Der Motor der den Himalaya bezwang

Driebergen, 5th of November 1997

Dear Mr. Maurice,

Now, Wim and myself were CLASS WINNER (first!) in the VINTAGE CATEGORY up to 2,1 liter and finished on a 21th position overall in the second PARIS to PEKING MOTORCHALLENGE with our `58 Citroen 2CV, I want to make you some compliments : Your engine surpass what we expected !

A year ago, I asked you to build us a custom low compression high torque engine for our rally car. I am used to drove the 650 cc Visa engine in 2CVs, but right from the start driving the car with your engine I was very surprised : An amazing lot of torque make its possible to start in second gear and the very low fuel consumption (6,5 - 6,25 L/100Km) !
I got even more confidence after some test-driving in the French Alps. We did some killing hill climbs from the Tour de France. We used special mix (1/2 petrol and 1/2 kerosene) to get a low octane petrol as expected in China (70 octane). The car climb every hill easily and also the hairpins were passed alltime in second gear! For the first time in my life driving a 2 CV in the mountains without a double de clutch ??? and back into first gear !

The real practice was without doubt THE RALLY itself. Hundred of the most interesting and beautiful antique and classic cars from all over the world had to conquer the 16.500 km itinerary through China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iran................. to Paris. There were three desert, mountains up to 5300 meter altitude and temperature between -15 and +50° Celsius to overcome.

We had to compete with two 190 HP Ford Coupé several Aston Martin, a Porsche 356, etc, etc. Very clear that we needed not only a very reliable but also a performing engine. After the most worst part of the RALLY we were in second position overall in Pakistan. The combination from your engine and the allways amazing off-road ability of the 2 CV chassis made this car a winner, even in the Himalaya at 5300 m altitude!

Lots of cars broke down with serious damage, some of them were transported on local hired trucks. We had our trouble, too, before Katmandu one of the front suspension rods broke and the car collapsed at full speed on the front of chassis. We managed to reach the next village on three wheels, missing the front left contribution. No longer overall leading from now on, because we got a penalty of 4 hours and 20 minutes...........But second !

Nevertheless we ARRIVED in PARIS on a 21st POSITION overall and we were CLASS WINNER in the VINTAGE CATEGORY up to 2,1 liter.

We are looking back on a great adventure in which your 2 CV engine had a big role.

For me it meant an upgrading for my never dying 2 CV passion.

Sincerely yours,

Johan van der Laan


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