Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Postby DcForever » Wed Aug 13, 2014 5:41 pm


I’ve just finished my two year Citicar rebuild and upgrade project. It turned out to be quite extensive and more involved than I anticipated when it was started.

After two years I’ve got mixed feelings about the vehicle. The original design and especially the factory quality control left a lot to be desired. That being said though, by upgrading with the modern technology equipment that is now available, the vehicle is made much more drivable and reliable.

The upside and downside is all the attention that it attracts. Like BillyM says “don’t take it anywhere if you’re in a hurry“.

The vehicle is 100% street legal with all the required safety equipment. I need to get my outside mirrors installed. The only thing that it lacks is cabin heat. It comes standard with air conditioning (window panels removed).

The basic equipment and performance specs are as follows:

Alltrax SPM 72400 Controller running at 64 volts
Allbright style SW 200 main contactor and SW 202 reversing contactor
Curtis PB-6 throttle
D&D ES40-56 Series Motor
Crown CR-165 8 volt Batteries
Yokohama 145 SR12 Tires
Select-A-Charge 64volt charger - removable in 1 minute when charging with solar panels (drops 40lbs)
Sevcon 72 volt to 12 volt dc to dc converter
7 amp hour lantern style, sealed accessory battery
ProSport motor temp and 12 volt stepper gauges
HID AutoVision headlights
SuperBright LED exterior and interior lighting
9 inch drive motor automatic cooling fan with adjustable controller (set at 155 degrees)
Dana 7 inch cast iron brake drums
Jegs adjustable brake proportioning valve
Silicone brake fluid
Jegs 300 amp disconnect switch
All stainless steel fasteners
Citicar reproduction reflective exterior graphics
Surplus Center 95db backup alarm
Electric windshield washer kit
TomTom GPS
Grant 13.5 inch steering wheel
TR-6 style turn signal, headlight, horn switch

Cruising speed 36-40 mph
Top Speed: level ground - 40 mph, strong tailwind - 44 mph, downhill - 50 mph
Power Consumption 250 to 350 watts/mile (11088 watts-batteries dead)
Max range 40 miles
Normal day to day driving range 20-24 miles between charges (50% Battery Capacity)
D&D Motor temperature from ambient: after 6 miles driving at cruise = 155 degrees
6 miles to 16 miles (fan on) = 165 degrees
maximum permitted = 230 degrees
Weight 1380 lbs (only 80 lbs more than the original- That took some work!)
Length 95 inches
Width 55 inches
Height 58 inches
Turning circle 22 feet

The rebuild consisted of a complete strip down, cleaning, undercoating, and repaint with TSC soybean oil paint and hardener (dries too slow-would use Rustoleum with hardener the next time). The only components that weren’t disassembled were the body panels from the frame. They were stuck on with tar like strips and the panels were too fragile to remove without damaging. The primary body repair method was with Plasti-Fix. It was a pleasure to work with and it repairs stress and shrinkage cracks very effectively.

I had to re-engineer a few items on the vehicle:

The welded in and corroded aluminum battery pans were chiseled out and replaced with 1/8 inch sheet aluminum and angle aluminum stock bolted in with stainless fasteners.

Stainless and polyethylene battery hold downs were fabricated. The batteries sit on rubber bailer belt pads. The heater manifold was also removed and the center battery placement was changed. This gave more clearance for the original GE speedometer drive to be adapted to the D&D motor.

The front brake hubs were reversed to allow the use of wider Dana cast iron brake drums.
These are superior to the cheap, unavailable, stamped steel units that were original.
The hubs also had centering rings machined and pressed on to make the drums hub centric to reduce the front brake pulsing that plagues these vehicles. A Jegs adjustable proportioning valve gives very precise front to rear brake balancing which helps a lot on a vehicle with marginally effective brakes. The heavier cast iron drums also help. Overall the brakes, while not great, compared to the original, aren’t bad.

The wider ¾ inch front stance required 1 inch spring lifting blocks be installed to give the necessary front tire/fender clearance with the taller radial tires.

One inch longer and thicker aluminum rear shackles were made to even out the ride height.

The contactors utilize 64 volt coils to reduce the demand on the 12 volt dc-dc converter. The converter has the capacity to run most, though not all, high draw items simultaneously. To protect the switches for the horn and other accessories the vehicle utilizes a total of seven 12 volt 30 amp automotive relays.

The clunky, open relay turn signal board was rebuilt using Radio Shack sealed relays and a new LED flasher. All electrical wiring was replaced with Jegs 16 gauge high temp wire in various colors.

An aftermarket $12 windshield defrost heater was incorporated into the drivers side dash.

