the story of a brave attempt to save a white Visa from demolishing, sent to
me by Edwin Thuijs.
"As a replacement
car for a 32 year old 2CV4, which was in need of revision, we had already been
searching some time for another car. After having phoned after various Dyanes
and Amis, and after looking at some of them, it didn't seem feasible to find
a reasonable example for a price between 1000 en 2000 €. The ones
we looked at all needed a considerable amount of work. As we would use the car
only as temporary car, which will be sold after the 2CV4 is ready, we wondered
if the investment (in time and money) would pay off (even partly) when the car
would be sold.
At a certain stage we had to broaden our choice of cars. At that moment, we
came across the following advertisement:
CITROEN VISA 1.1 (1988)
Price: Any bid (must be sold this week, to good to be demolished)
Description: DUE TO ACQUISITION OF VAN:
FOR SALE : CITROEN VISA 1.1
WHITE, MOT UNTIL NOVEMBER 2002
5 DOORS, VERY ECONOMIC AND RELIABLE ".
Someone who wants
to get rid of it fast, always good for the price! I phoned the owner and asked
about the condition of the vehicle "The exhaust leaks and the doors are
rusty, he told me. "For the rest it is a good car. Someone has bid € 170,00 and might return on wednesday evening to have a look at the car".
I quickly made an appointment to inspect the Visa Wednesday at the end of the
afternoon. It would still be light then (I dislike buying cars in the dark).
Eventually it was dark when I arrived at the site where the car stood, because
the route description was not completely accurate. I examined the car as good
as possible with a torch and had a short test drive in it. The underbody looked
ok and the engine sounded nice (even without the famous ticking sound). But
the car hed obvious faults tas well: my first list of things to repair mentioned:
front door to be replaced, rear doors to be refurbished, right rear lamp unit
to be replaced (glass broken), indicator switch handle to be replaced (broken),
arm rear windscreen wiper to be mounted again (broken off) and exhaust leaky
near the first bend of the exhaust pipe.
The APK (Dutch MOT) turned out to last only until the end of May instead of
the previously stated November.
Due to the low price and the fact that the things to repair were easy to overcome
I also offered € 170,00, so the deal was made. The next Friday we
picked up the car.
the Visa as we bought her. Imagine the sound of a leaky exhaust and the
picture is complete. Right: the other side before reconditioning. Only the
new rear windscreen wiper arm has already mounted.
By daylight some
unnoticed problems showed up. When I started to work at the car, even more faults
revealed themselves. Still, all was fairly normal if one bears in mind it is
a 14 year old car. We came to the following enumeration:
· all four tires dried out at the sides;
· problems with the rear lights (corroded contacts);
· reversing lights not working (corroded contacts on switch at the gearbox);
· interior light not working on opening the doors (corroded contacts
and a badly corroded screw on the switch at the left. The switch had to be removed
by force and was replaced;
· left exterior mirror broken off (had been fixed provisionally);
· windscreen washer at the front not working (dirt in the tube);
· rear windscreen wiper did not switch off automatically after it had
been switched on. It would only switch off after cutting the ignition (the relay
that triggers three times wiping turned out to cause the problem);
· windscreen washer at the back malfunctioning (faulty pump);
· engine slightly tilting during accellerating and decellerating (not
solved yet, probably an engine rest);
· water leaking in the boot (it turned out that the rubber along the
hatch was running over the wire of the rear screen heater and the support for
the wire of the boot cover. Simply bending the rubber towards the outside was
· petrol tank leaking at the filling tube (fastening the tube clamps
seemed to be the solution, but this has to be checked next time at the petrol
the purchase I went searching for (preferably white) front doors. I was lucky:
at a scrap yard near my work was a white Visa of 1983 with four good doors.
