Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Blair "Estate"

Vocab word: "Easter Egg".
-Noun. In Citroen circles, An Easter Egg is an abandoned and decrepit brake-fluid D-series. Easter Eggs are often found in bundles of three or more, typ
ically buried under vegetation along the California Coast or Sierra Foothills.

So we got word a long-time Citroen freak, this guy Blair, had passed and we were asked to evaluate the estate. The Estate amounted to three of these Easter Egg cars up to the door frames in dirt and scrap metal all around this house on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. It took about a solid week's work to dig them out from under all the fenders and hoods and bumpers and 400c rims. In the side yard was the green one, with a nice rattle can metallic emerald-green paint job with lime vellour interior. Some kids danced all over it and broke all the glass. Didn't have any floorboards left, hadn't run in 15 years; but we aired up the two tires we could reach, built a carb for it out of parts laying around on the ground, and put new points in. It actually ran great, raised, and drove itself out. But didn't dare touch the brakes.

So it's got an engine. There was a white one in the garage, with a frozen engine and a broken everything else. But the Chassis appears good. We drug it on the trailer. It'll get the green one's engine, this black cord interior that was hanging around, and fenders from a '57/'58 ID that actually had air grills. I think I'll leave the "Classic" bumper sticker.

This little find is testament to what it used to mean to be a Citroen owner. You had all these cars you traded narcotics or cabinet work for in 1978 that were fifteen years old and broken already. You spend the next 30 years imagining you could restore them but instead collect parts and as soon as you discover that the point set you bought was for an SEV Marchall instead of a Ducellier you give up.

God help you if you actually got around to getting one driving you'd spend $1500 on tires and have the brakes lock up on you at the first stop sign, while all the Brake fluid poured out of the return line and a German Sheppard came out of nowhere and started lapping.

But. You're crazy about the things and you get to thinking maybe if I picked up that one full of parts in a field in Redding I could put the two together and....

...And then you're growing the damn things in your back yard. Before you know it some ex-navy alcoholic yard-cleaner is trying to make sense of what are priceless Citroen parts and what is just rusty bent metal because it all looks the same to him. He might not be right about much, and he stands like he's still on the boat, but he's probably right about that.

What the Hell?

What we're doing here is a bizarre public service to the three or none of you out there who own one or many Citroen DS, ID, CX; who attempt to keep your cars alive without spending hardly any money.

This is public service might as well be considered fiction, as I'm not going to be Liable for you hurting yourself based on something you read here. Entertainment Purposes Only. This is like if Haynes manuals came filed under Gonzo Journalism.

Most Important: No Smart-Ass Encyclopedic Responses will be tolerated.

Nothing Personal, there are already places abound online for you to talk about what shade of Rose-Gris the air cleaner on a '67 DX1 engine ought to be. You can do that to your heart's content here. And here.

There will be no format nor promise of frequency.

Just a slightly bent view on what it's like living with a Citroen...