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Yugoslavian Ami.., continuing on from 'now-autoshites-flimsy-bodied Shitroen'

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Aaah so maybe the lower front pressure is to increase understeer a bit, until oversteer cannot become an issue. It is all in the balance............


Not sure what you mean by premature wear of the rears when unladen? Wear is pretty much proportional to weight unless there is some geometry / scrub issue which there shouldn't be on one of these.

Are you refering to those under / normal / over inflation pictures that used to be in the highway code, you know where only the centre of the tyre wears if over inflated?

That really only refers to crossply tires, the tread of a radial is held flat by the circumferential belt and Citroens are never on crossplys!  crossplies.


Edit - Ta JM.

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Crossplies, for God's sake!


Are you guys for real?


Slap that heap together and DRIVE that motherfucker.

Jayzuz, my doctoral dissertation required less gobbledegeek.

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Crossplies, for God's sake!


Are you guys for real?


Slap that heap together and DRIVE that motherfucker.

Jayzuz, my doctoral dissertation required less gobbledegeek.


It just goes to show..  one man's good shit :mrgreen:  is another man's turd   :wacko: 

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Crossplies, for God's sake!


Are you guys for real?


Slap that heap together and DRIVE that motherfucker.

Jayzuz, my doctoral dissertation required less gobbledegeek.


Mebbe, but this isn't one continuous long moan about a dirt cheap 20 year old Berlin taxi which needed a new starter motor, has a squeaky fan motor, a couple of electric windows which aren't and doesn't do TDi to the gallon. 



We're talking about skills which have been lost in time to new-fangled assumptions of engineers who have done little more than sit on their arses playing computer games as kids, build a battery-powered gocart for the sixth form engineering prize (1 entry) and stare at a screen when learning engineering at Uni. Who believe that discomfort=speed, electronics=grip and less=worse.

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Less is definitely more with ancient Cits - something they seem to have forgotten to pull off. Even into the PSA era, the basic spec BX with the old suitcase 1400 made most sense of all of them. Years ago I nearly bought a basic ID, none of the DS's chrome addons, even the front indicator lenses were sublimely simple by comparison. Under the bonnet there was room all around the engine, as it should be. It oozed charm in a very different way from sleazy Pallas does.

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Sorn Me - I believe you're right. Ami Supers and Acadianes had fixed spring cans. I've never fully understood why. Acadianes do have a longer wheelbase - one reason some rate them as the best-riding of the A Series Citroens. Later ones at least. The best I've experience was a late Ami 6.

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It's because they have the highest payload ratings, floating spring cans could lead to excessive nose-up when well loaded. The Dyane-fronted vans do ride well and slice though the air well compared to their predecessors, but 0-60 is measured in minutes when loaded - probably one reason the PTT stickers went on R4s.

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Keep it up :D


"The wheelbase stretches the more you load up the car - so through corners, the wheeelbase on the outside of the curve is longer than that on the inside."   ... and so ??


... and so ??

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and i thought i was insane with a cursory check of lights and fluids then doing 500 miles in an old car with no thought to if it went bang :D through a foreign cuntry (and france)


nutter :D


hope it works out

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Really enjoying all of this discussion. 

These are great cars because someone very clever worked from first principles to make something as good as possible.   I agree ;)

That doesn't happen very often. 


I concur with that Autocar roadtest about the fuel consumption, high twenties mpg. But you try driving one gently!


I think the Ami Super rear brakes were the same as the Acadiane van but I can't remember why I should believe that.   I also understand that they are the same,  having 35mm wide drum pads rather than the 2cv's 30mm. The diameters the same at 180mm.  But I'm also led to believe the hubs / wheel bearings on the Acadiane / super are also more substantial than those of the 2cv & Dyane.   I cannot yet confirm this though.


I also have this idea that the Super spring boxes were different such that there is no front / rear interaction but, again, can't remember where I might have got that idea from.  It would make sense I think, to so increase pitch-stiffness with so much more power. The poor road ride was excellent but I have never driven a 2 cylinder car so can't compare.


Yes,  the springs of the Ami-super are both a larger diameter and stiffer than the lighter A-series,  in fact the spring canisters needed raised bulges in the floor panels because of this.  And yes,  I'm also led to believe that the spring canisters were not 'floating' between rubber buffers on this model.  In fact I still have to fathom why the 2cv spring canisters did in fact float.  I'm just beginning to read an article that starts off to say that it was "to the allow the pitch stiffness to be reduced"  I've not yet read the paper though.  I'll explain more ...as and when I find out.


I had no Idea that Citroens were ever built in Yugoslavia, was that where all Supers were made?   No, like other models of that era, the super was most likely built in several plants. Citroen's main production was in France and in Belgium, but for other markets they needed to overcome import restrictions / taxes. This happened with all manufacturers which is why for example the Ford Fiesta was made in Spain.  Import taxes were just so prohibitive unless a certain percentage was made locally. 


Amongst others,  Citroen had assembly plants in Argentina,  Spain,  Slough in England,  and as we know from my car - the plant in Koper, on the Adriatic coast.  This, at that time, was in Soviet block Yugoslavia.  Complete car-kit assemblies known as CKD (complete knock down) were initially shipped out to those plants,  simply for assembly and local market sales.   Later on, as the factories got their act together,  they'd take on more and more of the production - which allowed for local variations to be made.  Usually the bodies of the light vans were the first to be changed, with variations such as different wheel base lengths &/or pick-ups being introduced.   And in Argentina - their 2cv had a lifting tailgate rather than a small boot lid.  


Making cars & light commercials in Koper opened up the Soviet Block market to Citroen.   But aside from Paris and Koper - I don't know which of Citroen's plants built or assembled the super.  Just 48,000 'supers' were built out of some 700,000 Ami's.


Edit - just found this one for sale - are these the later wheels referred too or are they a GS wheel?  those wheels are GS. The Ami super after 1974 had perforated wheels but without the indent pressings. 



Further reading below..  It's s a letter I sent to the 2cvGB club - Ami Registrar,  when I first bought my car.  It shares a few more tidbits about Citroen's Koper facility.


