2CV Rebuild 8

“Houston we have lift off!”

Well I thought this was going to be awkward, and I haven’t dropped the fuel tank out yet, as the previous repairs to the floor had been welded onto the chassis. All the fixing bolts have been removed, and not all were in place in the first place, and I used a good set of steel cutters see http://www.holden.co.uk/displayproduct.asp?pCode=092.296 and managed to cut round the welding to free the body from the chassis. There was now nothing to do but lift the body off.

I didn’t think I would get a good response at 10.00 in the evening from Jan who was watching Comic relief celebrity chef challenge, to come out and lift the body completely off. So I have just jacked it up to inspect the separation

2cv lift off 003 2cv lift off 004
2cv lift off 005

2CV Rebuild 7

Last night I encountered a “that’s not very good” moment. The last 2 bits to strip from inside the car that go through the bulkhead were the clutch pedal assembly and steering column. Photos show that I have been driving the car for the last couple of years with a dangerously faulty column, only about 1/4 of the spline’s area has been doing any actual work in the steering!

2CV Rebuild 6

A little less active last weekend, but have started to remove all the fittings that go through the bulkhead prior to lifting the body clear of the chassis.. I’ve got the brake master cylinder, clutch cable and steering still to do, which I’ll do this week.

VSCC Exmoor Trial

This weekend, a contingent from HVC headed down the M5 to the West Country to take part in the VSCC Exmoor Trial, For those who are not ‘au fait’ with this branch of motorsport, the aim is simply to climb the offered course from a standing start! Easy you may think – but the tracks are often steep, muddy and slippery, or a combination of all three!

Two HVC teams went to the Event, Charlotte with her Austin 7 Gordon England, and myself with my Austin Ulster. With an Austin being relatively small, one will happily fit into a van, in Charlotte case the HVC ‘Works’ van, and myself a borrowed Sprinter. – providing safe, dry and secure car transport whilst allowing a travelling speed faster than is allowed with a trailer.

Arrival at the Exmoor town of Dulverton  – the location of the accommodation for the weekend – late afternoon meant time to relax a little and settle in before heading to the nearest hostelry to meet up with other competitors prior to the event.

Saturday dawned overcast, but dry as we all unloaded cars from their transport and prepared ourselves for the day ahead, before travelling the short distance to Exebridge to the start venue – here cars are checked for safety critical items such as fire extinguishers, throttle springs and spill kits (all available from HVC), paperwork signed and cars then scattered to their various designated start locations.


Over the course of the day, we attempted 13 different sections, with mixed success it has to be said! Nonetheless, a very enjoyable day was had by all. The Exmoor countryside offers some spectacular views and challenging sport, the towns welcoming hostelries and enthusiastic residents.

2CV Rebuild 5


Last night’s activity was to take the wiring out of the car. It’s relatively easy to remove the wires, however putting them all back again will be quite a different task!!
There are a number of problems which I can foresee, firstly there is a very narrow tube to get the rear wires through, up in the A post area.. Secondly all the wires are the same green colour, unlike the sensible Lucas wire that we sell, and not all have their tell-tail coloured ends on.
This is an area that I intend to improve on… Equally, I don’t like the 2cv light, indicator, and rectangular push switches, they were all clearly made at the minimum of cost. The starter switch is particularly rubbish in my opinion!
I shall use a set of our professional weatherproofed toggle switches, which have a high amperage rating so not too many extra relays.
I’m also having a look at thin wall wire, which I need to get my head round…., anyway this an area where the Holden store will come in very handy.
Has any one tooled up a larger dash panel without holes already in it?

Engines out….

Never one to be outdone, Jeremy has instigated rebuild projects of his own. His early Vauxhall, having been rebuilt approximately 20 years ago, is having the engine looked at to make sure all is well and to possibly extract a little more ‘Ooomph’. Whilst the engine is out of the chassis, all the signs of abuse from trialling are being attended to!

Vauxhall engine being carefully removed from the chassis

Vauxhall engine being carefully removed from the chassis

Meanwhile, across the workshop, the 2CV van is also receiving attention – This little vehicle has not as yet, received a mention in these parts, but as with Julian’s 2CV it started from an Ebay listing. Initially, Julian thought about something to use whilst his car was being rebuilt – this little crinkly bonnet van caught the eye. However, SWMBO vetoed the idea stating that ‘We were all barmy’, and ‘what a pile of junk’. To shorten a slightly lengthy story,  the result of the Ebay Auction was that Jeremy bought the van!

The above shows the van on the day it arrived. We later discovered that the engine was seized, but otherwise it’s in pretty good shape. Its destiny – get it running and roadworthy and use it as a company promotional vehicle!

The first part of which has now started – the engine initially had the bores filled with diesel to attempt to free off the stuck rings, but on advice, it was deemed quicker and easier to remove the heads to make certain that no debris had dropped down the manifolds – both inlet and exhaust ports are on the top of the 2CV cylinder head.

2CV engine out. No need for engine cranes here!

2CV engine out. No need for engine cranes here!


