Gerbelmann & Friends http://blog.gerbelmann.de a blog about old Volkswagens and a bloke who refuses to junk them Thu, 28 Oct 2010 18:10:02 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.6 en hourly 1 No Comments Please http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/10/no-comments-please/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/10/no-comments-please/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 18:10:02 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=218 This blog is being discontinued. Somewhat.

I’ve had one of my rare episodes of realism. And the outcome is thus:

  • Uncle Gerbelmann’s new owner probably won’t report here.
  • Nor will the Golf’s.
  • The Convertible will be restored. Well, repaired. Someday. But not by me, which means that there will not be much to report about it.
  • The BX just works, and its minor ailments will probably not be worth blogging about.

So, either this becomes a monthly Haubentauchen picture blog, or it joins the ranks of undead blogs. I’ve decided on the latter.

Comments are closed. If you want anything, mail. (But use a meaningful subject line and refrain from HTML mail, lest my spam filter will probably catch you.) There may or may not be updates here in the future, so I advise to switch your RSS feed to weekly checking or so in case you care at all.

Been nice meeting you. Thanks for reading.

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Just a Picture http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/just-a-picture/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/just-a-picture/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 10:26:49 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=208 Just when I prepared to photograph Grisu …

BOOM!

BOOM!

What looks like a giant explosion in the background in fact is one. Approximately five million tons of hydrogen detonated during the 1/125th of a second of exposure time that my camera took to produce this image. Luckily, they did that approximately one hundred and fifty million kilometres away, so both the car and me escaped unharmed.

Update: Here’s the image I had meant to take (and subsequently did take, lest I wouldn’t be able to show it to you now):

Mail me for a bigger picture if interested.

Mail me for a bigger picture if interested.

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Haubentauchen Gifhorn September 2010 http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/haubentauchen-gifhorn-september-2010/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/haubentauchen-gifhorn-september-2010/#comments Wed, 22 Sep 2010 07:54:10 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=198 Unlike last month, there were plenty of cars at this month’s Haubentauchen meeting. Most of them were American ones. And many of those were:

The VW Golf of classic cars: Everyone and their brother has one.

The VW Golf of classic cars: Everyone and their brother has one.

Mustangs. Yawn. :-) Seriously: at this very informal and regional three-hour meeting, there were more Mustangs than there were BXes at the annual André Citroën Club meeting last weekend. Figures, huh?

But there were more interesting cars at Haubentauchen, too. Old and less old American ones …

'31 Ford V8 with a Cobra engine, if I remember correctly.

'31 Ford V8 with a Cobra engine, if I remember correctly.

… German ones …

Pre-facelift Passat Type 32. Now that's rare! Oh, and an Opel too, yeah.

Pre-facelift Passat Type 32. Now that's rare! Oh, and an Opel too, yeah.

… well, basically some of everything. Even one little French plastic car.

Note the VW Caddy pickup with matching trailer.

Note the VW Caddy pickup with matching trailer.

And nice people. What’s not to like? I’ll make this a regular calendar item, that’s for certain. Even though Grisu doesn’t really fit in there.

But there was one car there that's even smaller, and also more plastic.

But there was one car there that's even smaller, and also more plastic.

The Convertible, when one day it will be on the road again, will.

It wouldn't even have been the only VW Bug.

It wouldn't even have been the only VW Bug.

More images, as usual, in the photo album at ermel.org. None of them too good, though, because they were all made with my ancient mobile phone. Sorry about that.

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ACC-Meeting Staßfurt http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/acc-meeting-stasfurt/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/acc-meeting-stasfurt/#comments Tue, 21 Sep 2010 09:50:22 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=190 ACC is the André Citroën Club, which I joined on its yearly meeting on the second weekend of September. It took place in Staßfurt (south of Magdeburg) at a beautiful little campsite next to a lake, on what might turn out to be the last true summer’s day of 2010.

Together with the C5, the BX was the most numerous Citroën present. These were most, but not all, of them.

Together with the C5, the BX was the most numerous Citroën present. These were most, but not all, of them.