Also the bonnet was perfect (the bonnet from our Visa was had rusty corners
at the bottom). For € 125,00 the four doors and bonnet could be
old and new doors brotherly next to each other. Right: Visa doors can be
as bad as this without falling out (there is not much needed, however, and
There were some
rust spots at the joints of the inner underside of the doors. At these spots
I removed the lute and treated the rust with Turtle rust solver (looks like
Noverox). After that I put on zinc primer, paint, accompleted by a new layer
of lute (see picture below left ). It turned out that there are differences
between the doors from a '83 car and from a '88 car:
1. The black trim under the windows is much smaller. Because the black paint
was partly damaged and because this trim continues under the air outlet beside
the rear door I eventually decided to repaint the black trim on the '83 doors
like the doors of the '88 car;
2. On a '83 car the keyhole is in the doorknob. On the '88 car it is located
in the door panel below the doorknob. As I did not have a key of the '83 car,
I had to drill and file a hole for the key cylinder. I transferred the complete
lock mechanism from the '88 doors into the '83 doors as well;
3. On the '88 car the left rear view mirror is adjustable from the inside. The
inside of the '83 door was not suited for this. I sawed the support for the
mirror knob out of the '88 door and mounted this in the '83 door (see picture
below right). The adjustable mirror was broken off. The fixed one of the 83
door was ok. I carefully removed both mirror glasses from the plastic rests
with a putty knife. After that I was able to remove both the mirror rests. By
mounting the mechanism and mirror rest of the 88 one in the cover of the 83
one I rebuilt a good, working rear left mirror, adjustable from the inside.
on the doors of the '83 car there were only small rust spots under the layer
of lute. Here zinc primer has already been applied. Right: the rest for
the knob from the adjustable left rearview mirror had to be sawn from the
88 door and remounted in the 83 door.
It turned out that
simply replacing four doors was a time consuming job. But the result justifies
the time spent!
final result (here shown with the original 11 RE wheels instead of the 11
E wheels that came shortly afterwards).
the doors, there remained only a few small problems to be dealt with. In the
beginning, I thought there was only a leak near the first bend of the exhaust
pipe. The resulting sound was that loud, that other, smallerleaks could not
be heard. After replacement of the first bow pipe the rear exhaust pot turned
out to be leaky as well. I decided to replace the complete exhaust.
In total I visited
five scrap yards, and bought parts at three of them. Prices varied from one
to another: to give you an idea of the encountered differences: at one scrap
yard the indicator light switch handle costed € 20,00, while at
an other one only € 5,00 was charged.
At one scrap yard
I found four almost new Michelins MX. The only drawback was, that they were
mounted on wheels from a 11 E. I didn't put much weight on this fact, because
otherwise I would have to invest even more to remount the tires on the original
wheels and to have these balanced. Because the car looked so beautiful by now,
I decided to repaint the wheels as a finishing touch.
Here is a list with the costs we made:
Purchase of the
Visa 11RE S6 1988 € 170,00
Four as good as new
tires € 60,00
Cost for license transfer € 9,50
Arm rear windscreen wiper and headrests € 15,00
Doors and bonnet € 125,00
Right rear light unit and indicator switch handle € 20,00
Spark plugs € 8,52
Exhaust € 118,80
Paint, black, white, silver, rust solver, primer etc. € 31,46
Rear safety belts € 12,00
Pump rear windscreen washer € 7,50
Total € 577,78 (Dfl 1273,00).
In may 2002 I went
for the yearly APK (MOT). The only thing they found was a faulty left steering
bolt. They complimented me with the excellent state the car was in! I fixed
the problem the same day and I didn't have to pay extra for the second APK.Total
costs were € 75 euro.
Here the story
ends for me as the Visa was sold on the 25th of January 2003 to Feike Plukkel,
a very enthusiastic student in car technique. He loved the car at first sight.
So she is in good hands again. Maybe Feike will add something more to this story
from Edwin Thuijs
Story and photos
© Edwin Thuijs
by Okke Groot: the white Visa still lives today (November 2006). Feike sold
the car to another enthusiast somewhere around 2004. Just recently the car changed
hands again. It still is in very reasonable condition.
Last updated November