HY From Hell! Part 3

In planning this feature, I made a decision to use, as much as possible, only HY variants I could find pictures of.  This has imposed some constraints, because there is no shortage of designs that are either openly fictional, or represented only in miniatures that may or may not correspond to vehicles that were actually built.  But I decided at least one was too good to leave out:

In case it’s not completely clear, the back of this model is… the front of an HY!
At this time, I can find no documentation on the history of a vehicle matching this description, but it appears to be based on the same concept as the Cogolin, a well-known variant of Citroen 2CV.  The Cogolin was commissioned by fire departments, who found that some roads in the French countryside were too narrow for a vehicle to turn around in.  The proposed solution was to combine the cabs of two 2CVs into a single vehicle.  The resulting contraption had two engines and two complete steering columns, and therefore could reverse direction simply by putting another engine in gear.  It was possible to run both engines simultaneously, with the “rear” one in reverse gear, for a form of four-wheel drive.  With coordination between two drivers, it was also capable of unusual maneuvers, including the vaguely disconcerting ability to move diagonally.

While a number of replica Cogolins have appeared in museums and car shows, I have found no record of a surviving original fire department vehicle.  (Given the relative ease with which known replicas have been produced from the reasonably abundant supplies of 2CV wrecks and spare parts, any report of such a vehicle would have to be taken with more than a grain of salt.)  From what can be known of the originals, they saw long service in their intended role, and it is safe to assume that the vast majority were simply used as long as they could be kept in working order and then scrapped.  Thus, unfortunately, if a “Cogolin” HY variant was built at all, the chances of finding one now are dim indeed.

Photo courtesy minitub43.com

David N. Brown

Mesa, Arizona





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