As our Clan continued on our little roadtrip in Ireland, I was starting to realize that this place is a bit of a CC bonanza. After the MGB GT the other day, we were walking down the high street in Kenmare and as we were rounding the corner, I heard a distinctive noise behind me. Turning to look, we were passed by a delightful green shape as I was frantically but unsuccessfully trying to pull my camera out of my pocket.
Not to worry though as I noticed it make a turn into a driveway off the road just around the corner. Sure enough, a short walk later and I saw it sitting in the forecourt of another petrol station. As I walked up to it, the owner was walking out the door towards it and I remarked that I found it lovely. He beamed and was only too happy to allow me to take a few photos of it while answering a few questions.
The biggest difference between this one and the standard 2CV is of course the van body, known as the “Fourgonnette”. Being a 1964 version of the 2CV, it was also the last year of the “suicide” style doors, they were replaced with conventionally hinged ones the next year. As with all 2CV’s, it is powered by an air-cooled flat twin-cylinder engine, this model year they produced 16hp (!) when new. Looking at the engine, it is visually remarkably similar to an old BMW motorcycle engine. (Well, it is if you get the angle right, the cylinders are right at the front bottom, not really visible in the picture above)
The seats, though minimalist, are extremely comfortable, as is the ride of all 2CV’s. In fact the design brief for the 2CV stated that car should be able to traverse a plowed field with a basket of eggs on the passenger seat and once across the field, the eggs should all still be intact.
This is the owner’s third 2CV, and his favorite so far and most reliable. In fact it just seems to go and go while needing very little attention. He uses it to scavenge firewood from the roadside from fallen trees and tree limbs; as such the back is outfitted with a simple cargo deck, but he has added little lockers at the top of the front edge of the roof as well as shelves/bins at the sides. Also, there are now wooden boxes under the front seats where he keeps his tools. Overall it seems more like a little boat or cabin cruiser than a car with all of the little cubbies. Really, the back could easily double as a sleeping quarters for a longer trip if there was only a little mattress or pad.
I wish I had asked the owner his name, alas I forgot to do so. Hopefully he sees this though, I told him that I would write it up quite soon and reminded him that we used the American spelling of “Curbside” as opposed to “Kerbside”.
The reason we stopped off in Kenmare specifically was to see its stone circle as part of the “Ring of Kerry” loop that we were driving. We’ve become a little bit of stone circle buffs, having visited the most famous (Stonehenge in England) more than a few times and in fact got engaged many years ago at Avebury, which I believe is the largest known stone circle (much larger than Stonehenge if not as well preserved or excavated but even more mind-boggling).
Ireland (the South-West specifically) has a quite a few stone circles and this one was very nicely presented in a screen of trees. Much smaller than the ones I mentioned above, these days one could probably more or less recreate it in a backyard with a few trips to the garden and stone center, a delivery appointment, a rented Bobcat skid-steer, and a bit of planning with a few friends and a case of beer. Still, to have done so with simple tools thousands of years ago is a magnificent feat, (keeping in mind that there is usually an astrological component to them as well utilizing a lot of science and precise measurements), and there is still little understanding of the exact reasons for building them.
While we were in town we walked around the area and also came across these large stone figures. Much newer than the stone circle, they were part of an art grant scheme in the recent past wherein 1% of the road infrastructure improvement budget had to go towards public art installations in the town affected.
They are in a nice setting on an overlook on one of the bays just outside of town.
Going further along the Ring of Kerry, a little ways past Kenmare you hit Portmagee. Off the coast of Portmagee is a island named Skellig Michael – If you are a Star Wars fan, think back to the ending of Episode 7, when Rey meets Luke. That is in the picture above, the little island visible in the distance to the right of the frame. It’s about 9 miles offshore and they do organize visits. The actual history of Skellig Michael is fascinating, well worth a Google…or a visit.
Overall, Kenmare specifically and many if not most of the others places on the Ring of Kerry are well worth a stop for some sights to see and a short stroll about town and perhaps a meal. And if you are really lucky (or just keep one eye on the road), you may see a Curbside Classic as well!
Nice! The fourgonnette is the subject of a great Peter Egan road trip story. He describes it as looking like a sloth trying to escape from a Quonset hut.
That is a great description, I’ll have to look that story up, I’m sure I’ve read it at least once before, thanks!
