St Tropez restoration blog

Tell us about life with your BX, or indeed life in general!
User avatar
Des Smith
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1178
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sydenham, London
x 2

St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Des Smith » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:12 pm

Here is a blog about my St Tropez's return to her former glory. I bought my St Tropez in July 2010 from a chap in Darwen for £265, knowing it was going to need sorting out. I'd been looking for a BX14 because of the cheaper road tax but also because I'd previously owned a 1988 BX14 Flight which I'd enjoyed owning.

Obvious point here - buying cars on eBay auctions is a bit of a lottery unless you can eyeball the car beforehand. Darwen was too far away for me to view so I had to rely on the description and any checks I could make. The car had an MOT and came back on checks as a legitimate car. I won the auction but when I saw the car in the flesh, it was clear the seller hadn't been very straight about the rear-end bodywork and it was a lot more crusty than he'd led me to believe.

We did the paperwork and I headed south. In spite of the bodywork, I was quite happy with the way the car drove and she bimbled along in quite a sprightly fashion down the motorway. My happiness evaporated on the Bayswater Road when she overheated. It explained the old coke bottles full of water that the previous owner had stashed behind the front bulkhead and his vague reasons for selling ("Couldn't get on with it").

To cut a long story short, the headgasket was blown and there were a host of other bits that needed fixing. By September, she was roadworthy - skimmed head, welding, water pump and timing belt and a year's MOT. By the following February, I was getting some odd noises from the rear and the rear arm bearings were shot, so they got done, along with a set of new spheres and hydraulic regulator, which had gone.

Image
BX with new rear arm bearings on a red wine replen trip at Douai, February 2011

Around the same time, I was lucky enough to source replacement rear wing panels to replace the existing items but decided to wait until I could find a good Citroen-friendly bodywork shop who could do a great job. In any event, the mechanical side of the car was sorted, even if the bodywork was a tad imperfect. In the summer of 2011, I took her on a faultless 2000-mile trip to the Pyrenees for a fortnight. She was fully laden with all the usual paraphenalia for a camping & touring trip and tackled all the steep, twisty bits with dignity and aplomb.

Image
This is a municipal car park, Pyrenees Orientales style.

I was very happy with that performance as you might expect and in September, she passed her MOT without any dramas. The following year, the garage warned me about the dreaded tinworm that was burrowing into the front subframe and inner sills, as well as the more obvious evidence at the back end. Tim Leech came to the rescue with a replacement subframe and I had by then decided to get the whole restoration job done by Rob Moss at Chevronic.

That brings the story more or less up to date. I'm going to post up some photos as the restoration progresses. Rob is posting them on Facebook as well (Mat has all ready been peeking! :D ), but if you can't be bothered to track that down, all the gory details will be posted here.

There may be a possibility she will be ready in time for the CCC meet this summer. :D
Last edited by Des Smith on Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BX14TE St Tropez 1990 - now sold
Xsara Forte 1.4i 2000
Kawasaki GPz550A4 1987

User avatar
mat_fenwick
Moderator
Posts: 7265
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:08 pm
Location: North Wales
x 13

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by mat_fenwick » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:33 pm

:) I thought it must be yours!
Image

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
2006 Renault Kangoo
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2004 MINI Cooper (hers)

User avatar
Caffiend
Reluctant BXpert
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:39 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Caffiend » Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:42 pm

mat_fenwick wrote::) I thought it must be yours!
^ I was wondering too!

Fab write up, keep it coming please :D
Diagonally parked in a parallel universe
1991 TZD hatch (Triton Green)
1992 Hurricane

User avatar
Des Smith
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1178
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sydenham, London
x 2

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Des Smith » Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:28 pm

I took the St Tropez into Chevronic for Rob to get a good look at her at the end of March. I didn't forget to load up the replacement front subframe or the rear panels either! When I got there, I also got to have a good ogle at some lovely Citroens, as well as an encouragingly wide range of parts that are normally deemed to be 'hard-to-find'. Rob put the St Tropez on the ramp and we had a good poke around at the rust. It had got even worse since October and I'm happy to have caught it before it got even worse. No way was it going to pass another MOT in that state!

We had a chat about cost options and resprays and then I left Rob with the keys and the daunting task of turning a rustbucket into a gem. One of the problems would be reproducing the St Tropez graphics. I assumed original sets would be impossible to source, so they would have to be made up to order. I took a full set of photos - here's a representative picture:

Image
C Pillar St Tropez graphics

Most of the graphics are looking pretty tired and the pin-striping is fading, except for where I've inadvertently T-cut the stripe with over-enthusiasm. White stripe on white paint work. Hmmm!

So this week, after all the ongoing discussions with Rob about the restoration have resulted in a Plan, he has begun the work. As I was anticipating, most of the serious work is in the rear of the car. Rob wondered whether she'd lived at the seaside and he might have a point - in the rather minimal paperwork I got from the previous owner was a receipt from a garage in Redcar. Anyway, the seats came out and the tank and rear bumper came off, to reveal the horrors that lurk behind the plastic.