Friday, 27 November 2015

Hello again Jonathan,


I write, as I fly home from Ljubljana on ESY 3246, to share that as of yesterday (25th Nov) I became the new proud owner of a 1974 Ami Super Berline Luxe.  After some 20+ years I am returning to A-series (or rather AMi series) ownership.


This particular car with its 1015cc motor was built by Citroen-Cimos in Koper, Yugoslavia (Slovenia, since that country's independence in 1991).  Likewise, this ancient town on the northern Adriatic is where I bought the car, although I understand that she used to live a little way further inland.  Tomo, the car's  seller, is somewhat an enthusiast as he also has an Ami-8 Break and a Visa.  He bought the Berline some seventeen years ago with the intent of restoring her, but only used her for a year (1,500km) before parking her in the back of a dry double garage. 


Buried behind motorcycles and household stores ever since - her speedo reads just 48,449 km (we hope this may be its first-time-around).  The car is far from pristine though. As a cheap car / workhorse - it has minor scrapes & dents consistent with it having been used for 25 years around the community's old towns and farms.  The front seats,  now singles rather than it's original bench, its wheels, and perhaps a few of the body panels are from Tomo's father's 1972 Ami-8 Break Club.  Those aside she appears pretty original and has matching numbers.


There's plating welded over the front footwell floors.., which is quite solid but of course hides 'the unknown'.  I'll have this corrected by  Janez of  '2cvKeza' in the north of Slovenia, before I drive the car back to the UK next May or June.  Janez not only restores A-series Citroens but also makes faithful reproductions of obscure A-series structural panels (those otherwise not available or are rather poor fits - from the usual sources). 


Working directly from originals - he makes his as near true to the original as possible, except that they're from zinc-plated steel.  He's a really nice chap to deal with and like myself, prefers where possible to spot (or if necessary plug) weld these panels together… again as near original spec as practical.  


He & his wife drive an Ami-8 Break from 1970 (with sliding front door glass) and a rare Citroen-Cimos DAK  (van) from 1985.  This model of van is shorter than the usual Acadiane and has numerous detailing differences.   When I visited on Tuesday he was busy reconstructing a client's 2cv6 and a Cimos Geri (Acadiane pick-up)


Apparently,  'Citroen Tomos Koper' used to assemble Citroen A-series from CKD  (complete-knock-down)  kits of car parts supplied by Citroen Paris.  'Tomos Koper' changed company name in 1973 to 'Cimos Koper'.   Serving the even-more economical / socialist Yugoslavian market, a generally very dry climate - the cars made were not chemically dip cleaned before paint,  as in Citroen's own French or Belgian factories,  but were just wiped over before being lightly spray painted. 


Tomo's own father went to the factory to pick 'his' Ami Break from the stream of cars on the production line, and with a quiet word and possibly discrete back-hander, it's paintwork was thicker and more carefully applied than most.!


It's not known how much of my Ami-Super was 'made' in Yugoslavia or else supplied by Citroen to be assembled, but it's likely that the low-production-volume models (such as the Super) were CKD kits made in Paris.  Certainly their engines & gearboxe assemblies were French made.  As time went on Tomos, and later Cimos, progressively made more parts in-house. The light-commercial's bodies were pressed locally, and their design differences are more easily spotted. 


Certainly,  my car's under-wheel-arch paint is inadequate for northern Europe's wet, especially in the wintertime.  I'll need to address this before I drive the car to the UK.  Fortunately aside from the foot wells, this car's rust appears to be superficial ..and there's no under-seal to hide anything.  Even a dented rear wing which had (many years ago) been pushed out again - has only the lightest of surface rust around it's flange edges and where dent's creases have cracked the paint.  Bottom of the doors are good, as are the wing's return flanges, the inner wings and bonnet.  Time will tell though what is yet to be discovered - as I had very limited access when I viewed and bought the car.!


Surprisingly the rubber of the window rubbers & driveshaft gaiters still feel to be supple. I dared not hope for that from a 40+ year old car living in a dry climate.  From a quick inspection - the interior headlining is clean and untorn and the door cards are in fair condition. The seats had covers over them so I couldn't assess their state, but I expect that they are past their prime, even though the car hasn't seen much daylight for years..


I'll stop there to keep this report reasonably short, but attach a few photos for your interest.


Best regards

Peter  : 2cvGB 030093

...extracts of the above were used in 2cvGB club magazine January 2016


- - - - - - - - - - - - -

p.s. if you're still looking for interesting Shitroen stuff to read.., how about  < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citro%C3%ABn


p.p.s. (Friday 25th March)

          When I went to see Janez (2cvKeza) we continued our conversation regarding Citroen-Tomos and Cimos who built Citroens.   Janez is one, if not the  foremost expert on the Yugoslavian A-series cars & light commercials.  He is getting known to be a collector of anything concerning this company,  and so is occasionally given original factory data, either for his own collection or to copy.  This includes assembly blue prints which show panel fit 'tolerance' to be between 1 mm and 1 cm ! (this refers to the same gap between panels - not one gap at 1mm and an other at 10mm)


He was also telling me of the import restrictions between Yugoslavia (in the Soviet block) and the West.  And that by agreement with the country's Ministers the value of imports from Citroen (and presumably other sources) was dependant on what was exported. I presume this was to maintain the (import / export)  balance of payments.


As a consequence Citroen vehicle production in Koper would occasionally come to a halt, simply because the factory needed to import a part ..but their quota for imports was all used up.  Janez tells me that often this was just for a month or two but sometimes for as much as for two years.  In this time part-complete vehicles would be stockpiled until the parts were obtained, fitted, and shipping might happen.  I'd seen in movies like The Russia House ; Sean Connery / Michelle Pfeiffer, Roy Scheider, James Fox,  c.1990  where stocks / supplies to the shops had been non-existent, and then almost without notice a shipment would come in..,  resulting in long queues in the shops.  I'd not even thought that this applied to commodities like cars.


Tomos and (post-73) Cimos would balance out the import of engine and body panel parts by making and exporting things like aluminium castings.. Citroen themselves were having high % reject of their own casting, which suffered from porosity.  Tomos / Cimos already making small motorcycle had overcome this. They also made and supplied wiring looms and items like starter motors (note the markings / origin on your old Citroen).


