A longer summer holiday is of course also a very good opportunity to taak good care of our cars, and amongst other things to put them through the "controle technique" in France, which takes place every two years. This year it was the turn to the Beetle.
The French approach this technical control with a lot of common sense, and so it was completely normal for them that we presented our Beetle to the Dekra control station on the Rue d'Aubenas in Aubenas with the left rear window taped shut, awaiting further repair. They acknowledged that a repair was envisaged and that was that. Our otherwiste pristine Volkswagen passed this technical test with flying colours, and so we are running it on the French routes with a sticker on the windscreen indicating that the car was technically OK until June 2017.
It runs ever so smoothly, with the 1,4 litre four cylinder 75 HP engine being very docile, vibrationless and silent, with just that sweet sporting note when you put it through its paces. The New Beetle is very comfortable and sufficient agile to deliver true driving pleasure on the narrow and winding départementales, and is completely untiring on longer trips.
Rugged Suzuki Samurai...
Our now 27 year old Samurai drives and rides rather more "pure" in this respect. It two rigid axles which are leaf sprung take you almost back in the age of vintage cars.
The big steering wheel with rather vague response in the straight ahead position lets you err rather on the side of caution when negotiating winding roads. Mountain paths in the unspoilt "garrigue" are rather more appropriate for this rugged and nimble 4WD and that is where the Samurai truly comes into its own.
Its 1,3 litre 80 HP immediately jumps into life even after months of inactivity, and the automatic choke still functions smoothly and after a minute or so the engine has found a quiet idling speed in the hot summer air.
The engine is rather free revving and pulls quite nicely, thanks also to the pleasantly low gearing one is never left without a healthy dose of power at hand.
Our 27 jear old Samurai still in completely original, quite mint condition. Just the top has been replaced, a good 16 years ago(!)
We just let you enjoy the photos here. At the moment of writing, we are laying our hands on the magnificent Fiat Doblo, looking quite nice with its Bordeaux colour and Italian license plates.
We will take it soon via Paris to the Midi again, read more soon…
Hans Knol ten Bensel