Some people should not be allowed to touch cars!

It’s been a funny month with a higher than usual number of vehicles through our doors with stupid things wrong.

The 3 photos below are the ones that most made us want to say”FFS! Some people should not be allowed to touch cars!”


This is what happens when you do not check there is oil in your H Van engine. In this case, one big end seized and made a hasty exit!


We do not know who is responsible for this, but we nearly didn’t let it in the yard when it arrived! I can understand someone who has nothing to do with cars not knowing which way up the chevrons should be, but then they wouldn’t be fitting them either. This must have been done by someone who should know better, but how the heck they went on to try and fit the D on DS20 upside down too, I’ll never know!

Citroen H Van wiper blade

Just put new wiper blades on! It’s not hard – it took me all of 40 seconds!

Happy Birthday Andre!

Andre Citroen was born today in 1878.
I’m celebrating his birthday by attempting to repair a badly rusted SM window motor….

Bathurst-winning Citroën Traction Avant!

Bathurst-winning Citroën Traction Avant to cross the auction block | Hemmings Blog: Classic and collectible cars and parts.

New feature in a DS19…

An amusing enquiry this week was for “cock heater parts” for a DS19.

Now this is a feature that mine certainly doesn’t have and there is no reference to it in the parts book!

It may have lost something in translation however as it turns out they wanted parts for the heater valve – which we just happen to have, but it did make us laugh!

DS Parts prices revision

Did you know that in the last week, we’ve revised many of the prices of our DS parts? (more than 35 just today in fact)
Happily for you, the majority have gone down due to the euro exchange rate and better prices from our suppliers.
We’ll continue to review the prices, including carriage rates, so keep checking our online shop for bargains!

Parts prices slashed

Today we have slashed the prices of some DS parts in our shop.

Items affected are HT lead sets, parking brake padsfront brake pads and the coolant pipe under the alternator

We’ll try to keep these prices down to this level as long as we can, but it may not last forever!

Pre-1960 vehicles MOT exemption

From the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs:


The Statutory Instrument introducing the MoT exemption was published in October and came in to force on 18 November. SI 2012/2652 The Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2012 simply adds pre-1960 vehicles to the list of other types of vehicle that do not require an MoT in order to be used on the road. We understand that a final decision about exemptions has not yet been made for Northern Ireland, which was the subject of a separate consultation.

The Road Traffic Act indicates that: the date of manufacture of a vehicle shall be taken to be the last day of the year during which its final assembly is completed except where after that day modifications are made to the vehicle before it is sold or supplied by retail and in that excepted case shall be taken to be the last day of the year during which the modifications are completed.

The Federation’s response to the original MoT consultation, backed up by the completion of the on-line survey, deliberately included the option of voluntary tests – something which had originally been opposed by DfT. The voluntary test will be the same as the statutory test with all the component and performance exemptions as allowed at present and there is thus no need to reinvent the wheel – the test is there and will remain in the VOSA manual. The vehicle testing station can log it onto the system and carry out the test as normal. As in any case where a vehicle fails its test, whether voluntary or mandatory, the keeper has a responsibility to ensure they do not use that vehicle on a public road as it is not in a roadworthy condition.

To enable members to find a suitable testing station the Federation has carried a list of garages known to be sympathetic to our vehicles on the website for some considerable time. There are approximately 400 testers listed, all recommended by historic vehicle owners.

The situation regarding those circumstances where an MoT was required, for example, as part of the V765 procedure, was clarified at a meeting with DVLA in Swansea in September. An MoT will not be required apart from for the cherished number transfer process, which is subject to a different regulation. DVLA have announced that form V112, Declaration of Exemption from MoT Testing, will be amended to add a new category ‘O’ to the list of exempt vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1960. This completed form will be required in place of the MoT certificate.

The Federation has suggested that it would be in the interests of safety to require an MoT for any vehicle that has been off road and/or subject to a SORN declaration for more than three years and is about to be used on the road again. This would prevent, for example, a vehicle that was taken off the road because of a previous MoT failure coming back into use with no checks on roadworthiness. We have not had an answer to this suggestion at the time of writing.

A footnote for owners of all vehicles irrespective of age: an MoT test certificate issued after 18 November 2012 will now show the vehicles recent mileage history. This has been introduced as part of a government initiative to reduce vehicle crime. Where available, the mileage history will comprise the readings associated with the three most recent VT20s (test passes) along with the dates of those readings. This will be in addition to the mileage recorded at the time of the current test.

Flying DS Doctor

We had a bit of an unusual call out this week.

