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How rust must be treated
How rust must be treated
As a design of the mid 30's the 2CV was not made to prevent rust. This leaves the remaining cars with severe rust problems.
Rust can be treated however there is no cure. Rust is for cars what cancer is for humans. The only possible treatment is to cut out all infected parts - and I really mean it! If rust is just covered by layers of primer, sealant, repair panels and paint, it is only a matter of time until the rust comes back out. It can't be stopped - just retarded. This is why it is so important to cut out all rust infected parts. Starting off from still unaffected parts the restoration can take place by replacing the cut out parts with new repair panels.
Before welding in the new parts it is crucial to protect the exposed material with a rust protective primer. Otherwise the untreated surfaces between the panels are very vulnerable to rust. We use a 2-component primer that withstands every conceivable mechanical and chemical attacks. Once the primer is cured it is very hard to get it off even with a wire brush on an angle grinder. Any other paint will disappear if the brush gets anywhere near the surface. This primer also survived chemical attacks by strong solvents that completely stripped away the layer of paint above. The primer was still untouched.

See Proper restoration slideshows of the most common rust spots on the 2CV and their proper restoration.

Proper restoration
Proper restoration

However most jobs look quite different
The 2CV is an adorable little car so it certainly deserves a restoration as shown above, however reality looks different in most cases. A real restoration takes a lot of time and requires much patience. Both are factors you wouldn't find in a usual workshop. There the motto is always: Time is money - what is also in the customers favor. Just imagine a workshop will charge you for 400 hours of work plus all used material. When it comes to the bottom line you may not be a happy customer anymore.

The same is unfortunately true for almost everybody dealing with 2CVs. A real restoration takes a long time and costs a lot of money. This of course will minimize the profit. So mostly the solution is to cut back on the quality what results in a lousy job.
To do a good job all rust has to be cut out. The remaining material needs to be cleaned and prepared. The repair panels have to be made. Many panels are not available or simply too expensive so the panels need to be hand crafted. The newly made repair panels together with the remaining material on the car need to be primed with a good 2-component primer. All areas that cannot be reached after the welding need to be protected. The primer needs to dry a few hours before the welding can take place. Then the welding spots must be cleaned. The remaining surface must be protected with primer. Again the primer must dry and cure. The next step is to seal off the corners with body sealant. This stuff cures overnight. Finally comes the finish with bondo and paint or paint and undercoat. This is what we do (See above slide shows). To prove our good work we take many detailed photos of every step during the restoration. So you can see what we did and how things look under the paint!

All this takes a lot of time. So instead doing it right most people will just cover the mess with a piece of sheet metal. All the rust still remains, nothing is cut out or prepared. Nothing inside is protected with primer. The rust will continue to disintegrate all surrounding material. Nothing can stop this now.

The tricky part is that once the job is done and all sins are covered with paint or undercoat it will look nice - at least for a while. But this type of work will not last long. The original problem will show up again but even worse. Than it is much more work to do a good job than it would have been in first place because the remains of the lousy job have to be carefully cut out.

See Very common lousy work a slideshow with typical bad jobs. Be alert that these cars are often advertised as restored since many owners are not aware of the bad condition!

Very common lousy work
Very common lousy work
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