My family's love of the Citroen DS was started by my mother some time after the car's introduction in 1955. She was shopping in Leeds in Yorkshire, England, when she saw a group of people staring at a car. She went across to see what they were looking at. There was the DS - the most beautiful car in the world. She fetched my father to show him and they both dreamed of owning a car like that.
The dream came true in January, 1961 when they collected their ID19, vert mélèze with rouille seats, from the factory in Paris.
My father was a civilian schoolteacher for the British Army based in Dusseldorf, Germany. One of the perks of the job was to be able to order a new car tax free. It had to be kept out of the UK for the first year and after being imported to the UK it had to be kept for a further two years. Even so, it was a very good deal and my father bought his new ID for £675 - about 840 Euro.
The car was ordered through Ken Gibbins a NATO forces agent for Citroen. My father collected it personally from Paris because it was an adventure. They told him to be at the factory in the morning but it was not ready until late afternoon and he was angry by then. My mother was given flowers and a scarf and a small replica car and my father set off through the Paris rush hour in his new car. We still have the scarf and the toy.
My father ordered the car in right hand drive form so he could return to England with it. On this picture we can see that he was given the special keychain that is now a real collectible. The interior mirror was something he added - it did not come from the factory.
(Dr Danche pointed out that the turn signal is different from 1961 LHD IDs)
We still have the handbook of the car, showing pictures of a 1960 dashboard.
In this handbook, it's a "Luxe" model that is shown: see those skai seats, that cannot be adjusted on their upper part.
However, I can confirm that my father's car was a "Confort", with typical seats and doorcards.
A bit like this one, from 1960.
There were nevertheless export details about my father's car. It featured DS "trumpets" and DS wheel discs.
Enjoy also the strange licence plate "OZ 61 B", with these numbers on a french style licence plate.
The pictures show my mother, Margaret, father, Norman, and me, Nick, as a three-year-old.
The only colour picture that we have is here, from the early 60's. At that time the car was still Vert mélèze, but it was painted all white some time later.
As it happens, my father took the car to The Gambia in West Africa in 1963 when he got a new job. Gambia was not the tourist resort it is today. Many of the people lived in mud huts and they would ask my father if the ID could fly or travel under the water!
After a spell back in England my father took the ID to Tripoli, Libya, for his next job. This would be around 1966. Libya was a kingdom at that time a very pro-West. However, there was a coup and when Colonel Gaddafi came to power in 1969 things changed dramatically. He banned alcohol which was a shame for the many Westerners working there. My parents had friends on the American air base there which was called Wheelus. It was the biggest base outside the USA and was the size of a city or town with bowling alleys, cinemas, supermarkets etc. They also sold alcohol, so my father decided to run it off the base in the ID. He took the door panels out and filled them with cans of beer. The glovebox was removed and a bottle of whisky hidden behind and on my mother's birthday two large bottle of Champagne were hidden behind the headlights. My parents were stopped by soldiers as they left the base and asked if they had alcohol. They said 'no' but, of course, it was hidden in the car. Many of these runs were made and the alcohol used in parties and drunk on the beach. We have old cine film of the car being unloaded.
(The picture of the car painted all white was taken in Libya at Roman ruins, either Sabrata or Leptis Magna in about 1966 or 67)
When we left Libya the car was driven to Tunis and crossed to Marseilles. We then drove through France back to England.
When I was 17 the car was given to me but it was past its best and was eventually scrapped in the mid 1970's, I'm sorry to say.
In the papers of my father there is also a later price list from Ken Gibbins from October 1965, and a handbook for a new ID, proof that he considered buying a new one at that time.
So many thanks to Nick and his parents, here is a 2012 picture of them! Dr Danche.