When I was young I always wanted to have a 2CV, but my first car was my uncle's '74 Renault 6TL. Then in spring '82 my mother needed the Renault and I could go to buy a 2CV. But unfortunately there was no 2CV for sale in the area I lived, so I bought a yellow '76 Dyane 6. It was cheap and needed only minor repairs, like new brake lining on the front drum brakes. During the year I used this Dyane I had a lot of fun, but also some troubles with the battery, the fuel pump and the ignition. I did all the repair jobs myself and learned a lot from my mistakes.
In Autumn '83 I was fed up with all the minor problems. So I sold the Dyane and got a brand new 2CV6 Club. I thought that with a new 2CV I would drive without any problems. But a new Citroën is not a new car in the sense of having no problems. Already in winter '84 to '85 the same old well-known problems started again. The engine did not start in wet weather or on cold days. I went to the Citroën garage very often that time, and spent some money for nothing. I paid for a check and service of the ignition, but the next day the 2CV didn't start. So I checked the ignition myself and recognized that it would be better to do all the maintenance work myself again. The illusion of having a new car without the need to repair it myself was gone.
From now on the 2CV never failed again. In '85 I joined the 2CV club and went to a lot of meetings including the world meetings in Cheltenham and Ericeira. I was driving a lot and at the Austrian MOT test in '87 my blue 2CV had nearly made its first 100 000 km. The 2CV looked good and had no visible rust, but it failed the Austrian MOT because of a rusty chassis.
I had a long discussion with the chief of the Citroën garage to get the chassis changed for free.
(I had a 5 years against rust holes). Finally I got the new chassis in summer '88 and decided
not to drive my 2CV during winter on the salty roads any longer.
So I needed an alternative for driving in winter. I also missed some features of my old Dyane. I looked for a Dyane and found
a '76 Dyane 6 again. It was not a beauty but in an acceptable technical condition. It was painted in blue with an orange bonnet,
so I bought some paint and applied a unique two-color painting.
This picture taken on a trip to Korsika in winter 89/90 shows the result.
After one year it had some bad rust holes.
I had two possibilities: Scrap the Dyane and buy the next cheap one or
buy a welding set for the same amount of money and keep the Dyane running. I decided to buy the welding set as I also
had a '71 AZU waiting for restoration since more than one year.
In autumn 1989 somebody offered me another Dyane. It was a 1980 model with less rust than the orange/blue one.
I did not really need it, the owner had already tried to sell it for some month and the clutch was in bad condition.
So I got it cheap, repaired the clutch and stored it for later use. Easter 1990 I scrapped the '76 Dyane and started to use
the new one.
I did some experiments in improving the aerodynamic, influenced by Friend Wood's Tryane and the work of Frank Costin. Together with my friend Fritz I started took part in the last 2CV Grand Prix in Zeltweg.
When I decided to join the Raid Morocco 1994 I thought it would not be a good idea to go there in my blue 2CV and risk to damage it. So it was better to buy another 2CV just for the raid. I did not have to look for one, because I already knew of a 1980 2CV 6 special which was for sale. It looked really bad, when I saw it the first time. But it had a rust free chassis and only 80 000 km on the engine. So I took it and prepared it for the raid. I put in a new clutch, strengthened the chassis, and did all the other things necessary if you try to go on an off-road trip to the desert. The raid was beautiful but not a Sunday trip. Sometimes it was beyond the limits of the car and the people. Apart from some flat tires we had no real problems with this brave desert duck. Yes, the chassis got damaged a little bit. Also nearly everything was worn out. But it passed the Austrian MOT and I used it during the winter.
In late summer '94 I got another Dyane 6, an '82 model in a very good condition with only one fault. The previous owner, a hunter had painted it the very green used by the Austrian army. I replaced some parts to make it look a little bit more friendly.
In '96 I missed the right time to scrap the desert duck. Everything was worn out, especially the steering.
I had planed to use it only for one trip but then I started to like it.
I feels different to drive a pre 82 2CV with drum brakes. So I decided to restore it although meanwhile I knew that it was cheaper and wiser to scrap it.
I got another very rusty 1980 2CV with only 80 000km for free,
restored the chassis of this one and used nearly all mechanical parts to rebuild my desert duck in winter '96/'97.
Since that time it has a new nick name - "Phoenix" - because it rose from the ashes like a Phoenix.
Now I have 3 running Citroën A models - the restoration projects covered with dust in a rent barn are another story. I use my '82 Dyane as an every day car from spring to autumn. In winter I drive the red 2CV called Phoenix. The blue 2CV is used for going to 2CV meetings and summer holiday trips. Last spring it reached the 200 000 km mark, still with its original clutch and king pins.
There was no big change in my car park during the last time. The blue 2cv brought me to France, Korsica and Greece. I spent him a new clutch after 210 000 km. In summer 1998 I decided to put some new paint on my 1982 Dyane. Right now I'm prepairing Phoenix for the next big adventure: "Raid Australia 2000".