Catherinus van Zwol bought a Peugeot 190 S Camionette Tôlée from 1929 in 2013. Fascinated by the age of the car, Catherinus went in search of the history of his 190 S. His search is not yet complete and the way back into the past turned out to be a real adventure.
Catherinus: “Pretty soon after purchasing it, I felt the need to learn more about the history of this car with license plate DL-76-15. My quest split in two directions. Namely from the present to the past and from the past to the present.
From the present to the past: The search therefore began with the previous owner who had owned the car for almost 17.5 years since November 1995. Unfortunately, little was known to him about the car other than that he had bought it at a fair in Utrecht and was then told that the car had belonged to a doctor’s wife in Paris.
Then I contacted the RDW via the internet, with a request for more information about the history of the DL-76-15. I received a call after two days, unfortunately with a statement. The data that was known to the RDW did not go back further than 9 years. This meant that they could not tell me who the previous owners had been other than the man I bought the car from. In addition, they could not tell what the import license plate had been in 1982. The contact that followed with all kinds of organizations but no new information.
From past to present: So there was no other option than to try it from the beginning. After an online search I ended up at “des archives patrimoniales de PSA Peugeot Citroën”. After sending them an email, I was soon forwarded to L’aventure Peugeot. After which I received a letter in Dutch with all kinds of information about the Peugeot 190 S / 5 CV in general as well as the exact production date (03-04-1929), implementation (Camionnette Tôlée) and the department (Aveyron) where my car will go shipped. All of this was provided to me free of charge. The letter also offered the opportunity to purchase a Peugeot birth certificate. After becoming a member of Association L’aventure Peugeot and transferring the funds, I received the “attestation de date”.
On the dashboard of my car there was also a copper plate with on it; GARAGE Alric et Crebassa, Place de la fraternité, Millau. I soon found out that this was in the Aveyron department. We are now May 2013, we had just booked our summer holiday to the Costa Brava in Spain. When planning the route, the fastest route turned out to be via the Millau viaduct. In this case, one & one was actually three. 1) The Millau viaduct could be removed from my list and 2) on the way back we would go into Millau to see if we could find out more about the garage in question.
After a sunny holiday where we actually bumped into a Peugeot 190 S in the characteristic car museum of Salvador Claret in Sils Spain, we drove towards Millau. Once we arrived we could not find the Place de la fraternite. We decided to sit on a square near a typical French restaurant. After ordering a cup of coffee I asked the waitress in coal French about the square and Garage Alric et Crebassa. It turned out that we were on the square but that it now had a new name. The waitress who turned out to be the owner asked why I was so interested in this. After telling my story, she telephoned the mayor and had arranged an appointment for us at the town hall through him, where they could search the French vehicle administration. In addition, people with the name Alric or Crebassa were called from the telephone book with questions about the garage, unfortunately the latter came to nothing. After paying the bill with a huge tip, it went on foot to the town hall.
Where in the waiting room people wondered what two tourists had to do at the municipality in Millau. After explaining this again in poor French, one of the waiting people turned out to speak fluent English, who then acted as an interpreter between us and the employee for the vehicle administration. They were actually not allowed to search for me in the vehicle register without a court order, but of course they could look the other way when my chassis number was entered. Unfortunately, here too the administration turned out not to go back far enough to provide new information. We left Millau an illusion poorer but an experience richer. But not before we took a picture of the street sign “Place de la fraternité”.
After returning home I decided to share this story on www.peugeotforum.nl. Where a number of members have set up a real treasure hunt. This search was not without result, because one of the members had managed to find an old postcard on an auction site that should show the Garage Alric et Crebassa. Since then I have been keeping an eye on this site with some regularity and have now managed to obtain a number of nice documents including the price and brochure of the Peugeot 190 S and a map with all Peugeot dealers in France in the 1920s.