Archive for the ‘ Citroën DS restoration ’ Category

Brigitte meets some other Citroëns!

Finally, after about 7 years of false starts, Brigitte was well enough for an outing with the Citroën club where I had a chance to start socialising her with other Citroëns! I am a member of the Citroën Veteranen Club Deutschland, Bavarian chapter and on 4 October 2015 they had organised a drive day down towards Chiemsee, southeast of Munich. It was a little bit of a foggy drizzly morning but undeterred we motored down the B304 (landstraße or B road), once I had worked out how to operate the windscreen wipers… If you are not keeping to a tight schedule then the landstraße in Bavaria are a much nicer way to travel than the autobahns, particularly in an old-timer. Curving smooth roads through rolling hills and picturesque scenery are much nicer in a slow car than joining the hectic and intense autobahns.




Citroën SM


1970’s Citroën DS’s.




Once I had joined the rest of the club members at our lunch meeting place in Pelham (with a lovely view of Pelhamer See) we had a typical Bavarian lunch before heading off again towards Seebruck at the northern tip of Chiemsee. This is an ancient Roman location and we visited a museum about the Roman history of the area.

Then, with the sun coming out, we all drove off in convoy again towards our final stop at Seeoner Seen, for coffee and photos. You get even more smiles and waves when driving in a convoy of old Citroëns than you do when driving alone!

Enjoy the photos from Seeoner Seen below.


Three old ladies staring out to sea.


Handbrake well on…


Oldest car of the day.


Citroën Traction Avant Familiale

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Long overdue update

Hi All,

Well after a (very) long time without blogging anything here I am again. The last time I wrote was back in 2012 and I have moved countries 3 times since then! I wrote that my DS was “fixed” and in storage in the Netherlands waiting for a lucky buyer to come along and take her away. Needless to say, that never happened. I’m now living in Munich, Germany and I have had the DS “Brigitte” shipped here where she is currently at the doctor being “fixed” again… The Citröen specialist has the instructions to keep fixing her until she passes the registration test which was maybe a bit of a rash instruction to give on my part… I’m told I will have her back next week so let’s see how that goes.

Anyway, a quick update on how I came to be in Munich. I was working for BMW in Italy for a year in 2012. When that contract ended I moved back to Australia intending to get a job there and “settle down”. That lasted three months before I was offered another job at BMW in Tokyo so off I went with less than a weeks notice. I spent 14 months in Tokyo which is my favourite city in the world. Always something happening and many amazing experiences including a cocktail party on a British warship parked (moored? docked?) in Tokyo Bay. I also had the opportunity to drive many high-end BMWs that I had not gotten my hands on before including a 750i, 650i GranCoupé, 640i Coupé, 335i Convertible, ActiveHybrid3, and ‘funnest’ of all, an i3. I will do some individual reviews on some of these shortly.

As my contract in Japan came to an end I was lucky enough to be offered a permanent position back at the BMW Mothership in Munich which I duly accepted. So I’m now planning to be here for the foreseeable future. Best of all I now have even more access to the cars! I’m currently driving a BMW M135i hatch (video review will be posted next) and I have a BMW 430d Coupé on order which I will receive in July.

So that’s enough update. More car reviews and musings will follow soon.



DS progress

Well it has been a while since I updated progress on my Citroën. It is all fixed and running now although still unregistered and stored in a garage in the Netherlands. I would like to sell it as I am moving back to Australia next year and transporting it just feels like it will overcomplicate my life. However, if it doesn’t sell then I will take it with me. In the meantime I am planning to spend my summer holiday fixing a few cosmetic things and getting it running sweetly. I’d also like to register it in the Netherlands so I can drive it around a bit but I’m guessing that will require me to register myself as resident there. Not the end of the world I guess.

Here is a link to the car for sale anyway:

DS progress

Following the thwarted attempt to collect my DS myself on a trailer some time ago I enlisted the help of a professional car transporter who picked up the car and took it to a new, more reputable garage (Herman Janssen) in Bennekom in the Netherlands. Finally I can report I have found a garage that is not only honest but fast and exacting and really seems to know what he is doing.

