Rapid recovery – electrics and a shocking decision

Hoorah! Technology has been restored. Thanks to a very generous member of the Autoshite forum, my laptop has been fitted with a new hard drive. Having blithely ignored the warning to create back up DVDs for Windows, I’m now using Linux for the first time. All seems fairly well so far…

The restoration of technology has enabled me to get into a very strong debate. I’ve caused lots of upset today by putting my 2CV up for sale. She needs a LOT of work, and probably deserves a better owner than me. Well, that was my thinking! The howls of derision from (almost) all angles has left me questioning my sanity.

The howls got a bit much for me to be honest, so I headed out after a plea for assistance from my Skoda-loving friend, Rob. He was having one of ‘those’ experiences that us classic owners sometimes encounter. Namely, checking that all the lights work on a car before an MOT test, then discovering that many of them do not in fact work once the test begins. Every year, I wonder if the 2CV’s sidelights are going to work or not. Rob’s Rapid had decided that headlights and foglights were superfluous. The MOT tester did not.

Electrical woes prevent MOT

Electrical woes prevent MOT

Electrical issues are quite easy to solve if you have a multimeter though. On lovely old cars, there really are limits to what can actually be wrong. There must be power, and there must be an earth. That’s about it really. One sidelight was powerless, though trying to trace it back through the loom proved tricky. It seemed to recover on its own. That sort of thing never inspires confidence!

Iffy headlamps proved a bit easier to solve. The multimeter reckoned power was getting to the bulb holder, so the holder was probably at fault. Adjustment of the contacts improved things. Before too long, all front lamps were working. Next came the fog light. For some reason, this has a relay. The MOT-bodge solution, after checking the wiring was all ok, was to simply bypass the relay. Rob can now either replace the relay or live with more power going through the switch. One fog lamp can’t draw anywhere near the current of a pair of headlamps though – which is why relays are often fitted in the first place. I don’t fully understand why Skoda felt the fog light needed one.

All of this was a fine distraction from the hornet’s nest I’d stirred up by wishing to sell my 2CV. One interested party asked for better pictures of the rotten bits, and this forced me to take a closer look. Yes, there is work needed, but for the MOT, I reckon a bit of plating beneath the rear seat box will be sufficient. Probably not beyond the means of even my meagre budget. Much more work is needed than that longer term, but perhaps I should focus on each bit at a time. As with any classic car restoration project, if you try to take in all the work that’s required, you’d quickly lose the will to crack on with it! After all, I’ve been steadily improving the Discovery. Now that it has failed to sell, I need to plan the next stage. There’s always plenty to do with old cars!

I've really enjoyed this sort of thing

Discovery has failed to sell. Perhaps not a bad thing?

But while selling Elly the 2CV is entirely sensible at a practical level – it’s cheaper to buy a better one (or a Dyane) than to restore Elly – emotion is a very odd thing. Witness the outpouring of disbelief from my friends over the sale. Why has my decision to sell an inanimate object created such a fuss?

The truth is that old cars are not very much to do with practicality or reasonable thinking. Why do we want to drive old cars in the first place? Nostalgia mainly. It’s a return to an older way of life, a simpler way of life. Or it might just be the desire to experience the vehicle we remember when we grew up. Or our first car. Our parent’s car. The car we saw on our street that we wished our parents had owned. Emotion is hugely important to any classic purchase and our ability to ignore the brain and listen to the heart is why so many of us end up making bad purchase decisions. That’s all part of the fun really! If you take the emotion out of it, it just doesn’t seem as much fun.




3 thoughts on “Rapid recovery – electrics and a shocking decision

  1. I don’t really drive my 2cv for emotional reasons. I drive it because it’d more hassle to get anything else when the 2cv is extremely reliable and cheap to run. I couldn’t really be bothered with the uncertainty or expense of getting something more modern. A bit of welding from time to time is a small price to pay (literally) for the simplicity and ease of just hopping in my 2cv everyday. It always starts instantly, and it’s never failed to get me where I’ve wanted to go, for 15 years and 100,000 miles.

    • Surely there’s also a ‘fun’ element? And you must feel attached to your fabulous blue drummer. You’ve now had that longer than I’ve had Elly.

  2. That’s there as well I guess, but it’s not something I really think about. I always said I’d keep driving it every day until it gives me reason not to. It never has.

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