Before we knew it D-Day had arrived. After giving the car a wash the night prior to the big drive we had a couple of beers placing bets as to whether the car would even would make it to Dover before we retired to our beds. Just to prepare us for the trip we took plenty of LHM (about 5 litres worth!), some engine and gearbox oil, many many tools as well as ourselves and our baggage, obviously.
With an early start during the next morning we were surprised that it managed to make it to Watford Gap! With such a great outcome we decided to grab some breakfast. After all, we had pretty big sights in store for a car that had covered less than a 100 miles in 3 years! It’s about the small steps at times!
It’s fair to say that it at least looked the part! OK, the wings looked a little off colour and showed every single ripple with the filler now gone. I call it the Cellulite look. But there was no time to hang around. With a coffee drank and breakfast consumed it was time to crack on.
On the road the car seemed to be performing fine. The engine pulled very well, the suspension as a passenger seemed very comfortable and even the Chinese voltage regulator in place of the original points based setup held a constant 14 Volts! Maybe we were worrying too much!
This would be until we hit passport control at the Channel Tunnel. The car died without any warning. It’s fair to say it was not an ideal place to break down! The car tried to cough back into life but eventually it was fine. It was traced back to a faulty connection to the fuel pump relay! The old girl was showing us some promise! Without further ado there was nothing left to do short of boarding the train, as Ocean Colour Scene once said. OK, it was something like that.
With the sun out, the temperature being firmly in the high 20s and low 30s there was nothing else left to do but to hit the road and settle down to a 120km/h cruise down to our first destination. With the car looking like it would be fine it’s fair to say that we were all fairly content with the situation!
With that in mind we pushed on to our first destination with me taking the keys behind the wheel. So, how was it? The steering is certainly strange. Maybe there is an issue with this car but the steering refused to self centre at all. Do a tight right hander and the steering will stay there! However, the car just glid down the autoroutes effortlessly at 120 and 130km/h without a problem. The column gear change is a strange one to use but soon becomes OK to use after a bit of practice. The body roll is comical but it’s forgiven with its frankly untouchable ride quality ; not much seems to ride like a Citroen DS! It certainly felt like the right car for the trip!
But where would I stop the car? That’s easy. The one and only Reims!
There may not be much left but there is something certainly quite special about this place! The spirit of the place is still very much there. May that be a local putting his foot down hard past the pit garages if it’s not a tourist. There never appears to be a moment when there is no one about anyway!
While we were progressing nicely there were reminders still present that our car was an old girl and with the risk associated with it! This gorgeous Maserati illustrated that point. Unfortunately his ride back home was on a low loader.
With that in mind it was time to go to the hotel to retire and to give the car and us a rest. It was now a test to see if we or the car would crack first. After all, this was a wine tour.