Somewhere to boil your tea on a cold morning
Picture this: you’re working under your car late at night, welding away and smiling at the prospect of wowing the crowds at next year’s shows. Then a spark from your welding rod ignites an oily rag on the floor, and within seconds you’re engulfed in flames...
That’s exactly what happened to Gary Stone, when a freak accident brought his dreams crashing around his ears. Literally. “I was so close to calling it a day,” Gary winced. “I wanted to forget about building cars altogether. But I’d already bought my tickets to the French Car Show and my fiancée Sam insisted we still go. I’m glad I did, because the support was overwhelming and I came away determined to create an even better twin-engined C2.”
Before we continue, we should perhaps backtrack slightly. Gary lives in Middlesborough, England, and the French Car Show takes place at Rockingham Motor Speedway in the same country. It’s a celebration of all the Renault, Citroën and Peugeot motor cars (among others) that have such a strong following among a loyal band of Brits.
Shifter operates both transmissions, upright e-brake is alongside it plus brake bias knob
Gary’s weapon of choice is the Citroën C2 – a French supermini that boasts decent performance from its lightweight construction, plenty of Gallic style, a cheap purchase price and affordable insurance. All this makes them very popular among younger European drivers looking for a little flair.
As luck would have it, following the fire, Gary already had a spare car tucked away. It was going to be the basis of the next project but got moved up: “It was a C2 1.4L Furio, which had been totaled. It was a complete car, but with some rear damage. So I cut out the boot floor, which I was going to do anyway. When I put the car on a body jig it was only 15mm out of alignment after it’s crash. Since the shell had only cost me $700 I was quite pleased that it wasn’t worse.
“Before the fire, the car was intended to be my next project, with a Honda VTEC engine, but after the disaster it was pressed into service as the twin-engined C2 version 2! In the end, it’s a better car than the first one, so I’m pleased with how it turned out.”
Looking at the finished project, it’s one hell of an achievement. It’s not finished, as Gary quickly points out, with wires needing to be tidied and some cleaning to be done inside. But the attention to detail is impressive, nonetheless. If Citroën ever decided to recreate its infamous twin-engined 2CV Sahara, it could do worse than nip up to Middlesbrough to have a chat with Gary.
Buttons on either side arm and start each engine separately to allow front-, rear- or all-
Only 694 Saharas were ever built between 1960-71. They used a pair of 425cc air-cooled boxer engines, one at either end to created a rudimentary four-wheel drive system for use by the military, police and farmers. However, there’s only one C2 V12…
Gary’s car uses a pair of 3.0-litre V6 24v engines from the Peugeot 406 Coupe. These developed 194hp and 197 lb-ft each in stock form but Gary carried out additional work, port-matching the throttle bodies and inlet manifolds to the heads, for example. He also built custom side-exit exhaust systems for both engines before adjusting the cam timing.
The front engine sits on custom mounts, while the rear is in a 406 V6 Coupe front subframe, that’s been reversed and welded into place. For relative simplicity, the car uses two tranmissions; both are the five-speed manual from the same 406 V6 model, using custom driveshafts plus a locked diff in the rear. By reversing the selector rods on the rear unit, Gary is able to drive the car without much compromise.