Bizarre & Classic Car Owners

(James Higginson) #1

If you own a Classic or unusual car or belong to any motoring organisations in France lets hear about them. Renovation projects, found in a barn etc.…


(Brian Langston) #2

Wanted- Someone to restore 'Gabrielle' a 1928 Citroen B14 Paris taxi in time for her 90th birthday!

She was running OK but went away for a respray to a local garage having suffered under a tarpaulin since we bought her to Lodeve 5 years ago.

Unfortunately after dismantling and sandblasting her, the garagiste told me her bodywork was in worse condition than he thought and suggested she wasn't worth any further work!

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. 'Gabrielle' had been with him for 18 months before he reached this conclusion. I think he had just lost interest in the job and now she is sitting in pieces around his garage awaiting collection. See the before and after pic below.

The one saving grace is that he hasn't charged me anything for the work he has done, although he seemed to be interested in taking her off my hands for a pittance which I declined.

I know little about cars and would welcome a second opinion. I am reluctant to simply scrap the old girl but also need to be realistic about how much it would cost to repair the bodywork, respray her and put her back together.

I would love to hear from anyone who would be interested in taking this project on.


(neil whitehead) #3

Don't forget- - illustrations of classic vehicles


(Graham Dooley) #4

Nice but small suits the pocket ! Rather you than me.


(Mark Rimmer) #5

I have aquired a second DUKW - in service July 1944 - which spent its post war life with the French army, 519e RT at La Rochelle. In the latter years it was a gate guardian so was exposed to salt air & vandalism. Sold off in 2010, I bought this from a dealer earlier this year. My first DUKW, I have decided, will act as a donor for those hard to find parts.

I have a rough restoration plan in mind which may mean that it goes back to the UK for body repairs. Doing anything on something this size is a lot easier if it can move about under its own power so last weekend my friend & I decided to see if the engine, unused for many years & the sump half full of rain water, can be brought back to life without the need to remove & rebuild it.

I do have the engine out of the first DUKW so we pinched the starter motor to see if the other engine would actually turn which to my surprise it did! Excited by this good news an ignition coil was fitted & the distributor cleaned up. The addition of a rotor arm & distributor cap meant that we might get a spark if fuel was poured into the carb. Being impatient we gave it a quick spin, wary of the water in the sump. A couple of little bangs & some smoke from the break in the exhaust has made me optimistic!

This week I have drained the "oil", checked the cooling system, rebuilt the carb so this Sunday we will go for it!

If successful the gearbox & clutch is next, then the brakes. If all can be made to work it will make life so much easier as the DUKW can be driven even if it is just on to a low loader for the bodywork to be done!.


(Mark Rimmer) #6

You are allowed to import a modified vehicle into France but it will need to be checked by DREAL first. This is because if you put a Rover V8 engine in a 2CV the emissions listed for a 2CV will no longer apply. If the car has not been tested & the modifications noted against that vin number, it will not pass. The UK has the same "restrictive practice" - try importing a 1985 Renault 4 into the UK. In France the government still specify the requirement for a physical C of C for modern cars so if you have managed to register a car without you have indeed been lucky. See For a CT the number only is required which does appear on modern car UK log books. The European C of C is also a requirement of the UK if you wish to import a car into the UK. The UK also charges £100 to process your application whilst in France this is free. For details see

The French system is in some ways simpler than the UKs, so I fear that it is the UK which has more of a barrier to imports than here. To find out just how much simpler the French system is compared to the UK, check this -

then come back & whinge about the French...


(jonathan currah) #7

your right it depends how anal the official on the desk is that day. i dont in any way condone the not registering of uk vehicles used permanently in france, but if a modified vehicle is acceptable in any eu country it should be acceptable in france, or why the hell are we all in the eu????? the right of movement of goods or services should apply equally, even in france. i hope they sort this mess out, but i fear it wont be soon, and if it is i doubt the french will follow suit as they love restrictive practices. in the mean time you should find a way through the minefield however it works for you.


(Paul Clark) #8

Mark seems to be 'on the ball' here. Trouble is that it all depends on who you speak too 'on the day' when going through the re-reg process. I have carried this out on 4 cars now. I went to my Prefecture was told what I needed. One of the requirements was a Cert of Conformity another was headlamps to be altered for europe. Being a good boy I did all. My first too cars were too old for a CofC so I was issued a Letter of C 113 euros to Volvo for each. At the Prefecture, they never even looked at them...... Move on a few years another done & again I obtained a Letter of C . Last November I bought another..... newer 2004 V70. I spoke to Volvo,"yes you still need a CofC, 140 euros & we'll send it M.Clark. I then went for the Controle Tecnique & it passed, even with the RHD headlamps, that section on the paperwork noted the 'angles of beam' to be acceptable. The tester then told me that a CofC wasn't needed for this as 'rubrique K' is complete (section K on your V55/ Carte Grise) . I tackled Volvo on this, they replied "M. Clark, your papers are ready to be sent and there is no way that your Prefecture can issue a Carte Grise without the CofC" . Well I decided to try..... Result is that my car is now on French plates with a French Carte Grise! I informed the lady at Volvo..... apparently I was "lucky". Rubrique K on the carte grise is complete. On my 850, it is too. On my 240, that section is blank! I would look at section k on your V55 and see if it has a 'set' of numbers and asterisks in it, if yes bang it in for a controle technique, or at least go and ask your local CT man. My CT cert' for the V70 is marked "Rubrique K est completée" & Sylvain (my tester fellah) was adamant that is all I needed, seems he was right! Phew!, hope this helps!


