The Citroën Dyane: we highlight the pros and cons of the 2CV sibling that’s better in almost every way...
Citroën bought Panhard in 1963, and tasked its designers with creating a ‘better’ 2CV using the Tin Snail’s underpinnings. The end result had cleaner styling, a practical hatchback, a little more performance and luxuries such as a dashboard and sliding windows. UK sales commenced in 1968, and ended in 1982. Later models had a fold-down rear seat, disc front brakes (July 1977 onwards) and an entire 4bhp more than the equivalent 2CV. The vast majority have the 33bhp 602cc engine, but 435cc engine was also available from 1970-1974.
Citroën Dyane 6
Power (bhp@rpm) 33bhp@5750rpm
Torque (lb ft@rpm) 31lb/ft@3100rpm
Top speed 75mph
Gearbox 4-speed manual
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
BODYWORK & CHASSIS
Thin metal and poor rustproofing means corrosion is an issue, pretty much anywhere. Happily, right-hand drive Dyanes usually came on a stronger chassis than left-hand drive models, but check its entire length for rot. Thump the underside; if it rattles, the strengthening members inside are rotten. A replacement chassis will cost around £400, but add up to more like £2000 fitted.
Lift the rubber mats and check the floor, sills and bulkhead, then inspect the C posts and inner rear wings. The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain (2CVGB) remanufactures both, as well as new sliding window rubbers. Check the windscreen surround and under the bonnet, lift out the spare wheel and check the bulkhead.
Doors and the tailgate can rot on the edges, but replacements aren’t too tricky to find. The club holdssome secondhand panels. Brightwork can be tricky to locate but thankfully there isn’t very much of it. Bumpers were latterly stainless steel, but are very strong. They are also very sharp on the inner edges, so be careful.
Parts are easily swapped between models, so make sure you know what you are getting. Expert advice is essential if buying an early one, to make sure it really is what it says it is.
The better M28 602cc engine was fitted from 1968, with an external oil filter from 1970. The 435cc and the earlier (and very rare) M4 602cc engine are for collectors only really. The M28 is very tough as long as regular (every 3000 miles) oil changes have been carried out. Oil leaks are uncommon, but could be as simple as tired rocker cover seals. Watch for blue smoke on start up – it could be leaky valve stem seals or worn piston rings. A smell of fumes inside the car suggests leaky cylinder heads – they’ll need lapping in and re-torquing as there is no gasket. Engines are on the whole reliable, with 200,000 miles not unheard of.
Gearboxes are hardy but there is no first gear synchromesh. With high mileage, third gear synchromesh can fail. The transmissions were always noisy, so excessive noise can be hard to spot. Driveshafts rarely give trouble, but need regular greasing, as do the kingpins. There should be no play discernible at either front wheel. Clonking could be a rusted wheel catching the kingpin housing, driveshafts catching the wings or excessive play in kingpin or track rod end. Steering racks can develop play too, but can usually be repaired.
Don’t be alarmed by the inboard front brakes. They’re simple to work on, just different. Stopping power should be excellent, even though there’s no servo. The handbrake operates on the front wheels and with disc brakes, is often poorly adjusted.
Worn dampers will cause the ride to be very bouncy. While the suspension is soft, it should quickly settle. Suspension creaks usually mean the suspension cans need lubricating with vegetable oil. Mineral oil wrecks the seals, so ask the owner and check for damage.
Vinyl seats are tough, cloth trim usually degrades badly. Check for replacement seat covers and worn seat diaphragms – they’ll have you sitting on the floor. Otherwise there’s not really a lot of trim to check. Electrical issues are usually down to poor connections – there are a lot of bullet connectors. Cleaning them up or replacing them can make a world of difference. 2CVGB supplies a modified rear lamp as the original tail-lights are feeble. Do watch for severely worn wiper spindles. Replacements are around £50 each, and later types are becoming tricky to find.
The Dyane offers surprising practicality along with the typical high-on-fun driving experience common to its 2CV sibling. They’re slightly more refined at motorway speeds – as in the doors don’t flap – but it’s when the road gets twisty that you’ll really get a smile on your face.
DIY tinkering is no problem at all, though it can be very different and takes some learning. There’s excellent club and parts support, space for four adults and 45-50mpg. Values have lagged behind the 2CV for many years, but are catching up fast as rarity kicks in. Buy wisely – restoration costs quickly mount up.