Austin Seven

Next weekend, we are heading to Exmoor for the first VSCC Trial of the year, so a little car fettling has been the order of the day for the past weekend. Generally, the Austin has been running really well, and I have adopted the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ policy, albeit with a bit of preventative checking of nuts and bolts etc. However, as it will be getting a full day of hard use, I felt it was time to change the oil in both the gearbox and rear axle. The engine having been done not too long ago (October). The gearbox is relatively easy, as it’s simply a matter of removing the starter motor, taking the gearbox cover off (This provides a bigger target when pouring oil and allows a visual inspection of the level!!) and adding the required oil. The rear axle however, is a different story. Draining couldn’t be simpler – nice big plug on the bottom and oil falls straight into the drip tray. Filling, particularly on an Ulster type bodied car, is a nightmare! The filler is about half way up the banjo casing, handily with a spare wheel well behind it. Jacking up and supporting the chassis on stands helps, allowing the axle to drop as low as possible will reveal the filler. Getting oil in – particularly thick gear oil on a cold winter’s day – not easy at all. Recent purchase from HVC, product 092.713 – www.holden.co.uk/displayproduct.asp?pCode=092.713 – is definately the answer! I have no idea why I’ve struggled with this job for so many years and not bought one of these before. I lost 2 drops of oil and a little out of the filler having put too much in – that was all. 10 minutes had the job done!

This done, the car was given a run around the village to warm it all up and check for leaks. Next a little cleaning as its a bit grubby, and sort out and pack the required tools for the weekend!


2CV Rebuild 4

As anyone who has tackled a rebuild project at home will verify, once you start taking parts off a car, you suddenly find yourself needing a garage that is about four times larger than you have, simply to store some of the parts in a manner to avoid damage. Sadly, very few people are in this lucky position, so other provisions have to be made. Fortunately for me, some storeage space is available at Holdens which allows large pices such as bonnet, wings, boot lid and roof etc, plus all the door cards and window glass to be put out of harms way.
Parts loaded onto the works van to be taken for temporary safe storeage

Parts loaded onto the works van to be taken for temporary safe storeage

Last night I took off the rear wings, which I thought would have seized bolts and require much use of hammer and chisels. However these little beauties are held in place from inside the car on the top of the inner wheel arch by three 12mm self tapping type screws into spring clip type push on trim fixing on the wing holes. Then from the side of the car there were about 5 small screws. Most of these sheered off, but the wings just slipped to the garage floor! The outside of the inner wings are of course covered in road dust etc, but looked good and sound. After getting the wings off it was easy to remove the seat belt bolts. I also boxed up all the door trim, glass,and lock assemblies etc. I’ve used masking tape to keep the correct screws with each of the individual items, rather than putting them all in a margarine tub.(see pic) as I’ll never remember when I get back to the reassembly.


2CV Rebuild 3

As the weekend continued, so progress on the car disassembly took leaps forwards, due in part to the simple construction and ease of accessibility of parts of a 2CV. As has been previously mentioned, all four doors have been stripped of glass, interior trim and lock mechanisms, some of which was a little fiddly and required patience, front end panel work has all been removed – a painless and simple task requiring the removal of only a few nuts and bolts, and indeed, something that had been done previously by myself when servicing. The roof has been rolled up and removed, together with the rear window and finally the boot lid has also been taken off. Front seatbelts have been unbolted so as to check the mountings are sound, but rears proved a little more awkward and need a second spanner on the underside. This will be the first task next time!

The following photos show where I’d got to by the end of the weekend

During the course of ownership, several parts of the bodyshell requiring attention have been noted and photographed. Here are the bad bits found so far.


2CV Rebuild 2

Well I was watching TV on a wet Sunday in 2012, and there was a program about Raymond Blanc, in which he was driving around in the lush sunny French countryside in a Citroen 2CV – by contrast our summer had been wet and dull. I came into work on the following Monday and told my colleague Adam here at Holdens about it and said that I’d owned two 2CVs previously. A yellow one, when I was about 23 in which I would travel to Leeds and Manchester from Cheltenham (where I was living) almost weekly with my job. I was working for Kays of Worcester the mail order company, and after being there about 2 months I was transferred to work for Great Universal Stores in Manchester, so the little car soon racked up the miles.
A few years later after the birth of my first daughter I got a blue one (as a second car), to be followed by a blue 600cc Visa.
Well Adam decided to interrogate Ebay and found this red one in north London, it was being sold as:- one family from new, 52000 miles, no mot, and had been off the road for the previous 4 years, but running!
Suffice to say I won the bidding, and drove down to pick it up using our works van and car transport trailer.
It was just as described and didn’t need much to get through the MOT. It has been regularly used ever since, by me and, whenever he’s home, by my son Tristan.
Tris’s girlfriend got him tickets for the 24 hour race in Anglesey for this August as his Christmas present, see http://www.2cvracing.org.uk/ . So I’ve decided that it is time to sort out the poorly welded floor, and whilst we’ve got the body off, sort out a new chassis for the car, and of course some nice new paint!
Around Christmas I took the car over to local 2CV guru Pete Sparrow of Sparrow Automotive in Hereford, see http://www.sparrowautomotive.co.uk/citroen2cv-sparr.html, and he has agreed to undertake the floor welding. The new chassis has been purchased from Ken Hanna of SLC Chassis. The chassis should be with me early February, and this weekend the strip down has begun.
The front wings come off by undoing 4x19mm nuts after first removing the fillet panel above them( 3x8mm bolts) the bonnet just slides off to the right or left after disconnecting the washer pipe from the washer jet, so easy start!
I also managed to remove all the door lock mechanisms, seat belts,rear doors and roof and boot lid assembly (all a bit more fiddly to do).