By on December 2, 2010


I photographed and posted a total of 578 old cars and trucks on the streets of Alameda, California, for the Down On The Street series before I moved to Denver and then left Jalopnik. Now I’m back in California for a LeMons race, and Alameda has been restocked with new examples of classic street-parked iron.

It’s hard not to love a car that looked like an antique when it was new; the prewar-looking 544 was built well into the 1960s (this example appears to be one of the later models, if we are to judge by the B18 emblem on the trunk lid). It’s beat up and grimy, but it’s still on the street!

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the continent’s hotbeds of Citroënism, but this one (parked just a few blocks from the Volvo) is the first street-parked 2CV I’ve ever seen on the Island That Rust Forgot. Sure, I’ve shot a Traction-Avant, a couple of Goddesses, and even a GS, but it always irked me that I couldn’t find an example of the most iconic Citroën of all time. Finally!

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13 Comments on “There Is No Substitute For The Island That Rust Forgot...”


  • avatar
    TR4

    Nit Pick:  the Volvo’s divided windshield and small tail lights say it’s a PV444.  Possibly the badge and/or trunk lid got changed along the way.  Neat find though, I haven’t seen one of those for decades.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Hah! Finally! An old Volvo! I agree it’s a 444. A friend of mine has a 1961 PV544 and once owned a 1959 PV544. The ’59 is long gone, but my heart gets a good rest when it stops beating every time he takes me for a ride in this thing, for he drives it like he’s got a Porsche, and he doesn’t! Mechanical drum brakes, armstrong steering, etc. BUT the “shade” for the radiator is intact and works, and it has 3-point seat belts. Other than that, you get a good view of the road through the floor in some spots, and during the summer it gets hotter than a two-dollar pistol due to all the flooring mats gone and rust holes!

    One funny story: In high school metal shop, we made sand molds to cast an object out of aluminum. There were a couple of items we could do. One was a Frankenstein head shift knob. I chose it. That thing was at least a pound in weight. I couldn’t use it, so my buddy put it on the long floor shift lever on his 1959 PV544. Well, when either in first or third gear, all he had to do was depress the cluth and the thing would shift all by itself by dropping into 2nd or 4th gear! We still laugh over the stuff we used to do! Good times.

    The first time I laid eyes on a 2CV was, ironically, in San Francisco about 1971. Gray, of course! The next one I saw was in the movie “American Graffiti”. Always wanted to ride/drive one!

  • avatar
    ousaab

    Why are Citroëns so popular in San Fransisco?

  • avatar
    Mike C.

    I did get a chance to drive a 2CV and it reminded me of driving a Model T…  I like the shift lever story!

  • avatar

    There’s a 2cv in Lexington MA where I live.  I used to see them sporadically when I lived in DC. I love these old Volvos. I shot a beautiful deep blue one in Berkeley about 15 years ago, with two guys in the front seat and a dog with its nose out the rear. Also got a Dyane around that time also in Berkeley. Murilee, thanks for the memories!
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/review-1975-citroen-2cv/

  • avatar

    The Volvos of that era, this one, the Amazon, and the P1800 are among my very favorite pieces of automotive styling, along with the Peugeot 404.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I’ve driven a 2CV. Amazing old cars. Not exactly well suited for crashes with modern American cars. It’s likely as safe as a motorcycle though…
    Still I’d like to have a 2CV to play around with.

  • avatar
    Mike C.

    I certainly would enjoy having one too.  I don’t think I’d take it out on I-95 though..

  • avatar
    Nick

    Sorry to wonder off topic, but I remember seeing a gallery of nice 20-30s era American cars that had been abandoned on some island.  I can’t remember if the people had to leave or they just left and chose not to bring their cars.  I don’t think anyone of them were restorable, but they were neat to look at.
    Does this ring a bell with anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Nick – Cumberland Island, GA? I was there several times back in the 80s and 90s and there were some 20s and 30s cars rotting away. Carnegie Estate I think? I’m sure at one time they were still pretty good.

  • avatar
    Nick

    Thanks for the tip…I will have to see if I can find some pics to see if they match with my memory.

  • avatar
    87CE 95PV Type Я

    New York is pretty lame when it comes to numerous nice cars. bit Colorado is better, and though I have never been to California the place looks great.


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