These and other parts were shipped to Citroen for assembly into their vehicles, including those cars 'Made in' Paris, Belgium and Slough.  Janez went on to explain that the Ami Super I have was made by Cimos in Koper ..as recorded on the chassis number.  And that Citroen France may not even have factory records of this.   


I enquired as to how much of my car would have been made in Yugoslavia, and it's his opinion (based on the records) that most of the metal pressings of cars like mine were probably made in France, but then shipped to Koper as a kit of parts, to be welded together.  I had written (above) of CKD kits of parts before, as I had some dealing with this (from when I worked in the motor industry), but I'd not imagined the chassis and body shell might have come just as pressings rather than as welded 'assemblies'.  I guess in logistical terms it made sense as the tooling for pressings are very expensive but an assembly jig is cheap. And the transport cost saved - in not shipping air (empty body shells),  would soon pay for an assembly welding-jig.  Of course the import value of panels would also be less than that of assemblies.


So it seems that even low volume production models such as the Ami Super are likely to have been 'built' in Koper rather than just painted and fitted out.  That then makes more sense of the comments previously made by Tomo regarding the painting of cars, because if assemblies had been shipped then they would most likley have been painted too.


It also makes sense of stories I heard many years ago about 2cv's which were particularly prone to rust.  It was said that the 'steel' for these cars 'Made in Portugal (I think) was sitting on the docks for months awaiting shipping, and the salty wet weather was the cause of the problem.  At the time I'd imagined palet loads of 8'x4' sheet steel, but now I thinks of pressings (as yet unpainted because they still needed to be welded).!



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and i thought i was insane with a cursory check of lights and fluids then doing 500 miles in an old car with no thought to if it went bang :D through a foreign cuntry (and france)


nutter :D


hope it works out




I've invited a dear lady friend of mine, along with Jani who is a paraplegic to accompany me / us back to the UK ..just for the ride.  she asked if we might follow the coast back ?  ...She's our navigator.! :shock:


I thought that would be a nice !   .. passed Venice and down the Adriatic coast of Italy and up the Med-side, across the south of France,  then down & around the Spanish and Portuguese coastlines,  and the home straight ..up the French coast..  

Great idea (..if I had the budget) !   


"Are you testing, insuring and taxing it on its Slovenian plates, or whatever a car there needs to be legal?"  yes, that's the plan.  Insure it there ...because as I understand it - I can't insure it here for such a trip without a UK inspection and first getting it registered.  Presently, it's registered in Jani's name so I'll simply be driving his car back here.



p.s.  fordeliveryboy  what you been posting..?   it's now over 2000 views.



Edit ..


p.p.s   my ramblings re.  the Ami-super (on page.1)  has been appended to  ..to include a discourse on the Ami-6 chassis and suspension  - Pete.


p.p.p.s.   below  Ami-super-cabrio looks like fun, more here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lX0TVeSvSE 

I presume it's a home conversion, but I think rather nicely styled using the Ami-6 boot-lid  ..and in doing so retaining its wonderfully French look - as a Cabriolet almost Peugeot ?



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The flight is at 8am so I'll be trying to get up around about 5am..


Then the fun begins in earnest : :mrgreen:


  13th March, Sunday : Fly to Slovenia, drink coffee, eat lunch, & spend the afternoon sorting out what else (tools, wooden blocks etc)  I'll need to borrow off Jani's father.  Pack Jani's car.  Drink wine.

   Monday : go down to where the car is, stopping en-route to buy new battery & fuel.  Then my first job will be to go around the whole car again with penetrating oil, and prepare the work space..  Followed soon after lunch by .. try and get the car started. 8)   Check for oil tightness, exhaust blowing,  the operation of controls, clutch, gears, brakes, and electrics.  

Then hopefully we drink beer with big silly grins ! 


   15th / Tuesday : start pulling things apart.  Replace the cam-belts,  and then..  well..  we'll see !?  

   24th March : the car goes across to Janez @ 2cvKeza for the floors/ lower bulkhead to be replaced, and whatever else I've identified needs to be done.  

   25th - 27th  : Easter / Good Friday - Easter Sunday :  holiday

   29th : hope to visit Janez @ 2cvKeza to discuss in person

   30th : Fly back to Blighty

   31st  : order more heating oil (..it's just run out !)


If I'm near internet access I'll send in progress reports and pictures.  Who knows..  we might even manage a short video of first start up..   and a walk around (i've never done that nor do I know how to post it, so it'll be up to Jani).. :shock:


See you anon.. ;) 


p.s.  for any would be burglars reading this.. my address is :

10 Downing Street, London.

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Oh, if the body is done then why not bolt it back together and drive home in glorious early April sunshine? The extra fuel you'd spend going the scenic route would be saved in heating oil, since by the time you're home it'd be warm enough not to need any.

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"Oh, if the body is done"  ...not yet but on  24th March : the car goes across to Janez @ 2cvKeza



Monday, 14 March 2016 -

Everything generally going as well as might be hoped for, although getting up at 4:30am on Sunday morning really knocked me for a six regarding tiredness. 


Departures at Stanstead were delayed because of fog, and so the planes were taking off and landing on the wire.  Each jet literally queued while proceeding aircraft thoroughly cleared the field, and before the next one was allowed to move. 



1hr 50 minute flight and we arrived an hour late to mild weather in Ljubljana  Jani and his son Matej (part of the aforementioned 'squirt team') met me at the airport.


After spending the afternoon sorting other tools and 'things' we might need and loading up the car, we had a lazy evening chatting and enjoy a home made pizza and a beer or two.  Monday morning saw us heading down to from overcast Alpine Skofia Loka to beautiful sunshine and deep blue Adriatic with white horses racing the Bora-winds in Koper. 


Nearby our destination (nr. Piran) we dropped in at a motor factor to buy a new battery, and various other fluid consumables for the job, and then onto another store where I bought some 2-pack epoxy primer and a few more bits, before lunch. Got to the car around 2pm and uncovered the car to see it clearly, all around for the first time…





In truth it looks worse than I thought / remember it, but I guess a heck a lot of that is down to crappy panel fitting and what looks like black-spot mould all over the paintwork, and then windows which look as if grease had been smeared on them and left to dry hard.


Then it was time to set about establishing a working space and secure room (to lock away our tools and parts in), which included clearing out the inside of the car (below)  ..because I can't be dealing with clutter under my feet and in my way while I'm trying to do a job, and equally so that I could see what I was facing inside re. body / structural work needed.




