experience with 2CVs
We both share a strong
passion for the 2CV. In 2002 we look back on over 22 years of 2CV
ownership. Another car was beyond any consideration. After many years
with just one car for each of us we gradually became collectors. It
all started slowly with a Mehari. This car was never sold in Germany -
so it was quite a challenge to get this car legally on German roads.
With our first collectors car we also needed some garage space. The
garage I got was big enough to store the car and some parts but too
small to work in; there wasn't even electricity.
So far all maintenance work and necessary repairs were done in the
street. This is mostly inconvenient since the weather the neighbors
and police in Germany are no real support for tasks like this. The
first clutch I changed took me about a week every day after school and
work I spent some time on the car until it got dark. Lack of
experience, not having the right tools and having no space to do this
job proper made it a nightmare.
Then we planned to participate in "Raid Australia" again.
For this trip we couldn't use one of our every days cars. We had to
look around and buy a 2CV especially for this event. Before we could
think we had another 2 cars. Both were damaged in accidents. Now the
need for a workshop was very urgent. We ended up renting a part of an
old barn with space for up to 3 2CVs. We rebuilt and restored the just
purchased cars for raid Australia and as another every days car.
By now we also became the much needed and appreciated support for any
technical need of our fellow club members. This was about the time
when it became very popular to replace 2CV frames. We did this job on
almost every car in our 2CV club. So our workshop was very busy every
weekend. In the beginning we just replaced the frame. With every job
we got more experienced. More tools were purchased and more complex
tasks were started.
We used the growing experience to build our own car. At a 2CV meeting
I saw the Lomax kit car - I had to have one. So the decision
was made, the kit was purchased and all of a sudden we were car
manufacturers. It took us more than 3 years to finish this project
since we were constantly interrupted by yet another emergency with
another frame to replace. But once the car was finished it sure was a
beauty. It looks like an old Morgan three-wheeler but based on 2CV
technique a very unusual and really pretty car.
Around the corner came a unique opportunity in form of an AK 400
(Truckette). We had the rare chance to buy a structurally sound car
from 1974. So there we had another car. Together with the brand new
2CVs, the last ones our Citroën dealer sold, we now needed more
space to store the cars. We moved to another workshop with more space
and some extra barns as storage space for cars. Once we had this space
we really started big and serious restoration jobs. In the barn before
we were not allowed to do any welding work so the possibilities were
limited. In the new shop we could do everything. So subsequently we
got MIG welding gear. From now on everything was possible. We
specialized in real restoration jobs - a lot of work but for the sake
of the 2CV it was well worth it.
With every restoration we developed new techniques to do the work
better. With the growing number of cars came different problems to
fix. Almost every car needed a new frame and showed the usual rust
spots. But in addition we did more and more complex jobs i.e.
replacing king pins and steering levers, replacing wheel bearings,
fixing transmissions from the usual backup-problem, fixing every kind
of problem in the engine. Some of these jobs required special tools
that we had custom made.
The experience enabled us to participate in a competition at the 2CV
Worldmeeting to assemble a complete 2CV engine. In this contest you
got a box containing every part of a disassembled 2CV motor. The goal
was to make an engine by assembling every part and every nut and bolt
in the right order. I participated with a friend and we made 3rd place
with about 15 minutes. The winner needed only 12 minutes. But still
our result is not bad when you learn that the winner was a
professional Citroën mechanic.
Over the years we restored about 60-2CVs. Most of them were friend's
cars but we also started to sell restored cars eventually. These cars
found their way to the US where our friends were acting as our agents
to sell the cars for us.