The old switches (no longer available) were cleaned up and reused. They were also reconfigured for functionality.

The old seats were retained but new roll bar padding was added. All trim rubber was replaced. Overhead red LED illumination strips were stuck to the roll bar padding for additional dash illumination.

Beautiful, tri color, reproduction, 3M reflective decals were produced by Chris at Outlaw Graphics ( Check with him for any of your custom decal needs, ElecTraks included.

The original bumpers were repaired and undercoated.

The original vinyl top was cleaned and wiped down with ArmorAll.

The overall driving impressions of the vehicle are as follows:

Quick acceleration to cruising speed.
It starts to get a little scary approaching 50mph (visions of disintegrated plastic and crumpled aluminum, with battery acid dripping on your strapped in body)
Virtually silent exterior noise level (way more quiet than an ElecTrak)
Moderate interior noise level at cruise
Quick, light, and sensitive steering response
Rough ride (may try sans shocks at some point)
Acceptable braking (requires shoe break in and careful adjustment/setup)
Cool running D&D motor
Fully comfortable in city driving
Reasonably comfortable on our local 55mph highway, even at night (drivers around here are trained to mingle with 15mph Amish buggies)
Excellent interior and exterior lighting
Comfortable seating but tight getting in (I’m 6’2”)
A definite attention getter

Total project cost - Approximately $6500

10 year Michigan historic plate - $30
6 months State Farm auto insurance - $120
Electricity cost - $0 (solar power)
Battery wear and tear - 5 to 7 cents/mile (at 12000 to 18000 mile estimated battery life)

Future possibilities for the vehicle would include a rear bumper cradle for my 2000 watt, 50 lb Honda generator, to create a poor man’s Prius. A front bumper cradle for my Coleman cooler for serious grocery shopping, and even lithium ion batteries to drop 250 lbs or double the range while halving the charge time.

Special Thanks to:

Richard, Will and Justin @ Alltrax
Carl and Gailen @ EV Drives
Eric @ D&D Motors
Chris @ Outlaw Graphics


Supplier List:

EV Drives 360-302-5226 Carl
Alltrax SPM 72400 Controller
SW 200 Main Contactor
SW202 Reversing Contactor
Sevcon DC/DC Converter
Select-A-Charge 64 volt Charger
Curtis PB-6 Throttle
Misc. Wiring/Connectors

D&D Motors 315-701-0635 Eric Dieroff

Crown Batteries
(8) CR-165 8 volt

Outlaw Graphics 605-692-2243 Chris
Citicar Reproduction 3M Reflective Decals

Super Bright Leds 314-972- 6200
LED Exterior/Interior Lighting

Great Lakes Power Products 586-759-0527 Toni
Dana Brake Drums, Axle Bearing Retaining Rings

ProSport Inc. 727-572-9011
Motor (oil or water) Temperature Gage, Voltage Gauge (12v) Halo Series

Urethane Supply Company 256-638-4103 Kurt
ABS Plastic Repair (Plastifix)

HID Auto Vision 813-506-8931 Ken
HID Headlights, Ballasts and Bulb Kits (H4- 6000k/8000k)

Jegs 800-345-4545
Wire, LED Indicator lights, Proportioning valve, 300 Amp Disconnect, Steering Wheel
IMG_1707.jpg (668.09 KiB) Viewed 2746 times
IMG_1837.jpg (324.61 KiB) Viewed 2757 times
IMG_1802.jpg (238.85 KiB) Viewed 2757 times
IMG_1805.jpg (457.99 KiB) Viewed 2757 times
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:44 am
Location: Camden, Michigan

Re: Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Postby admin » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:24 am

Great Job. I have come across a few of them in my travels and thought about picking one up. My understanding that approaching 50 in one is a real white knuckle ride.
Site Admin
Posts: 48
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:00 pm

Re: Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Postby DH1 » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:49 am

100% Totaly Awesome.

Looks Great and it works.
Doug from Markham Ont, Canada
EGT200 x2, E12, E12M, E15, ET2
User avatar
Posts: 168
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:55 am
Location: Markham, Ont. Canada

Re: Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Postby Jeff Antonucci » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:49 pm

Very nice! I admire your commitment to do this project right.
User avatar
Jeff Antonucci
Posts: 249
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 4:16 am
Location: West Chester Pa

Re: Off Topic: 1975 Citicar

Postby DcForever » Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:11 pm

To Everyone,

Thanks for the comments.

Also, if anyone is considering redoing a Citicar or just wants detailed pictures of the project and the various engineering upgrades send your e-mail address to me at and I'll send you attachments.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:44 am
Location: Camden, Michigan

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest