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1976 Citicar Restoration


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Picture of the side molding which the rubber took months to finally fiqure out what to use to replicate the original. You can also see the receptacle for charging and the hubcap which has the custom made decals installed. The decals arrived Friday afternoon. Also a picture of the finished Citicar's side view. One thing learned is that no matter how much boarding you do to a Citicar you cannot remove all the waves. It just isn't possible as it is way to thin.

Finished with the exception of some tweaking as is typical. Off to the Gettysburg meet Thursday early AM.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Barry Wolk</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Great job, Ron!</div></div>

I agree....looks like brand new! Very nice.

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Thanks all for the nice compliments. I just finished yesterday. The wife is somewhat miffed that it is restored and I am entering it for an AACA junior as she wants to drive it to work. She can use it after Gettysburg however I have some things to finish up and check out. I just ran out of time.

Here are some Citicar facts:

The manufacture Sebring Vanguard was formed in 1974 due in part to the mid 70’s fuel crisis. A factory was set up in Florida and approximately 2500 vehicles were built from 1974 to 1976. The selling price in 1975 was about $4500. This was considerably more than the average gas powered car at that time.

In 1977 the company went bankrupt and was sold piecemeal at auction. The principal buyer at the auction was a mobile home manufacturer from New Jersey named Frank Flowers. Frank purchased most of the company in-tact, but not the trade names “Sebring Vanguard or Citicar". In 1978 he proceeded to build a new version of the car using both new and existing parts from the Citicar, as well as incorporating a number of electrical improvements. The overall shape of the new car looked very much like the Citicar and many of the parts are interchangeable. Since Frank did not have the copyright for the original name he called the new car the “ComutaCar”. As luck would have it in 1978 America would have the second major oil shortage of the decade, which resulted in an immediate desire to have more efficient cars. The ComutaCar was an instant success and sold over 4,000 vehicles. The average price for the ComutaCar was $6,500, rather expensive.

By 1980, several things had changed and people were no longer as interested in fuel economy. Perhaps more importantly, the National Transportation Safety Board had increased the requirements for vehicle certification. Even though the ComutaCar would have probably passed the higher standards that all cars in America must pass, the cost for testing and certifying the vehicle line, plus the cost of insuring the manufacturer (from $150,000 to $300,000), proved to be the final death blow.

A speed of 38 MPH is achievable with a range of 30 to 45 miles depending on the terrain (hills, etc), battery condition and the number of stop and go’s. There is an on board charger to replenish the eight 6 volt batteries that are located under the seat. The Citicar has large relays to configure three different voltages and therefore three different speeds for the vehicle. The motor is mounted directly to the differential and there is no transmission. The low speed is about 18 volts, middle speed is 24 volts and high speed is 48 volts. The vehicle is made of ABS plastic, has an aluminum frame with roll cage, weighs a total of 1,250 pounds (less passengers) and seats 2 adults comfortably.

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Ron, You've done a wonderful job! I do hope you bring the car to Gettysburg as I would enjoy seeing it. We have a couple of little electrics as well though not a Citicar. I looked at a few that were for sale. I should have bought one of them and didnt buy any of them. Yours though will be far above anything I've seen and my wife and I will enjoy seeing it. Plus it will add a nice bit of color to Class 4 ! Dave

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Dave,

It is loaded up in the trailer (with the Amphicar) and ready to leave early AM tomorrow. The odd couple I call them. I am using both these vehicles along with my 55 for the youth activity Val & I are doing.

These Citicars seem to be fairly plentiful and reasonable. Though mine is probably somewhat over restored (if that is possible), it still has all the factory "what were they thinking" finishes and parts.

See you in a few!

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Final picture from the Gettysburg meet to wrap up this thread.

It was nice seeing and talking to many who have followed this thread. It was a busy week for us since we were helping with the show. Thanks for all the positive comments. Wife finally had a chance to drive it, unfortunately she drove it through a muddy field at 25 MPH after it was judged (1st junior). She has offered to help clean the undercarriage which should prove interesting.

