Setting up for long term restoration of a 1975 D Special
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Thread: Setting up for long term restoration of a 1975 D Special

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Default Setting up for long term restoration of a 1975 D Special

    Hi all. More than a little bewildered by this world I have entered. Own a C4 diesel but have loved Citroens ever since getting a lift home one day after school in 1965 - have no idea whether the car was a DS or ID, but it was certainly a Goddess. Had to be the most incredible auto moment in my life. Recently purchased a D Special in a fair bit less than showroom condition: a friend took one look & advised paying someone to take the car to the tip & write the purchase cost off to bad luck.
    Not a chance. I am looking at using the car as a retirement project & one (hopefully) spanning some years. Have slowly been amassing some resources: a TIG welder, an air compressor & some air tools. Have a reasonable basic mechanical knowledge (certainly know my limitations) & wanted something like the D Special, figuring it would present fewer difficulties being carbureted, & having less systems operated via the hydraulics.
    Bodywork is pretty awful: boot lid has had it, 2doors are rusted out at the base. Sills are in poor to awful condition & floor pans need work. Similarly, interior trim looks dreadful - all seats will have to have the foam cushioning replaced & covers re-made.
    Have been trolling about on the Internet looking to source bits ( a boot lid!!!). Seems that Europe is the only likely source. Have joined the Citroen Car Club of Vic but have yet to do anything other than read the newsletters.
    All a long-winded way of asking for any assistance that members might be able to provide: not only in sourcing parts, but just in general. Followed the thread on "Celia" with great interest. Am wondering too, how much Citroens differ in specs: for instance the workshop manual which came with car (genuine Citroen publication) says my car should have a Solex carburettor, but it's a Weber... There are a lot of other minor differences that seem at odds with the specifications. The person I bought the car from was the original owner from new & said that the only modification had been the fitting of a tow bar. Interestingly too, he said that the car was the last D Special ever sold here in Victoria.
    this is my first attempt ever at posting a thread, so if I have inadvertently broken any rules (written or unwritten) I hope more adept users will accept my apologies. Regards to all. Ian

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    1000+ Posts bluey504's Avatar
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    Welcome Ian to too start with. We, and I am effecting the Royal here, are pleasant bunch that nurture the health of our chariots from La Belle France. A wealth of knowledge, parts advice, weird facts and very nice people are here.
    I'd suggest offering a 'bait' to prise a few of the local, to you, Citroen owners to appraise the D Special as it stands. (Well hunches is a better description as the pressure drops.) Red wine, cheese and quality bread should do the trick!
    Have you thought about re-making the boot and doors? Quick TAFE course and a nice little earner along the way. A DS is minimum 39 years old and many of the exterior panels now being pressed into service 10 years ago were tip worthy.
    I hope you achieve the outcome you want, not others, you as your paying the bills. Playing with cars is fun and the Missus knows where you are from the noise emitting from the shed.
    Brendan.

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    Hi Ian,

    Welcome to Aussie Frogs ! I see you have been "lurking" since November last year so you have probably been reading all you can trying to absorb the mass of information here. More confused than when you started?

    Congratulations on taking the plunge on the D Special. Don't worry too much what people think.. if you have time and patience most any car can be saved and a Goddess is a perfect car for amateur restoration. Being Meccano like in its construction means it can be easily dismantled and repaired bit by bit. Beware though... take many photos to help you piece it back together, you will be amazed at how many tiny parts go to make up one of these cars, far more than any modern car.

    You will find a number of changes between the European cars and the Australian delivered cars. Generally the ID/D Specials sold in Aus were higher spec and much more like a DS. Indeed by 1975 there was little difference between a DS and a D Special.

    For manuals etc you have probably found the sticky thread at the top of the Citroen forum of AF. There is a great collection of information available for free download here:

    https://sites.google.com/site/citroenpublicationslist/


    There are a number of books which may help. One by Reynolds is considered by many to be the "bible", but out of print and usually ludicrously expensive. This, on the other hand, is very useful and cheap!

    Citroen ID AND DS BY Rudy A Heilig Paperback 2008 1845841387 | eBay



    Please post some pics of your car. It is highly likely that someone here will know the car and be able to give you some history. We can then watch as you progress with the rebuild. There will be plenty of advice and information freely given, you can be assured of that.
    Michael
    Member, Citroen Car Club NSW

    DS23 Pallas 5 sp. "Francoise" , BX19TRi Auto "Jacques Dutronc" , Teardrop Trailer "The Toad", BMW R65 "Rosamund"
    In the past: Renault 750, Dauphine, R4, R8, R10, Peugeot 504 Familiale, ID 19 (x2), Safari (x2)

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    Fellow Frogger! rmac's Avatar
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    Hello Ian,

    Welcome to the world of 'Dees' - there are many wonderful people, many of whom frequent this forum, willing to assist you. I've found that any question asked is answered and members go out of their way to assist.
    Current Cars
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    Hi Ian!

