This page collects together some useful thoughts and background to the build.
0..The early years
The Early Years
Having graduated in the late 80's, I was working in Berkshire and on the lookout for
my first car. A work colleague and I had driven to Scotland the year before in his rebuilt
Dyane, and after the initial shock of looking through a slit-like windscreen and the feeling
that we weren't going to get as far as Banbury, never mind Scotland, I acquired a certain
admiration for the car (we did actiually stop in Banbury, pull somethig out of the engine
bay, throw it away and carry on).
When he suggested that I might like to purchase a 1978 Dyane he had in his garage, it seemed
like a sensible thing to do. Problem was, that it was in bits.
To cut a long story short,
We spent three months putting it back together in the evenings and weekends and I did a course
on vehicle maintenance at the local tech college. November 1989 saw 'popeye' pass its MOT
Popeye did sterling service, and I drove her into the ground in only two years. I did approx
50,000 miles in her, taking her 'round the clock' in those two years with numerous trips to Scotland, the South Coast as well as forrays
to 2CV meetings in Germany etc. During that time, I put new pistons and barrels
on the engine, fitted a new alternator (the previous one caught fire on the M5), replaced the
track-rod-ends (from the locally scrappy). Changed the fuel sender unit (and subsequently drove through
town without a fuel tank) and generally kept her looking neat and tidy.
She evetually succumbed to the rust fairy in 1991, by which time I needed a vehicle with a bit more
carrying capacity than she could offer. She was driven back to my colleagues garage and
left there to die.
Numerous cars and company cars later, my interest was rekindled by the introduction of the
Burton to the UK. I had always wanted to build a kit car, and had been tracking the progress of the
2CV-based Falcon for many years. By early 2004 I had researched the Burton and was ready to
start making plans.
Having spotted the Burton on the web, I started to gather as much info on the car as possible.
I found out that Burton has a newly apointed agent in the UK, so I got in touch and received the literature
and prices available at that time. The timing wasn't great, and my third daughter had just been born,
and time was precious, but I needed something to unwind from working an 11 hour day.
A chance remark to a friend one day, hi-lighted the fact that she wanted to sell her 1988 Dolly as
it was no longer road-worthy and taking up room on her front lawn. What's more, it had spent
the last 10 years off the road due to rot and had only covered 20,000 miles since new.
This seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. However, it had to go, and she was considering putting
it on eBay. I was going to have to act fast.
A couple of phone calls later, I arranged to meet the UK Agent and get a test drive in one of the only
two RHD Burton cars in the UK. I spent a very pleasant afternoon with him during which time we discussed the
complexities of the build and what would be required in addition to the body shell. We also went out
for a drive in his car and subsequently ran out of petrol miles from anywhere!
However, I was, by then, hooked.
The biggest problem was whether the car would fit into my garage, and whether I was going to have enough
time and space to accomplish the build. I had to clear my garage out and find space to fit a 5m car into it.
I decided to do the build in stages. Stage one would involve stripping the donor. I could attempt this at minimal cost.
Stage 2 would be refurbishing the donor - again, this could be done without the investment
in the Burton parts of the build. If all went well, I would order the Burton body in time for the rolling chassis being ready.
Almost complete - see Build diary
Having had the car on the road for almost two months, and covered 500+ miles, I'm getting a feel for the thing.
Firstly, performance is adequate for a car of this size, given the size of the engine etc. Interior space is a little tight,
but the large boot more than makes up for this. The note from the exhaust is just lovely - I keep thinking I'll get pulled
over for the noise I'm making.
Handling is great - no understeer to speak of. Having altered the castor angle of the front hubs, the steering is light, even at 70mph -
a problem with a lot of unaltered 2CV specials. I'm experiencing a bit of body 'shake', but this is probably down to the 125 tyres,
and may also be amplified by having high pressure in the front tyres. Wider tyres would help this.
The car looks the business. The only let-down is the wheels (unmistakeably 2CV) and the number plate. I've got plans to
fix both of these.
Having driven it with and without the hard-top, I can safely say that topless is by far the most pleasurable. The hard-top
acts as an amplifier, and all I can hear is the din of the engine. Saying that, if you want to enjoy the car all year round in the
UK, you'll need some kind of weather protection, and the hard-top is just great at keeping the weather out.
I'm finally starting to enjoy driving the car. No more worries about bits falling off etc. Time will tell as to how
much use I actually make of it. I'm starting to miss the 'building' process. Time for a new project?