Rather than the 4000€ quoted by the thief in Middelburg he fixed my broken axle and electrical problems for around 700€. Finally I was able to take my car for a test drive without it breaking down!

It still had a problem with not selecting reverse on the hydraulic semi-automatic so I left the car there with instructions to fix this also. Unfortunately this was quite complicated and took Herman three days to fix. To his credit he only charged me for 16 hours work and also fixed a number of other things to make the car ready for the road such as lights and the horn. This is all done now and apparently the car is ready for collection.

Unfortunately since my last post I have moved to Madrid, Spain which makes popping to Bennekom slightly more problematic. I am thinking now of what I should do with the car but in the meantime I guess I will have it transported to a storage garage while I think about it.

All in all, having finally dealt with someone honest, I am feeling a lot better about the whole experience even though it has cost me more money. I think I will head to the Netherlands in a few weeks to check it out.

I will keep you posted on whether I decide to sell it or keep it. I am moving to Milan, Italy in February which is also not such a suitable place to drive a classic Citroën but I will think about it.

Citroën DS – the saga – thwarted again

Yesterday I borrowed a car with a towbar, rented an enormous trailer, and drove back up to Middelburg in the Netherlands to collect my DS. All went well and I even managed to avoid the enormous traffic jam that engulfed most of Antwerp yesterday afternoon.

Upon arrival I was presented with another bill of 197€ which was for finding my chassis number and getting the car started. Scandalous but what can I do? I paid it. Then began the process of getting the DS on the trailer. Luckily I had taken my friend Dimi with me because André refused to help. Didn’t want to be responsible for it he said. Could have still bloody helped in my opinion given that I have paid him 700€ for basically nothing!

More bad news was to follow. The locking mechanism of the winch on the trailer turned out to be broken so it wasn’t clicking as I wound it. This meant that if I let go of the handle it would spin back the other way. It also meant that it didn’t provide any help in securing the DS, something that you would want in normal circumstances, but is essential in this case as the handbrake isn’t working. The straps that I had brought wouldn’t be strong enough on their own to hold the car.

So after winching the car on to the trailer I decided it was not safe to try and transport it with just the straps holding it on. I was forced to take it off the trailer again and leave it there. Now I am being charged 65€ a month storage for it to stand outside. I don’t know what to do next. I’m not prepared to try again with a trailer myself so I guess I will have to pay someone to transport it. It never ends…

Update: The trailer rental place has agreed to give my money back so that is something I guess…

Citroën DS – the saga – moving on

Since I’ve been told via the Citroën forum and various other channels that the amount quoted to repair my driveshaft/axle was outrageous I’ve decided to reject it and pick up my car. I’ve requested that André simply get the engine started so that the car can be raised and I will collect it with a trailer. Given that he charged my 520€ for collecting it there is no way I’m making that mistake again!

So the question is now whether I should continue with another repairer or just put it up for sale and cut my losses. The masochist in me wants to continue but I’ve been burnt so many times…

Citroën DS – the saga – costs and more costs

Just got back from Zeeland where I went to check on the DS and find out how much it’s all going to cost to repair. As I expected, a lot. I’d braced myself to accept 5k€ but it seems it is likely it will be closer to 10k€. The broken axle alone is going to cost nearly 4k€ to repair because of the amount of time required. The most annoying thing is that this could have been prevented if whoever previously did repairs on that had bothered to put all the bolts back in but they didn’t and now I have remaining bolts sheared off which need to be drilled out. All the parts are relatively cheap but it’s the 32 hours labour that kills it.

So anyway, I’ve spent about 10k€ so far on buying the car and various aborted attempts to repair it. Now I’m going to have to spend 4k€ to fix the axle and once that is done and the car is running, André will be able to give a more accurate assessment of what else needs doing. I’m seriously considering cutting my losses because I’m scared that even after the axle is fixed he is then going to find multiple other problems and it’s going to cost even more. My current assessment of 10k€ to fix it would mean I have spent 20k€ on it. It is definitely not worth that much. And I’m not sure I want to keep it after all the trouble it has caused. I’m never going to enjoy driving it as I will always be waiting for it to break down.

So should I sell it as is and cut my losses? In it’s current state I might be able to get 4-5k€ for it I guess… Need to decide asap.