    Good luck- let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

    Glad you found my thread interesting!

    Regards,

    Toby

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihamil View Post
    Not a chance. I am looking at using the car as a retirement project & one (hopefully) spanning some years. Ian
    Hi and welcome Ian,

    The first bit of advice I can give is to read the 'Sticky' relating to working on a hydraulic Citroen.
    Hydraulic Citroen Safety - also applies in part to other cars

    First purchase if you don't already have a set should be axle stands, get used to using them even if you have no intention of going under the car. Aside from safety, a disabled D will sink to it's belly with only inches of clearance, a dropped spanner or nuts and bolts are more readily retrieved with the car set on high and resting on stands.

    Seems you have already found our Restoration sub-forum, there are currently several threads relating to bringing a D back to life. Within that forum is a section dedicated to completed projects, definitely worth spending time looking through those threads.


    Cheers
    Chris
    74 D(very Special) >>Rejuvenation Thread<<
    08 C5 X7 HDi very Noir



    "Déesse" Roland Barthes, 'Mythologies', 1957

    The Déesse has all the characteristics of one of those objects fallen from another universe that fed the mania for novelty in the eighteenth century and a similar mania expressed by modern science fiction: the Déesse is first and foremost the new Nautilus.

    (Umberto Eco [Ed], The History of Beauty, Rizzoli, NY, 2004)

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    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    As for "setting up" for restoration. A diss-assembled 'D' will take up the space of 3 assembled cars. So you need lots of space.

    I'd be tempted to "undress" the car a little before I decided weather to proceed with it. If the roof, boot and suspension mount area is heavily rusted, I'd start by looking for a different car to use (don't worry the one you have won't go to waste). Cost doesn't seem to have much to do with the underlying structural integrity. Expensive cars can be heavily patched and rusted if you look past the shiny panels and retrimmed interior. It's highly unlikely you will find a car with a rust free hull anywhere. However if you can find one that only need "one" of the common areas re-built, that's better than having to rebuild everything

    seeya,
    Shane L.
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    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
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    Welcome Ian,
    As a newbie myself you will find the people on this site incredibly forthcoming with their help and the data buried in the posts more than you need to do the job. Finding that thread which you know you saw 2 months ago can be the challenge!

    Sounds like we are starting off from the same base. My D-Special is at present lurking in the shed while I acquire and compile the list of necessary parts.

    If your car has a Solex I have a spare air filter assembly which may be relevant and is yours if you want it. I'm not that far from you so getting it is easy.

    Happy restoring.

    SF

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    Dear Ian

    I hope you enjoy your D Special. I purchased a 1975 D Special from the original owner last year. He too claimed that it was (among) the last Ds imported into Australia. Certainly it's sale and registration (in August, from Dutton's in Richmond) and apparent build date (in March) would suggest that it was at least close.

    It is in very good, original condition, and you would be welcome to inspect it as one point of reference. Feel free to send me a private message. It might give me an excuse to go for a weekend run to Bendigo!

    I agree with the comment that the later D Specials were quite close to the DS in specifications. This is my second D Special, and my experience, however, is that no two cars are the same. It would seem that the assembly lines were more art than they were science. Perhaps the workers were given licence to pluck parts from different bins...

    I have followed the various restoration threads closely. They are a great resource, and a credit and testimony to the authors and their obvious passion and skills. They have certainly informed this highly unskilled owner in planning for a light renovation and ongoing maintenance to an almost 40 year old car.

    Regards

    AM

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihamil View Post
    Hi all. More than a little bewildered by this world I have entered. Own a C4 diesel but have loved Citroens ever since getting a lift home one day after school in 1965 - have no idea whether the car was a DS or ID, but it was certainly a Goddess. Had to be the most incredible auto moment in my life. Recently purchased a D Special in a fair bit less than showroom condition: a friend took one look & advised paying someone to take the car to the tip & write the purchase cost off to bad luck.
    Not a chance. I am looking at using the car as a retirement project & one (hopefully) spanning some years. Have slowly been amassing some resources: a TIG welder, an air compressor & some air tools. Have a reasonable basic mechanical knowledge (certainly know my limitations) & wanted something like the D Special, figuring it would present fewer difficulties being carbureted, & having less systems operated via the hydraulics.
    Bodywork is pretty awful: boot lid has had it, 2doors are rusted out at the base. Sills are in poor to awful condition & floor pans need work. Similarly, interior trim looks dreadful - all seats will have to have the foam cushioning replaced & covers re-made.
    Have been trolling about on the Internet looking to source bits ( a boot lid!!!). Seems that Europe is the only likely source. Have joined the Citroen Car Club of Vic but have yet to do anything other than read the newsletters.
    All a long-winded way of asking for any assistance that members might be able to provide: not only in sourcing parts, but just in general. Followed the thread on "Celia" with great interest. Am wondering too, how much Citroens differ in specs: for instance the workshop manual which came with car (genuine Citroen publication) says my car should have a Solex carburettor, but it's a Weber... There are a lot of other minor differences that seem at odds with the specifications. The person I bought the car from was the original owner from new & said that the only modification had been the fitting of a tow bar. Interestingly too, he said that the car was the last D Special ever sold here in Victoria.
    this is my first attempt ever at posting a thread, so if I have inadvertently broken any rules (written or unwritten) I hope more adept users will accept my apologies. Regards to all. Ian

