Standing tall with the passage of time

Standing tall with the passage of time

Standing tall with the passage of time

She looks like a toy car. Yet, she is just like the present-day automobiles. The ‘queen’ who once graced the French roads, she remained a competitive car for a long time because of her front wheel drive and fuel efficiency. The 1973 Citroen Dyane 6, she is the prized possession and a ‘member’ of Steven Rebello’s family.

“She is a second generation car in our family. It all started with my dad Ronald Rebello, who was a car afficionado. I lost my parents early in life but I have terrific memories associated with them. The same holds true for the car. Whatever was close to my father is very precious to me,” says Steven.

 His passion is an inherited one as “the only talk in his house would be about cars, gear boxes and power steering.”

A small but strong car, she came all the way from Delhi to Bengaluru. “It was in 1975 that my dad learnt about this car, which was in Delhi then. An adventurer, he took my mother and my infant brother to Delhi. He bought this little car and started his journey to Bengaluru. It took him three days in that sweltering heat to reach but the car did not give any problem,” he explains.

 It was after this journey that Ronald fell in love with Citroen and from here began Steven’s passion for these unmatched machines as well.

“This car looked very funny when we saw it the first time. But then, they were far ahead in terms of technology. She has travelled the rough terrains of Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga and she is perfect till date,” he says.

A 600 cc air-cooled engine, this car has a canvas roof, radial tyres, high clearance, synchromesh gearbox and is one of the first cars to have a front wheel drive. While it is the mechanism of these cars that holds great value to Steven, it is also the priceless memories attached to it that makes it a part of his family. “We have spent our childhood popping our heads out from its roof and waving at people. It has a bouncy suspension, which is why the villagers would start shouting ‘kappe car’ (froggy car), whenever they saw her on the estate roads,” he reminisces and laughs.

As the saying goes, ‘history repeats itself’, Steven’s daughters, Keya and Fiona, treasure the beautiful car. “It has been great having this car,” says Keya. The story does not end here.

“I have always been a lover of Citroens. As a teenager, I had seen another Citroen in Shivamogga that was owned by two Catholic nuns and was used as an ambulance. I admired it back then and moved on. But after 20 years, when I had the money, I went looking for this van.” He made a sketch of the van, which was a 1974 Citroen AK 400, and went to all the garages of Shivamogga.

“The nuns still had it and one of the mechanics told me the rank of the nuns and where it was available. It wasn’t an easy task as I had to beg them for it,” he explains. As the van needed restoration, Steven restored it with a touch of creativity by combining two of his passions — Citroen and coffee. “I am into the coffee business, so I converted the Citroen van into a mobile cafe,” he says. As the coffee was brewed and cookies were baked, the van surely “steered up all his five senses” and his love for the Citroen grew multifold. His wife Anjali too has a soft corner for it.

“While dating her, I used to pick her up in this car and it has been a part of our lives. These cars have a mind and soul,” he says.

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