MARRS Automotive – Enhancing Citroëns in Los Angeles

Citroëns are thriving in California despite the stringent registration procedures for classic cars. Those bringing them into the state and existing owners committed to keeping them on the road in the Los Angeles area are gravitating to MARRS Automotive (MARRS meaning Martin Automotive Repair and Racing Services).

Owner Jean-Francois Martin (aka JF) started MARRS Automotive as a bifurcated business: repairing classic cars (primarily Citroën) and providing racing services like precision alignment and racing instruction.

A mechanical engineer with a fascination for how things work, JF’s first project was a moped when he was just 14 and living in France. Next came un-seizing of a Peugeot BB 63 moped engine and then onto a 1956 Peugeot 403. But it was Citroën engineering that increasingly drove him to get hands-on with them when the opportunity arose.

Coming to America he worked for Cosworth Racing, then for Honda Performance Development working on race engines in Santa Clarita. His next move was to have his own shop where these days he still spends about 4 days a month working with Fast Lane Racing School.

JF managed to purchase the assets of SM World when Jerry Hathaway passed away in 2022. Once that acquisition was announced, SM World customers and other Citroën owners in Southern California came calling.

The result is that today MARRS’ workload is 95% Citroëns. Currently in the shop are:

  • 2 DS (in for engine work)
  • 1 Traction Avant
  • 2 H Vans
  • 2 2CVs
  • 2 SMs

JF’s philosophy is “keeping the Citroën brand alive and thriving with Southern California classics”, and to ensure that MARRS Automotive carries on — he has enlisted his son Jean-Luc to work with him.

Jean-Luc & JF Martin

This month JF will also be hiring another experienced Citroën mechanic, to help with the all the work.

Interest about MARRS Automotive has come on many fronts. Recently, a French media crew visiting Los Angeles heard that Citroëns were being serviced there and decided to drop by and produce a video that has garnered international publicity and recognition for MARRS:

Having anticipated the growing interest in EVs, JF has partnered with Club Cassis in France to electrify the 2CV in the USA. He has a 2CV earmarked and waiting for the installation of an R-Fit kit, a project he plans to commence in the 2nd quarter of 2024.

In the meantime JF has put his put a major effort into supporting Citroën Car Club – Los Angeles. On April 7, MARRS Automotive will be hosting an open house/pot luck along with the Club’s annual general meeting.

With MARRS Automotive in the Los Angeles area, Citroën owners there, and even further abroad, are thrilled that capable service is still at hand.

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