    Hi,
    there are a few people in the goldfields restoring/running Dees. I'm currently restoring 2, and have been working on Citroens for longer than I care to remember. So if you are going to be in Castlemaine at any time, PM me to meet up for some sage advice.
    roger

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    Quote Originally Posted by lhs2.1 View Post
    Hi,
    there are a few people in the goldfields restoring/running Dees. I'm currently restoring 2, and have been working on Citroens for longer than I care to remember. So if you are going to be in Castlemaine at any time, PM me to meet up for some sage advice.
    roger
    Maybe we need to start a Goldfields Dee Club? Can I be a party to that sage advice Roger?

    SF

  12. #12
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    Australian cars were all marked with a compliance date no later than 12/74, even though they were sold long after that. By that time, they would have come with a Weber carby rather than the Solex. You wouldn't hurry to replace a working Weber with a Solex, but it would involve changing the manifold and linkages too. Stay with the Weber.

    If you can salvage any of the original rubber parts, do so, because reproduction rubber parts leave a bit to be desired and will often not last very long. A slightly ratty mudflap is better than most variants of repro rubber.

    The hanging panels are not stuctural and fairly basic repairs can be made to them. You will find the strength in the doors comes from very thin steel having shape, rather than the thickness of the material. The issue or rusty sills and floors is more critical. A small patch plate here and there will not hurt, but beware if you can insert your hand in the inner sills. Also remember that the outside of the sill is an overhanging edge with an open bottom forming pipe and cable ducts while the sill proper is further in. You really do need to do some dismantling to properly assess hidden areas, such as the C-pillars that rust badly on most cars.

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    Welcome Ihamil. It's encouraging to see such a positive response to your request for help as you embark on the restoration of your D Special.
    I like the comment from ScotFrog "a Goldfields Dee Club".
    I also have a late D Special lurking in the shed awaiting a repair on the steering rack. I'm mainly into the old ID's as I love the high gearing (longleggedness) of these cars, among other things.
    When in Brisbane last year, for the All French Day, my brother John asked me to drive his D Special to the event. Driving through the Brisbane traffic was great fun. The gearing is well suited to city driving and with the power steering and the quick response from the engine a D Special is "pure joy".
    Reversing my D Special out of the driveway to turn it around last week , a car pulled up and a couple that I think have just moved from South Australia enthusiastically told me they'd just purchased a D Special from over there. They've moved into Castlemaine and are awaiting it's arrival.
    "So it's all happening" Ian.
    My wife and I need to go to Bendigo for some shopping shortly so if you email me on mwfpaas@gmail.com I can call in at "catch-up". -------- Welcome to the joy of owning a Citroen Michael

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    Welcome. I am also a second owner of a 1974 D Special waiting for its retirement resto. If you are the second owner, that could auger well as few people would keep a car for 39 years if it was a total dog. But rust does lurk where the eye can't see in a D. The brown painted cover over the torsion bar in the boot once removed will reveal a rust trouble spot, as will the rear sphere mounting points once both wings are removed ( one bolt). Rust at the bottom of the doors was common enough even when Ds were young.
    As for when bought, the story goes that there was a problem with import duty payments on the last batch of Ds to come to OZ. As a consequence they were stored in the old wool stores at Darling Harbour for many months. With less than watertight roofs, the wool stores were also a nesting place for pigeons. The outcome was 1974 cars sold throughout 1975 and many with poor paintwork in places due to pigeon droppings. Mine bears evidence of that.
    I bought our D in 1983 and any trip to Sydney or Melbourne, you would always encounter numerous on the roads until about 1990s. Now a rare sight. Where are they? In sheds awaiting reincarnation. It will be great to see them back on the road again.

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    Hi Michael, wow! What a raft of replies. Thank you for yours. Great to know that my D Special is not aberrant in what it does/doesn't have. Will attempt loading some photos soon. Thanks also for the advice: have looked up the books mentioned & have sourced the Heilig one & gasped at the prices of the Reynolds one on Amazon: $3000 US plus!!!! Fortunately it appears that book has been reprinted $24.95 US sounds much nicer.

