Citroën Dyane Flip top

© Copyright: J.Cats.

Working on the Dyane nose isn't as easy as on a 2cv. It takes too long for the wings to come off (and the wings have to come off for everything). Also, for setting the ignition the nose has to be unbolted. Now, if the bonnet was to flip forward complete with the wings, these problems would be solved.

Why flip forwards?
Most fliptops are made to flip forward because all panels bolted together make up a quite heavy body section. If this was to flip backwards (using the original bonnet hinge) it would be too heavy to lift and too heavy to support. Even with gas struts the strain on the hinge is enormous and all panels will start tearing after a while. It can be done, flipping backwards, but it needs a very comprehensive frame and strengthening of the scuttle on the car. To keep things simple, this article will only look at the forward flipping option.

So how do I start?
There is a simple general guideline for builting fliptops which works for nearly every car. Start by bolting together all panels apart from the bonnet. On the dyane we bolt together the nose, grill, inner wings and outer wings. Also fit the cross brace on which the spare wheel normally rests, but leave out the original front frame. The body section that has now been created flexes quite a bit but can be hung on the car for trial fitting. Support the whole lot at the front under the nose and secure it at the rear with a bolt on each side to stop it from sliding down.

Behind the nose there should be 2 U shaped supports bolted to the nose and (originally) to the front frame. Weld or bolt pieces of square tube in these going down to the bottom of the chassis. Using the original frame holes, bolt 2 piece of flat square tube to the bottom of the chassis. They can be bolted to the top, but keeping the hings as low as possible has advantage at the back end.

The hinge
The hinge is made up from 2 tubes that fit exactly into eachother. Not tight but without play. Some grease keeps rust and dirt away. The bigger tube is is cut so that it fits inside the supports bolted to the chassis with 10mm room to spare. The smaller tube is the same length as the total width of the supports. (This is not how I did it on my car, but the better solution.)

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Weld the 2 square tubes coming from the bumper support onto the hinge (onto the bigger tube). Bolt a square tube between the front connecting eyes of the inner wings. You can replace the spare wheel carrying tube with a piece of this strip or retain it. The rest of the frame is made from 20x4mm strips of metal. Connect the square tube between the inner wings with the old bumper supports. Connect the spare wheel carrying tube with the tube between the inner wings. Connect the tube between the inner wings with the old bumper support. These 3 connectings (on either side of the engine of course) make up 2 triangles giving the frame full rigidity.

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Inner wings
But now the thing wont open any more. The inner wings don't clear the engine and bulkhead. Unbolt everything. Mark a line on the inner wing, starting at the front, going just below the valvecovers, after the valve covers go up with a straight line through the center of the heating outlets. You now have a lower and upper inner wing. Bolt the lower part to the body chassis. Only 1 extra mounting point is needed at the front below the valvecovers where the inner wing is bolted to the chassis. The upper part is bolted back to the outer wing.

On the back the panels bolted on top of the wings catch behind a ridge along the front of the door. Either cut of or tap back the lip on the wing panel.

And now your front should be flipping!

Bolt the bonnet onto the wings, you'll have to drill small holes into the small edge of the bonnet and the wing (panels). It should be very rigid now.

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The only thing left do do is stop the bottom rear tips of the wings from moving when the nose is shut. Furthermore, the headlight wiring needs rerouting, as well as the windscreen washer hose and the headlight adjustment cables. Have all of these run to and from the hinge and there will be no problems.

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