Alexander de Vries, the man with a BMW-powered 2CV…
Conversationally, it’s not a standard opening gambit. “I was in the process of looking for a hillclimb car,” says Alexander de Vries, “when I thought, ‘Hang on, I own a BMW-engined 2CV.”
He acquired the Citroën in 2001, aged 16, and says: “It was my first car and, as it’s basically Meccano, it was a good way to learn about mechanical stuff. Years later I chatted to my friend Pete, who runs [classic Citroën specialist] Sparrow Automotive, about fuel-injecting the original engine, then Bruce Willis’s production team got in touch with him. They wanted a couple of go-faster 2CVs for his movie Red 2 and he opted to use BMW R1100GS blocks. After those cars had been written off during filming, we transplanted one of the engines into mine. I then added a cage and started developing it for the hills from there, about four years ago.
“We’ve just supercharged it with a little Rotrex C30, ported the heads, swapped the valves and widened the wheels by another inch. We’ve also put on some super-sticky rubber, which started tearing the hubs off the swing-arms so I’ve had to rose-joint them. The next major job is the transmission. It still has the original gear set, designed for 28bhp and 30lb ft of torque. On the rolling road recently we got 154bhp and 110lb ft, but we could fit bigger injectors and get more…”