Citroen DS - Any experience? - 3500S
I'm kind of thinking that I've got a lot of enjoyment out of my two Rover P6's that it might be time to move on to a new challenge.

I've always liked the Citroen DS. My own knowledge is a bit patchy but I know that I'll probably go for a 21 Super 5 as it's by far the most popular one sold in the UK. Hopefully in the dark blue with white roof, lovely :) I wish I had the £50,000 ! that's not a typo, for a 60s Decapotable but I haven't.

Has anyone ever owned a DS that could impart a little inside know-how?

I've have limited funds, probably stretch to about £8000 which should buy something in VGC. I usually outlay about £700-1000 a year to keep the P6's on the road, I'm wondering what spares and availability is like mainly.

I'm looking to sign up with the owner's club at the next local classic car show that I usually show mine at I'll be off to chat with a few owners.
Citroen DS - Any experience? - Altea Ego
Cant offer any specific advice just to mention my father had one - a K reg metalic green Super 5. This is the point where he stopped meddling with his own cars so I dont have experience of taking the things to bits. He used to have it serviced by a specialist in petworth (now gone i think) While it was a nice car,and he loved it to bits, I really didnt find it that much fun to drive. I cant help thinking that for similar money a Traction Avant/Light 15 might provide more enjoyment.
Citroen DS - Any experience? - Dude - {P}
I remember doing some body repairs on a DS pre - University, which was over 40 years ago, but I recall clearly that the metal was so thin, that it could not be welded, and had to be brazed (lower heat requirement). They had a totally flat floorpan, which was a total trap for the "tin worm", and to access the hydro-pneumatic pipework system, they have concealed inspection covers in the wheel arches and lower bodywork. If you were intending to buy one, you need to ensure that thorough rust proofing has been undertaken, and that the suspension system has been recently over-hauled. I know they were a very advanced design in their day, and the ride was superb, but as a vintage enthusiast, I would suggest you look elsewhere.!!!
Citroen DS - Any experience? - Clanger
I've driven a few and owned 2, a DS23 Familiale semi-auto (a Safari with 7 seats facing forward) and a D Super which the previous owner had fitted with a 5-speed box. The D Super was poorly specced without even a heated rear window but it was a cinch to fit one from a scrappie. Nice, comfy, long-legged car but, although the chassis was up to it, too little power to be a good tow car. I had very little trouble with it although the windscreen unaccountably shattered after a frosty night. The clutch has a clever spring which goes over-centre at the pedal end to make it seem lighter than it really is. Rust got it in the end at the nearly invisible but crucial end of the chassis where the swing arms attach. I sold it to the local Citroen dealer for spares for his restoration project.

The 23 was a wonderful workhorse with enough torque to make a fine tow car. The space inside was immense. I did some serious work on that car, starting by replacing the front discs and was persuaded while I was in the area to take off the gearbox and replace the clutch. Great fun and worked well when it was back together. This car was virtually trouble-free apart from reverse gear which wouldn't always engage first time. I sold it when it was in good nick and don't know what happened to it.

There isn't enough time or space for me to list the things to look out for; suffice it to say that joining the Citroen Car Club and doing some serious research are manadatory if you are to avoid too much trauma. There is so much to learn about these cars that you may have left it too late for this summer. Sorry. I really don't think it's worth going for such a unique bit of car history without choosing a model with the semi-auto gearbox. It's a delight when properly set up as per the Haynes manual. Driving behind the swivelling headlights cross-country is a one-off experience, not to be missed. I am long in the back and found the seats too short leading to shoulder ache after a couple of hours. I had a Rover 2000 and was more comfy in that. Maybe if I was heavier, I could have settled down in the seat more. After the Rover you may find the controls a little crude, although I was intrigued by the indicator switch, up and down for left and right, push for healamp flash and pull gently for electric horns, pull hard for air horns! I preferred the heating and ventilation of the Rover as well. Handling is excellent if you don't mind body roll and tyre squeal. Brakes, excellent but needs restraint on the pedal (it's actually a rubber button). Parking brake; umbrella handle on the manuals, foot-operated on the semi-autos.

