Long-time readers will likely recognize this 1978 Citroën 2CV. It’s been in my fleet for over a decade. It’s appeared in these pages numerous times, first as a project car purchased from a farmer who abandoned it in his field and then as a daily driver. It got bumped back down to project car status six years ago when the brakes failed on a cold winter morning, and it’s been sitting in my garage ever since.
The time has finally come to resurrect it. The project began in mid-December. The first order of business was, of course, to fix the brakes. It’s got drums all around (2CVs didn’t get front discs until 1981). The front wheel cylinders leaked, but I wanted to start with a clean slate so I also ordered shoes and drums. I changed the master cylinder, too, and realized the one I took out was most likely original to the car. The braking system is once again in one piece, it just needs to be bled.
I greased the kingpins before re-installing the fenders. It’s an important part of 2CV maintenance that often gets overlooked. The fenders don’t need to come off, the grease points are accessible by crawling under the car, but they’re out in the open with the fenders removed. Using a pump, send grease into the kingpins until it oozes out the top; it’s simple. It takes all of 45 seconds.
Next, I removed the front and rear bench to refurbish them. The rubber bands that hold up the foam and the upholstery were either missing or cracked and the fabric in the middle was torn; I sat on a pillow during the last few weeks I drove the car. It’s, again, a straight-forward job. As a bonus, it’s a relatively clean task you can knock out in your living room one night. I’m not restoring the car, the idea isn’t to make it showroom-fresh, so I’ll leave the upholstery as-is, tears and all. Both seats are now back in the car and they feel like-new.
The 2CV also needs the typical old-car-that’s-been-sitting-for-a-few-years tune-up. The fuel lines leak, the flat-twin occasionally misfires, and the tires are dry-rotted. The rear lights are held on by tape and rivets so I’ll source replacements (used ones, most likely). Finally, I’ll fix whatever issues pop when I finally drive the car again. I’m not expecting to encounter major problems but anything is possible. It should be back on the road in time for its 40th birthday in April, though.
The project won’t end when I get the car inspected and registered. The rust is getting fairly bad. It needs new floors and new rocker panels on both sides. I’m debating what to do, especially since I don’t have the skills or the equipment to perform body repairs on my own. The obvious course of action would be, of course, to drop off the car at a body shop, fork over a few hundred euros, and pick it up as solid as can be a week later. That’s easier said than done because, try as I may, I’m completely unable to find a decent body repair shop in this area. Unless that changes soon-ish, it looks like my best option is sourcing a another body and swapping it myself. Expensive? Yes. Time-consuming? Oh, hell yeah. But I’d rather take that route than take a gamble on a sketchy body shop. We’ll see; if that’s what it comes down to, it will be next winter’s project.