It was a mild day this Sunday the 8th January 2011 when Barry, I, and the girls set out for Bolton Abbey in his land rover for a day of fun with the CV club of Great Britain. Our pal Peter Armitage had invited us along. It was a day of unknowns really we didn’t know what to expect. We just knew that it was going to be something different and would probably be fun. On any given sunday you could find Barry and I taking the APPY WANDERERS for a fun-filled ride out in our Yorkshire Dales on the motorbikes.
We had wrapped up well as we had rolled up the canvas sides of the landi, I was going in the back with the camera Barry going to drive, the girls meanwhile had transferred to Peters nice new car….A trabant! Are you giggling yet? Do you know what a Trabant is? No Ok lets pause from my story to tell you about these iconic motors from the former East Germany originating from way back in 1957.
The name, Trabant means ‘satellite’ or ‘companion ‘ in German and was inspired by the Soviet Sputnik space programme.The cars are often referred to as the Trabbi and since it could take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered, people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it. The lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years! Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately, while the latter required the infamous long wait.
The engine for the Trabant 500, 600 and original 601 was a small two-stroke engine with two cylinders. The car took 21 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) and the top speed was 112 km/h (70 mph). Though in Peters case it took even longer because he kept leaving the damn indicator on thus draining power from the engine!
There were two main problems with the engine: the smoky exhaust and the pollution it produced. They were discouraged from West Germany because the emissions were four times the legal limit! I remember taking a short visit into East Berlin in the late 1970’s (don’t ask) and I remembered how awful the air was, it smelled thick of paraffin and stuck with me for years, this I’m now told was the poor quality 2 stroke petrol available to east Germans of the day. Today, owners normally carry a pre mixed container of two-stroke oil in the car for this purpose. The earlier models have no fuel gauge; a dipstick is inserted into the tank to determine how much fuel remains. Hell it has the same technology as my new chain saw!
Because the car lacked a fuel pump, the fuel tank was placed high up in the engine compartment so that fuel could be fed to the carburetor by gravity; a trade-off of this design is an increased fire risk in front-end accidents. I remember during a road trip to Bulgaria looking under the hood of a Trabbi and saw the engine contained in a hard plastic bag, the foot wells all had kitchen lino, hell I thought it was a boil in a bag car! We didn’t laugh because the owner was so proud and his wife and kids sat and posed for me, but it was the talking point all the rest of the day.
So that was Peters giggle machine and the girls were cramped but warm, it does well to be on intimate terms when travelling in one of these things! Look at the next photos and you can see Peter at the wheel with Julie in the front, her legs folded to the left (and sometimes to the right) and Tina curled up in the back.
The Citroën 2CV “deux chevaux” literally, two tax horsepower was an economy car produced by the French car manufacturer Citroën between 1948 and 199o. In 1953 Autocar in a technical review of the car wrote of “the extraordinary ingenuity of this design, which is undoubtedly the most original since the Model T Ford”. It was described as the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car. It was designed for low cost, simplicity of use, versatility, reliability, and off-road driving. For this it had a light, easily serviceable engine, extremely soft long travel suspension and a high ground clearance. France had a very large rural population which could not yet afford automobiles. The results of a survey were used by Citroën to prepare a design brief for a low-priced, rugged “umbrella on four wheels” that would enable four peasants to drive an amount of farm goods to market at 30 mph in clogs and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. The car would use no more than 3 litres of fuel to travel 78 miles per gallon (100k) Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying! So there you go, THATS what a CV is and this is what they look like.
Barry followed the Trabbi and the girls into the convoy and orf we jolly well went! it was an overcast day but at least it wasnt freezing, nor was it raining or snowing!
Quick, mount up the CV’s are coming! What a battle cry that was. We were having a laugh already! We joined them for a sixty mile meander through the Yorkshire Dales, ending up at the famous Tan Hill pub.
I thought maybe a dozen or so where behind us, but I counted later a total of 62 CV vehicles. The green and cream one behind us is an off-road variant.
The view looking out of the side of the landi over Barry’s shoulder, it was nice and fresh and the closest we got to feeling like we were on our bikes!
This variant is the one you see in all the old french films.
This shot has about half of todays participants! The run to Tan Hill is a yearly event for the CV owners of GB and is quite often snowbound.
Some folk liken me and Barry with the 3 men in a boat stuff but can’t quite imagine who is the third person…..perhaps it is Peter? Peter has been heard to describe himself as an engineer and a “bit of an actor” He plays Kevin Websters Dad in Coronation Street if you hadn’t already recognised him.
Tina has a little stretch in the back as Julie remained locked in the hips to the left position!
I went up the hill-side to try to get everyone in the photograph but Iran out of hill-side and failed! I only captured about half of them!
Thankfully it wasn’t a picnic kind of day and so this spot was empty of people, on nicer days it is full of folk and cars.
A stop at the butter factory in Hawes for mulled wine and cheese, a friendly chat and a closer look at the vehicles.
Peters Trabbi proved interesting to the petrol heads amongst us….I just kept muttering “Its just a bloody boil in a bag car” It was a very clean engine which isn’t a surprise as they’re is not much under the hood to get dirty!
I thought this model was my fave car of the day, but don’t have a clue what kind of Cv it was, the sharp angled lines reminded me of the old english zephyrs, cortinas, and anglias of the day
This says a lot about what the day was about.
There is a CV somewhere in this 3 wheeled vehicle I’m positive!
Julie and me feeling at ease amongst all the cars..maybe its because they were all period pieces, full of character and class unlike the cars of today…unless its a Juke called THUG of course!
After cheese and stuff we pressed on towards Tan Hill, we are passing through The Buttertubbs in the low cloud, it turned a bit damp for a while!
I tried to get some shots of the amazing roll of the CV behind us as we ascended the “Stelvio” style mountain section, unfortunately Barry had the bit between his teeth and gunned the landi up the hill and I was tossed all over North Yorkshire! This was the best I could manage, I got a few good shots of the canvas roof though! It was great fun even though I ached a bit the next day.
It was so bloody cold one didn’t loiter outside much at Tan Hill..thank god the pub had double glazing! Last January Barry and I sat in the pub and saw water seep through the walls as the 80 mph winds pushed it through..This is looking by the off-road CV towards the A66 Perith road in the distance, it’s really beautiful and raw up around these parts and today was no exception!
Mistress Tavaritch..Red Sonya..and Ivan the Terrible pose briefly in front of the Landi
Finally a shot of Barry Waltonski and his lightweight 1970’s air portable Land Rover. Today nobody needed towing or pulling out of trouble so we had a brilliant, exhilarating, funny cold and totally different day.