Small family rear engine produced more than a million copies, the "4 legs" can claim the title of queen of the 1950s in France... A queen who always makes the heart beat Daniel Dussart, after a restoration in the state of the art!
Abandoned in the 1980s in the Toulouse area, this 4 CV 1959 Business model finally ends up in the garage of Daniel 20 years later. A time when Daniel will soon cease his activity as a craftsman in precision mechanics to retire. "The car is complete but some parts have suffered a lot, inside (seats...) and outside (doors, rear and front fenders, skirt...)."
Indeed, over time, the floor has turned into lace, as the engine is simply blocked.
Daniel starts by making sure the parts are available. While many are used, others must be manufactured like most rubbers (door and windshield seals, silentblocs, rings...).
"For my first restoration, I wanted to do everything myself! Held apart from the renovation of the radiator and mounting tires..."
The magnitude of the task exceeds expectations: floorboards, side members and other structural elements are heavily damaged. Direction the Paris region Daniel's studio to attack the works.
The body is separated from the rest of the vehicle using hoist attached to the bumper supports...
The interior is deposited, then the box installed on home-made support. The sanding of the floor can begin.
The interior is deposited, then the box installed on a home-made support.
The sanding of the floor can then begin.
Rust strongly degraded the front part of bodywork (skirt).
Judged too hard to remake sheet metal, it is made of resin (based on a block of carved polystyrene).
It will be coated, sanded, and painted for a bluffing result.
"This 4 CV is a 1959 Business model, recognizable by its unique horn and bumpers that match the bodywork."
An enriched refurbishment
As soon as he arrives in Daniel's workshop, the replacement of the rear floors, sills and other "patches" placed where the sheet has disappeared is undertaken.
In all, there are no less than forty pieces that will be welded by Michel, a friend, former boilermaker and welder emeritus...
At the same time, Daniel began rebuilding the front and rear trains. But the new parts sometimes hold surprises: as off-center silent blocks that require him to deal with their defects.
Although blocked, the engine did not suffer too much: the rods receive new bearings and pistons, new segments.
Most of the wear parts are replaced: brakes, dampers, starter, coil and voltage regulator as well as a good part of the bolts. The original wiring harness is doubled by ground wires. A modification that aims to make the car more reliable. Just like the conversion of the automatic choke into manual, the addition of a water temperature sensor and the replacement of the windshield by a laminated version.
Little or no rust protection, the bodies of the time do not withstand the weather badly.
The rocker of the 4 CV is no exception. The floor and spars are more like lace.
To access below the floor and the side members, the box is bolted to a support that takes the principle of the roasting pan. Thus the body can rotate 360 °.
"Just turn the box on itself to access areas that are usually difficult to access."
Unlike the front skirt, all other body parts replaced are made of metal. They are welded "old-fashioned": that is to say, with the oxyacetylene torch (and not with a Mig-Mag station).
"This spot welding process offers better resistance to deformation than a cord."
A meticulous finish for the old car
In the end, the adventure continues for more than five years... It ends with the painting of the box respecting the original tint (green).
For this operation, Daniel transformed his studio into a painter's booth with suction fans.
Seating, bench and other interior elements find their place or are replaced by equivalents in better condition... Finally the new roof sky is placed.
Covered with an anti-rust primer and a gray primer on the inside.
Some elements are redone in stainless steel as the lower part of the battery tray.
The floor is also treated then painted in black from below
The final shade is first applied to all interior surfaces, including the door and windshield surrounds, as well as the trunk and engine compartment. The roof, hoods and wings follow.
Particular care has been taken in the interior of the car.
Finding a new floor mat has been a breeze thanks to the Internet and specialized websites.
A refurbished engine block
After their refurbishment, engine and radiator take place on a wheel stand to be tested where the presence of the exhaust, a contact light and a button that allows to operate the starter: Daniel has thought of everything!
The big moment has arrived soon: the engine, now coupled to the box equipped with its running gear, is ready to find its place under the box...
To facilitate reassembly of the lower triangles and rods of the anti-roll bar, discreet paint marks distinguish the different assemblies (red for the left side, green for the right side).
Finally, all the hoses have been replaced and the rigid pipes of the brake system redone in copper. Corrosion is no longer to be feared.
As initially, the body is raised by his old bumper (still solid!).
The powertrain is then advanced over the compartment and the body, lowered on its rear axle...
Michel monitors the operations and Daniel inspects the result!
The battery and the electrical equipment remain in 6 V... Flashers and lights are therefore little visible.
But Daniel has planned a small extension of the beam to feed a third brake light, which he must manufacture with LEDs.
Good to know
Depending on the model and age, a car can be insured as a collector vehicle for a lower fare. As with any vehicle, theft or fire warranty is only an option. Here it involves having the car appraised to determine its value. Which can evolve upwards due to significant costs (new paint...) or downward if the maintenance is neglected. The expertise must be renewed every 2 or 3 years to reflect as accurately as possible the real state of the car.