ACI – Speech by Henri-Jacques Citroën – Closing Centennial Celebrations


                                        Speech by Henri-Jacques Citroën

Closing Centennial Celebrations

EPOQU’AUTO International Exhibition in Lyon (09 November 2019)

Another celebration, say my friends who have never seen a birthday that lasts so long!

Some people asked me: do not you think that you will end up tired of people with all these celebrations of which you spread the information, every week, on the social networks?

Answer: It is not my fault that, everywhere in the world, every Club of collectors and enthusiasts wanted to organize its celebration and celebrate the centenary of Citroën in its own way. For me, it was important, pleasant and moving to accompany the movement.

Since Rétromobile in February, the party has not stopped! In each country, the Citroënists gathered. China October 27, Australia a few days before, Uruguay early October, Chile this weekend, Argentina early December. At the request of the friends from Uruguay and Chile, I sent them a video message of congratulation and encouragement. That of Uruguay has been reported in the local media.

In June, I went to the celebration of Brussels and, in July, to that of Düsseldorf. Polo de Paris has dedicated its annual Elegance Contest to Citroën. On July 14, it was the Citroen parade in New York. Everyone has gotten involved: Poland, Greece, Hungary … The list of countries is long.

In France, the cradle of Citroën, the home of Citroën, the celebrations were countless and the enthusiasm always at the rendezvous. With all my heart, I thank and congratulate all the organizers and all the volunteers, in France and elsewhere, who have devoted so much time to this beautiful cause and which allowed that the party is always beautiful! I invite you to applaud them.

The paroxysm was evidently reached during the Rassemblement du Siècle at La Ferté-Vidame. A historic high mass, a communion that gathered 60,000 people and 4400 vintage cars. The “Woodstock” of Citroën! It was the largest gathering of passionate brand, never seen in the world, it was the largest open-air museum in history, certainly ephemeral but very real.

In the words of the journalist of the daily Le Monde, Guillemette Faure, who interviewed me on site, “in France, there are only 2 people who trigger such enthusiasm and enthusiasm on the part of people of all origins: Johnny Hallyday and … André Citroën “. A passion that can be found in people of all ages. My wife Delphine suggested to me to paraphrase Johnny Hallyday: “We all have something of André Citroën in us! “.

During these 3 unforgettable days of July, I lived moments of great emotion:

First hundreds of meetings with enthusiasts who all have beautiful stories to tell and who asked me autographs and photos to the envy.

But also the meeting with 3 Chinese people who greet me and say to me: “For us it is a great honor to shake your hand! We did not think it was going to happen to us one day! We would like to tell you that we came from Hong Kong specifically for this event and that we passed, beforehand, to the Montparnasse cemetery to collect ourselves at your grandfather’s grave! ”

Another highlight: a great collector who owns about forty old cars Citroën tells me that he has a “Type A” found in an abandoned barn: he will see her frequently in his garage; indeed, as it is one of the first cars produced in the Javel plant, it is certain that André Citroën, during his daily inspections of the assembly lines, looked at her, missed out on she, and that touches him deeply …

Another notable moment: in the Citroën Pavilion of La Ferté Vidame, the leaders of the Marque received the journalists around tables placed for this purpose. One of these leaders is interviewed by a dozen Chinese journalists and, seeing me wandering around, tells them who I am: the Chinese rise up as one man, applaud me to break, invite me to a photo shoot from all angles, 1 by 1, 2 by 2, 4 by 4, all together. The director of Citroën gives me his place and I tell them stories about the life and work of André Citroën. A few days later, extensive coverage in the Chinese media of my speech La Ferté-Vidame!

This speech concluded: “Citroën is France.” Every Frenchman has a story, an anecdote, a memory to tell about Citroën cars: everyone has a father who owned a DS, an uncle who only drove 2CV, a nephew who makes rallies in SM, a friend who renovate a front wheel drive.

To speak this speech in front of thousands of enthusiasts was, you can imagine, a great moment. About him, Jacques Séguéla taught me

David A Gerrie

Secretary Greater Wellington Citroën Car Club (GWCCC) Life Member CCCNZ Life Member GWCCC