by Ewald Stein
Being a lifelong Simca-fan, I had an old wish to be able to visit a national Simca meeting in France. Another old wish of mine was to tour secondary and small roads in France, and to visit friends now living there.
What do you do with old wishes: keep wishing and postpone until another year, because there is always something more important to be done first? Or a job that does not allow you being away?
One of my lessons of life is that you may postpone your wishes but tomorrow never comes and finally you discover you missed your chance.
So this year, I simply made some decisions, one of them being to go to France, combining the three wishes mentioned above, despite limited time and means available.
Club Simca France holds a national meeting one year and an international meeting the next year. This year, they held their 14th national meeting in the town of Courpière. The meeting was very suitable located on the grounds of Château de la Barge, an elegant castle.
Despite the fresh weather and occasional rain, it was a great meeting with a pleasant atmosphere. Many rare and less rare types of Simca and Talbot did show up, many of them in a superb condition.
To give you an idea: when for the last time did you see six Chrysler France models together? Or a handful of Simca CG (coupe and cabriolet!)? Or a Matra Bagheera? And then there were the many Arondes.
As far as I recall, there were about 200 entries mainly from all over France. Remarkably, there was a large delegation from the Czech Republic, which has an active Simca club. They brought along an excellent Chrysler-France 2.2 — a reworked Chrysler 180 that had received a converted 2.2 liter engine, a 5-speed gear box, electric windows, different interior clothing and many more conversions but it was done in such a fine way that it looked like a real factory-original car. And that is exactly what the owner wanted – a big compliment here.
The organisers had realised several activities on other locations so all day there were Simca's coming and leaving, making it very lively. For example, one could visit the Michelin Museum in nearby Clermont-Ferrand (as I did), make a touristic tour with a train or take part in an evening walk through the ancient city of Thiers.
The meeting I visited for two of the four days only but I found it heartwarming. For me it was a long way to drive but it was sure worth the effort. I thank the organisers and the many kind people I met there.
Next year, the Simca international meeting will be held in July in Great Britain, so watch the site from Club Simca France for details.
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