Jani then set about removing spare wheel, ducting and air filter - out of the way,  while I went around squirting every fastening I could see with another shot of penetrating oil. That done, and so then the task started in earnest with removing spar plugs. The first one took half an hour and I needed a 18" tommy bar to undo it. I unwound it a couple of turns and then sprayed penetrating oil as best I could around the thread and wound it back in. then unwound it again and repeated the process a dozen or more times  before I finally got the sod out.  The other three plugs were just a little easier, but in truth I've never experienced taking 2-hours to get four spark plugs out, to clean them, reset their gaps and refit them. !?  Jani in the meantime set about degreasing the underside of the bonnet. And checking the oil level.




Next I connected the new battery and no smoke nor sparking was noted.   So then we cobbled up a petrol-can hanging from the underside of the bonnet and fuel pipe to directly feed fuel into the carb (the fuel tank is for some reason out of the car).  At this stage I chose to bypass the fuel pump.   Our attempt to start the engine failed due to no spark.  Electrics feed is ok so next I need to pull the distributor off.  The cap is wet with engine oil so it's clear the seal is shot.  At that point it was coming on 6:30pm so I called it a day.   Tomorrow morning I'll came back to it afresh.

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Tuesday :


First checked the coil was working by putting a spark plug in the king lead / against the block, and then touching out the low tension lead. That worked and so I knew the lack of spark was going to be at the points.  Removal of the dissy-cap revealed an oil puddle, so it was time to remove dissy and replace the LHS rear camshaft seal.  Never been into one of these engines before so I was also flying in fog, after cleaning the outside - its removal was straight forward.


Taking this out into the daylight I could see oil bridging the opening contacts. Strip & clean (carb cleaner), and the points were not in bad shape, but the vacuum mechanism's diaphragm was clearly punctured.  That wouldn't prevent the engine from running, but it also wouldn't pull very well once the engine was spinning.  


While dismantling and cleaning, Jani recorded for me what was included in the engine gasket, o-ring, & seal set.  Personally £145 seemed overly expensive for what little there was (there's no head gaskets on these engines) so I wanted a record of sizes and any part numbers ...just in case I need to change any again in the future. 


He then went off in search of a replacement vacuum advance unit.  As expected (but otherwise hoped) it was  No joy on that front …so I'll need to order one over the internet and have it sent here.  




I replaced the camshafts rear oil seal and refitted the now-clean dissy, sans vacuum_auto_advance bits, reconnected the battery and hung the petrol can from the bonnet with pipe directly siphoning to the carb and started her up.   I was told by the seller that he'd started the engine and it sounded good but somehow I doubt that every happened. So I reckon this was the first start in 16+ years.   


Smoke bellowed from the penetrating oil applied to exhaust parts, along with a a fair whiff of white smoke from the exhaust tail pipe. The carburettor heater pipe was also blowing.  Nevertheless she'd started this time quite easily on choke, without clanking, obscure ticking or other sounds which spelt impending Shitroen Armageddon.  I only ran the engine for a couple of minutes and slipped back into the car to turn her off.  There was a bell type noise.. The bloody fire alarm had gone off in this underground car-park.   That being under a paraplegic hostel the fire brigade would be prompt so I ran around like a headless chicken trying to find someone to call them off. (Jani was still out and about at this time).   Fortunately that was duly done and no harm done.., but I did feel a twerp !


Next job was to pull the front body panels ; bumper first and then front panels and outer f.wings as an assembly.  This is in preparation for replacing the cam belts tomorrow.   




Jani then returned and so I pushed the car out of the entrance and started her up again...  first twist of the key (second start this decade) but she stalled through lack of choke.   Restarted and left to fast idle until warm - so that I could let the choke right in and adjust the idle screw to set the tick-over.  Even at the very slowest tick-over I'm very pleased that there are no undue noises from the engine, save a little fart from the exhaust blowing..   Jani recorded the second start on his telephone's video - so as and when we'll try and up load that for y'all

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That's a bonus she started without much fuss, sometimes a carbon build-up on the heads can drop off and lock an engine when it's stood for so many years. Don't worry about shonky panel fit, they weren't the best and as the front of the body will be sagging a bit it's not going to be Lexoid.

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Wednesday, 16th


Eight hours of gymnastics working around, under, and inside the car today.., now at 8pm I'm totally knackered with battered knuckles and ready to do nothing much but put my feet up. I ought to have a shower but that threatens to be far too much effort.


The day started with pulling the car outside and borrowing a power wash to clean the outside, inside and underside of the car. A steam cleaner for the engine bay would have been wonderful, but hey.., I'm delighted to have use of this jet wash for a couple of hours to at least get rid of grim. 


The exhaust had several bandages ..which blew away in the blast (the manifolds, front balancing box & tail-pipe both seem serviceable but the forward pipe & silencer are holed), and then the jacking points also seem pretty Heath Robinson (below 1st pic : far left / 2nd pic : top/rhs) . They work with the standard wind-up-jack, so I assume they're original, and they work. But I can't honestly say anything more positive than that (..certainly they don't inspired confidence).  The chassis appeared good from what I could see, but the outriggers need replacing (below 2nd pict : top/LHS).  Again the sills look OK.. but I'll need to look closer when everything dries out and I do some scraping. 





Now she's cleaner - every body panel has even more dents than I'd spotted before..  Jonny69's thread title "flimsy-bodied Shitroen" is it transpires ...somewhat an understatement. Rolf Harris could play billabong on this roof, and these panels.  It also seems that most (the darker Terry Wogan beige) panels, including the roof have been poorly repainted (complete with porosity & runs).  Never mind.., positive news is that aside from frayed edges most external panels are surprisingly rust free. The worst is the LH rear wing which top front corner looks very British, with its 'autoshite classic' rust blistering.


I did spend a few minutes wiping over various spots of external paintwork with thinners. Ingrained with oily finger prints and the paint's chalking (from exposure to Adriatic sunshine) mainly wiped away ..why I even saw a little shine !.   


By this time it was already 12:30 ..so just in time for a great lunch - courtesy of the paraplegic home's dining-room (in whose car park entrance I'm working).    


