We love cars

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’d like to pay homage to all cars that have carried us on life’s journeys and shaped the way we move through the world. Why? Because we love cars! On this page you can read some heartwarming car stories from Athlon colleagues. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed creating them.  

    An iconic Citroën DS

    “In 1982 I was 19 and an automotive engineering student who was crazy about cars. While most of my fellow students chose a VW Golf or Opel Kadett as their first car, my friends and I dreamed of other models. For me, it had to be a second-hand Citroën DS – an iconic car, where design and technology were perfectly symbiotic. Unique and ahead of its time.

    Back then, however, I barely had 500 guilders (around 250 euros now) to buy my first car. Regardless, I stepped into a Citroën dealer one day and asked the owner if he had a second-hand DS for sale. He had one but, of course, way above my budget at 3,000 to 4,000 guilders. However, he could offer me a GS as an alternative. With my budget, I had little choice, so I took him up on his offer. I would have to fulfil the dream of a DS later.

    A few days later, after registering it, I saw that the registration certificate mentioned a DS and not a GS. The garage owner had made a mistake and sold me the DS anyway. I went back to him and told him about the mistake. The car he had accidentally sold me cost six times as much. The owner thought it was a funny story and saw my passion for the model, so he made a deal with me. I had to come and work for him on Saturdays for six months, after which the car would be paid off. He didn't have to ask me twice.

    It was the start of something very beautiful and the Citroën DS has always remained my love. In fact, I still drive one today and I restore them as a hobby. For me, it’s the most iconic car ever made.”

    Jeroen Geenen – Athlon International

    My car is more than a 2008 Ford Fiesta.

    “When I was nine years old, my dad was instructed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to cease driving due to an accident that had left him blind in one eye. My mum didn’t drive either, so for most of my life, we relied on public transport, friends and family to get around.

    As soon as I turned 17, years of running for the bus and waiting for taxis in the cold motivated me to pass my driving test. After four failed attempts, I initially thought that driving wasn’t for me. Unfortunately, my dad passed away in 2021. This spurred me on to continue and five months later, I passed my driving test. A week after that, I bought my first car with the help of my friend and colleague Kofi.

    My car is more than a 2008 Ford Fiesta. It signifies freedom, independence and responsibility. Along with my mum jumping in and still, to this day, saying, ‘I can’t believe you’re driving!’ and ‘Wow, this is so nice!’, it grounds me and makes me grateful. Dad would have been proud of me for stepping up to become the family driver.”

    Nafetalai Tuifua - Athlon UK

    My first steps at Athlon

    “I had just started at Athlon and I got a customer on the phone: a judge. This gentleman totally idolised Porsches and wanted to lease the latest one. He was a real car freak and had a few exceptional ones in his collection. Even his wife was never allowed to take the wheel!

    He ordered the very latest Porsche 911 with a colour specially made for him. I was drooling at my desk, so I decided to take a chance. I asked a cheeky question: ‘Would you like to come and show us the car when it’s delivered?’

    He did, and I was even allowed to get behind the wheel and accelerate on the A2! An unforgettable experience.”

    Jose Willekens-  Athlon Netherlands

    Laura and her brother Toyota

    Laura Pérez Guzman from Athlon Spain tells us about her ‘brother car’: a red Toyota Land Cruiser from 1996. 

    “If I had to talk about a love story involving a car, I would have to talk about my ‘brother car’. It's a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser that we jokingly refer to as my dad's fourth child. This car has been a part of our family for 28 years and counting, and our dad takes care of it with so much love that it's more than a treasure, it's a member of the family!

    There are so many memories to choose from, but my favourite is my first time driving our Toyota. It was a dream come true for me – and a true nightmare for my dad! Here’s a picture of us from that day - we were both so young.”

    Laura Pérez Guzmán - Athlon Spain


    Lauréline reflects on her childhood trips

    Lauréline Fabretti from Athlon France shares a childhood story about the road trips through Corsica with her family.

    “The memory of a road trip I experienced as a child takes me back to my origins in Corsica. Most of all, I remember the windows of an old white car. Through these I saw varied landscapes speed by and as I opened each window with the hand crank, I let in the sea breeze, its salty scent and the essence of nature.

    I loved hearing the gentle whisper of the wind intertwined with the joyful conversations of my family, creating a symphony of precious moments."

    That’s where I learned that the most important thing is not the final destination, but the journey.”

    Lauréline Fabretti - Athlon France