Legacy web pages of Axel Beckert

Since I'm no more active at the Fachschaftsrat Informatik of the University of Saarland anymore, I have transferred all my university time legacy web pages from http://fsinfo.cs.uni-sb.de/~abe/ to this interim host at http://fsinfo.noone.org/~abe/ with only minimal modifications, mainly e-mail addresses.

Most pages on this interim host won't be updated anymore until they are moved (and redirected) step by step to their future home somewhere under http://noone.org/.

Please also note that my former e-mail address abe@fsinfo.cs.uni-sb.de is no more valid. Use abe@deuxchevaux.org instead.

Axel Beckert, Zürich, 23rd of September 2007

A Nonsense Of Direction

Overland to Everywhere in a Toytown Plastic Car

A book by Terence Kennedy.

"As epic journeys go, this one frequently didn't."


at the moment I'm reading a book called "A Nonsense Of Direction", written by Terence Kennedy.
In ever-more ridiculous conversions of Citroën's legendary little 2CV, he and his partner Elise have hiccupped through 78 countries, from Afghanistan to a crackpot Sahara crossing, from Lesotho to Las Vegas, to produce an offbeat travellers' tale which celebrates the absurdities as much as the adventure.

They are trying to get into the Guinness Book Of Records by being travelled through the greatest number of countires with a 2CV. The actual record is at being travelled through 83 countries.
BTW: This record is held by the Germans Manfred Müller (and Paul-Ernst Luhrs) from Bremen (IIRC) and their nearly original '63 2CV. They have counted 83 countries after having driven 350 000 kilometres around the world.
Update spring 2000: Manfred Müller topped his own record with an 80 days travel through the former Soviet-Union, which wasn't possible during his earlier travels.

The following data is just for Citroën freaks: First they drove with a Méhari, looking like a tank, then a "normal" AKS 400, then again a Méhari, to be exactly, a self-made camper Méhari with GS engine and four-wheel-drive. These Citroën A series cars were the home of Terence and Elise since 1974 and they were on the road until a few years ago.
Last time I met them, was in Slovenia at the 11th International Meeting of 2CV Friends 1995. Perhaps you'll meet them at the 14th International Meeting of 2CV Friends 2001 in Austria or at the 15th International Meeting of 2CV Friends 2003 in Italy.

A note of the author:

Dear Citroën friend,

This book is the result of two 17-year diseases: incurable wanderlust, and a compulsive obsession to drive 2CVs to a lot of very strange places.

You may have read some of our silly stories in Citroën magazines or other publications; A Nonsense of Direction is the full, absurd tale of all 300,000 kilometres, 106 flat tyres, 5 arrests, 6 deportations, 8 meetings with the wrong end of a gun, crossing the Sahara disastrouly with 14 people in our Méhari, carrying 19 pairs of someone else's socks arcross a continent and answering 1000 times: "No, this is not a Volkswagen!" Not to mention running over a $150 chicken.*)

By buying this book as an essential addition to any collection of Citroën memorabilia, you will also be helping us to continue a multinational 2CV travelling love-affair. You may even enable us to drive our way into the Guiness Book to beat the record for 2CV travels: 83 countries. Last time I looked, we had bounced through 78.
And it woudn't it make a wonderfully unusual gift for family and friends for Christmas, birthdays, weddings, divorces, funerals, etc...?


Terence and Elise Kennedy, (= The 2CV Club of Bahrain. All of it...)

*) In the German translation of this text was additional written at this position: Leider wird dieses Buch ohne eine kostspielige Wundertat nur in Englisch zu bekommen sein. Aber deutsche Freunde meinen, daß man vieles davon sogar ohne Langenscheidt's Wörterbuch (in English: Longshit's Dictionary. So einfach ist das...) verstehen und genießen kann. Und Bilder brauchen keine Worte.

And here's a small excerpt of the book (page 116):

The question began to get tedious: "Didya build that rig yuhself?" Occasionally it led to greater things, to invitations and rewarding social contacts; more often the conversation petered as quickly as third-world matchstick once initial curiostiy has been satified.
Reactions could be infuriating. In the small town of Millry we took the trouble to answer the inevitable question from a gas-station attendant, with a complete routine (my cabaret, as Elise dubbed it), explaining that the car was a French Citroën, two cylinders, and all the rest. He listened, apparently absorbing it all. At the end hid face brightened, and he looked at me triumphantly.
"Volkswagen, huh?" And he went knowingly to the back of the car to check the oil, baffled when he found no engine there. Furhter conversation was superfluous and I knew I was finally licked. The next day I typed a notice for the window of the car:


It is the van-version of the French CITROËN Deux Chevaux (literally "Two Horses.") In parts of Europe it is also affectionately known as "The Ugly Duckling" - for obvious reasons. Virtually unchanged in design since it was first introduced in France 1947, it ist front-wheel-drive, powered by an air-cooled two-cylinder engine of 602cc (36 cu. in.) Top speed from its 28.5 horsepower output is about 65 mph - or up to 90 mph going downhill with a following wind... One U.S. gallon of gasoline will take it mor than 40 miles. We began our long-distance drive from London, England, in April '74, and since then have driven roughly 100,000 miles through Europe, Asia and Africa. We are on our way through North, Central and South America.

Terence and Elise Kennedy


Unfortunately sold out!

If this page made you interested in this book (Softcover, 216 pages, illustrated, first published in 1992), you can order it (Price direct from publisher, per copy: DEM 17 + DEM 3 for postage) Send a Eurocheque to the publisher:

Huber & Mielke
Wingertstraße 64
D-69207 Sandhausen, Germany

What some magazines wrote about this book:

Citroënian magazine GB
A wonderful tale of travels, disasters and humorous incidents. Buy it, read it!
KM Motoring
Could become a Citroën classic: a quirky, bizarre tale of sputtering life at 602cc in the slow lane
2CVGB magazine
A must for 2CV fans and anyone who wants a good entertaining read.
A veteran travel writer
There are, I suppose, expeditions and expeditions. This would not qualify for either category

Axel's Citroën 2CV Homepage Author of this page: Axel Beckert, abe@deuxchevaux.org.
Last update: 23-Sep-2007, 17:01 (CEST)

P.S.: Still :-) hope, I'll get some pictures of the cover and their cars through the scanner to show them on this page.

Copyright © 1996 - 2020 by Axel Beckert