This is a story of how I fell in love with a car.
Like many things these days, it began with an e-mail.
"Your Robert Cumberford once penned an article," wrote Mr. Greg Long, of Charlottesville, Virginia, "on the glories of the Citroën DS." Our design editor, it seems, is a huge fan of Citroën's 1950s family car/spaceship, the one with the magic-carpet suspension and the Thunderbirds Are Go bodywork. Long had a very rare DS just coming out of a year-and-a-half restoration in Seattle, and he wondered if Cumberford would like to drive it home for him.
Home, of course, being Virginia. Almost 3000 miles away.
Cumberford was off in France and unavailable (irony, that), but executive editor Joe DeMatio said yes anyway. Or at least, he did after I spent an entire afternoon begging him to. I had never driven a Citroën, I pointed out, and surely he didn't want me to die thinking that French cars were little more than arrogance and cheese. He relented, possibly because he is a fan of French cheese.
What transpired over the resultant road trip surprised even me. Journalism professors will tell you that you're never supposed to admit to losing your objectivity, if indeed you lose it at all. To hell with that. Road trips are unpredictable. Affection is uncontrollable. And love - love! - is a 1966 Citroën DS21 Chapron Décapotable.
Allow me to explain.