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Classified ad of the week: Citroen DS
Seen the latest four-door concept from Citroen? It’s called the Numero 9, it’ll probably be the DS sub-brand’s flagship, it’s bristling with technology and it looks fan-chuffing-tasmic.
But it’s a concept car. You can’t own it. You can’t drive it. You can’t touch it, and we want to do all of those things. Which got us thinking - is there a flagship from the manufacturer’s back catalogue that offers the same density of innovation and styling loveliness that we can actually put in the garage?
Yes. Of course there is - the Citroen DS.
Scroll through the Rolodex of automotive innovation and a staggering amount of stuff you thought was new has been borrowed from the DS. The Range Rover’s fluid suspension system, for example. And the semi-automatic gearbox in a Smart For-Two. And the way the engine slides under the floor in a crash on an A-Class. And the Audi A8’s spaceframe construction and headlights that swivel as you steer…
The DS was a real-life, driveable, buyable concept. And when it launched in 1955 Paris motor show it ran so many rings around the rest of the wheeled world it’s a wonder it didn’t pass out from the centrifugal force. On the first day alone Citroen sold 12,000 and over its 20-year production run the manufacturer shifted nearly 1.5 million. Hardly a surprise considering it was literally peerless.
And this is a rather special one- a painfully rare one-of-50 ragtop. Henri Chapron, a coachbuilder and designer, wrought the DS a two-door, four-seat coupe body, then sold it at a wildly inflated price as the “Le Dandy”. It got a lower, steeper raked windscreen, stretched rear deck and, of course, convertible roof.
Which means it’s about as real-life concept-car as you can get; a coachbuilt flagship brimming with tomorrow’s technology that looks deeply trouser-tightening.
And now the reckoning. How much? This much…
Any takers, TopGear.comniverse?