A long time customer of ours in Irvine, Scotland was having problems with his DS23. The engine wouldn’t run properly and the semi auto gear shift kept stalling the car, which then would not restart easily. The gentleman, we’ll call him Hugh because that’s his name,  had tried unsuccessfully to find someone (anyone!) reasonably local who knew enough about DS carburettors and the semi-auto set up to help him out. He even had someone who supposedly knew all about them travel over from Edinburgh, only to find that when they arrived, they appeared to have forgotten what they thought they knew! We’d been helping out with diagnosing and advising over the phone and by email, but he was going around in circles and getting nowhere (apart from maybe closer to the looney bin!), so I offered to fly up for the day and sort the car out for him.

This resulted in me being at Heathrow airport at 6am on Tuesday morning, boarding a flight to Glasgow with my tools in a bag. Arriving at Glasgow an hour and 20 minutes later I picked up a hire car and drove the 40 mins  to Hugh’s place in Irvine.  After a quick discussion about the symptoms over a cup of coffee (the first of many that day), I set about checking over the carburettor.

Certainly the float height was about 3mm too high – it always amazes me as to how they get that far out. It doesn’t seem to be wear and judging by the crud on the outside of the carburettor, nobody had seen the inside of it for years. The rest of the carby checked out OK. One of the problems was constant fouling of the spark plugs and I’m not surprised, as that float height would have been causing the fuel to be going into the engine in bucket loads! After reassembling the carburettor, fitting new spark plugs and resetting the ignition timing, the engine ran surprisingly well and once up to temperature the slow idle responded well to adjustment.

A drive around the block showed that the semi-auto clutch and gear change controls needed setting up from scratch, which I duly did and when Hugh took it for a drive, he said it had never run or driven that well in his ownership. The test drive also showed an indicator not working and a headlamp out, both of which I fixed whilst I was at it.

The car also needs the roof off and cant rail repaired as well as a pair of engine mounts, but those jobs will have to wait for another day…..

It must be said that the majority of this was happening on Hugh’s driveway in between (and sometimes during) horizontal rain showers and a bitingly cold wind. I think they call that “summer” in Scotland……

Whilst there, another Citroen DS owner by the name of James called in for a visit. He was from just down the road in Kilmarnock,  had recently bought his DS and is in the process of restoring it. He wanted to meet me and have me cast an experienced eye over his car, which he did and I did. I pointed out a few things that needed attention, but otherwise it was quite a tidy job, slightly customised to his taste and should serve him well.  One anomaly was that it appeared to be a 1970 D Super, but with the identity and engine from a 1968 DS19. The RHD 4 speed manual car came from Australia via The Netherlands, so  what happened when and why to cause it to end up in that spec will never be known.

As darkness fell, there was just time for one more cup of coffee and another chokkie bikkie before I drove back to Glasgow, returned the hire car and boarded the flight back to Heathrow. I finally made it home at 10.30pm after  a strange but enjoyable day.

Now, I really must see if that customer in the Maldives needs a hand with his DS…..

Hugh with his Slough built ID19 and French built DS23




Classic Car Weekly exposes TV’s Classic Car Rescue as the rubbish it is.

In Classic Car Weekly this week:

That it is a specialist place for people with knowledge, passion and skill is a given. But rather than the factual inaccuracies and obvious false premise set up when the presenters state they are going to restore a car within a few scant weeks, it is the assumption that what is presented is somehow ‘good enough’ for the audience that galls me the most. Can you believe that within the programme schedulers listings it is referred to as a documentary? If it was living up to that billing then it would have to show and explain well-researched facts. If it was documenting anything worth knowing, there would not be the disapproval from those of us within the old-car industry. And if it was really a documentary, it would be focused on delivering the truth to its audience. Which is exactly what Classic Cars for Sale’s sister title Classic Car Weekly has done this week.

When you read the news in the ’paper, you’ll see how real journalists are able to unpack the news and bring all the evidence about the programme to Channel 5, leaving no doubt about the actions presented on telly. Add this to authentic, relevant advice from agencies such as VOSA, HPI and the DVLA, and all the gut feelings you had about the show’s credentials will be confirmed.

There’s only one piece of light at the end of the tunnel: the show that portrayed the restoration of one MGB gathered 1.2Million viewers. If even a fraction of these people end up as classic car owners, then that’ll be a good thing. Until then, I appeal to Channel 5: ‘Enough already!’

Go and buy a copy this week to find out the full story – I will be!

Michelin Vintage and Classic tyre catalogue 2012 / 2013

I’ve just received a copy of this catalogue and thought you might like to browse it too. I find it  interesting to compare the actual outside diameters of the various tyres fitted to D models. They are all different, but all had the same speedo gearing, so I guess accuracy isn’t that important…..

Michelin classic and vintage tyres catalogue 2012 / 2013