Saturday, June 12, 2010

Super French (Citroen Renault) car collection (Part 1 of 3)

Click here for Part 2.
Click here for Part 3.

In my writing, I am guilty of hyperbole.  But as I try my best to summarize my day today, I can truthfully say that it was mind blowing.  I am still on a high.  And, I still smell like old French cars.

Most of you are probably Bring A Trailer addicts.  No doubt on Tuesday, you salivated over the French foursome that were featured.  In the pictures, you could see other cars in the background.  A Citroen XM here, multiple DSs there.  I had to contact the owner, Ron, to find out more.

Ron gave me more.  A lot more.  He invited me over today to check out his collection.  I will divide this visit into three parts.  Part 1 will cover the cars he has stored in a warehouse.  Part 2 will cover the cars he has in a separate garage.  Part 3 will be a sit-down interview with Ron.

Before I begin with the virtual tour, I want to make a few points.  First, the pictures I took do not do these cars any justice.  They are infinitely more beautiful in person and I wish I could capture and share with you the tactile feelings and the smells.  They are otherworldly.

Second, I approached these cars very differently than I usually do with cars at shows.  That's because I rarely, if ever, get to sit inside these cool cars.  I'm proficient with and am used to taking different shots of the cars' exteriors.  But I wanted to focus on the cars' interiors this time.  I want to show you why these cars are so unique and ahead of their times.

Finally, I want to thank Ron for his generosity-- with his time, with his insight, and with his cars.  Thanks, Ron!

All right, let's get down to business.

The collection currently consists of:

  • three Renault R16s (1966, '76, '78), 
  • two Citroen SMs (both from 1972, one with Euro headlights, one with American lights), 
  • a 1996 Citroen XM from Japan with around 9,000 km,
  • four Citroen DSs (including a 1968 DS21 factory convertible),
  • a 1973 GS wagon,
  • a 1979 RHD Citroen CX Pallas,
  • a 1985 Citroen BX,
  • a 1968 Simca 1100, and 
  • a 1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16.  

This is one of three R16s in the collection and Ron's sentimental favorite.  It belonged to a French farmer who meticulously maintained it.  He hand wrote (in French, of course) every maintenance and repair job performed.  The yellowed and dog-eared papers are priceless and an integral part of the car.

Incidentally, this blue 1978 R16 is the upscale TX model.  The interior was simple and immaculate.

 Just look at that seat!

Through the looking glass.

Straightforward Jaeger gauges.

Check out the headliner.  It looks brand new.

This DS21 was the genesis of Ron's collection.

Obligatory chevron shot.

Bertoli's trumpet.

Apparently, a lot of DS owners installed trailer hitches to prevent damage to the rear bumper.

DS21 steering wheel and dash gauges.

Yes, those seats are comfortable.  In fact, the back seat was both pillowy yet firm.  The seat back can best be described as buttery, in a good way.  I felt like General de Gaulle back there.

Close up shot of leather seat stitching.

Another shot from the DS's back seat.

Completely flat floor.

This RHD CX Pallas did diplomatic duty in Great Britain.  It's got about 37,000 miles.

I wonder how much Total paid Citroen to put these stickers on.

This picture demonstrates the rear seat leg room of the CX.  I am 6' and there was plenty of room to stretch.

Though the back seat area of the CX was palatial, there's just no comparison with the DS's intimate and clubby back seat area.

Smokers of the world, unite.  On both rear doors of the CX, you have these cigarette lighter/window switch combos.

Between the front seats are the e-brake lever and the lever for adjusting ride height.

3 forward speed Citromatic transmission.

CX dash.

CX left instrument pod.

CX right instrument pod.


Alan said...


Throw in a few Tatras and this man lives my greatest automotive dreams.

Thank you so much for the lovely detail shots.

Excited for more.

Rich said...

Fantastic work reaching out to the owner. This is amazing.

Maxichamp said...

@Rich. I think I have found my calling. :)

Catherine said...

Very nice pictures of Citroën DS 21. My uncle had a blue one. It also reminds me of Fantômas and his flying DS :)

French Course Angel

Dragomir said...

I'm surprised I do not see any 2CV.
Great collection though. I beleive it is hard to find any Citro's in the USA at all.