Patrick Speeding
March 2015
2nd Mar 2015 - Le Mans
I ride back from Heritage Rerstoration – Brentford to Camden - with the Vespa GT200 echoing off the concrete underside for the M4.  The re-growth of the 2cv seemed oddly familiar.  Even the echoes added to the mix of déjà vu and the feeling of an object-lesson in process.  As...  Read
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August 2014
21st Aug 2014 - Corrugation of Time
An H Van is as much part of French cultural history as the 2cv.  Designed in 1942 by the body builder Franchiset and inspired by the rippled fuselage of German Junkers aircraft its exterior panels get their strength in the same way cardboard boxes do, by corrugating thin sheets to...  Read
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April 2014
28th Apr 2014 - One Kid. One Suburb. One Decade.
  I’ve read a lot about so-called ‘Mods’ and I’ve talked over and around the phenomenon with younger friends who didn’t experience it – and those who thought they might have done, but almost certainly didn’t.  For example, when in the 1990s Paul Weller had a flat in the same Hyde...  Read
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February 2014
6th Feb 2014 - Back to France
  An H Van is as much part of French cultural history as the 2cv.  Designed in 1942 by the body builder Franchiset and inspired by the rippled fuselage of German Junkers aircraft its exterior panels get their strength in the same way cardboard boxes do, by corrugating thin sheets to...  Read
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January 2014
18th Jan 2014 - A DOLOMITE SPRINT & A GREY SNAIL
   A couple of months later my new iPhone chirrups.  It is Darren from Frome 2cv.  He’s had a bit of trouble.  It’s not his fault, but the “bloody company” has gone bust “my friend”.  This time the information is more perfunctory: less emotional, but no less unrealistic.  He tells me...  Read
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January 2013
22nd Jan 2013 - Quirky Classics
So as I stood under the dripping canopy of Quirky Classics on that Monday morning with memories of steamed-up 2cv’s with inadequate wipers, the dilemma was which way to go.  Should I cut and run, or throw more money at Rob Merivale in the hope that it would re-ignite his...  Read
13th Jan 2013 - Off to Find a 2CV
By the time I started big school we had moved to number 135 Widmore Road next door, rather than above KJ Motors where my father worked. The garage had been started in the 1930’s by a moderately successful racing car driver called O. Wilson-Jones and another man I knew nothing...  Read
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November 2012
27th Nov 2012 - Explosives
The Q-type was the British truck (the others were American Packards) my father as a Royal Engineer had kept running on the army’s breakneck advance through the desert. But by now these blunt-nosed four-wheel-drive lorries were at least twelve years old. As decommissioned army surplus they had an...  Read
27th Nov 2012 - HOLY INNOCENTS (INCIDENTS)
The church next to the playground was called Holy Innocents. The playground was anything but. At my first mid-morning playtime it became clear that the classes and ages were ruthlessly divided. The eleven-year-old ‘new boys’ and the second years rushed into the playground called ‘the top’, just...  Read
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August 2012
19th Aug 2012 - Two Strokes of the Cane
Face to face negotiation is a fundamental business skill. My dad had taught me that too. But in the summer of 2004 I was cycling up Newman Street in London when I heard someone call my name. It was Peter Moore. Peter had been the Head...  Read
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July 2012
25th Jul 2012 - Tin On Line
Under its wobbly tin bonnet it will have the 602cc twin-cylinder air-cooled engine (200cc bigger than the original version), because even sucking fuel via an old fashioned carburettor it will still come in under the environmental Taliban’s radar (an admirable Group C, it turns out).  It will be one of...  Read
25th Jul 2012 - The Start
As I later discovered, France never really got the (German) bubble car thing.  There were a few French micro-cars in the 1950s but after the war Citroen returned to production with the pre-war family sized 2cv, albeit made from steel rather than the original aluminium.  In the end it was...  Read
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June 2012
3rd Jun 2012 -
In 1900 the Americans had as many steam cars as gasoline driven vehicles and electric cars were commonplace throughout Europe.  No one needed to go faster than a trotting horse.  Panhard and Benz made the petrol engine a popular power source that was rapidly developed during the First World War,...  Read
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May 2012
1st May 2012 - Bubbles
In the year of armistice and my birth petrol had been in constant short supply throughout the war and would be rationed for another decade.  It was a world of scarcity.  During my childhood horses still pulled United Dairy milk carts through the streets.  I would pedal out to the...  Read
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April 2012
25th Apr 2012 - Battery
In 1998 my company bought me my third brand new 3.5-litre Mitsubishi Shogun. It was a second-generation model costing £35,000. For that I got six-cylinders, 24-valves, automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive, a long-wheelbase, leather interior, air conditioning and a dashboard brimming with toys. It was a real chunk of Japanese cross-country galvanized...  Read
25th Apr 2012 - Four-Wheel-Drive
Ever since the 40-year old control freak Henry Ford started his company it had been legendary for measuring everything and the impact on the market of its model launch programmes was no exception.  The amount of coverage a launch got in newspapers magazines and TV throughout Europe was collated into...  Read
21st Apr 2012 - Aero
Long before his Mini had been launched Alec Issigonis and his colleague, the suspension engineer Alex Moulton, had been fascinated by Andre Citroen’s ‘engineering’ approach to car design.  In 1986 when I first met Alex Moulton at his Burton-on-Trent manor house home he had a well-worn Citroen GS and a...  Read
19th Apr 2012 -
IT WENT LIKE THIS...Continued The floaty road holding of the 2cv is nothing to do with suction, wings or skirts.  It is entirely mechanical: the result of evenly distributed weight, large diameter low-pressure radial-tyre wheels and clever suspension; just as neat in its way as a Formula One car.  It does...  Read
19th Apr 2012 - It Went Like This...
“Who’d nick a little puddle jumper like that?” chirped the cocky young policeman. It was January 1989.  I had returned from a Christmas holiday in Tobago to find the parking space under my central London duplex empty.  The canary yellow Citroen 2cv6 had gone.  Stolen!  It might have been a...  Read
Top Posts
Quirky Classics
So as I stood under the dripping canopy of Quirky Classics on that Monday morning with memories of...
-
Back to France
  An H Van is as much part of French cultural history as the 2cv.  Designed in 1942 by...
-
One Kid. One Suburb. One Decade.
  I’ve read a lot about so-called ‘Mods’ and I’ve talked over and around the phenomenon with younger friends...
-
Aero
Long before his Mini had been launched Alec Issigonis and his colleague, the suspension engineer Alex Moulton, had...
-
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