In 2010 we made a decision to rationalise our small collection of old cars, in order to once again run a DS. I initially searched for a late model 5-speed D-Special (best suited to the very steep terrain in Calderdale), but by coincidence in January 2011 Graham Morton of GMVS offered us his part-restored LHD 1968 ID19. This was even more interesting, having many of the nice earlier features including the pretty 2-tone ID dashboard - and at some point in its life it has been fitted with a later 5-speed gearbox. It had also been fitted with a brown leather Pallas interior - not our ideal choice, but it has now been completely re-trimmed in a unique way - see following pages for details. Click the thumbnails on the left to see lots of details.
The car seemed a particularly attractive proposition when I first saw it, as it was already stripped to a bare frame - allowing me to see clearly the excellent condition most of the car was in. All panels had already been removed, including the fibreglass roof. The steel roof surround (often a problem area) was virtually rust-free, the underside in sound condition, and the front and rear chassis legs showed no signs of previous accident damage. Some panel repairs were required) and some had already been undertaken) but their condition generally was much better than most D's of any age.
However, the main side members and outer sills required all new repair panels. Graham was keen to continue the restoration; so we agreed a price for the car (along with some new repair sections and other parts he had already acquired for it), and he also gave me outline costs for the chassis/body restoration work including a re-paint in our choice of colours.
After much beard scratching (on my part anyway) and some consultation with the family, we eventually settled on the colours Absinthe Green (CitroŽn code AC 512) with the roof in Aubergine (CitroŽn code AC 406). According to the DS colours on-line Bible, this combination was actually available on the DS in the early '60s. Aubergine was used from the beginning of DS production in 1955 and is readily available, but finding a (modern) paint mix code for the Absinthe (only used by CitroŽn in 1961/62) was not so easy - it seems that as paint manufacturers develop new technologies they gradually remove colours from their charts if they haven't been requested for many years.
The issue was eventually resolved (after much research) by Nigel Wild of the CitroŽn Car Club, but test panels from the the first mix seemed too dark - so some white was added. When I get a chance to park alongside an early '60s Absinthe DS (probably in France as I've never seen one in the UK) I don't expect the colours to be very similar, but I like it anyway.
During the first part of 2011 while GMVS tackled the structural work on the sills and chassis side members, and keen to have at least a little input (my restoration skills are limited) I took away a pile of parts for refurbishment. Much of this was powder coated. Other bits were refurbished (repaired and/or polished) by my friend Ian Broscombe at his workshop in Sowerby bridge, and some parts (including the front undertray) he completely re-made in stainless steel. Progress at GMVS on the rebuild and painting was rapid, and I came close to holding Graham and his team up on several occasions by not getting refurbished parts back for re-fitting to the car when they were needed.
By the end of June 2011, the car was bodily restored and MOT'd. But while still at GMVS, following the discovery that the cooling system seemed to be over-pressurising, Graham feared that the cylinder head may need lifting and skimming - thankfully the problem turned out to be a clogged radiator and this was swiftly replaced.
Apart from new rear brake shoes, master cylinder (or rather valve - being a French ID it has a conventional brake pedal, not the famous 'button') and various rubber boots, the car was mechanically largely original (apart from the 5-speed gearbox) having apparently only covered about 75,000km in its 43 years.
Despite the fact that this will not be (primarily) a show car, the quality of repairs by GMVS to the metalwork (chassis and most external panels), and of the paintwork is second to none. And (my personal fetish) the panel alignment is superb.