Image
Boot floor and rear seats removed

Image
Fuel tank out

Image
The naked truth - bumper off to reveal a rusty cross member

Image
NS boot corner with evidence of previous butchery, sorry, welding

Image
The OS isn't that much better...

Image
and here's the crumbly spare wheel carrier

I reckon if I started wire-brushing the rust off the spare wheel carrier, I'd end up with a coat hanger before getting down to sound metal.

So while all of that's been going on, I've been playing with my photos of the tailgate graphics. I expect Phil Chidlow could probably knock something far better out in a matter of minutes, but I've only got some really basic tools (Paint & Picasa) and worked this up into something vaguely fit-for-purpose.

Image
St Tropez graphics

And yes, before the Cit Police get me, I did add the extra red stripe under the 'pez'! I could have been a lot worse as I had a few 'creative moments along the way and came up with the following retro diversions. Rather 80s, I thought, but definitely running the risk of getting thrown off the forum had I persisted!

Image
This one reminds me of an ex-girlfriend's dungarees for some strange reason!

Image
Can't help myself, I do like this one...
BX14TE St Tropez 1990 - now sold
Xsara Forte 1.4i 2000
Kawasaki GPz550A4 1987

User avatar
Tim Leech
Over 2k
Posts: 15061
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:12 am
Location: Burton on Trent
My Cars: 1963 VW BEETLE 1200 KGJ413A
1972 Morris Marina 1.8 SDL BFA720L
1979 Rover SD1 3.5 V8-S ERC742T
1980 Morris Marina 1.7HL DBV468W
1985 CITROEN BX 19GT C1TBX
1991 CITROEN BX 19TZI AUTO A/C TAL91S
1994 CITROEN XANTIA 1.8 SXi M908HRY
1998 Rover 75 V6 Connoisseur Auto S392DEH
2002 Rover 75 CDT Connossieur SE Nav R40TSL
2003 Rover 25 1.6i XL L33CHT
x 45

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Tim Leech » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:02 am

Well done Des, keep the faith!
1985 BX 19GT Mk1
1991 BX 19TZI Auto A/C
1994 Xantia 1.8i SX
1972 Morris Marina 1.8 SDL
1979 Rover SD1 V8-S
1980 Morris Marina 1.7HL
1998 Rover 75 2.0V6 Connoisseur Auto
2002 Rover 75 CDT Connossieur SE Nav
2002 Rover 45 1.6i Spirit S Special
2003 Rover 25 1.6i XL 5 DR

mds141
Over 2k
Posts: 5269
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:26 am
Location: Lancaster
x 6

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by mds141 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:17 am

Chevronics have posted up a video on FB Tim.
Mark Smith

Is it just me or is everything shit?

1989 BX GTi 16 valve. Blanc Alpine. Completed the Citroen Classic Challenge Ecosse and 1337 miles without a hitch.
2000 XM VSX 2.1 td Auto. Rouge Magenta.
TGD saloon many years ago.

1990 Swift 'Corniche' 12/2 aka BXClub HQ.
Honda Firestorm. Gone, but not forgotten.
2015 Triumph Tiger Explorer XC.

User avatar
Des Smith
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1178
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sydenham, London
x 2

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Des Smith » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:54 am

The video (screenshot below) shows the rear subframe being dropped off the shell. All the bits will come off before it is sent off to be shotblasted and powder-coated. It's nice to see that even professionals improvise - in this case a wheelie-bin becomes a handy support.

Image
Rear Subframe removal
BX14TE St Tropez 1990 - now sold
Xsara Forte 1.4i 2000
Kawasaki GPz550A4 1987

User avatar
mat_fenwick
Moderator
Posts: 7265
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:08 pm
Location: North Wales
x 13

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by mat_fenwick » Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:58 am

Handy to catch rusty bits of the car too, as they fall off ;)
Image

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
2006 Renault Kangoo
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2004 MINI Cooper (hers)

Mickey taker
Over 2k
Posts: 3209
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:38 pm
Location: M K

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Mickey taker » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:27 am

mat_fenwick wrote:Handy to catch rusty bits of the car too, as they fall off ;)

Umm, only if you remember to open the lid first Mat lol.
1991 BX Meteor 1.6

light travels faster than sound, thats why you look intelligent and then you spoil it all by opening your mouth !!!!!

User avatar
Des Smith
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1178
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sydenham, London
x 2

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Des Smith » Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:40 pm

What, these rusty bits? They might be important!

Image
Parts for plating

Well there's a few more photos been uploaded today. Now the subframe is out, all the gubbins can be taken off it and I can report that it's with the shot-blaster to be stripped back to bare metal.

A last view here of the offside rear wing and the nasty bodge job on the fuel filler. I'm pretty certain there's a veritable pile of rusty sediment swilling around in the bottom of the tank and most of it probably started life as part of the rear wing!

Image
rusty filler cap area

Image
The subframe out and green blood draining prior to disassembly...

Image
Spheres and discs removed from the subframe

Image
NS inner sill in front of rear wheel arch - now how did that get missed in the MOT???

