Sunday, May 04, 2008

Guy (1922 - 2008)

Last night my French grandfather passed away, age 86. M. Guy Kerirzin, my wife's grandfather grew up in Maisons-Laffitte (18 kilometers North-West of Paris), lived and worked most of his life in Paris and after retiring he left Paris with his wife to enjoy living in North-West Brittany (Bretagne). His professional career as a mechanic and test driver at Citroën lead to millions of kilometers on and off-road. A Traction Avant had no surprises to him, it was the car he worked on as a young man on his way to mechanic mastery. From there on he was part of the development of famous Citroën cars like DS, 2CV, SM, GS, GSA, CX ... As a test driver he drove the DS (Déesse) on the test track in Ferté Vidame. He also tested trucks in Mali (Africa). I really enjoyed discussing cars and mechanics with him. He drove many types of cars, including prototypes and used to joke about certain tests he did. One time he really surprised me when I asked him which car gave him the greatest driving experience. It didn't take him a long time to reply. "Bugatti" he said, leaving me speechless. The first time I paid him a visit he came outside to have a look at my car, a Fiat Stilo Abarth 2.5 liter 5 cilinder. He pointed at the bonnet, open it, please. Then he had a look at the brakes and said "Bon" (good). I had a big brake kit installed. The interior didn't interest him, he never went inside, let alone drive around with me. "Non, ça c'est passe", "Je ne travail non plus" (No, that's history, I don't work anymore). His tools, a 2CV engine and gearbox remain in the basement, together with his Cellier des Dauphin, Côte du Rhône wines and his gardening tools. Guy Kerirzin doesn't work anymore. Au revoir papy Guy, merci beaucoups pour les belles histoires d'une mechano Français.

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