The French and their past

ER Classics Desktop 2022

We were talking to friends last night. About France. What we actually know about France and the French. That of those yellow vests is not news. We have had such a thing in the (classic) car for years.

1) The French were in the present and they hope for the future. They distrust the government. Moreover, the French are quite materialistic 'for the eye of the neighborhood'. Because 'de Buurt' must be able to see how well you are doing.

2) And you are fine if you have a modern house, a modern car and a - as large as possible - modern TV. An old house? An old car? That is a sign of poverty.

3) The French therefore have nothing to do with rustic located abandoned water mills, old castles and buildings that could have been owned by their great-grandparents. A tight house, a tight lawn, a tight fence around it. You prefer to build that new house for the old house. As close to the road as possible. After all, nobody sees it otherwise?

Then we come to our street

France is big, huge. The internet coverage is in as many places as after the Stone Age. All rural areas are aging. And there, on the 'often flat' countryside in France, it is often still emotionally 1960. In the small villages, the residents are somewhat suspicious of strangers.

But it helps if you end up in such a village with a purpose

And if you speak the language. Garagist and (classic rally) car transporter Jan Tinga had a (Dutch) customer who had bought such a castle where no Frenchman saw bread. There had to be rebuilt. Clearly. Jan Tinga was hired to transport a mobile home, a lot of construction equipment and tools and an 4WD to central France. The meeting point was at the cattle feed factory on the edge of a small village.

In the café next to the cattle feed factory, a few French people were already having their first glass of red wine. It was a quarter past nine. in the morning. The newly-baked lord of the castle reported himself and did his thing. We were offered lunch in the cafe next to the factory. And because we speak French, we started talking to the locals.

The vague idea was: `We are now standing here with an empty car transporter. Would there still be a classic here in the area? Also because we gave a friendly round they wanted to talk to us. And yes: After some thought and consultation, the café residents still managed to park some old cars. They even got a chance to think and consult with each other.

They came up with a few tips. One of them offered to treat us to a tour of the remembered addresses. But the general mood was one of mild surprise: “Strange guys, those Dutchmen. Who is interested in old cars? ”

To make a long and pleasant story short: The village had a few hundred inhabitants. In a radius of four kilometers from the feed mill we found: A degenerated Peugeot 404 Familiale with a rodent-destroyed leather interior, a dusty but undamaged Simca 1100, a neat R8, an R4, a challenging TA project that had been restored with a paint roller, a Jag and a Matra.

They went to Leimuiden as unexpected return cargo. And in the meantime we have come up with a plan to find even more classics in France. To be continued.


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