So all in all, a rather busy week for the St Tropez! It's looking rather sad and shell-like, especially in the video. If you want to see it, here's the link to the Chevronic Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=49 ... =2&theater
BX14TE St Tropez 1990 - now sold
Xsara Forte 1.4i 2000
Kawasaki GPz550A4 1987

User avatar
mat_fenwick
Moderator
Posts: 7265
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:08 pm
Location: North Wales
x 13

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by mat_fenwick » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:25 am

I'm rather glad your filler cap area was rusty, as it struck me late last night that if it wasn't I could have bought the remains of your old panel after it had been replaced! The inner sill is concerning; how long has it been since the last MOT?

Regarding the stickers, I quite like the black one too - would be a nice contrast on a white car. IMO it'd be a subtle unique twist to have, but I may get shot down by the purists for saying so...
Image

1993 1.9 TZD Turbo Estate
2006 Renault Kangoo
1996 3.9 V8 Discovery
1993 VW LT35 campervan
1985 Hyundai Stellar V8
2004 MINI Cooper (hers)

User avatar
Paul296
Over 2k
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:39 pm
Location: Newark Nottinghamshire
My Cars: Citroen BX 17 TZD Hurricane
Citroen BX 17 TGD

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Paul296 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:52 am

mat_fenwick wrote:
Regarding the stickers, I quite like the black one too - would be a nice contrast on a white car. IMO it'd be a subtle unique twist to have, but I may get shot down by the purists for saying so...

Image

Feelin' lucky punk? 8)

User avatar
Caffiend
Reluctant BXpert
Posts: 1222
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:39 pm
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Caffiend » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:49 am

=D> for putting your hand in your pocket for all this Des - I know Rob will do you a fantastic job (even if you have to have deep pockets!). I shall be over there at some point in the next few weeks and will hope to be able to look at the real thing 8)
Diagonally parked in a parallel universe
1991 TZD hatch (Triton Green)
1992 Hurricane

User avatar
Des Smith
1K Away
1K Away
Posts: 1178
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 10:17 am
Location: Sydenham, London
x 2

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Des Smith » Sat Apr 13, 2013 4:45 pm

mat_fenwick wrote:The inner sill is concerning; how long has it been since the last MOT?
Um.... five months. And before you make any hasty conclusions, we have a virulent form of mutating tinworm in SE London that burrows deep inside the metal and then pops out all of a sudden. Honest, guv! :^o
Caffiend wrote:I know Rob will do you a fantastic job (even if you have to have deep pockets!). I shall be over there at some point in the next few weeks and will hope to be able to look at the real thing 8)
Yes, I've already parted with the first wedge and had to go for bereavement counselling as a result. I gave Rob a budget and made the mistake of telling him I could stretch to more, so it did. I know that he will do a brilliant job, having seen finished cars in the flesh and on photos and they are truly amazing. The whole idea of photographing and videoing the work in progress is quite unique in my experience and quite addictive. It is also reassuring to know that your pride & joy is being well-treated.

I suspect there are people on the forum who think I am nuts for restoring a basic model BX, but this car and I have already gone too far down the road for me to consider scrapping. This was clearly on the cards once I knew the underside needed extensive work and while I could have sold her on with a year's MOT, any buyer would probably have had her cubed a year later.

Besides, I love the number plate, which reminds me... this turned up from Dublin yesterday and will take pride of place at the pointy end when the restoration is complete! Not sure why a company in Dublin can make up plates for UK cars. The last set of plates I had made up needed a ream of ID checks to prove the car was mine - nothing needed for this one, so I assume there's a facility for plate makers to check on their customers through the DVLA database. Amazingly, the rear plate is still the original item fitted by Clarke & Rodway in Marlborough and it is in great nick. Even more amazing is that Clarke & Rodway are still selling Citroens over 40 years after they first became Citroen agents! Not often a car business lasts that long.

Image

Hopefully, Sandre, you will get to eyeball the car, or what's left of it. I don't know what bits are coming off next, but I would guess the front bumper and wings will be coming off soon and the old rear wings will also need to be cut off in preparation for the new items. Whatever is left will be attached to a BX Club sticker in the rear windscreen.
mat_fenwick wrote:I'm rather glad your filler cap area was rusty, as it struck me late last night that if it wasn't I could have bought the remains of your old panel after it had been replaced!
I rather think I would have been having your old panel Mat! The original has completely crumbled away and the 'new' insert is also 95% rust. A real quality bodge by someone in the past.
Last edited by Des Smith on Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BX14TE St Tropez 1990 - now sold
Xsara Forte 1.4i 2000
Kawasaki GPz550A4 1987

User avatar
Paul296
Over 2k
Posts: 3483
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:39 pm
Location: Newark Nottinghamshire
My Cars: Citroen BX 17 TZD Hurricane
Citroen BX 17 TGD

Re: St Tropez restoration blog

Post by Paul296 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 5:01 pm

Des Smith wrote: I suspect there are people on the forum who think I am nuts for restoring a basic model BX.
Not many I suspect. I think it's brilliant that it's getting a root and branch going over; your car, your dosh, your rules. I'm pretty sure the pleasure of seeing it all finished and looking gorgeous will more than compensate for being homeless (it would me)! :D