This will be an on going blog so please excuse the incomplete article….
Due to the unique way the Citroen DS/id range is constructed we will detail some of the more unusual body elements that take some figuring out to help others and Citoren enthusiast repair and work on there own restorations
Photo above as purchased
We like to have a restoration project or two in the Bodyshop as a down time project that will be for sale once completed (can be done to spec if you want to buy it) and I found this great Citroen DS21 on ebay which looked like just the right restoration project for us as it come with a fantastic mechanical history and had receipts for an entire engine rebuild by a very well regarded classic Citroen mechanical specialist company. The hydropneumatics had been also been renewed along with a host of other receipts for general maintenance all across the last ten years since it had been a resident in the UK (>2002). The Citroen also had been upgraded internally with original Pallas trim, leather seats and optional arm and head rest setup. The bad news was the body panels. Although the DS has a good chassis the British coast had taken it’s toll on the body panels – C posts and doors as you will see later in the progression photos.
Original photo from French importation document
The first job was a test run to check the mechanical ability of the Citroen DS so we took it for a 1hr spin and it drove beautifully. After a good power wash and developing a plan for the restoration we set about stripping the body panels off. Classic Citroen DS/id ‘s have a very unique construction method when compared to other motoring marques. All the body panels including the roof simply unbolt from the main structure. Everything is designed to be pre assembled before being mounted to the car. This means that when you remove a front wing the looms lights and even the flitch panel come away in one lump. As the Citroen DS uses Pneumatic suspension there are no shocks, springs or turrets to contend with so the entire assemble is produced as one part.
AS you will see from the above photos the wings have got a considerable amount of rust, holes and brittle metal. Currently you can only get plastic reproduction wings and these are understandably expensive so we will be fabricating body repair sections in house to keep the car original and all metal construction.
Next we removed and stripped the doors. Nb. Removing Citroen DS drop / door glass. most of the removal of door glass is obvious but there is a third metal clamp that in the centre of the window that uses pressure to to secure the glass pane.
Once all the bolts are out the glass appears to pivot this is caused by the clamp illustrated above catching on the window seating channel. Use two scrapers (one either side of the glass) and insert them between the clamp and window glass making sure they also go over the seating channel to facilitate sliding off.
Repair work begins:
Currently Citroen DS/ID repair panels are a bit limited and new wings are only available in plastic so we decided to fabricate the repair panels ourselves.
in all 16 sections have been made for the repair of the wings most of this fabricated part panels have are for the rear of the wings and the inner wheel arch which seem prone to rotting out so we have used a heavier gauge of metal then the original to help cope with the next 40 years.
Some of the panels fabricated by us to repair the door inner frames.
Things have slowed down on the DS project due to the influx of customer work however a stoke of fortune has lead to us procuring some very good second hand parts. After answering an ad offering Citroen DS being broken for parts on ebay we landed up involved in an episode of ‘Strippers – cash for cars’. Although the DS looked a mess some of the parts that we were going to repair were in fantastic condition and looked as though they had been replaced in the last 10yrs. so we snapped them up quick sharp. We also grabbed the doors as they bottom sections where in a better state of repair and required less work then the ones we already had. I was very pleased to pick up an excellent condition unwelded original metal front wing and metal lower valance two items that are only available in plastic now.
Some of the parts and the Citroen DS that donated them (RIPeaces)
Spent some time repairing doors. We chose the best parts and replaced the rot with new metal. Every door has had new lower inner sections and outer skins as these are very common rust areas.
Small minor new sections on the procured wings.
MAJOR PROJECT UPDATE:
We finally found some time between clients cars to get back on to our lovely DS Super 5. unfortunately whilst investigating the rear end we found that the inner rear wings and far more alarmingly the rear subframe had completely rotted away which raised a big and slightly painful question. Is it financially viable to carry on with the project? we new that the mechanics where good as was the interior and now the outer panels that we had finished repairing but even so this was going to be a major undertaking and would we be able to afford the time? Unfortunately the only sensible answer was NO. so we made the decision to break her for parts. The mechanicals went to one buyer, the interior to another and the outer repair panels also went to one buyer. Luckily for us the guy who purchased the panels wanted us to paint and fit them to his tired but original DS23 EFI. Which psychologically made us feel like we where completing our car.
So here the story continues…. just on a completely different DS
Here is an idea of the condition of the second DS.
As you can see it had seen better days and definitely needed our repaired panels.
We started by trial fitting our wings and doors. As you can probably tell from the condition of the front bumper and the dubious angle of the overriders this DS had been in a few minor prangs in its years. unfortunately they where more then superficial and as a result the inner valance panels and front beams had bent slightly preventing our repaired wings from fitting correctly so some additional repairs where required to fit the wings.
We did not have any rear wings as ours where beyond economical repair so we repaired the ones from this DS. New leading edges where required along with welding of splits, small holes and some panel beating of dents. nothing too major but about a days work in each rear wing.
Whilst the DS was with us he also asked if we could tidy up the vinyl roof as it was swamped in mastic sealer. once all the old mastic was removed and the tears in the vinyl glued we ran a nice new and far more tidy course of sealer above and below the rubber bead. He also asked if we could repair the front bumper, we did have a very good condition one from our DS but he wanted to retain as many of the original parts of his car as possible so we tried our best. considering the sprung nature of the stainless bumper we did manage to get it back to a far more suitable shape although I personally would have replaced it to better suit the new look of the car.