My son-in-law is a jogger – wrist watch timer – heart beat – the lot – running around the Hornsby district in Sydney – he came across a house with several Citroens – all in immaculate condition. He sent me a photo.
On my next visit to Sydney I happened to be in that area of Sydney and found the house and was granted permission to take a few photographs. The visit could have been one of several hours.
James May's YouTube video on the Citroen DS is introduced by looking at a wall with photographs of modern vehicles with the latest of technologies and exclaiming a question – What if all these things were in one vehicle – he then zips back to 1955 and we're taken on a journey to the Citroen DS.
I fell in passionate zeal for the Citroen DS as a high school student in the early 1960s due its astonishing design. The steering wheel shaft was something else – it was shaped not unlike a dog's hind leg. Then a later model sported a double headlight that turned with the steering wheel.
French company produced the DS Citroen from 1955 to 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer Andre Lefebvre, the DS was known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative technology, including a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension.
The DS advanced achievable standards in automobile ride quality, handling and braking. Citroën sold nearly 1.5 million D-series during the model's 20-year production run. The DS came in third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, recognising the world's most influential auto designs, and was named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine
To a France still deep in reconstruction after the devastation of World War II, and also building its identity in the post-colonial world, the DS motor car was a symbol of French ingenuity. Wikipedia quotes structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes, in an essay about the car, said that it looked as if it had "fallen from the sky".
Yes, I have a 2010 photograph of a Citroen DS on my wall taken in Darwin at a museum. I enjoy that photograph's presence and memories of those far off high school days, and my dreams of it.
A concept Citroen
Citroen regularly revealing concept vehicles. Citroen says a concept car is built on a new modular platform, which minimises weight, and with each new concept model they try to do things a little better. The European market place is their central focus.
But Australia has been a happy hunting ground for the Citroen over several decades. The DS was the first mass production car with front power disc brakes. It had different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the under-steer typical of front-engined and front wheel drive. Another car of the era with this difference of width between the front and rear wheels was the Jaquar 1 most famously driven by television's Chief Inspector Morse of Oxford.
Rural farming areas in NSW in the sixties had a huge push for the DS Citroen where many were purchased as its suspension suited the rougher terrain of Australian farming. The next large Citroen had a lower line and did not sit as well with such rural communities.
Country Town Tours - seeking a DS Citroen
Our Country Town Tour program takes in many guises, some with sport coaches, some with athletes, some with corporate executives and the like. On Country Town Tours we visit schools, youth groups, dinners, men's breakfasts and the like.
How about one with a DS Citroen, the car of the century!
In my mind the DS was a design that produced economy with its aerodynamics, an engine without fan fare, and something so different that it created an atmosphere of much fascination.
To me, this is not that dissimilar to the Gospel message:
a) simplicity of design - Jesus died on the cross for my sin;
b) aerodynamic design - the economy of God directs my path;
c) a straight forward engine – a plain speaking bible shows the way
d) fascinating concept - the challenge of the Gospel is breathtaking.
Anyone who has a DS Citroen to donate or loan, in order to take on our Country Town Tours as the car of the century, and use as an illustration of Gospel truths, I would love to hear from you! It would certainly create attention! firstname.lastname@example.org or 0487 245 2070487 245 207
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html