, says a passer-by a little later, “you were here a few years ago. How nice to have you here again. Nice stuff.” a lot is the pleasant same. When we are back at Peter's garage, I also feel it and recognize everything. Chilled beer is taken from the neighbor's refrigerator, there is a cup of coffee, and the stories are flying again. The end of the afternoon is approaching. Bart leaves with the Rover P5B Coupé, Thomas returned home with his eldest daughter a little earlier. Changing phases of life and trends mean that he looks at the hobby from a different perspective, but his love for air-cooled is undiminished. Meanwhile, Peter puts his beautiful classic fleet safely inside and greets the 1600 TL under construction. I help Peter when he puts a camper on the bridge. Finally, we talk for a while. Then Peter and I also say goodbye, I go home again with a cargo area full of beautiful impressions.
On a day like this you can eat for a long time. Because the feeling of coming home never gets boring. Like in the cozy garage in Schalsum, where I've felt at home for years. It was beautiful, and as usual. Cheers, Peter and Thomas!