Fixing it up for sale - Faine 382

By: Jon Faine, Unique Cars magazine

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After all that work, it seems a shame to sell it!

Fixing it up for sale - Faine 382
All good to go - do we have to sell it?

Why do we wait until we are selling a car to fix all the little things? And then as soon as you attend to all the minor irritants, the car is a pleasure to drive again and you do not want to sell it!

The sadly inelastic nature of the garage means I have to downsize the fleet. Deciding who leaves is like one of those weepy movies about the mother who has to choose which child survives the approaching flood or earthquake or a terrible war. Eeny, meeny, mynee mo….

So after twenty years and an epic rebuild I decide the Citroen Cabriolet has to go. I have owned it the longest, and am using it the least. Time for someone else to have as much fun with it as I have. So I make a list of what needs doing.

Brakes – no pedal pressure, no fluid in bottle, where the hell is it going?  Trouble lamp, crawl under car, spot leak, wheel off, hub off,  soon sorted – just a split seal.  Why did I keep putting that off when it turned out to be so small a repair? I had catastrophised the issue – convincing myself it was a failure of epic proportions somewhere in the brakes. Instead it took ten minutes.

Reminds me of the hardest part of going to the gym: putting on your shoes. So I attack the rest with renewed vigour.

Hubcap rattling – just a new nut with a decent thread to replace the worn out one that made it rattle. Spare wheel cover not sitting square – simple fix with three retaining screws to keep the central boss from coming adrift.

Biggest issue was getting Bill the panel and paint wizard to plug the row of  holes the previous owner had made in the dashboard. Some genius had thought it a good idea to install a row of ghastly tell-tale lights that ought never have been there. Along the way they had moved the indicator switch (no auto return)  to the left of the steering wheel. On a left-hand drive car, this meant you have to change gears with your right while you simultaneously manipulate the indicator switch with your left hand. That means no hand on the steering wheel. Driving around in the city meant never an idle moment. Dropping down to second and approaching a corner took considerable logistical and tactical forethought.

Restoring the dash to original specs and getting the indicator switch properly located made the car look and feel right. Finding a period switch with little red tell-tale light inside to flash along with the indicators brought it all together nicely. Subtle and, some might say, insignificant – but now every time I look down at the dash I am not offended, but pleased with what I see. And driving is much more relaxing.

A few cable ties tidy up some of the loose wires under the dash. A rummage through the box of rubber seals delivers what is needed to disappear the gap left from replacing the door handle and window winders with original items.

And so on. My list of small annoying things evaporates in a day of tinkering.  A big wash, polish and shine and then the car is fun to drive again and I wish I had not decided to sell it!

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