The Citroën AX GT will live again (touch wood)

No, your eyes do not deceive you, work has indeed started on the Citroën AX GT. Almost five years since she was last seen on the road, the restoration job is finally underway. And to think some said it would never happen.

OK, so there’s a long, long way to go yet. Time and money will dictate how long it takes to put this AX GT back on the road, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I’m determined to do as much of the work as my skills will allow (which rules out welding, wiring and painting). But even the simple act of dismantling the car – which has taken up most of my free time over the past seven days – is surprisingly rewarding. I’ve discovered more about the car this week than I have over the course of the previous five years.

A contributing factor to the sudden movement is the availability of space. By converting an outbuilding into a garage, there’s room for the AX to be tucked away, in the dry and in a position where it’s never going to be in the way. The only time it’ll need to move is when it’s whisked away to some unsuspecting welder for major surgery. Volunteers – form an orderly queue…

Citroen AX GT restoration

The plan is simple: remove the bumpers, trim, front wings and bonnet to reveal the full extent of the corrosion. Make no mistake, this Citroën AX GT has got it bad, but while the inner rear arches are as rotten as I feared, the rest of the car is surprisingly encouraging. I’m under no illusion that it’ll be cheap, but I’m determined to do it properly. I’ll be giving up takeaway coffees for a while and impulse-buy Hot Wheels are a thing of the past. Every penny counts, right?

Removing the rear bumper was remarkably easy, as were the plastic rear arches – hardly surprising when the rear arches aren’t there anymore. The front bumper was removed in seconds, while I was surprised to discover the headlights and grille could be removed without a spanner or screwdriver. You’ve got to love the French. As for the front wings – five bolts and they were off.

Citroen AX GT resto job

Seriously, a Lego Technic set is more complex than a Citroën AX GT. Not that I should speak too soon, because at the time of writing, a rusty screw on the cowling beneath the windscreen has beaten me, while I can’t for the life of me remove the front seats. This is in stark contrast to the rear seats which were removed quicker than you could say ‘I really wouldn’t want to be involved in an accident in a 1989 Citroën AX’.

Look, I know it’s a small step, but it’s significant. No longer left to rot, the Citroën AX GT is now – touch wood – on the road to recovery. I fully intend to document the restoration on PetrolBlog, while you can follow progress on Twitter by using the #ProjectAX hashtag. Wish me luck, because I think I’m going to need it. Also, do send Hobnobs.

Citroen AX GT front wings removed

The next steps? Find someone to tell me how much the corrosion is going to hurt my wallet, while I start work on the engine. Some wheel dollies might be required, because I’m forever putting air in the tyres, which does kind of slow things down.

For now, that’s all I have to report, so treat this as a welcome to ‘My First Restoration Job’. You never know, the way things are going, the Citroën AX GT might be worth as much as a Peugeot 205 GTI by the time it’s finished. Then again…

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Gavin Big-Surname
The chief waffler and founder of PetrolBlog in 2010. Has a rather unhealthy obsession with cars from the 80s and 90s, and is on a one-man mission to collect the cars nobody else wants. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

6 comments

  1. August 2, 2016
    Ben

    Good man, making a start is sometimes the hardest thing, so hopefully you’ll get on a roll.

    Reply
  2. August 3, 2016
    Darren Leslie

    Might be worth considering a mobile welder. Would save the hassle of trying to move it around via a trailer. Good luck.

    Reply
  3. August 31, 2016
    Ferenc

    Even if it might not worth as much as a 205 GTI ( never know, maybe it’s rarity will rocket it’s price), this rare example of real hot hatchery should be saved for the future. Wish you can get it done properly. It does not look as bad as it can not be saved and restored within reasonable budget.

    Reply
  4. September 27, 2016
    Rupert McDonald

    Yes! All I can say is yes!

    Reply
    • September 27, 2016
      Gavin Big-Surname

      Heh! Hi Rupert.

      ‘Your’ AX might rise again! 😉

      Reply
  5. September 27, 2016
    Rupert

    Hey gav! I got thinking about it today after facebook prompted me to share a pic of it some 6 years ago. I have a good friend with welders, spray booth and barn in shillingford abbot- they may have room for a little one if you need! They normally do Vw campers, but they did my Bros scirocco mk1 which is now back on the road. ?

    Reply

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