Citroën surprise in Dalmarnock
It’s a while since I last went anywhere near Dalmarnock, as most routes into the area are blighted by some aspect or another related to the forthcoming Commonwealth Shames fiasco being imposed on us for 2014. Vast areas have been razed and are yet to have anything built on them, while great sheds and little houses have deposited on others, all to accommodate a few ‘elite’ who will live better than the citizens of Glasgow for a few days, while they variously run, jump, and otherwise advertise themselves at our expense in the hope of landing a sponsorship deal worth millions to them. But we’ll still be paying for this stuff after they are long gone, and have left us with a ‘Lasting Legacy’ of debt and deserted venues in their wake.
However, once one has managed to avert one’s eyes from the horror, it seems there are still some interesting things to see.
Notably, I can actually walk on the road from Cambuslang to Dalmarnock now, which was something I had to give up a year or so ago, as it was just too dirty (and dangerous) with all the works that were underway to get the long overdue M74 extension in place. I will have to have a few wanders along that way in the coming year, and try to work out if there’s any difference to the local traffic. If nothing else, I could see that the new extension was certainly busy, so if that traffic was formerly on the town road below the motorway, then the difference should be easy for me to see in the coming months.
One thing that my extended holiday from the area did render noticeable was the amount of demolition and clean-up that has taken place, and I’m sure the count of old and derelict buildings has fallen considerably. I noticed a number of hoarding around such places that had council orders attached to them, naming the owners and serving notice on them to make such structures safe (or demolish/remove them) under pain of legal penalty.
And it was while I was reading one such notice that I received my Citroën surprise. Had I not been reading the notice concerned, I would not have taken a look over the top of the adjacent wall, and discovered a small yard filled with assorted vehicles… and a classic Citroën DS Cabrio lying on a trailer. I understand these were specially manufactured for the Citroën dealer network between the years 1958 and 1973 by the French carrossier (coachbuilder) Henri Chapron, and referred to as the Cabriolet d’Usine (factory-built convertible). This was a small, specialist model run, and the Cabrio was a highly desired option.With no roof to stiffen the body, the DS convertibles used a special frame which had reinforced side-members supporting the rear suspension swingarm bearing box.
Originally, I couldn’t tell if this was a 1.9 litre DS 19 (1958-73), or a later2.1 litre DS 21 (1970-73) from this angle, but could see it was one of the later examples, as it has a more conventional dashboard with round dials, as opposed to the earlier rectangular instrument panel displays.
Further checks (after I saw the registration number, where the ‘N’ suffix identifies first registration in the period 1 August 1974 – 31 July 1975) suggest it to be a still later 2.3 litre DS 23, so it’s probably one of the last made.
The Citroën DS was special
In most normal cars, hydraulics are only found in things like brakes and power steering, but in the DS they were used for the suspension, clutch, and transmission.
Introduced at a time when few passenger vehicles had independent suspension on all wheels, the application of hydraulics to a car’s suspension system to provide a self-levelling system was innovative. This suspension allowed the car to achieve sharp handling combined with very high ride quality, frequently compared to a magic carpet. The system went on to be developed for use in Rolls-Royce cars, such was the smooth quality of the ride, and the luxury British car maker licensed the system from Citroën in 1965.
As usual, cost-cutting came into play eventually, and later models (the ID 19) used manual steering and a simplified assisted braking system, which pared 25% off its cost.
While I can’t give the hood any marks for style when it is raised (it looks as if it was lifted straight off the nearest pram), this car looks stunning when the roof is down and the smooth line of the body is revealed in all its glory.
Unlike the folding roof, the rear indicators are little gems of design, small pieces of chrome artwork, mounted atop the bodywork to the left and right corners of the rear window. On the saloon, these indicators were round, and mounted in the upper corners of the rear window.
On the road in a Cabrio, looks great. Shame there’s no date for the footage, but the tint on the image suggests it is film, so was probably shot in the 1970s while the Cabrio was still current:
More on Citroën
You can read more on the development and history of this range here:
I didn’t spot it giving the reason, so you have something to go research for yourself, but one of the pics in that article does show the model that came with TWO number plates at the rear, just one more clever innovation that Citroën came up with to solve a ‘problem’.
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