Unique 1977 CitroŽn Ami 8

*This car has now gone to live in the Netherlands with an enthusiast who has several other classic CitroŽns. We have no doubt it will be well looked after (probably better than it was here . . . ).

Originally purchased from a friend in 2CVGB in 2003, and reputed to have once been a clowns car (in red with a yellow stripe !), it came to the UK from France in the ownership of a well-known French publisher of CitroŽn books and magazines. Although it was almost completely rust-free, the roof had already been crudely removed and a badly profiled roll bar fitted. However, no replacement strengthening had been added, resulting in a very flexible body structure with little crash protection for the occupants. It had already been converted to 2 door, using long (steel) Service Van rear wings.

During 2004/5 a very comprehensive body and structural restoration was carried out, just in time for the 2CV World Meeting at Kelso in Scotland. New floors and toe-board were fitted, along with a new chassis top plate incorporating mountings for the Ford Sierra front seats – which were used to provide tipping backs for access to the rear. Further body-stiffening measures included reinforced sills, crash protection bars inside the rear wings (between B and C pillars), and a cross rail linking left and right sills to provide some low-level side-crash protection for the front occupants. The body is now probably stiffer and stronger than a standard Ami 8 Berline.

In order for the car to be described as "rust-free" the rear inner wheel arches have recently had the double-skinned area (where the bump stops are attached) replaced with thicker single-skin repair sections - thus eliminating the usual problem of moisture being trapped and promoting rust. The bump stops are now bolted on instead of welded, making future replacement much easier.

The soft-top and frame were completely redesigned, with a strong steel T-bar incorporating a GS interior light, and pivot rails which allow the front of the hood to be flipped back (in a similar way to the 2CV and Dyane). The top of the (welded in) roll bar was built up and padded to provide the curve necessary for proper cross-tensioning of the hood, which was professionally crafted in black Mohair with beige herringbone lining. A matching hood bag gives a smart look to the car on top-down days, and boot space is unaffected. The car comes with 2 lightweight (shower resistant) covers – one standard, and one tailored to fit with the roof down.

The rebuild was finished with a high quality bare metal re-paint in AC 631 Bleu Thasos, (CitroŽn used it on Amis and Dyanes in the early ‘70s). The car was sprayed in two stages - body frame first, then much time was spent on stone chip protection and panel alignment work before the final outer paintwork took place. The standard of bodywork fit and finish is far in excess of that which Amis had when they left the factory. The inner panel work is finished in Mercedes satin grey. Parts such as brackets, hinges etc. were powder coated in off-white. Brand new bumbers, lights (including Ami Super headlamps with the extra HI reflector) door handles and other external trim were sourced and carefully fitted.

The car was professionally pressure Wax treated in all cavities immediately following restoration, to provide long-term protection.

A set of 4 specially fabricated polycarbonate sidescreens keep out the worst of the British weather – the fronts have flip up ventilators like a 2CV. The fronts can be used with the hood down to prevent buffeting from the wind - the quarter lights on the doors were specially constructed to locate them securely. All 4 can be removed with the hood up in very hot weather for maximum ventilation and shading from the sun. There are protective bags for the sidescreens when not in use.

The seats are professionally trimmed in black basket-weave vinyl (similar to CitroŽn factory ‘Targa’), the rear bench having tubes welded into the original frame to allow matching adjustable head restraints to be fitted. The bespoke interior panels are also trimmed in black vinyl, and include 4 speakers. The whole idea was to give the illusion of a factory-built Cabrio, providing a comfortable (and safe) place to travel.

The car was mechanically overhauled where necessary, including brakes, suspension etc.. The original low mileage 602cc flat twin engine has been serviced regularly and runs very sweetly. 5 new Michelin tyres were fitted to powder coated wheels and still have plenty of tread. The car is fitted with a fully wired factory tow bar.

Our family of 4 has travelled in this car widely in the UK and also to the South of France in 2006.