We hope this is not a trend. There is another Citroën resource that has gone sour in our community….

We have written extensively about the scams that Noel Slade perpetuated on Citroën owners (and those wanting to buy one) in the USA and Canada.  He scammed a number of people pro-porting to service and restore H Vans.  Now, dubious dealings have happened through HY Conversions in the Netherlands — a source we have profiled for H Van disc brake and engine conversions as well as restorations.

The saga has come to an end with Ramon Arias de Bles apparently abandoning his business.  Here’s why:

Erik de Widt in Maryland has been a source for 2CV, H Van and other classic Citroën vehicles for many years, not only offering them for sale here but helping the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville acquire a number of the Citroëns that are displayed there.  Erik has been a proponent of making H-Vans roadworthy for modern driving needs and became acquainted with Ramon Arias de Bles’ efforts in doing so.  

Ramon posing in his workshop in late 2011.

Erik started a major H Van restoration project with him about 6 years ago.  He made regular visits to Ramon’s workshop, 2 or 3 times a year to talk and check on progress.  The H-Van was 98% finished one and a half years ago and all paid for at cost of just over €100,000.  But he never quite finished the job, and then started billing Erik again. 

A look at the completed installation of the “Conversion” in Erik’s H Van, taken in late 2011.

Erik had a forensic audit done of his payments to Ramon, and found that he had been double billed for many thousands of euros.  Much of what Ramon billed was for additional inventory of disc brake conversion kits and other items relating to the engine and gearbox modifications that Ramon was offering.  Erik was in fact funding his business, and now Ramon was holding Erik’s vehicle hostage for even more money!

Ramon in Erik’s H Van posing for an article in “Citroexpert” magazine in early 2022.  Note the VIN plate: 5200266.  It matches Erik’s title.  Note the number on the engine:

The above 2 photos are from the Citroexpert article.  The van was running at the time, and Ramon was using it to give people test rides (without Erik’s knowledge or permission) to try to lure in more customers to defraud.

As a result of these findings, three times Erik tried to have his H Van removed from HY Conversions’ premises, which Ramon made impossible.  Knowing that Erik was onto him at that time, Ramon hid the H Van in a parking garage around the corner.  One of the people Erik sent out to investigate found it there and took this picture:

The last picture taken of Erik’s H Van before Ramon stripped it to sell the parts.  Taken at the beginning of 2023.


Erik hired a law firm in Holland and started a court case.  In May of this year, the bailiff went to HY Conversions to seize his H van, and the conversion (i.e. complete front end – drive train).  When they entered the premises, they found that Ramon had removed the conversion from Erik’s H Van, and was preparing to install it in a German H Van that was sitting next to his in the shop.  (At that same time the drive-train of the German H van had been posted for sale on the Dutch website Marktplaats.)  He was obviously in serious financial trouble.  And of course Erik’s H Van was in a disassembled state and could not be easily moved!  

The Bailiff took pictures and made notes, tagging his H Van and the proper drivetrain.  Ramon was ordered to put it back together to make transport possible and that he would be in deep trouble if he removed any of the seized goods. 

By the time the court had acted, and sent out a bailiff it was too late.  The bailiff found Erik’s H Van stripped and immobile in Ramon’s workshop.  Both the vehicle and the conversion were seized and tagged by the bailiff at that time.

A few days later when the police and bailiff returned with a transport company to haul off Erik’s H Van, it was clear that Ramon had substituted a completely different conversion from what the bailiff seized originally.  It was old, dirty, and highly incomplete.  And it turned out that Ramon had removed or relocated about half of the stuff that had been seized! 

A few days later.  The van in the process of being removed by the bailiff’s recovery service.  What the recovery service was unaware of at the time, was that Ramon had substituted a fake, worthless conversion for them to take.
The bare H Van in the court storage facility.  Note the paper on the window:  “Do not touch, do not open!”  You can see the fake conversion sitting in front of it.
A gaping hole where the conversion used to be.  Compare that with picture #3!
Here is the engine number on the fake conversion:  96-41  More proof of the fraud if anyone needs it!

Erik kept up the pressure on Ramon by giving all these details to his attorneys and let the Dutch legal system react to “defrauding the bailiff”.   

On July 19 Erik asked a colleague of his in the Netherlands to go check on Ramon in the Hague.  He walked into the parking garage at Castorstraat 4 where Ramon stores vehicles and took a good look around. There were no H Vans, and a man who works there pointed him towards Ramon’s workshop at Polluxstraat 13.  All doors were locked and he could not take pictures of the inside because the windows are either taped up or had tarpaulins in front of them.  He talked to a construction worker who was outside working on a window frame.  When he said he was looking for Ramon, the construction worker said;  “You shouldn’t do business with that guy. He is in serious trouble. There have been police and bailiffs, and Ramon has left. I don’t know where to.”