The meeting was rather smaller than I had expected, but it was very agreeable nonetheless. Lots of car talk, of course, and lots of nice people. And quite a few interesting cars, too. Not just BXes, either: the whole range was present, as the next two pictures will show.

BX, Xantia, C3 Picasso, C5.

BX, Xantia, C3 Picasso, C5.

DS and C-Crosser. (I know, I know. I even agree.)

DS and C-Crosser. (I know, I know. I even agree.)

Not shown, but present: 2CV, Acadiane, Ami 6, Berlingo, C3, CX, DS3, HY, ID, XM. Okay, okay, it’s not the full range, but it still was an impressive selection. Personally, I missed the GS/GSA most.

Although there was no parts swap to speak of, I did score two things; one I wanted, and one that I’d never thought of but bought anyway in case I might need it some day. The first was the wheel center cover missing from one of my alloy wheels, and the second is a roof rack. (Hey, it was cheap and almost new.)

More images can be found in the photo album at ermel.org.

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BX: Thoughts on Hovering http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/bx-thoughts-on-hovering/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/09/bx-thoughts-on-hovering/#comments Tue, 07 Sep 2010 07:00:58 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=178 Citroën drivers are a peculiar kind of people. They have the best suspension systems known to man, at least this side of S-class Mercedeses, Rolls Royces and such, and still they are never satisfied with the ride.

That’s not my observation, but something I read in the ACC forums. That doesn’t make it any less true. I do realize that compared to my former Golf GTI, the BX GTI is an extremely comfy car in every respect, including — and particularly — its suspension; still, it does not quite “hover” the way I’d like it to. Or indeed, the way that both my Dad’s former BX 14 RE did and Balsi’s BX 16 Top does. (And yes, of course Balsi isn’t satisfied with his BX’s ride either. Further proof for the observation in the first paragraph.)

Luckily, such problems are easily rectified with Citroëns.

The ride quality of a hydropneumatic suspension depends on many things, but the one that influences it most are the parameters of the suspension spheres. And fortunately, they are all interchangeable. Some radical folks on the ACC forums report of experiments with after-market so-called “comfort spheres”, CX spheres or even home-altered ones, but I’m not quite as brave; I’ll stick to original BX spheres.

They too come in a variety of flavours, generally becoming stiffer with increasing horsepower and more recent model year. And seeing that my ‘92 GTI is both quite powerful and quite recent as BXes go, I should see a significant change from a swap to spheres specified for an earlier and less powerful one. (More information on this than you’ll ever need, including a list of spheres used in the various BX models, is available on this site from Hungary.)

And, luckily (again), you can even get those in exchange for the GTI’s (from www.federkugel.de). Gonna cost me less than 130 Euros, plus installation. Sounds reasonable to me, especially considering what new shock absorbers for the Golf used to cost. Installation is easier, and hence cheaper, on the BX as well.

No, I haven’t ordered them yet (finances don’t allow such escapades at the moment, especially as the car has just revealed that it has a brake pad wear warning light; unfortunately by lighting it up, meaning I need to have the brake pads replaced first). But it’s definitely high on the agenda.

After all, if I can’t fly, at least I want to hover!

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BX: Pictures! http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/bx-pictures/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/bx-pictures/#comments Sun, 29 Aug 2010 15:36:21 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=168 So here are some current photos of Grisu:

You can photograph a BX in whatever way you wish, it will never look menacing.

You can photograph a BX in whatever way you wish, it will never look menacing.

It might, however, look nice. Even with a missing wheel center cover.

It might, however, look nice. Even with a missing wheel center cover.

It might also look ridiculous. Especially with that spoiler. I adore that spoiler, it's so delightfully hilarious.

It might also look ridiculous. Especially with that spoiler. I adore that spoiler, it's so delightfully hilarious.

Did you notice the chrome trim beneath the number plate in the last picture? Here’s a detail shot:

Plastic self-adhesive chrome stripe, in case you were wondering.

Plastic self-adhesive chrome strip, in case you were wondering.