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Thanks for the tip Robin. I will call them next week. I am taking a break from the Citicar however in the near future I will be converting it over to the electronic controller. Using the new style controller still requires the use of the original forward / reverse contactor so I would like to redo those contacts. Will let you know what they say. These type forms are extremely helpful when pooling all our information together. Thanks again.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Ron

Nice work, do you know about danish built electric car "Kewet" it´s looking very similar to the citicar/comutacar. I´m restoring a "Kewet" from 1995 at the moment.

From Denmark in Scandinavia

Kim Anderberg

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Hi Kim,

Wow, the Kewet looks like a Citicar that has progressed through design for a few decades. I attached a picture however haven't had the time to look up production numbers, etc. I wonder where you would get parts for them? Even the engine mounting, appearance, size, etc are extremely similar.

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Hi Robin, I have driven those electric cars with the stepless speed control and they are very smooth, your wife may hear the high frequency chopper whining a little bit. They are used on the 12 passenger LIMOS that we use to transport TV crews and VIPS around the Fairgrounds during the Dade County Youth Fair every year. The electrics are rented, they own about 20 gas powered, 8 HP. Kohler for year round work. They have a small flatbed behind the seat.

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Ron; Maybe too late, but in Memphis there is a company called EMCD that specializes in contacters. I don't know if they have a website. Their phone number is 901 527 8412.

Robin,

FYI, I did speak to EMCD in regards to restoring the contactors. It is something they seem they can do however they also said that someone in the local area should be able to take care of. Thanks so much for the lead. I have decided to wait until winter to get my fingers back into the contactors and new controller. All seems to be running fairly well so far.

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Hi Ron

It´s easy to get parts because the brakes and calipers comes from either a Fiat Panda, Renault or Peugot. The alloys comes from a Fiat Panda or Fiat Uno. Headlights are from BOSCH and rearlights and turnsignals are from HELLA. Front and rear shocks are from Monroe. Steering from an Opel Corsa. The Kewet was designed by a Danish inventor Knud Erik Vestergaard and about 1000 were built from 1991 to 1998. Kewet was sold to a Norwegian company called "Elbil Norge" They changed Kewet to Buddy. The Buddy is a success in Norway today.

5 different types were made: Kewet Eljet 1, Kewet Eljet 2

48 Volts.

Kewet Eljet 3 also 48 Volt but with a automatic gearbox

Kewet Eljet 4 60 Volts

Kewet Eljet 5 72 Volts

Kewet Buddy Citi-Jet 6, Built in Norway with a new design in 2005

New MetroBuddy in December 2009

So it has been around for quite some time now. I wouldn´t be surprised if the designer got some of his ideas from the citicar/comutacar. Related, maybe...I could ask him. Could be fun..

From Kim in Denmark..

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Thanks for the info Kim, very interesting. It appears that the original company went out of business due to bankruptcy in almost the same time frame (years wise)as Sebring Vanguard (Citicar). Citicar also made a van in limited production just like the Kewet Eljet. I recently spoke to an Amphicar friend who said he had a Citicar postal van years ago and ended up destroying it.

There has to be a connection somewhere even if only in the thought process, there are just to many similarities. I would definitely ask him if the opportunity arose. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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  • 6 months later...

Kim,

Thanks for the links. The Sprit of DC looks like it carries a lot of batteries but at 101 miles per gallon something is working ok.

This gathering was only a few hours from my house but unfortunately I found out about it a week late. They were hoping for a 2010 meet on the far west coast USA but there has been no talk of it lately. I spoke to two people that have right hand drive Citicars which I never knew existed!

The wife is getting the itch to drive it and she made me a deal last week: take the Citicar to the New Bern AACA Grand National meet then she takes the keys win or lose.

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  • 9 months later...
  • 10 years later...

Ron, beautiful job on the restore!  I too have a 1976 CitiCar, same color blue, that I would like to get restored.  Do you have any suggestions on someone/someplace that I can hire to do that?

 

Thanks for your time,

Mike 

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Unsure who would restore one of these. Consider doing it yourself. You will have a minimum of 3 to 5 times the cost of what they are worth so many that want one just buy one already done. I do know a few AACA members who are currently restoring one as I have helped them out with some spare parts. I sold mine a few months ago to the person I bought it from. He wanted it back and I wanted to downsize a few vehicles that no longer get used. Good luck!

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