My Red Special
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Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 3rd, 2016, 11:35 am ]
Post subject:  My Red Special

I thought since I keep cluttering up 'what have you done today', I should start my own car thread.

I've had this 1989 Red Special for the best part of 20 years now. To be honest I really hated 2cv's before, I've always been more of a straight 6 or V8 kind of guy. But my friend was selling his, I bought it for £100 and it was a truly awesome little vehicle which cost so little to keep. (Really I had wanted one of those cool 60's Fiat 500's but expensive!)
Eventually it expired so I bought this replacement, which was very similar apart from having disc brakes and round headlamps.

This little thing has been through thick and thin with me, the most faithful family servant, serving in all weathers driving from Reading to South Devon. It took me and my Mum down to see my brothers, and carted us all around down there endlessly. Plus a large hound dog.

It had only 26k miles when I got it! But needed a bit of love - awful starting. It let me down so many times. But basically it just needed use and fettling.
It was in great condition though with so few miles. It has about 110k now and is in fine health, apart from the rust holes that keep appearing! Unfortunately for me it was a Portuguese built example and i hadn't heard of the rust problems particular to those cars.

I've kept it highly polished and paid attention to every detail, but nonetheless I am now having to do bodywork patching quite a lot recently.
I cant really complain, its seen a lot of very harsh winter weather. Honestly, there were times when this little buggy was the only thing that could come and go in some places in Devon! Snow, wild mental wind and howling rain, flooded lanes. I even had a massive wave break almost on the car once as I was driving along. My friends lived in a woods for a while and the Deuche was great at slithering in and out of there.

Here is a pic from I think around 2008 or so.

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Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 3rd, 2016, 11:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

It (I haven't got a name for it, I just call it car usually!) served well for some time but then the clutch kept going out of adjustment oddly.
I unwound the gearbox too - twice I think! I always loved reversing, up hills, around corners, I relished it. I hadn't heard about the little problem 2cv's have in this area.... Lol.

Eventually my 2cv guy said he thought the clutch problem was because the chassis was bending. Indeed it was, it was rusty.
The body was immaculate looking but underneath not so great. Although I did keep having to mend the bonnet hinge that kept falling off! And bubbles on the B pillar area at the top.

I took the plunge in the early 2000's and spent around £2000 on having a new 'Wheels' galvanised chassis fitted. The guy was great, and he also replaced the complete floors, sills, mended the lower bulkhead, the rear seat belt mount areas, and new bonnet hinge area. He did a fantastic job, and most of those repaired areas are still free from corrosion due to the gunky stuff he used. Really great quality job I thought.

I figured it was well worth it, as the car would likely outlast anything else and possibly even me after this work was done..

Author:  subarupete [ November 3rd, 2016, 11:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

Keep up the good work, keep the "Car" and keep posting...

Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 3rd, 2016, 12:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

Thanks :)

Many happy miles after this, but the next major car event was a sad vandalism.

I got called by the police who said it had been tipped over in the street. They had pushed it upright again. The wings were pushed in on one side obviously, and some other stuff. I was gutted, but no problem I thought, I have fully comp insurance and so had it recovered. Then ensued an argument with the insurance company who said they hadn't looked at it yet but would likely only give me around £350 and would probably just be writing it off.

I needed a car to get to Devon and back, it was very important. I had thought my insurance would look after that but they were obviously just going to rip me off. I told them about the £2k of work and they said they would class that as maintenance and not adding to the value. (I was estimating it was worth around £1800.)
So, since they'd let slip that the assessor hadn't seen it yet to write it off, I cancelled my claim and asked for my car back.

This was not easy.. I found out where it was, took a can of fuel and got a lift out to the huge authorised repairers depot. They were very difficult indeed but i refused to leave until they gave me back my property. UK insurance means that a written off car belongs to the insurance company, but luckily i had pre-empted this and effectively they were keeping me from my property.
After waiting an age and politely insisting, I was dropped off at another facility nearby, seemingly mainly storage. My 2cv was already three rows deep in a large barn thing. The red neck guys there laughed at me and didn't want to move any cars so I could have mine. I insisted enough and it was done in the end. They stood and laughed at me while I tried to start the car. The fuel had tipped out but I had some with me, and eventually needed to use the crank handle as the battery was draining.

It gave me some satisfaction to lurch out of there in it. The tyres were catching on the wings quite badly but it got me home.
I drilled loads of holes in the wings and pulled them out. It was harder than I thought. The car looked wrecked on one side, but I started to like the effect it had on other traffic. BMW's in London kept well away from you. haha! And where it still caught a bit, smoke marks from all the holes happened, it really looked like it had been shot at!

Unfortunately, the vandals came back and finished the job. i came out to the car one morning to help a friend move house, and every other undamaged panel had been deeply scratched down to the metal. The bonnet had a massive curling scratch to finish it off.

Because of this, I got hold of a guy who promised me he could match the paint properly, rather than the poor show i see driving around the streets normally, and we agreed a deal for a set of newly painted wings on an exchange basis.
Sure enough, he had managed to do an amazing job of matching the red, to the vent panel I had posted him from the car. Bloody well done. He even got a friend to bring them all the way to Reading. ... vicing.htm

I saved up some more cash and after a while did the same thing with a set of four doors. The car looked absolutely awesome again, really stunning. So in the end the vandals caused the car to end up better than ever. Trouble is, then I needed a garage as I was too scared to leave it outside in case they found it again. Garages cost money to rent, and aren't great from the rust point of view either if they are small and concrete. Also, putting a car away wet. Not ideal.

