This isn’t a political post. PetrolBlog is an apolitical website – a place where you can escape the words you muted on Twitter.
If the sentences that follow start to torque steer into the political verge like an out of control Saab 9-3 Viggen, I apologise in advance. It’s just that… well, it’s just that I can’t stop thinking about the Citroën GS.
More specifically, the Citroën GS ‘Voiture Sans Frontières’. You might refer to it as the Citroën GS ‘flags’ or ‘drapeaux’.
The special edition was launched in 1971 to celebrate the European success of the Citroën GS. A few dozen cars were produced, each one bedecked in the flags of Europe. It looked like the Eurovision Song Contest on wheels, only more tuneful.
There’s a line in the brochure which seems even more poignant today than it would have done in 1971. It reads: “A car without borders, she is at home everywhere.”
The brochure was filled with images of the Citroën GS in different parts of Europe. On the motorway, in the mountains, on a beach, at an industrial plant in Germany, and on the streets of London, looking resplendent alongside a Routemaster bus.
It’s all so positive. So outward looking. So joined up.
I won’t attempt to create a link between the fact that the Citroën GS is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the same year that Britain exits the European Union. But like it or not, I will wake up tomorrow outside the EU for the first time in my life. Still very much a European, but plonked unceremoniously outside the political union.
My hope is that we can create even stronger cultural and social links with our friends in Europe. PetrolBlog has, and always will be, a distinctly European website, with a touch of British eccentricity for good measure.
Heck, no PetrolBlog party is complete without a bottle of Blue Nun, a slice of Viennetta and a tray of Ferrero Rocher.
Some of the words on this site have been penned on a French beach. Some atop an Alp. Others in a roadside diner in Germany. It’s a European website in more ways than one.
I’m delighted to have forged online friendships with enthusiasts from the likes of Italy, the Netherlands, France, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. I’ve enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of Europeans when travelling for work or with my family. This will continue.
As Britain prepares to go it alone, this is little more than a friendly wave across the English Channel to say ‘keep in touch’. To coin a phrase I used to hear on the school playground, can we still be friends?
If anyone in Brittany would like to offer PetrolBlog a place to use a laptop, with a patisserie within strolling distance and space for a Citroën GS bedecked in the flags of Europe, I’m all ears. It’s time to channel some of that international spirit.
See you in the morning. Whatever the morning might bring.
Images © Citroenet.org.uk.