President’s Ramble – February 2020

Welcome back to a new year members.

I have ventured into Northland (just) and also used what I believe is the northern-most Regional Park of Auckland – Te Arai – some 102km drive from the CBD according to Google Maps. When you are there it feels somewhat more distant again and it is not hard to imagine that other than through their rates bills, the local farmers do not feel that they are Aucklanders.

Northland involved beaches, estuaries, cliff top walks and rock pools as well as a little chocolate.  The rock pools were quite something; loaded with starfish, shrimp, crabs and small fish, more so than I have seen around Auckland in many a year – the lack of population is clearly a bonus for the sea life.

Also not to miss were numerous visits to the pier in the estuary at Mangawhai Heads.  I have never seen before so many eagle rays, the occasional sting ray (one of which was at least 2m across), all sorts of schooling fish, paddle crabs and an octopus, all to be seen without having to get wet or pay Kelly Tarlton for the privilege.

Coming up on the car club calendar are;

February 11  Ellerslie Concours – No-one contacted me to say they wished to display a car so we won’t be represented this year – a couple contacted to say no, however if you have the time and a penny or two to burn in your pocket you may wish to go view what is on display from other car clubs.

February 16 Gymkhana at the end of Cato-Peart Road, Karaka.  Please try and attend this, it goes towards interclub points with Citroen. After the Navigation Round we are ahead of them, a good attendance would be more than helpful to go towards retaining the Tricoleur Trophy . Also welcome – make that more than welcome -would be anyone who thinks they don’t want to participate but are happy to marshal.

March 1 Brit Euro day in Pakuranga – contact Don Howarth to help organise a display – unlike earlier comments I have now become available for this and will be attending, a quick chat to Don earlier told me that we are expecting to have circa 10 vehicles on display – make one of them yours or just turn up and support the club and say hello to us – this is a free event.

March 31 Quiz Night – We are going to enter the Tuesday night quiz at the Horse and Trap again, although we didn’t manage to get many of us along last time, those of us that did had a thoroughly good

time.  The Quiz starts at 7pm, I intend to get there just after 6 and order a meal – perhaps you will join me – it’s not cheap, nor is it over the top, but it does tickle the taste buds.

April – no date as yet – we are hoping to organise an outing to somewhere, whether it simply be a drive to somewhere scenic, perhaps with a coffee at the end, or to someone’s collection of whatever, the committee is both open to and looking for suggestions – please contact if you have an idea.

Now the other thing I want to pass onto you is a story that was passed onto me. I have seen nothing that substantiates if it is correct or not, just that it could ring true.  Perhaps people in the Citroen Car Club could tell me?

Apparently during WWII, as was common with occupied countries Citroen were asked to produce equipment for the Nazis.  The Citroën president Pierre-Jules Boulanger knew he couldn’t just refuse to produce anything, but he also desired to not help the German War effort more than he had to.

Boulanger instructed workers to set a nice, leisurely pace when building trucks (likely Citroën T45 trucks) for the Wehrmacht, but that wasn’t enough, and a certain amount of production had to be managed or he, his workers and the firm would be in trouble.  Boulanger came up with one of the most brilliant but basic schemes I have ever heard of.

What was brilliant was the idea to move the little notch on the trucks’ oil dipsticks that indicated the proper level of oil down just a bit lower.

By moving the notch down, the trucks would not have enough oil, but German mechanics would have no idea, because, hey, the little notch on the dipstick says it’s just fine.  Then, after the truck has been used for a while and is out deployed somewhere, wham, the engine seizes up, and you’ve got a lot of angry, stranded, vulnerable Nazis, balling up their little fists and madly barking curses in German.  But it could not be traced directly to Citroen, presumably their mechanics hadn’t been maintaining the trucks correctly!

It’s such a fantastic act of sabotage: it’s extremely cheap to implement, it’s subtle, there’s no way to see something amiss is happening as the trucks are being built, and it delivers its blow away from the site of the sabotage, hopefully when it will cause the most inconvenience and trouble.

Can anyone confirm it really happened?



PS Peugeot had to build tanks for the Germans and their constructive act of sabotage was to add carborundum paste to the grease needed for the turrets to pivot.

Renault however gave complete cooperation and after the war ended, the boss was shot and the firm confiscated.

John Grant

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