I spent a while cleaning the windows. Their grime, inside & out, was bugging me.  Even now they're not brilliant and yet they're a hundred times better than they were.  Next I tackled a small section of boot floor.  Likewise it looked shit.., but scraping revealed good panel work hidden under the shite-black under-seal (I hate that stuff !).  I'll leave this job for 'Citroën Dream Team' helpers  :D




'The plan' for the afternoon was to replace the old cam belts, but the 42mm socket I'd bought specifically to remove the fan was the wrong size.  I need a 38mm  I can't do much without that fan removed, but ..not an issue, seeing as I have 'a few other jobs to get on with.!'


I turned my undivided attention to removing the patchwork in the footwells (please see previous piccies).  Having discovered yesterday that the 'repair panels' were riveted in place.. (that pleased me ;-) ).., on removing the first - I found it to be an aluminium plate, possibly 1.2mm thick. ie., structurally bloody useless.  Still, it was very much easier to despatch than a welded in steel plate would have been.  I drilled the rivets & chiselled/ prised off the two large and two small plates, plus a patch of lightweight grp mat.  These it seems were to stop water leaking out.. but were equally effective in sandwiching quite a pile of mud, sand & oxide (crumbled panels). 


Disappointingly the chassis top skin (formerly under those plates) was badly rusted through, and this inevitably means - the inner webs of the chassis will be as bad  :-(   ..more cost.!  ..I'll ask Janez (2cvKeza) to deal with this when the body's lifted off.  Looking on the bright side - while he has part of the top skin removed - he'll have even better access to paint protect the inside  :-)




Aluminium plates removed and a pile of grit swept out ; I set about removing the next layer down, which I'd guess was the original inner-skin of the lower-bulkhead's cross-box-section. Un usually this was stitch-brazed in place. The bottom flange of this panel was filigree, and so pretty much only the top edge, a couple of places where there are inner webs, and the upturned ends needed the brazes grinding away to free it. 


I've left the three inner webs, and the outside of that box section in place - so that Janez can determine for himself what needs to be replaced. But I'm expecting him to say : lower bulkhead / box section complete with inner webs + both floors & probably the sills too + lower A-posts + the floor's outriggers + jacking points  + lower repair panels to the rear wheel arches + lower C-post.  And then of course to cut out chassis's the top skin (front half) and to cut out and repair the inner webs.  That'll keep Janez gainfully employed for a few days ! 




Tired out and with a sore throat this evening.., and not so happy with progress, nor the prospect of costs for what probably now needs doing :-(  But hey, tomorrow's another day and doing this here in Slovenia hands-down beats my last employed job in Ipswich ;)  



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Thursday, 17 March


Jani was in telephone meetings all morning and then off home for yet another meeting in the afternoon. So I worked alone again.  However, the weather has warmed up to a beautifully sunny 16° so I pushed the car out from the underground garage again - for better light and working temp (it's bloody cold inside !)


I was going to clean up the engine bay today but instead decided to investigate the rust situation with the rear inner-arches.  Then (..in advanced planning mode), when they arrive - I can leave the 'dream team' helpers to scrape out the rest of the shitty under-seal in the boot. 


First job was to remove the big speakers from the parcel shelf.., not least because I knew their over-long fastening screws would find a way into the back of my head given slightest opportunity.




When I bought the car the seller had provided a photo of the boot area, which looked pretty good - aside from a short patch of GRP along either bottom edge. I couldn't see this, when I viewed the car in person, due to the car's then poor access.  When it was subsequently moved to the paraplegic home (where I'm presently working on it) - Jani's photos showed the same.  Only the other day, when I removed the rear seat - did I see big patches of fibreglass.  These are what I've been removing today.  


Unfortunately while busy working - I missed lunch, along with the possibility of a lift home.  I had asked Jani to leave the addresses for me - both of the paraplegic home and the holiday apartment we are renting.  I'd also asked him to telephone a taxi company and have them collect me at 6pm, and then again tomorrow morning at 9:30am (to take me to & from our rental apartment).  He later gave me the taxi's phone number and told me it was going to cost €15. 


I assumed he'd booked the taxi, but he musta had other things on his mind.  And then was in a rush to leave for his next meeting.  Because come 6pm I wearily packed the car away ..but no taxi.  A call to the taxi company confirmed that no booking had been made, and the driver didn't know where a paraplegic home might be.  I had no address of where I was, nor even did I know which town the apartment was in !?  I cannot speak nor read Slovene, nor was anyone else left in the building.  


Jani's phone wasn't being answered, so I went up to reception (no persons there because this home is seasonal - and out of season right now - which is why I'm was allowed to keep the car there and subsequently to work on it in their car park).  I couldn't find anything that seemed like a brochure with an address on it …Bollocks


Then I recalled ; yesterday Jani had been in a telephone conference in the Director's office.  I found that office and it wasn't locked.  In the desk I found a business card.  I took this outside - to ask a neighbour if this was in fact the address here or perhaps a Head-Office address ?  Of course, it was now dusk, and every neighbour had disappeared into their home. I wandered down the lane and spotted a lady still working in her garden.  She spoke 'a little' English and kindly confirmed the card was in fact for this address - Progress :D


Next, on second or third attempt I got through to Jani's wife, to tell me which town the apartment was in.  I managed to copy/text the home's address to the taxi company and then phoned them to ask if they could collect.  I say 'managed to' because Jani's lent me a little Sony telephone …which is black, shiny, & without buttons.  And I don't know how to answer it. 


The taxi driver found me ..and so I was on my way home..  'cept he didn't know the address I had - because what was written down (from a plaque on the side of the building) was in fact the property developer's name.  Fortunately from my description (he with only broken English) of the apartment block - he phoned a colleague who pointed us in the right direction.  Thankfully I've more a photographic than academic memory, so I recognised turnings and road marking (although I have no idea what they mean !)  and got home soon after 7pm.  


And so it was.. a little adventure to find my way home …after having missed lunch, and a long & tiring day fighting with the toughest adhesion of fibreglass onto steel I've ever encountered (..but blow torching the damned stuff turned the odds in my favour !).  