:-)

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Nothing to Report http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/nothing-to-report/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/nothing-to-report/#comments Sat, 28 Aug 2010 17:08:39 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=164 Long time, no post. The reason is simple: I’ve been at work most of the time, so I’ve had little or no opportunity to tinker with old cars. Thus, there has been nothing to report lately.

But I’m still very happy indeed with Grisu, as the new BX has been named. Granted, it is a gas guzzler compared to its predecessor, the Golf 2 16V; but 9.5 litres per 100 km is acceptable for such space, performance, comfort, and (above all) fun. An extremely agreeable automobile, this; I think I’m a believer now, and I cannot foresee a way back to watercooled Volkswagen ownership.

Aircooled Volkswagens are, of course, a different matter entirely. The lack of time I’ve mentioned means that my ambitious plans with regard to Convertible restoration have remained an illusion; but with less time comes more money, such is the nature of working for a living. Which means that I’ll do less of the work myself, but it will still be done.

And of course, from time to time, temptation rears its head and tries to convince me to buy an additional car. Last time it was another BX, same colour, one owner. Nice looking car, but needs a little tender loving care — the clutch is shot, and it’s quite probable that there are other issues. Still, at 50 Euros, it would be a steal. — So I won’t buy it. Why not, you may ask? Well, sentimental fool that I am, I would not part it out. And end up with two very similar BXs, only one of them operational. Fix it up and sell it? See above on time. Have it fixed and sell it? Probably little to no profit for a lot of hassle. Sigh.

Besides, I’ve issued a rule for myself: Never again own more than one car of the same type. I used to own up to five VW Buses, and up to six VW Bugs, simultaneously. Which meant that none of them got the amount of care, money, or attention they deserved. I shall not make that mistake again.

So, other types? Well, of course I want to. A VW Bus T2, a Citroën 2CV, Ami 8 or GSA, they all have temptation potential. But I promised to the Bug I wouldn’t buy another car until it, the Bug, is on the road. (I bought two BXs since. But I don’t have more cars now than I had before, I have fewer. So there.) At the very least, I am currently not actively looking for another car to buy.

Stay tuned for the next one I do buy, then. ;-)

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Haubentauchen Gifhorn August 2010 http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/haubentauchen-gifhorn-august-2010/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/haubentauchen-gifhorn-august-2010/#comments Mon, 16 Aug 2010 14:42:28 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=154 Haubentauchen (hood diving; but the word is derived from the German name of the podiceps christatus or great crested grebe, if that helps) is a very informal monthly meeting of old cars in Gifhorn, which is quite close to Braunschweig, where I live. So with nothing better to do on a Sunday, I pointed the BX north and met …

Detroit rolling iron in L and in XXXL.

Detroit rolling iron in L and in XXXL.

… cars like these. Let’s just say that the BX was most decidedly the least American car there.

One American, and one American by style.

One American, and one American by style.

Most impressive to me was this perfectly restored Ford 17m RS coupé from the P7a range.

Look, they fit the rain gutters underneath the windows.

Look, they fit the rain gutters underneath the windows.

But the little French plastic car was not alone! Balsi happened to be in the area, so he dropped by too, for our BXes to keep each other company among all that Detroit (and Rüsselsheim) rolling iron. And of course, we had to show off a little:

Real cars don't need no stinkin' airride.

Real cars don't need no stinkin' airride.

Interestingly, not only do both our BXes share the same paint code (ETB, “gris dolmen” … hmm, the dolmen I once visited was definitely not metallic grey), but they’re also only fifty-five days apart (mine being older). Other differences include some minor features missing from either car … mine for instance lacks a gear, a clutch pedal, and part of the roof, whereas Balsi’s is 300 ccm and 32 hp short of the full set, doesn’t have fog headlights nor a front spoiler, and also seems to have missed 38,000 kilometres. We test drove each other’s cars, and I think we’re both happier with ours than we would have been with the respective other one.

