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The Chevronic Centre, which marked its 25th birthday in 2017, completed the latest phase of its evolution in 2021 with the opening of a new showroom, making it the nearest thing to a Citroën dealer Hitchin now has.
Along the way the business, known universally as Chevronics, has grown from a small garage fixing and restoring cars to an established supplier of new and used parts, with a gradually increasing repertoire of remanufactured components.
Rob Moss is the boss, then as now – he was 20 when he started selling Citroën parts out of a lock-up in 1992 – and because the company has nine staff, he doesn’t get to spend time in the workshop except at weekends.
The core values have not changed: it’s about keeping Citroëns on the road.
Much of the work is recommissions rather than complete restorations, which take up too much time and space.
The 2CV Dolly taking shape belongs to son James, 18, and one of the mechanics, and the concours-winning CX GTi and daily-driver BX TZD with an astonishing 350,000 miles are in for service work.
Chevronics’ latest production is the ‘spider’, a complex handful of pipes that returns low-pressure hydraulic fluid to the reservoir on a BX.
“We used to buy 30 at a time,” says Moss. “When we got down to five, we had to do something.” Unique to Chevronics, they cost £110 plus VAT.
On one of the five lifts during our visit was a C4 receiving new rear springs: ‘steel’ Cits are not immune to the speed-bump blight of coil breakage.
The Ami 8 is his, rescued from a French scrapyard, as was a 1948 Velosolex found in 2005: “It’s from the first year of production so it’s really rather special. And was irresistible.”
Upstairs is the parts store, with new and old racked up including struts, windscreens, a stack of new-old-stock GS front wings (£200 each) and GS/GSA front undertrays, many of which have been sourced during trips to France.
Chevronics used to look after our late colleague and friend David Evans’ GSA, and one of those might one day have ended up on his car.
Oldest, and of which Moss is particularly proud, is a still boxed double Hooke’s joint for a 2CV4 driveshaft, sourced from a defunct dealer in Duxford.
“The parts side is really growing,” says Moss. “It’s all very well specialising in a brand, but if you don’t have the parts to hand you can’t service them.
“We’re getting young people interested, too. It ’s great listening to a lad of 18 talking to a lad in his 20s about parts for a 1960s Citroën.”
His other son, Miles, has been in charge of the online shop but is moving into the workshop when he leaves school. He’s restored a GSA to use as his first car, and the boys’ aunt Cheryl is the service manager.
There’s always a handful of cars for sale, and out back lies more treasure: “Not a scrapyard,” Moss insists, but pending projects; rare finds such as a tidy AX 1.4 diesel saved from the breaker and for sale; old hubcaps wired to the fence as trophies; and an H-van that works for a living, including during the conversion of the showroom that opened in April.
Chevronics has been on this site since 2009, and early in 2020 bought the building in front of the workshop.
Indistinguishable from a main-agent showroom, it provides a Citroën presence in the town now that the nearest dealer is in Luton.
What you won’t see in a franchise showroom is the sheaf of delightful old brochures, including for the Slough-built DS (assembly stopped in ’65). Chevronics is looking forward, but its foundations are grounded in the past.
Images: Max Edleston
- Name The Chevronic Centre Ltd
- Address 35 Wilbury Way, Hitchin, Herts SG4 0TW
- Specialism Citroën servicing, parts and recommissioning, plus used car sales
- Staff Nine
- Labour rate £68+VAT per hour
- Tel 01462 455280
- Web chevronics.co.uk
- Email email@example.com