by Mrs.Anny Schouten-van der Meer, Bergschenhoek, The Netherlands
It all started in 1993 when my son Eugène, who was 22 at the time, bought a VM kit (made in Germany), which he built together with Cees, my husband. It was wonderful to watch how they spent almost every free hour and many weekends in the garage next to our home. In 1994 the Seven was approved by the Dutch Department of Road Transport, and so the adventure started.
He participated in many meetings of the Super Seven Club Netherlands (SSCN) and he made up his own local ‘blats’. Cees and I took turns as ‘navigator’ and we both very much enjoyed the sense of freedom the car gave us.
In October 1994 Eugène and I participated in the second lustrum of the SSCN, which was celebrated during a long weekend in the wonderful surroundings of Vierhouten and ended with a nice party. In May 1995 we joined our first ‘ROOTS’ (a ‘back to the roots’ trip to the UK). With Eugène as driver and me as navigator, we arrived at the Cotswolds where we stayed at the “White Horse”. It was the start of an amazing series of 9 ROOTS, organized by ‘Hans & Hans’, two members of the SSCN. May 1997 saw the second ROOTS for Eugène, who was now joined by Cees as navigator. This time the trip went to the Lake District, but oh boy did it rain!
In 1996 Cees had bought a similar VM kit, which he and Eugène during many weekends put together in the same garage. Still in the standard white color, the VM was approved in April 1997, which meant Cees could now enjoy driving his own Seven with me as his navigator. Unfortunately, Cees only ever took part in one meeting in the Netherlands. He sadly passed away in September 1997 at the age of 54.
And so, Cees’ pride and joy ended up unused in our garage. Now what?
I had never been behind the wheel of a Seven. With some effort I got into the car and drove to a nearby gas station for fuel. My goodness that was something else! I decided to drive a few more kilometers through our village to experience what it was like to drive a Seven. After arriving at my home, I put the car back in the garage, which went quite well if I say so myself! The next day I plotted a ride, which was totally enjoyable. It quickly made me feel as if this was MY car.
The VM still needed a paint job. The color I chose was “Royal Blue” (from Volvo) and so the miracle had happened: ‘Anny was now driving her own Seven’.
I drove the VM until 2004. It had been challenging to keep up with the other Sevens during our meetings as the engine was somewhat underpowered. And so, in January 2005 I took over a fire engine red colored Westfield (’92), with a significantly more powerful engine, from Hans Kok, one of our club members.
Throughout the years this car and I have participated in many meetings and trips to Germany (the Eiffel and the Black Forest) and many ROOTS, to Scotland, Wales, The Moors and Cornwall. Also, I enhanced my driving skills racing at the Nürburgring as well as the Dutch tracks at Assen, Lelystad and Zandvoort.
In 2015 I participated in ‘The Irish Trail’, as navigator for Ferry Kerkvliet. It marked the end of 9 years of ‘ROOTS’ by Hans & Hans.
Who would have believed I would end up as a ‘Woman in a Seven’?
I do, because after nearly 25 years (still going strong), every trip still feels like a holiday!