An article from the NY Times about Citroen 2CVs and Noel Slade of EuroCar Imports.
An Internet search eventually led Mr. Perzel to Noel Slade, owner of Eurocar Imports, a Citroën specialist in Toms River, on the Jersey Shore.
, a native of Essex, England, inherited a love of 2CVs from his
father, who operated a Citroën repair shop.
The younger Mr. Slade
skills to the United States after marrying an American working in England who yearned to return to the New York area.
, 38, refurbishes 2CVs, importing derelict hulks by the container load from France, Germany, Spain and Belgium.
When they arrive in New Jersey, the cars are disassembled and sandblasted to remove corrosion.
The rust-prone original frame is replaced with a new galvanized-steel unit.
"We're not just doing paint jobs; we're completely remanufacturing the whole car from the ground up," Mr. Slade
"It's like a giant Lego set, just parts, nuts and bolts," he
"We've shipped finished cars all over the United States, Canada, South America, across Europe and Australia.
California is our most popular state."
Typically, 2CVs that are at least 25 years old face no licensing problems with regard to emissions or safety equipment, Mr. Slade
Cars destined for California need to be 1975 or earlier models.
Each 2CV gets new body panels and upholstery - reproduction parts are readily available - and the engine and suspension are rebuilt.
sells most of his
remade cars for $20,000 to $25,000, depending on the paint configuration and optional equipment, which may include higher-grade interior trim and engine modifications.
had a customer waiting list for the cars since he
opened for business in 2003.
Even though it takes only about eight weeks to completely rebuild a 2CV, customers ordering a car today will wait six to eight months for delivery.
staff restore some 25 to 30 2CVs a year, and the shop works on the delivery truck version as well as other Citroën models.
Those waiting times may be extended as a result of recent events.
The shop suffered severe damage in October from Hurricane Sandy.
"Water flooded the building," Mr. Slade
"I lost or sustained damage on 40 2CVs, and I lost most of my tools and equipment."
The pressure to get the shop back in operation may not be as dire as it would be for conventional repair businesses because Mr. Slade's
2CVs are often bought as hobby vehicles.
But customers soon discover the cars are competent as daily drivers, he
"A 2CV can get 45 to 48 miles per gallon and can travel at highway speeds," he
also services 2CVs bought elsewhere.
has not only replaced the car's frame, he
also made a house call to rebuild its engine.
Whatever happens with 2CV values, there are orders waiting to be filled, so for the near term, Mr. Slade
will rebuild the business at his
hopes to sign a lease soon for a new shop five miles farther inland, in Manchester, N.J.
"I'll be up and running 100 percent within four weeks," he