All in all, it was a nice afternoon despite the awful weather. I’ll certainly go to Gifhorn again next month — hopefully in better weather, which would mean more old cars to gawk at, too. Reportedly there were 56 cars there in July … this month, there were less than ten.

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Please Welcome: The BX … Again http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/please-welcome-the-bx-again/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/please-welcome-the-bx-again/#comments Sun, 08 Aug 2010 10:27:27 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=143 So it was time to buy a BX. Again. (See previous post on why.)

This time, I still looked at sites like mobile.de and autoscout24.de, but I set my real trust in the André Citroën Club Forums (German language). That’s where the enthusiasts meet, and that’s where they advertise their cars for sale. I had quickly found several, and even decided on one BX 16 with only 70,000 km on its odometer. But I didn’t buy that one.

The day before the deal was scheduled, I got e-mail from someone in Chemnitz who previously had not replied to mine. They said that yes, their BX was still to be had. A GTI Automatic (again), a little over 100,000 km on the clock, electric everything (most notably: electric glass sunroof) … no way would I buy a humble BX 16 instead.

And I didn’t.

Yes, the hubcaps need throwing away, badly. The C5 is my Dad's.

Yes, the hubcaps need throwing away, badly. The C5 is my Dad's.

But my pal Balsi did buy the BX 16. He sort of inherited the deal from me, complete with address, phone number, and date. Which was a little risky, what with changing the deal I’d made with the BX 16’s owner on such short notice and without their prior agreement — but it worked out perfectly, and everyone is happy now.

This is Balsi's BX, at the village of Schweben. ("Schweben" also is the German word for hovering, which is how enthusiasts describe the hydropneumatic ride experience.) Thanks to Balsi for permission to publish his picture here!

This is Balsi's BX, at the village of Schweben. ("Schweben" also is the German word for hovering, which is how enthusiasts describe the hydropneumatic ride experience.) Thanks to Balsi for permission to publish his picture here!

Including me. Driving my new GTI home from Chemnitz, I noticed that the old one (now flamed to a crisp) was not the perfect specimen I had percieved it to be. I thought it was normal for BX to ride a little wobbly, to make pounding noises on bad roads and so on. It isn’t. And the new one doesn’t.

In fact, it corners about as well as my former Golf GTI 16V. And that’s something. Even more so for a car that rides as comfortably as, well, a hydropneumatic Citroën. I’m impressed.

So, except for financial aspects as usual, one might say that “all’s well that ends well.” This escapade certainly did.

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BX: Check Those Fuel Lines! http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/bx-check-those-fuel-lines/ http://blog.gerbelmann.de/2010/08/bx-check-those-fuel-lines/#comments Sat, 07 Aug 2010 16:45:17 +0000 Ermel http://blog.gerbelmann.de/?p=134 Long time, no update. The reason was frustration, pure and simple. Here’s why:

Classic fuel fire. On my way to the car's first Citroën meeting, no less.

Classic fuel fire. On my way to the car's first Citroën meeting, no less.

Yes, it’s gone. Not yet crushed, but it’s going to be — as one Citroën expert put it: “Everything that costs money is burnt.” I had this car for just three weeks, and it still hurt to see it go.

The fire dept. had high praise for the front hood which, being plastic, needed not be opened to put the fire out.

The fire dept. had high praise for the front hood which, being plastic, needed not be opened to put the fire out.

But hey, life goes on. There’s already a new BX in my life, on which more soon; and what’s more, life also goes on for the GTI, which has been officially declared worth repairing by Stefan, its new owner.

Who’d have thought it would survive the BX, after all? Or is it trying to teach me a lesson on what happens when you sell cars you’ve owned for half their life? It taught a similar lesson to its previous owner, all those years ago. He had replaced it with a new(ish) Seat Ibiza TDI “for increased reliability”, which proceeded to break down constantly while the Golf, being a VW, ran and ran and ran … and ran.

Quoth Stefan: “I wanted to part out the Golf, I really did. But it’s too good to do so.” My reply, remembering my own plans from a decade ago: “Yes. Yes, it … does that.” :-)

Update: Here’s the full photo album of the burning BX.

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