Very nice little deuch’. Lovely colour, too, though probably not original. These were built at Panhard’s Avenue d’Ivry factory in Paris. Esthetically, this is the MY to get — the grille got less attractive after 1965, and then went plastic.
But from a driving POV, these are very slow — only 425cc and 16 bhp is a little limited in today’s traffic. Still, if you’re in no hurry and using it to pick up sticks on Irish country roads, why not?
From what I’ve picked up, most of these early 425cc 2CVs have been upgraded to the 602cc engine, if they’re being used as actual drivers.
No replacement for displacement 🙂
From the air cleaner, the alternator and the heater boxes, I am almost certain that this is a late 602 engine. It also has inertia reel shoulder belts which are from a much later version.
I hunk the original color is visible inside the back doors and under the hood. Close but not exactly the same.
16 horsepower. Here’s something you can buy that boasts 15.5 horsepower. $1199.99 at Sears.
Not sure it’ll haul firewood as efficiently as that 2CV.
It was a fourgonn conclusion that we’d like this tidy little truck!
We have good friends in Tralee, and hope to visit one day.
We didn’t go to Tralee but saw the road to it repeatedly. Go, the whole area is great and right now a good value with the strength of the dollar. They are also concerned about less British visitors going forward since the pound is so low. (Which made London a bit of a bargain for us for once.)
What fun! This seems to be shaping up into CC’s odd-little-delivery-truck-never-sold-in-the-US day. I prefer this one to the S Cargo from this morning. This has more of a form-follows-function vibe to it from which its cuteness/ugliness flows organically.
Nice find. Its rear compartment looks to be quite a bit longer than the S Cargo’s, and as such a bit more versatile, at least in my endless imaginings of having such a thing. A washing machine would fit quite nicely in there.
Long wanted to take a driving trip through Ireland, and your post has whetted the appetite even more.
You might even fit the dryer in there as well :-). It’s a very usable space and much bigger than imagined once the doors are opened.
Impressive how they got such long travel suspension with so little intrusion into the cargo space.
In the late 90s I did a trip around similar parts of Ireland with my future wife, and also spent a lot of time sniffing around prehistric lumps of rock. A very fondly remembered holiday – we rented a Fiat Uno which was perfect for the narrow, windy roads and I had great fun driving it.
An Uno would indeed seem a perfect car. A Miata from the first couple of generations would be great too, enough power to be a blast, not nearly enough to be frustrating…
The steering wheel being on the wrong side makes overtaking difficult, but with 16 bhp overtaking will be impossible anyway. The “ZV” registration means the vehicle has been imported as a 30+ year old classic, meaning cheap tax.
Did you drive over Moll’s Gap from Kenmare to Killarney Jim ? It is a favourite special-stage for rallies.
No, didn’t hit Moll’s Gap but all of those roads down are or would be perfect for special stages. It’s mind-boggling how many of those roads have a 100kph limit with zero space past the painted shoulder line and an absolute minimum lane size. A standard tour bus (of which there were many on the Ring) can’t (or won’t) fit and many of the drivers refuse to slow down, forcing the oncoming traffic to brake and evade. Something should be done about it (tourbuses and their drivers I mean, not the roads). A bit nerve-wracking to be sure. I’ll be writing more on it in the next week or two…
As a (sort of) tourbus driver who has to put up with seas of rental cars in Scotland, all I can say is “Hmmmmmmm”.
I additon to the types of road you describe, we even have lots of single track roads with 60mph limits, I assume Ireland is the same. American tourists often ask, and don’t believe me when I tell them.
Rural roads are divided into three classes, and speed limits set accordingly. Those single track roads, and many double track, are limited to 50mph (80 kph) these days, which can be a pain. The speed limit is, of course, not the speed at which it is safe to drive. It is the speed you can go without getting a speeding ticket. The safe limit is dependent on conditions, and whether you are running Goodyear Eagles or cheap Chinese tyres…
Mac’s service station?
I know there are a lot of Macs in Ireland, though we tend to think of Mac as being Scottish. Somehow “O’s” just wouldn’t work…..
Favourite version of a favourite car….lovely
You can scavenge wood with a regular 2cv, ask me how I know ;- )
When you said driving your Clan around Ireland, this is the type I thought of…