The Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society
Brief History of this car                   

This car was purchased in England by Bozi Mohacek, the present owner, from a Surrey vintage car dealer in November 1983. The dealer had imported the car in September 1982 as part of a private collection of historic cars from a museum believed to have been in Holland. The car was dusty, brown and immobile, and was immediately given the nickname of L’Escargot. Although the car was purchased and registered as being a 1921 Citroen Model C Cabriolet 5 CV, subsequent investigation of chassis and engine numbers established that the car was probably manufactured in June 1924 having the chassis number 37,600 and engine number V-A 38149.

It was obvious that the car had been very well looked after during its earlier working life. All body and chassis parts were very ‘original’ and generally undamaged and the bodywork was in very good un-rusty condition. The car had been subsequently very well restored externally to be ‘dry stored’ as part of the Dutch collection. The restoration, however, had not extended to the chassis, engine and transmission, which all required quite a lot of work to make the car suitable for regular road use. The restoration took some nine months, and on completion, the car was registered for the first time in the UK with a ‘period’ unused Clackmannshire registration.

The first UK vintage car outing for the car, and the owner, was to the 6th International Citroen Car Clubs Rally meeting at Knebworth in England in August 1984 where it was suggested that the car should be entered into the Concours competition. Not knowing what ‘concours’ was, it was agreed. Eventually, to the owner’s great surprise the car was awarded the Cup for the ‘Best Rear Drive Citroen’ at the Show, and the owner was awarded the ‘Certificate of Merit’ for the work done !! The prizes were presented by the Managing Director of Citroen France.

In view that the car still had on the dashboard the original ‘owner nameplate’ required during the 1920s by French law, it was known the car had at one time belonged to a Mr E Caurat, Controleur des Contributions Directes (Income Tax Inspector), at le Blanc in France. Early attempts to contact the Caurat Family were unsuccessful and it was not until 1999 that a French car enthusiast resident in England succeeded in contacting a descendant, the daughter, of the original owner.

The original owner, Emmanuel Caurat, had served in the First World War, where he was injured by poisoned gas and subsequently spent some time in hospital. He then became an Tax Inspector in Yvetot in Normandy and later moved to Le Blanc. It seems that the Model C was purchased in Le Blanc, probably new, in 1924. The car was then a ‘military’ green and had a black hood. It seems however that he did not keep the car very long because the daughter remembers as a child that they then purchased a bigger Citroen B2 4 seater which her mother hated because of the frequent breakdowns. The Model C was sold to his brother Marcel some time before 1929 because an aunt remembers that Marcel came to her wedding in 1929 in this car.

Marcel Caurat was also a Tax Inspector and lived in Bordeaux. The Model C, however, was kept in Limousin (Chateau Ponsac) where Marcel had a ‘hunting cottage’ and where the Model C was used only to go shooting. The car, still owned by Marcel, subsequently remained in Limousin, sharing the barn with a ‘Tilbury’ horse carriage and many other interesting historical items. The car was still there in 1972 when the original owner Emmanuel Caurat died, and it remained there for several more years. Marcel Caurat died in 1997, aged 95. The barn and its contents had been sold earlier, possibly as late as 1980. The history of the car between 1980 and 1983 is currently being investigated.

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