Routine servicing is a doddle. Plugs, points and oil drain and filter are easily accessible. I could do a routine service faster on the Ds faster than the same on an Austin Cambrige I had.

Avoid the decaps, they are rubbish. They look a mess and the doors are welded up from bits of scrap that were lying around the Chapron factory. They are over-priced and a waste of good metal. (I don't like convertibles much; can you tell?)

My choice if I wanted to buy today? A DS21 EFi Pallas semi-auto. I felt the 21 engine was really sweet; the extra capacity of the 23 made it less smooth. Pallas for the sumptuous interior, providing it's been well rustproofed where the door trim is, and semi-auto for the joy of clutchless manual changing. The system was preferred over the manual change by the rally-drivers of the day and can be made slick or lazy with ease. But, 4-speed only.

Good luck and if you are serious, I will send you my grubby Haynes manual in exchange for the postage.


H.

Citroen DS - Any experience? - 3500S
Wow! Thanks for taking the time to type all that up. Very useful.

I'm asked a lot about P6's and the first thing I always say is sign up for the owner's club. It's no different for any 'older' car, it's something I'll do very soon.

This is a heart over head decision unlike the P6 which made sense both ways, incredibly easy to maintain, Unipart still sell spares making it very cheap to maintain and it'salso nice to look at and admire (which I know is subjective).

Thanks hawkeye for the comparison, I agree the best thing about a P6 are the ergonomics of the driving position and the clear logic and forethought that went into the dash switches, the best being the lamps switch with is a tristar knob that you can reach, feel and turn without taking your eyes off the road. Very clever especially the push on the switch for the fogs.

I'm not certain as to which DS to go for as such, it'll be more constrained on money that anything. With a P6, you can spend £4500 and get a concours prize winner. The DS it gets to serious money (up to £12,000) for a very good low miles Pallas. My main concern is running costs, I have a budget to run a classic on and that is not really negotiable on. If the DS doesn't work out, I'll just sell my current 3500S and go for a complete restoration NADA (North American P6) which would cost about £8000 to have one rebuilt from the ground up from a good donor car. Bonnet scoops, uprated V8, air con and anti-lock brakes. :)

I think with a bit of a grovel I might get a passenger ride in a DS at the next local classic car meet. I'm worried though that would really make my mind up, it might end up with me taking that offer of the Haynes manual ;)
Citroen DS - Any experience? - M.M
3500S,

You are half-way to all the problems with a DS because you are already running "luxury classics".

The DS bodyshell is not much that worse than your Rover for rot and by now everyone knows where to look and how to effect repairs.

There is tremendous technical support for running a DS within the Citroen Car Club so really a sound one should not cost any more than the Rovers...just a case of getting the right one and sorting the post-purchase niggles.

Hawkeye says it all really...they are a very rewarding vehicle to own and drive. I would choose a 1971 DS21 Pallas Carb Semi-Auto but if the right car appears in another model you have to consider condition as a priority.

Join the Citroen Car Club now, you can join on-line at our website

www.citroencarclub.org.uk/frame.htm

The sooner you getting reading the DS column and seeing the true value of cars within the club the better.

As a matter of interest there are 15 good order cars for sale in this month's magazine...none over £8500 and many in the £5000 - £6000 range.

Just one example...

Immaculate 1971 D Super5. RHD. One of the best. 56,000 genuine miles with all MOTs. Garaged from new. Summer use only. 1 yrs MOT. £5500. (Cambs)


M.M
(CCC columnist)
Citroen DS - Any experience? - 3500S
Thank you very much indeed. I guess I best have a deep think over a few beers tonight and then probably sign up and get reading. Hawkeye's right though; this is a 2004 thing, it took almost 12 months to read up, search out and buy my P6. I have a buyer who been nagging me if I'm going to sell up, Christmas might come early for him.

Many thanks for the tip on prices too, that makes it a little more palatable.

I have the 3500S all sorted for some summer miles now, both carbs are on song, engine tuned (again) and rear brakes sorted, time to scare some 1-litre Novas with my 21-yo car. ;)

Looks like it's going to be a lovely weekend. :)

 

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