My neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant plays host to many interesting vehicles so it’s hard for me to get really worked up about something I’ve seen. But the other day I saw these two Citroëns unceremoniously street-parked a few blocks from my apartment and I lost it. I just lost it.
Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where we highlight fascinating cars we found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.*
You see, even though there are many interesting cars to be found around here, the survivors tend to be the tougher ones amongst them. You know, the yank tanks, the Japanese SUVs, etc. What you don’t tend to find are the more fragile, fiddly cars. The ones that need attention and love to keep them going. But in this 2CV and HY combo, that’s what I found.
The first one that I spotted as I made my way down the street was actually the one parked behind, the HY van. While it was surprising to spot, it wasn’t a total shock. I had seen this exact van in the neighborhood of Greenpoint a few months ago, languishing behind some warehouses.
HY vans like this one are becoming more common in America as young entrepreneurs snatch them up and turn them into food trucks and the like. We’re not huge fans of the trend here, but at least we get to see them on our streets.
This one seems to have at least partially received the hipster delivery van treatment. Burson & Reynolds is a housewares store located in Greenpoint, where I first spotted this HY.
In terms of the provenance of this van, aside from some mid-’90s Paris parking medallions on the windshield, I didn’t have a lot to go on to date it. The HY van was built from 1947 up until 1981 and while the condition leads me to believe it’s one of the later ones, I’m not quite equipped to give much more of an estimate. Maybe someone who knows more about French license plates can be of assistance?
On the other hand, the 2CV just two cars in front of it gives us a lot more to work with. It’s a Beachcomber special edition 2CV, built in 1983 to commemorate the French effort in that year’s America’s Cup sailboat race.
I’ve found ads for a few online, including this one on BringATrailer and another with Mecum. The Mecum ad suggests that the car for sale is one of only two in the United States, but a close look at the two ads and this car should prove that there’s at least one more out there. In any case, that ad says the car is a 1979 model, but this 2CV site seems to say the model was only introduced in ‘83. Hmm.
Either way, the car here in Brooklyn isn’t totally original. The interior doesn’t match the rest of the ones, with dark blue upholstery instead of the white with blue stripes. But these are minor details.
And besides, new seats are exactly the kind of upgrade that has a story behind it. I’m sure its one of many these two Frenchies have between them.
*I understand that one of you complained that many of the cars featured are in Brooklyn, which, although part of New York City, is in Kings County, not New York County like Manhattan. That would mean they are not in “New York, New York,” strictly speaking. I suppose that’s technically correct but the cities merged back in 1898 so we’re going to let it slide. Okay? Okay.