WRITER Leanne Cloudsdale
My best friend at high school was the daughter of a local millionaire, but being a modest Catholic girl she never once bragged about her en suite bathroom. Her father’s finances had failed to have any impact on my life until the day she phoned to tell me that he’d bought her an early birthday present. Whilst a few of our more conservative classmates had already opted for the predictable first cars – the Nissan Micra or a Fiat Panda – Jane Cater had developed an unhealthy obsession with all things French. I remember the moment she roared into the school car park, clutching the steering wheel of a brand new Citroën 2CV. Originally intended as a motorized alternative to the horse and cart, the Deux Chevaux was unveiled at the Paris Salon in 1948. Designed so that peasants all over rural France could happily transport their farm produce to the markets in the adorable ‘umbrella on wheels.’ And so it began, my love affair with the Dolly. We spent the summer of 1991 racing around Yorkshire with the canvas roof rolled down and The Beach Boys blasting out, taking it in turns to change gear. The rhubarb and custard dream machine struggled to overtake on the motorway but we didn’t care – we’d stuff our tents into the tiny boot and head for the coast, cruising down the inside lane with the pensioners and caravans.