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911 for 2011: Ship-shape and ready for sale

Time 3:33 am, April 28, 2011

c4bUNUSUALLY for us, things are going quite smoothly with our 911 for 2011 challenge.

When we signed off last month we had just taken delivery of a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso VTR+ with the economical 1.6-litre diesel engine. Marc Raven, Citroen’s communications boss, had sourced the car for us, and we planned to turn it around for a quick profit.

But first it needed a new set of boots. Three years spent on Citroen’s contract hire fleet had taken its toll on the Michelins.

Enter Continental. A few picasso-on-ramps2phone calls and emails resulted in the tyre firm offering to pay for a new set of Continental ContiEcoContact 5s. This was very generous as the tyres are not only brand new to the market – boasting improved fuel economy, braking distances and noise reduction – but they retail for around £155 per tyre.

Continental booked us into the Portsmouth branch of National Tyre Centre, where the rubber was duly fitted by manager Carl Page and his team. ‘These tyres are so new I haven’t got them in stock yet,’ said Page. He and his team set about the transformation while we watched, drinking coffee and tweeting.

Within 40 minutes they had finished the job and balanced the wheels. An off-hand mention that we thought the tracking was out resulted in Page rectifying that free of charge too!

‘But in our quest to raise as much money as we can for BEN, we still weren’t satisfied’

It might sound obvious but it’s incredible how much better a car drives with new tyres. Not only is the rather wallowy handling now less hair-raising, but the Picasso stops better too. But in our quest to raise as much money as we can for BEN, we still weren’t satisfied. Years spent on motorways and in office car parks had resulted in the Picasso picking up a few ugly chips and dings.


This time ChipsAway offered to help. The smart repair specialists kindly stepped in and collected the car to take to their head office workshops where it got the very best attention.

The team tackled three chips and scratches. Usually this would cost around £250 (plus VAT). ChipsAway is a franchise business so its operators are free to set their own prices. However, Ali Ball from ChipsAway head office said a single job would usually cost around £140. ‘As we were doing three chips on the same car and had the paint mixed up it’s actually cheaper (overall) to do the three jobs,’ he said. ‘More often than not, a customer will ask for a single job to be done but the franchisee will sometimes do a second job while they are there as they do have to wait for the paint to dry so can be getting on with the second job at the same time.’

Now the Picasso’s looking good, we’ve got it up for sale on Auto Trader for £10,495. At the time of writing, we haven’t had any interest, but then things had been going a bit smoothly for our liking!

Continental, 01895 425900 ChipsAway, 0800 145 5118


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Read more 911 for 2011 posts here

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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