It appears that now Ramon is back in Spain, where he is from originally.  Erik doesn’t know much more — other than it’s time for more police!  They need to get into his workshop to see if he has vacated it, or if all his stuff is still there. 

While Erik knows there is little chance of him getting his money back.  As it turns out, in the period that Erik was working with Ramon he defrauded at least two other Citroën enthusiasts out of substantial amounts of money.  

Erik’s attorney was able to talk with a German fellow into whose H Van Ramon installed (or said he was going to install) Erik’s conversion.  Reluctant to talk at first, but more open when he realized the trouble Ramon has caused for so many people, he spilled the beans; Ramon had told him that Erik didn’t pay his bills, and so that he was perfectly within his rights to “part-out” Erik’s H Van to install the conversion into his van.  Not only that, but he “had to” because the bailiff had seized the conversion that he had built for him, thinking that it was the conversion that came out of Erik’s H Van.

Of course, this is untrue because when the bailiff was there, Ramon directed him to take a very incomplete conversion that may look OK to an outsider, but was in fact a rejected and worthless prototype.  (Perhaps Ramon was glad to be rid of it!)

The German customer went on to further share his experience; promises not kept, ever increasing price increases, very little to show for his money.  Endless excuses and months turning into years.  At this time, he does not know in what state his H Van is, if the (Erik’s) conversion has been installed, or even where the vehicle is!

On August 11, Erik managed to contact Thierry Dehaeck, owner of the “Cadycars” collection and company in Belgium.  He too has suffered badly at the hands of Ramon. He finally got his H Van back, with a conversion installed but it was way over time and budget. He had to threaten Ramon, and when he finally got his van, the quality of the work was a nightmare (to use polite language). He spent a fortune, and the van is not road worthy. This happened a year ago, and even today he is so upset at what transpired that he was stumbling over his words when he spoke with Erik.

Erik has also managed to speak with two more people who were trying to do business with Ramon.  While their stories differ in the small details, the overall picture is clear.  Ramon lures customers in with sweet talk and promises, takes their money, the work is never finished, the prices keep going up, the invoices keep coming and then nothing but excuses. 

Customer #1 started with Ramon, but made extensive inquiries.  He was advised to cut his losses and run.  This he did, and fortunately he lost very little. 

Customer #2 had been working with Ramon in the workshop to prepare a conversion for his own H Van.  He is retired and likes the work.  He has made a fair investment (all cash unfortunately) and now understands the situation.  He is planning to go to Ramon’s workshop ASAP to try to get his stuff out, if there is anything left!

Erik is still pursuing Ramon and sharing this info to help ensure that no more people are subject too loosing their money or H Vans to Ramon.

Note: We have added a postscript about Ramon and HY Conversions to all our relevant Citroënvie articles and removed the company from our Services Guide and Directory as we continue to try to protect innocent Citroën enthusiasts in North America and abroad from fraudulent operators.

UPDATE — June 13, 2024: This morning, The court ruled 100% in Erik’s favor in the case against Ramon. He has been ordered to pay Erik back in full plus interest and penalties.


  1. Very upsetting indeed! Sorry for your loss Erik, but you did good towards the Citroën community at large by sharing this story. I do hope you are able to locate whatever is left of your HY and possibly one day get it back running, converted or not. It would also be good that this Ramon dude is found and convicted but that’s even more far fetched.

  2. Gee, and I thought my restoration was a nightmare. Well, it was, but thanks to a lot of time, money and reputable mechanics, I do finally have a pretty nice car. I avoided a guy like this who mainly “worked” on English cars. He just keeps billing until the owner dies and when the heirs get around to settling things they just give him the title instead of paying more. I was lucky. He just charged me $1,600 to vandalize my car and then said he wouldn’t do it. It would take 9 years and over $100k, but he wouldn’t do it. It takes all kinds. But we really need an honest Citroen-qualified paint, frame and body shop. And possibly an inexpensive professional hit-man?

  3. This is what usually happens when you think you can restore a car for 20 or 30.000€. You just can’t. It takes at least 2000man hours. In “official” EU rates (100€ per hour??), that is 200-300.000€. Either you find an Eastern European shop with 30-40€ per hour, or a dependable old guy who works in his garage and does not charge much. Or forget about it. I’m sorry for your losses, better luck next time. My advice is to have more trust in the guy who tells you it’s not gonna be easy, then to the one who is saying opposite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Access further archives on our Archive Documents page.



A community of Citroën enthusiasts with a passion for Citroën automobiles.

Citroënvie © Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.