By Bruce Nelson
The island car
Most anyone who has lived here on the islands for any length of time has heard of, or has owned an “island car”. The actual description of an island car can vary. To some it is a car that you may be willing to drive around the island but not on a long trip (like to Mt. Vernon). To others it may be a car that is more sensible to them to use here where the cost of fuel is higher than other places. To some it is the lesser of the cars they own, the one they kept when they bought the new one. Many of the residents of these islands have one of these “island cars” and this also includes trucks.
Well, the reason that I decided to dwell on this subject is because I recently found a car that I would consider to be an ideal “island car” on the web. To back up slightly, I very recently found an interesting car to buy. I have always been interested in Citroens, a car that is one of the most popular makes in the world, but not seen at all in the US since the mid ‘70s. The car I found in Bellingham was a 1982 Citroen Visa. It is a small 4-door sedan that is very comfortable and extremely economical. You may see me driving this little white car around the island. After a bit of research, I found out from the Citroen club of America that as far as they know I have the only one of these in North America.
But that’s not why I wrote this. As I looked for some interesting information on this car on the Internet, it lead to the British site for the Citroen car co. Now, since they are not sold here, and the manufacturer is in France, that is the best site to see what they have to offer. I looked at all the latest offerings, but the car that caught my eye was a new model called the C-3 Pluriel. This car won some prestigious European automotive awards last year and after looking it over I can see why. It is a small 4-seat 2-door. It is advertised as one of the economy models. It has surprising room, it also has a manual transmission that is shifted by paddles behind the steering wheel, Similar to the Ferrari F-1 (kinda). This shifting configuration has gotten popular in Europe over the past few years. The real interesting feature of this car is the roof. It starts off as a coupe, and then with the twist of a control a large sunroof opens, further operation retracts the entire center panel of the roof into the trunk area. If you want more of the convertible feel, the sides of the roof that surround the side windows come off. So far this was just a very versatile car, but now with either the window surrounds on or off the trunk lid folds down as does the seats, now it is a small truck. Gee, what a novel idea for a community like ours. A small, very economical car, weather resistant in the winter, various open configurations for the nice weather, and the occasionally needed truck for those times when that is the need. So like me, are you sold? Would you like to check this out in person? Well next time you happen to be in Europe maybe you could rent one. Otherwise I guess the next best thing is, maybe, a Chevy Avalance?
By Bruce Nelson
Last Update: 12/13/03