ellie.jones_39242 Apr 23

Practical Classics takes on its biggest restoration of a classic to date for NEC

Practical Classics takes on its biggest restoration of a classic to date for NEC image

The team from Practical Classics will take on its biggest restoration of a classic to date at the 2018 Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show, with Discovery, when it returns to Birmingham’s NEC from 23-25 March.

Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the iconic French people's car, the Citroen 2CV will be restored from a ladder frame, with just three days to get it driving off the Practical Classics Live Stage at the end of the show.

The 2CV has a simple structure, given that it was designed to replace the horse and cart in post war Europe and to mobilise the French nation after years of occupation. It was built from 1948 to 1990, making it one of the longest-lived cars of all time.

Previously owned by David McWilliam, he approached the PC team at last year's show to take on the project. The body was uncovered in a bramble covered lock-up, deep in a suburb of North London, with the chassis and engine languishing in a residential garage in a neighbouring suburb.

Thought to be one of the earliest 2CV models in the UK, this 375cc model was registered in France on June 16th, 1954. 

After being used in the Paris area by its first owner, the car was imported to the UK in 1963 by a Mr Brian Andrews from Barnet. Mr Andrews used the car to commute the seven miles to work near Heathrow each day until 1975. By then, his family was growing and he was unable to transport them around, what with the 2CV having just 9bhp! 

After years of regular use, the car had also become a little shabby so he stashed it away in a garage until eventually selling it to 2CV enthusiast David in 1996. 

Sadly, David was unable to restore the car and so there it stayed, locked away and gathering dust for a further 20 years - until fate brought him and the PC team together at the NEC!

James Walshe, Practical Classics Deputy Editor and fellow Citroen enthusiast, said: “It's so exciting to be restoring one of the greatest people's cars of all time - especially one of the earliest examples. It's a big deal for me personally, too. Much to the surprise of my mother, '2CV' was one of my first words as a baby and yet, despair being the owner of many Citroens, 2CV ownership has so far eluded me. Until now!

“We are working with a couple of key partners and thank them for their support. Parts are being supplied by The 2CV Shop, whilst the build will be carried out by PC's own Matt Tomkins with help from 2CV experts Barry and Peter Annells from the Bourne Citroen Centre. All of this is being supported by 2CVGB and the Citroen Car Club.”

If completed, the 2CV will join the Morris Minor lowlight the team built two years ago (the Morris Minor also turns 70 in 2018), for a run from the Cowley factory where the Morris was built, to the Paris birthplace of the 2CV.

The Practical Classics Live Stage, with Discovery, is also home to a host of celebrity interviews, Q&As, classic car demonstrations and the Practical Classics cavalcade – it’s where things get noisy! Check back for the full line-up and timetable.