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    Hi ScotFrog. A Dee Club sounds like a great idea: had no idea that there were so many 'locals' with Citroens. Would be great ( for me at least) to ogle over other people's cars.

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    hello Ian
    Being a D owner myself and in the throws of putting a shiny coat of paint on mine my advice is to buy at least 2 cans of bog.
    it won't be anywhere near enough but it's a start. In my experience the panel supply shop never runs out.
    Bill

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    Hi Chris. Thank you for the sound advice: unfortunately it will be some time before I can raise the D Special. Have had to park it on my precipitous driveway (no garage or flat area available). Has made access interesting to say the least. Thought about removing all the doors & maybe front & rear windscreens but decided against it until I can find a suitable enclosed space. Must say I love your quote. Typical that it came from Umberto Eco. Certainly sums up how I feel about the Deesse

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    Hi David, thank you for your reply. Point about dismantling is well-taken. Fear that the sills will be a real problem (eek!). Am unable currently to do much in the way of dismantling: car is parked on a very steep drive & I have very little in the way of secure space for storage. Want to remove the seating & interior trims first, figuring that will allow me to have a better look at the sills & floor pans whilst leaving the car 'whole'

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    Hi Brendan, thanks for your reply. Smiled at the reference to red wine, crusty bread & cheese - just might try that out when the weather improves. The TAFE idea sounded even better: have checked that out & discovered that Bendigo TAFE offer an "Introduction to Welding" course. Have emailed for details. Am pretty certain that my D Special is going to need plenty of welding...

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    Gidday Moulton2Speed, as will all - thanks for the reply. Was great to hear about the darling Harbour storage of the Citroens. Unfortunately my specimen of the marque has paintwork where pigeon poop would struggle to get a guernsey. The history of mine is interesting. As noted I am the second owner. Only noticed the car when taking a trailer-load to the tip, parked down the side of the owner's house. Car was surrounded by building materials & difficult to distinguish. History was that car was bought new & used up until the owner managed to total a kangaroo at speed (80 mph was mentioned). Owner had a panel-beater friend who repaired the panel damage with the exception of the bonnet, which he took away to work on. The necessary repair took more time than the rego, so the owner let it lapse & bought another car - a ute for his work. The citroen was garaged & basically left. A number of years ago the garage space was required, so the belle dame was demoted to the driveway where (I presume) it sat & rusted, with the interior gradually being destroyed. For whatever reason, the radio aerial had been removed, so water was able to drip into the interior causing further rusting. How bad the sills are will probably be the biggest problem to face: I am not too worried about the engine/gearbox: it all looks original & in remarkably good condition.
    Was interested in your comment about how few D's are to be seen on our roads now. Not only here: have been fortunate enough to have visit France twice in the last 10 years or so & ID/DS cars seem very rare. Plenty of 2CVs, Dyanes, even a couple of SMs, but not a whiff of the Goddess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScotFrog View Post
    Maybe we need to start a Goldfields Dee Club? Can I be a party to that sage advice Roger?

    SF
    Isn't there the quip that if two Brits meet in a foreign country they form a club?
    I thought that I had given you my phone # and a invitation to drop around.
    roger

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    ihamil, as you may already know, the bonnet of D specials is aluminium, probably why it took some time to repair. The roof is fibreglass.

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    Unless you're not like me and super organized tackling a D can be a major task. Especially if you are doing it yourself. You'll then need space time and cash. Within that having a really good idea of how much you want to throw at it and how much needs to be done. Make a list, my resto on DSpecial is about 7 months old and I am only now turning from cleaning/repainting to rebuilding. And that is only the motor, suspension. I did make a decision that I would go as far as I could to do a good job, I've skipped on plating or buying bolts, although they always cheer up a resto, but mechanically if it is suspect/worn I'm replacing. There have been numerous times I just look at it and think 'this was a good idea!...' but being obbessed with the car is a healthy mental addition to the process. I think the biggest issue is deciding the level of resto. Be conservative in spending and logical in delegating what gets repaired. Mechanics should be the priority, rust issues, then cosmetics, I'd rather get in a D that went and had crap seats then sit on flash seats and not know whether it was going to reach it's destination : )

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihamil View Post
    Hi Brendan, thanks for your reply. Smiled at the reference to red wine, crusty bread & cheese - just might try that out when the weather improves. The TAFE idea sounded even better: have checked that out & discovered that Bendigo TAFE offer an "Introduction to Welding" course. Have emailed for details. Am pretty certain that my D Special is going to need plenty of welding...
    Hmmmm I think my welding skills (zilch) could do with a TAFE intro. Post me the details when you have them, I might be a taker too. We could discuss this Goldfields Dee Club at the same time.

    SF

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