Anyway, we managed, and I beavered away rewarding the car with little things every time it was a little champ, until it really looked showroom in every way. I had a brilliant mechanic too as I did less difficult mechanical stuff on my own then, and they kept it really tip top with their attentions.

If I could just remind everyone that the way to avoid this tricky insurance situation is AGREED VALUE INSURANCE. I haven't had to use it and hopefully wont need to, but I've used Lancaster since the vandalism and its well valued so I can replace it with something else in great condition. Just have to send in pics to get the valuation certificate each year.

Author:  EirikJ [ November 3rd, 2016, 9:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

I think I saw pictures of a red, tipped over, 2CV here on i2cvf years ago. But think that one was owned by a female.

What's with all the 2CV tipping? Don't you have cow's in England?

Good luck with the car. 20 years is a long time. Made me realise I've had my yellow one for 11 years now. I love it more for each year...

Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 3rd, 2016, 10:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

I've never seen one tipped over before. It was nasty.

I know what you mean though, I could never get rid of it. It's like having a Springer Spaniel, it's always ready to bounce off and do stuff.

So useful too, it's incredible how much you can fit in these things. And if you pop out the seats apart from the drivers one, take off the roof, bootlid and support, it's like a pick up. Brilliant. Although it does have to be sunny for that....

I did used to wish mine was yellow! I like the red now though.

Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 19th, 2016, 12:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

A good few years more of excellent service, but then I lost my garage and it sat out on the road filling up with water and getting clipped by bad parkers a couple of times.

I wish I'd thought of drilling a couple holes in the floor before! Done it now, any water just drains out. Bit late though really, the floors are still good but not factory fresh looking as they were, I had to use POR15 recently to stop some corrosion.

I broke a driveshaft on a long trip once and had to be recovered. And the centre of my fan came away from the blades on a trip to Yorkshire. Again, recovery needed.

Then my friendly garage took it in to be charitable, to look after it and at their leisure fit a nicely reconditioned gearbox i'd got from Rick pembro a while before. Also some paintwork. It took two years! But at least it was safe, and I had other cars to distract me.

Then urgent circumstances meant i had to ask for it back, they slapped some paint on it and I drove it straight down the motorway to Devon, twice a week for three months without missing a beat.

It was like having an old friend back. Reassuring somehow!

Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 19th, 2016, 12:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

I've had some mini saga's recently though. I'm a whole lot more handy these days, but learning as i go. Exhaust studs have been a complete annoyance, and I still haven't got them right. I spent hours on them, helicoiled the holes but after a few months of lovely fume free driving they started to pull out. So I've done some other stuff with that but I still get a whiff of fumes. I'll get there eventually...

Last year i needed my king pins doing. Well, the old ones had lasted 10 or 15 years I think. I took it to the guy who did them last time but it wasn't entirely successful. One started to come out, the noise was bad, and he diagnosed it as a driveshaft problem so fitted one. No improvement, obviously, just more money! He did them again and so far so good. Actually everything he did has cocked up it seems, so I won't be going back there!

I changed the other drive shaft recently, so it has two fresh ones now.

The latest ongoing projects have been around rust.....

Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 19th, 2016, 1:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

Bloody rust.. Last year I tackled the bulging rusting filler areas, deteriorated from when my garage did them quickly for me. They'd also done the area under the rear quarter window - a large hole was appearing there now. I discovered the window aperture was completely missing. I had no idea the windows were so easy to remove - thanks to advice on here.

Water had come in the window and run down the rear sweep, causing rust to start on the whole panel. Did also explain why water would run down from the rear of the car into the front floor area sometimes.

I did this rust, got a reasonable result with filler but then ruined it with 'knifing putty' from Halfords. Honestly, i don't know if it was user error but it was diabolical. Awful, and ruined all my carefully sculpted filler. I've checked my a bodywork artiste I know and he said nah he'd never use that these days - good filler wouldn't need it. lesson learned!

I painted it with cans from Ecas - Did the whole rear sweep on that side, including the ends on each side where it had rusted too. Not a bad match for an aerosol. It was ok for a first effort at painting, but not exactly amazing and I was annoyed at the mess the knifing putty had made.

Some rust above the B pillar. this is actually the better side by far really, but it was heading the same way. the other side was dramatically worse for being covered with filler but essentially untreated.
This side is also a bit wonky from being tipped on its side, but that's beyond my skills for now.

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Author:  Ianredspecial [ November 19th, 2016, 1:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: My Red Special

Just recently I was driving back from Devon and water was coming in - awful weather. It was coming in via an odd place and flicking into the car. When I checked it out later and had a bit of a poke, this is what i found. On each side actually. No surprise there then! Lol.

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Been meaning to do the windscreen surround for bloody ages now so I thought bollocks to it and borrowed my bosses garage for painting and stuff. It was a mess but i just aint got the money or the ability to get it replaced so I did what i could.

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I use POR15 a lot. Also stuff from Bilt Hamber which works well - a rust curing thing. Actually after experimenting this time, and checking out old rust holding attempts on the car, I find that POR15 works better directly to well prepared rusty metal - I'd stupidly been using the converter underneath which kind of defies the point of POR15 really, and I'm finding POR15 is longer lasting by far if done right.

I'm really pleased with how it came out - it has taken so long though, much longer than planned. Curing times, reactions in the paint here and there, runs, general learning curves! Lol. Endless sanding!

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