Again I'm knackered, my sore throat is turning into a head cold with allergies, and I've had hiccups for an hour, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves.  Fun, fun, fun !







p.s. Between you, me and the gatepost ..the car's in a worse state than I optimisitcally thought,  and so I'm having second thoughts regarding the sanity of my buying it..


p.p.s.  By way of reminder to myself as much as to any reader ; Just why I'm starting into a part body restoration a thousand miles from home & garage.??  It's because I'm taking the car across to 2cvKeza, here in the north of Slovenia, to repair / replace the floors near the end of this month. 


. . . . So, firstly I want to know for myself how serviceable / bad it is, and so what actually needs to be done within my limited budget (..for a solid driver). 


. . . . . And then, because every hour I spend doing the job is at least part of an hour + tax off  the final bill.  Btw.. while I'm at it - I'm pulling every body-fastening, cleaning the thread and greasing it - to make sure it all comes apart quickly for him.  Those in the front outriggers I've doused in penetrating oil and will wrestle with tomorrow.

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Flippineck, where're the holes? Considering this is micron-thick steel on a cheap (to buy) car which is decades old and was built under licence it's hardly a basket case.


Obviously the body's front triangulated bulkhead member needs to be replaced (this doesn't necessarily require body-off if you know your stuff, but with cheap labour rates it shouldn't matter if the shell is removed), the pics don't suggest to me complete floors and sills. They may well be misleading, of course, but all I see is lots of sound metal. Send pics/provide links of the seams, both chassis and body.


Those holes in the chassis top plate look tiny to me, if water has sat inside it then any serious corrosion will be to the bottom skin and internal members - post some decent pics of the underside at the front. And of the vertical side sections, around and just aft of the front axle mounts. Cut two or three 2 inch square sections from the top skin in each of the relevant areas to assess the state of the internal chassis members, I wouldn't be surprised if it's not almost A1. Look online for how it's constructed and where to look. 

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Friday, 18th March


It's been a slow day today, not least because I have a stinking cold and was up from 3am last night, being unable to lay down to sleep.  Jani, his wife Barbara, Matej - member of the original squirt team, and uncle Ardy are coming down to help this evening, for a six days.


I started off using thinners to cut through finger prints, scuffs and the like..  just down the LHS/ driver's side of the car - which was that exposed in the garage for the past decade & a half.  Together with the cleaned glass this old shitroen finally begins to shows potential as a car.., and less like a flea-bitten scrap yard dog. Psychologically that's an important boost to motivation.




I then set to cleaning the outside of the LHS lower A-post / the outside (under wing) corner of the bulkhead… removing the inner wing panel for access, and equally because I wanted to clean that side of the front of the chassis. I'd seen from above that this section of chassis had an upward bulge crease in it, although from below it looked straight. And I was a little concerned that I'd bought a car with chassis damage.  Thankfully the bent metal seen from above was simply in the skirt, which extends sideways to protect the drive-shaft & its gaiters from stone chips and road spray. 




The main box section was straight, which is significant insomuch as this is where the front bumper attaches.  The area is absolutely rust free,  although the end of the chassis was stuffed with clay-like mud. 


Recalling the front under-wing corners of my last classic ; a low mileage '66 Jaguar, the chassis & panels were each twice as thick as this shitroen's, but still infamous for rusting out and fender-bender damage.  Mine had been restored in the 1990's but it's crow-feet (supporting the lower front wing) - which were in direct line of road and tyre spray and mud, were again on their last legs. And everything under there needed taking back to bare metal and re-sealing. Rust bubbles were just starting to appear through the exterior paint. 


Advanced thinking for it's day, or simply to prevent the wheel-aches from getting stuffed full of mud or snow around rural communities ? …this cheapo shitroen has inner arches (below) - much like many modern cars now have in plastic..,  and no mud traps.




Not much to report on the bulkhead corner save penetrating rust holes which again I'd not seen before. Of course both would have seeped water and engine bay environment (noise, fumes, heat, etc) into the footwells, but more importantly one is in close proximity to the pedal assembly (which of course needs to be tough in the event of emergency braking).   More welding to be done here then.

The side of panel of this corner (where the door hinges from) had again several coats of paint and when stripped back was found to be well battered but rust free. Again it had been brazed in.





I'm all packed up just as Family arrive for 'a viewing'.  I'm glad to see them, having talked just to myself all day, but my head cold has drained all my energy.  We go back to the apartment, I drink tea and then take my leave and retire very early to bed.

 - - - - - - - - - - -

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Saturday, 19th March

On & off 12 hours sleep, a few anti-histamines, and many glugs of couch mixture through the night.., and I'm feeling stronger today. Uncle Ardy had called off sick, and didn't come down, but otherwise Jani's family very kindly joined me to work on the car.  His wife Barbara, in particular, did a sterling job - first cleaning the RHS of the car and then in the door shuts, finishing off the bonnet inside & out and also the insides of the front wings. Brilliant job. 






In the meantime ; Matej scraped of the remaining stickers from the back & side windows, and then continued with scraping the under-seal out of the boot floor.  Jani set about the front left hand corner of the bulkhead, mostly wire-wooled then removed that inner wing.  Me, ah well I was the shop floor supervisor ! ..no I did do some work.., but honestly not that much.


Having found a tool stockist in town, on-route in, I'd managed to buy the 38mm socket I needed to remove the cooling fan.  That duly used I could get on with removing the top, and subsequently the front engine-cooling ducting-panels, so that I might get to the cam-belts. 


However to do that, I first needed to take off the LHS carb-heater pipe (comes up from the exhaust manifold). It wasn't only rusted in place, but also corroded through immediately above the manifold's stub … threatening to break off with very little effort. 


Removing said pipe sounds like a quick n' easy task, but it needed the blow torch and judicious tapping around the sleeve to stretch the metal off …without the pipe breaking - which would have left the sleeve tightly on the stub but nothing to then pull on. 


The top-left ducting-panel had been buggered & twisted, probably having previously been forced out & then back in again through this too small a gap under said pipe. Never-the-less with the pipe out of the way it is easy to remove the top two and the front ducting-panels (the latter having a slimy film of whomever knows how many kilometres of engine-oil splatter).  I cleaned and worked to reshape each panel (..I'd shipped my dressing-hammer & dolly to Slovenia).  Perched on a wooden block in the leafy sunshine and using another as a make do bench I musta looked quite the artisan with hammer and sheet metal. !?


