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The Citroens

Our second car, purchased in 1967, was a 1951 Citroen Traction Avant (AK6487). Originally green with black guards, we stripped the paint back and repainted it in black. Great result, but then I blew up the gearbox. Finding another one was near impossible, so we bought another complete Light-15 for 35 pounds, to get the gearbox from it. Subsequently, our family friend (and Citroen expert) Ian Shipley, took the non-running second car and totally restored it. This was the car that appears below, along with Ian's first DS19.




Many years later, like 2017, we found a really nice C5-X7 (or Mk3), exclusive model, with the 3 litre 4-cam petrol alloy V6, and 6-speed automatic. Hydractive suspension, etc was the icing on the cake, so we traded our VW EOS Turbo Convertible for it, and have never looked back. This is our current daily driver, and is going to be very hard to replace when the time comes.

NB: The C5 continued in production until 2018, and its replacement the DS9 has only just been announced in March 2020. The DS9 is based on the new Peugeot 508 that was introduced last year, so there may or may not be a Citroen version as well, at less cost than the DS9. Time will tell ?



The 1961 ID19 below, was purchased from Archibalds Garage in Christchurch in 1975. Already 14 years old, it hadn't been serviced all that well, and before long the rear suspension went solid, which meant installing new hydropneumatic spheres. It also had a habit of freezing up the front inboard disk brakes, with Archibalds admitting to me that the early ID's manual brakes were prone to this problem, but the more complex DS model's were fine. When the timing chain then slipped a couple of cogs, to save money we took out the engine (15 hours to dismantle virtually everything forward of the windscreen), got Ian Shipley to fit a new chain, while it swung on a hoist, then put it all back together again (another 12 hours). Besides all these problems, absolutely loved the thing, until a drunk in Wellington smashed into the side of it and wrote it off. The insurers did give us the chance to have it repaired, but their estimate of time to get a new front door out from France was six months, so we took the money instead.

Copyright: Avant I.S. Ltd, 2020