Wim Van der Bom from EuroCar Imports was another character in the local BC Citroën world. Referring to him as a character might be a bit of an understatement. EuroCar Imports represents one of those sad situations in which many of the people who came in touch with EuroCar Imports got their fingers burned.
EuroCar Imports claimed to be an importer of Citroëns (mainly 2CV’s and H-Vans). They also claimed to have parts / repair / restoration capability. The business started up in 2002 and operated out of an industrial park in Port Moody, BC (photo below).
Based on an article Wim wrote about himself in the Citroën Autoclub Canada newsletter in 2003, Wim honestly seemed like a true Citroën enthusiast. He talked lovingly about his DS, CX, and 2CV’s he had in Holland. After coming to Canada, he imported a 2CV and decided that this hobby could be a business and created Eurocar Imports (). Unfortunately, his apparent enthusiasm was not enough to make the business work. One acquaintance of Wim’s whom we talked to described the situation as “…he simply got in way over his head and started cutting lots of corners…”
Wim was tied in with another character named Noel Slade who was for a while working in BC with Wim importing and repairing cars. After customer complaints and debt started piling up in BC, Wim fled back to Holland and Noel moved the business to New Jersey. But the problems continued to grow. The citroenvie website has a long story about Noel Slade that we will not go into here.
2CV POUR TOUJOURS
A significant reason for Citroën’s resurgent popularity in BC is local restoration and mechanical support from Lionel Hondier of 2CV Pour Toujours (2CV Forever).
Lionel was born in Normandy France, near Rouen, the oldest of 5 kids. Lionel’s father had a little farm and not much money, so they had to repair everything themselves. In 1993, he moved from France to Montreal, then to Vancouver a year later. In June of 1997, Lionel was hired by an old Scotsman who owned a British car restoration shop called, Alistair Black Special Services Inc. Lionel and a handful of other employees were doing full restorations at this shop, mostly on British cars. A number years later, he decided to downsize and so it was just the owner and Lionel to carry on. In 2012, at 80 years old, he passed the business off to Lionel.
After Lionel took control of the business, he created 2cvpourtoujours to help local 2CV owners that needed repairs or restoration. Today, Lionel’s business is about equally split between English and French cars. The 2CV however was always was Lionel’s favorite. Imagine working on an old Bentley or Jaguar one day, and then a 2CV the next!
Lionel has restored many BC-area 2CV’s and the results are fantastic! 2CV Pour Toujours is located in an industrial park at 3-5438, 176th Street, Surrey.
LIONEL HONDIER (RIGHT) AND ROLAND MILAIRE (LEFT) AT LIONEL’S FACILITY IN SURREY IN 2019