I took the opportunity to count the teeth spacing on the existing belts before removing them, just to ensure that I understood how it was meant to be.  The oil pump was one tooth out …but I really can't see why it needs to be timed anyway.??   I removed those belts before cleaning up the engine block - as best I could in situ, without splattering the car park with blackened cleaning fluid or oil marks. The belts had no brand or markings on them, but showed the first signs of perished rubber (fine cracking) less than 1mm along the edges. Of course just 50 miles of renewed use might have shown much..




Fitting new cam-belt tensioner bearings was easy, although I was a disappointed to read on the SKF bearing's packaging - they were 'Made in Argentina' ..not a country I'd generally associate with finest engineering.


Replacing the belts was not so straightforward as it might have been. Not only is the order of counting teeth unduly arse about tit, but the markings on one of these (Continental belts) was half a tooth out (..and all white marks / no yellow).  In short, not so difficult …but necessitating checking and double checking where the valve timing of an interference engine is at stake.  Finally, I set the cam-belt tensions (ensuring while doing so that no valve was under spring tension).. again an easy job, but again a task I had to do twice before being reasonably confident that what I'd done first time around was ok. !  On Monday I'll try to restart the engine, but not this Saturday evening.




That was it, all I did all day.  6:30pm already, so I cleaned up, put my tools away, and went home.  Relieved that this critical task had now been done, but at the same time frustrated that for the sake of an 'apenth of tar' and a little common sense - what ought to have been a 20 minute job  took over two hours (admittedly it was my first time).


Sunday 20th - Day off

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"the pics don't suggest to me complete floors and sills"


I think it'll come down to economy of time - v - the parts.  I'd have thought ..from my limited experience that a professional can spend hours doing patchwork repairs only to achieve a half-arse job,  or you simply cut it out, and rebuild it on jig - with all new panels.. and the time taken is not so differenct, only the cost of panels ?  But then.. the big saving is in the time taken to clean up the shitty old panels and all the crevices before paint - v - having already clean zinc-plated panels that just need a wipe over before extching primer and rubberised underseal.   ?


..other pictures here on Dropbox < https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fq2zdo8zfdi2qka/AAA8KigspWHHG_s9KE50ExNsa?dl=0 >

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Monday, 21 March


A week of work later.. and the car is looking decidedly lighter of six external and two inner wing panels. It's also brighter in off-white rather than black u/seal (under seal) everywhere…


Today, with family it was more scraping off under-seal & cleaning.  Barbara reviewed her work of Saturday and decided first to further clean into the corners of the front wings, before setting to work on the inner wings. Jani cleaned up rear lamps, the coil, fan, and various other 'removed bits' ..while I worked alongside 13 year old Matej to remove the rear bumper and r.wings. 


Barbara soon got into scraping off and cleaning the insides of the rear wings, which were sods in-so-much as they too had been coated in (now very hard) u/seal.  Conversely, the front wings had largely been protected by their inners and the u/s. coating on those was much thinner. The rears also have a very much more complex inside shape and flanges.. 


Taking advantage of better access ; I did a little more power washing under the back of the car and rear suspension arms,  before instigating a little competition with Matej - scraping u/seal (..likewise hardened over countless years) off the inside boot floor / rear arches. Made more of a task because the boot floor is of course all panel stiffening ribs.




It's been a long day again, but good progress made. Again most praiseworthy was that of Barbara and her cleaning of inner front arches and rear wing panels. 


I'll not have much mechanically done before the car goes to Janez @ 2cvKeza but this u/cking u/seal on everything has reduced my hoped-for progress to a snail's pace.  When I bought the car I 'assumed' (fatal mistake) all this black was just aerosol spray paint.. I didn't even know they had under-seal in this country… let alone sprayed the inside of cars with it ! * 


Balancing things out a little … the insides of the wings are actually in brilliant condition. Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that we're ten man-days into the task and haven't touched the underside of the car or suspension arms yet.  I've barely touched the electrics, nothing has been done to the brakes (although they do work), nor to the bearings, nor steering. So far I've only changed one engine seal and the cam belts.




It's not the end of the world, but it means that when Janez (2cvKeza) has done with replacing the bottom half of the body tub, and serviced the basic A-series mechanical parts - then I'll have to come back again to reassemble and go through those items (before my driving the car any distance).


"Best laid plans of an optimist.. WCPGW ? "   How about not realising (before booking the flight) that my trip coincided with Easter holidays - which would reduce working days to nine out of eighteen ? (and therefore the cost of trip against potential benefit is halved).  Thankfully Barbara is helping so very much …in effect giving me back four man-days of work. But still the economics of buying what appeared to be a scruffy but rust free continental car have been blown out of the water.!


* Note to anyone :  the old fashion tar-like under seal dries out, goes hard & cracks / chips / flakes off. And critically, when dried - it cracks rather than flexes at the panel joints …so it let's the bloody water in but not out again.!   Conversely ; PU sealant sticks like shit to a blanket (to a clean, dry surface) ..it does flex, and it does a great job of keeping the water out of the crevices. And as long as it's not in direct sunlight (UV) or harsh chemicals - it stays flexible for donkey's years.  Decent fuel-proof but flexible paint (applied to clean, dry and abraded surface) followed by waxoil does the rest.   If you're down to bare metal restoration then I'd recommend two-pack epoxy primer / undercoat.


Still going strong, but in the process of amending 'the plan'.


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 Tuesday, 22nd


When things are not going to plan ; there comes a time when it's necessary to reassess the course being taken.  And, if necessary to redirect one's efforts.




Barbara and Matej started of scrape underseal off the rear inner wheel arches,  Jani was to detail the engine, and I was to test two-pack epoxy primer against the various panel's paint. An hour later with my task done, and being satisfied that there was no horrid paint reaction, I asked the team to work in pairs..


The plan seemed simple enough.

1.  to prepare the inner mudguards and the undersides of the wings for paint.

2.  to paint those panels (two-pack epoxy-primer-undercoat applied with a neat little 1½" roller - as I'm not too worried about the paint finish under the wings)

3.  to loosely refit the panels tomorrow, ready for the car to leave on Thursday midday (when it'll be moved to 2cvKeza for body-tub rectification work). 