(sidney wilgrove) #9

Well said Jonathan. About time our hosts played by the same rules as the other members of the EEC!


(jonathan currah) #10

before everybody jumps on the '' i hope you dont'' bandwagon, i would like to point out some anomolies. firstly your car insurance anywhere in europe cant be made null and void, only reduced to third party cover. secondly not allowing uk registered modified cars to be registered in france is against the eu free movement of goods and services laws, which apparently is being looked at. thirdly you can easily get uk insurance annual continental use cover on any uk regd vehicle. fourthly what would the french do if the system was against them, probably bend the rules, you only have to look at how the french keep their modified cars on the road legally here. happy modified motoring in france to you all, long may it continue!


(Catharine Higginson) #11

And yes, I quite agree, much better to do it properly.


(Catharine Higginson) #12

Thought you might know Mark!


(Mark Rimmer) #13

Sorry to rain on your parade, but that won't work, either.

This from -

"If you keep your normal residence from your Member State but you stay in another EU country for less than 6 months, you do not have to register your car or pay any taxes there - it will remain registered in your country of residence.

If you are staying in another EU country for less than 6 months and have not registered your car there, you may not legally lend or rent your car to a resident of that country, who may only drive your car if you are in the car with him/her.

You may, however, lend your car to visiting friends or family - provided they are not resident in your new country."

So you can only drive the car in company with your wife.

What year is the Caterham & is it a home build or factory? I have heard of people who have successfully imported a Caterham & there is a French Caterham club who can help. & the club is

Surely much better to do things properly instead of taking chances?

Mind you, if it does get confiscated I could buy it cheap in the government auctions!


(Catharine Higginson) #14

Sounds like that would work.


(Russell Clare) #15

Let’s assume then that my wife, who is to maintain UK residency as she is a company director in the UK and will be spending more than 6 months a year In UK becomes the registered keeper of the Caterham , it’s taxed and mot’d in the UK each year, and I am a named driver. But the car is stored in France. That is surely acceptable isn’t it? If she decides she can’t be away from me that long ( understandable :)) and moves over and becomes a resident, I would then give the car to my brother who stores it in France again mot done in UK yearly and taxed and insured etc etc


(Mark Rimmer) #16

Jonathan, I hope you are not going to advocate some dodgy scheme such as keeping a car on UK plates & insuring using an old UK address?

The law here is quite clear, if you are a French resident (ie, this is where you live) you must register your car here - it is illegal for a French resident to own a car registered in another country. This is also true in most countries throughout the world. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule depending on circumstances, but these are not illegal. Also, for a UK reg car to be used legally abroad it must be legal in the country of registation, so a UK car on holiday here must still have UK road tax & a UK issued MOT. I know that there are quite a few Brits who do not follow this & have "got away" with all kinds of dodgy interpretations but one day there will be a serious accident & the "insurance" will be found to be void. I just hope that I would not be involved but I use the same roads as these people.

If your way round the problem is legal I'm sure we would all like to here about it...


(jonathan currah) #17

there is a way round the insurance problem and reg problem for weird motors, pm me.


(Russell Clare) #18

Hi all you petrol heads out there, I am soon to relocate to the Dordogne area,I currently have a couple of 2cv’s and a 200 bhp Caterham 7HPC, yes my taste in performance cars is wide ranging! they are obviously like chalk and cheese, but I love them equally, it looks like the 7 is going to be a no go as far as re registering it is concerned, but it’s coming one way or another! I’m keeping a uk address. Anyway, Happy New Year to you all, 2014 is going to an exciting year for me , that’s for sure.


(Bruce Brewer) #19

Hi. Earlier this year I bought and drove a 1967 Fiat 500 from London to the Vienne as a present for my wife. It's in lovely condition as it has only 53000 kms on the clock. It needed a new starter motor which I bought but not fitted, as in August I had a stroke, so it's been stood since. I've decided to sell it as I'm not able to do much with it at present. It's left hand drive. It would need registering in France, as I've told the DVLA that it is now in France. It was taken to the UK 10 years ago from Italy, by the Italian Embassy, so not driven much by them. If anyone's interested, I'd be happy to supply some photos. I'd like E4000 for it, which I think is a bargain. Get in touch if you're interested.


(Margaret York) #20

Taken on our Ronde de Cause 2010. We've had this car since 1987