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The story behind my Citroën 2CV6 goes back 10 years, but in some ways even further.
I was born in Nigeria but grew up in Stockholm with my mum, dad and little sister.
During my childhood I was always close to my mum and sister but my dad and I used to butt heads a lot, which strained our relationship. Mum always said it was because my dad saw himself in me.
He was a mechanic who had the capacity to build and repair almost anything. During our childhood my sister and I spent a lot of time at his workplace, around tools and machines, and from a young age it sparked an interest within me.
It began with bicycles but it wasn’t until I got my first moped, an old Solex ’bike, that I really started to love machines – especially old ones.
My dad saw that and was happy to teach me what he knew.
When I was in my final year of high school, Dad suggested that he and I should buy and restore a car for my high-school project.
He came up with some criteria for the vehicle: it had to be easy to work on, and had to have impacted society during its in history.
The car had belonged to an old man who had died of cancer and, after 10 years, his son was finally ready to sell it.
My dad’s plan was that he and I would restore it enough to pass an MoT.
He stressed the importance of me doing it myself, but reassured me that he would be there throughout the whole project, which he was. Eventually the car passed, and we were very happy.
That autumn I started university in Luleå to become a helicopter technician. My dad and I decided to take the 100km road trip up to the Swedish Lapland city together.
What I didn’t know at that time was that this was to be our last journey together. A short time after it, he was diagnosed with lung cancer and started chemotherapy.
When I went back to Stockholm the summer after, my sister and I decided that we would take an unforgettable trip down to Spain.
On our way back home we stopped at a 2CV specialist, who discovered that there were cracks in the frame of the car.
He suggested we didn’t continue driving due to it being a great risk. But since Dad’s health had got worse, it felt urgent to get home.
I didn’t tell my dad about this and decided to risk both my and my sister’s safety, promising the universe and my car that I would do a proper renovation on it if we got back.
Thankfully we did. The car broke right there on the parking lot as soon as we came home.
After we had returned I told my dad what had happened in Belgium and that I wanted to do a full restoration. He thought that it was a very good idea.
Dad had finished his chemo but his health kept getting worse and worse, and he was going back and forth to hospital. He passed away on 7 October 2013.
Thankfully I had flown down to Stockholm two days before and I’m so happy that I had the chance to talk with him before he died. He was sad that he would not be there to help me with the car, but he had confidence that I would make it.
In 2014 I started the restoration project in earnest. Scared and alone without my dad’s guidance and wisdom, I met many problems along the way but I managed to solve them.
When I bought the car it had a lot of rust and because of this I bought a new chassis and bodyshell.
I wanted to avoid the rot returning, so I got a galvanised chassis and the body has been treated.
I also did a full rebuild of the engine, and changed all the electrical components as well as fitting a brand-new interior.
After five years of being in the garage, of me getting frustrated and sad at times, and very happy at others, the little 2CV finally passed the MoT again. I had done it!
The Citroën 2CV meeting in Samobor, Croatia, was held in the summer of 2019, which meant a second big road trip with the car.
And, just like the previous time, I started out with my little sister – this time accompanied by my mum and girlfriend along the way.
Because my dad couldn’t be there during the restoration, I decided to christen my car with his middle name as well as the date he passed: Valentine 7.
Wherever I go with the car, he’ll always be there with me. It was through our love for machines that my dad and I grew close.
Even though he had a hard time talking about feelings and sensitive things, our chats about machinery compensated for that. And I will be forever grateful for those memories.
- Owned by Gabriel Lindström
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