To implement this : Barbara and Jani would clean up any areas of surface rust (on the aforementioned panels) with electric drill / wire brush / scouring wheel, while Matej would help me as an extra pair of hands to hold the panels as I worked around each panel taking out dents and re-straightening edges.


Late morning Full realisation - that half of what I hoped to achieve in these weeks hadn't been done.  Countdown had already begun.  This occasion's  three word summary : "I've fucked up !" 


.. nothing can be done about that now. I'm committed (..both sense of the word !).   But as a career professional and former business owner I've had to deal with all sorts of situation, countless times before. And so I  just have to think the best way out of it  ..with an eye on both the big picture and accountable expenditure. 


I held an impromptu meeting to say halt, we've run out of time and so cannot achieve what were trying to do (before the Easter holiday & the car is sent away).  The focus is now to clean up the engine (so that I can put the freshly cleaned and part-painted cowling back on ..before the car goes), and to clean up the front suspension & steering joints - so that Janez doesn't spend his time (my bill) doing so.


Although the revised plan wasn't explained so succinctly at the time ..it's what was implemented. After lunch the underground car-park was clear, and so the Ami could be put up on blocks with front wheels off,  just in the entrance (over the drain) in the sunlight.  The heater box and brake cooling duct were removed for access to the gearbox, and that was cleaned up and power washed. Thereafter the front wheel hubs / steering / etc were cleaned up of accumulated caked-on mud & grease, while Jani progressed with cleaning & wire wool of the engine-cooling cowlings around the cylinders. 


I panel beat the dents out of the front cowling / fan panel and scrubbed it up with soaped fine wire wool, before repainting it.  I then resprayed (as best I could around inlet manifold pipes, etc.) the lower cooling cowlings that Jani had prepared, and was just in the process of refitting the front cowling without scratching it, and Matej was just refitting the front wheels, when the builders (working on the paraplegic home)  needed to get by with a van two van loads of stuff.


I called it a day, we'll pack up early..  But in the haste of trying to clear a path for the builders. I jacked up the car to lift out the support blocks underneath, and everything topped forward. The car jack twisted forward by some 45 degrees and wedged as the chassis landed back on it's blocks.  …Someone had removed the wedged blocks I'd placed under the back wheels (handbrake is on the front on these cars and one f. wheel was in the air anyway). 


It could so easily have been very dangerous, or else damaging.  Instinctively I blew a short fuse, forgetting for that instance - that 'family' were unskilled helpers .. just trying to be helpful.   Unfortunately it was Barbara who was there ..at that very moment. Had it been Matej then his youthfulness might have tempered my outburst. Had it be Jani then he would have just ignored me until I calmed a little and then reasoned with me. But it was not.. Conversation and joviality thereafter was stunted.


I'd had a shitty night's sleep last night (woke up several times to unpleasant dreams), and so with Easter holiday / my time running out,  and things having not progressed as I'd hoped (underseal + ballistic proof fibreglass patches), many more rust holes than I'd imagined,  and then …on this very first occasion I'd taken the wheels off the car..  the builders happened to come with two van loads of stuff (not otherwise happened all the while I've been here).  Circumstances conspiring against me is not an excuse for blowing my top ..but I'm only human (…and used to working alone).  I did of course apologise, but it started off a less than fun evening. 


Later questioning "am I concerned ?" ..led to my trying to explain how costs and time are beginning to spiral out of control, simply lead to replies of uninformed costs and philosophical 'why things happen' and how the car will be in the future.  After a few moments I knew better than to discuss anything any further. My unspoken thoughts were more along the lines of  'I have practical issues to address here and now.  Run out of time ..the car now goes off to the body shop.  I'll have to come back to put the car together again (whereas I'd hoped to collect it from Janez in a roadworthy state)… so the piggin' Universe and future will just have to soddin' look after itself for a while without me'.  I withdrew into the back of my man-cave to drink green tea.


Thankfully, Jani returned from having a little quiet time with Matej and going to the shop, after which the conversation became very much lighter and fluid.

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 Wednesday, 23rd March


Clean up morning.. Barbara stayed in the apartment to clean & pack up, while Matej & I  jet-washed the spaces we'd been using in and around the entrance of the paraplegic home.  Admittedly 95% of what we cleaned was post-winter mould on the outside walls and the floor of the laundry's patio, but I like to leave a place (I've had the privilege of using) cleaner and otherwise better than we found it.  To me it illustrates the words 'thank you' are not empty politeness..


This afternoon I refitted the engine's top and front engine cowling. While at it, I respraying the inlet manifolds silver (they were black). 




I also Araldited a split in the plastic fan, and did a little panel beating to straighten its backing plate. Having painted the cowling reddish-brown (a similar albeit lighter colour to that used by Citroen on the chassis) the colour combination with an yellowed-with-age fan looked like something you'd see on an Austin Allegro.  So I aerosol painted the fan black. 


The alternator/fan belt on the car (made by Gates) looks in good shape so I refitted that, and carry the new one as a spare.  And then finally the ghastly white plastic inboard disc-brake duct (which looked like B&Q drain pipe), I also painted black.  The engine is now looking (to my eyes) much neater.  In due course I'll put effort into tidying the obscene number of cables and wiring draped across the engine bay, but as the body will be lifted off then there's no point in doing anything about them now.


After lunch Jani drove Barbara and Matej home, taking with them the Ami's rear seat and a front one.  The intent was that the Ami wouldn't be reassembled when it goes to Janez (to save his taking the car apart again) and so would be full of panels. 


However, I realised that the bonnet & wings needed to be re-hung - so as not to be piled up inside / on top of each another …getting even more scratched and dented.!  …And to hang the front wings I first needed to hang the inner arches. 


Bottom line is that I've now loosely re-hung each inner and outer arch/ wing (with just the bonnet to do tomorrow morning). So, aside from the lights & bumpers not being refitted - the car's exterior is looking back together again.  In doing so I've now realised just how many fastenings and washers are incorrect or missing. I'll be doing a little more shopping when I get back.



Jani in his debonair pose, elbow on the front wing.. aside from the mismatched of white and beige, the car looks quite presentable .. in an Autoshite sort of way



and yours truly ..who's about as debonair as a shitroen !

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