Wednesday May 8, 2019
It would be fair to say that Mr. Chris Salter is an aficionado of French cars –‘I learnt to drive in my parents’ Renault 16TX, when 17, and I was given the car’. But even prior to that, Chris was fascinated by the DS – ‘I saw them as a child in the mid 1970's and, just fell in love with them!’ And so, as part of our celebrations of the marque’s centenary, here are three very different and equally desirable example of Citroën.
Chris acquired his first DS six months after learning to drive and his current example is a LHD 1970 D Super 5. The DS family is one more complex than a plotline of The Sopranos but the Super combines the 2,175-cc engine with manual five-speed transmission and the post-1967 nose treatment. ‘The pleasure of driving the D “Super” is a necessity for the fast-moving executive’ advised Citroën.
When Chris acquired the D ‘around five years ago,’ it’s condition was best described as tatty but running, rusty door bottoms, poor paintwork, tatty interior - but she's been very reliable!’ The Super 5’s first test run ‘was to Belgium and since then it has been in Europe many times’ – most recently in Spain. ‘you can't beat driving a DS by the Med. D driving up the coast road from Spain into France was like being with a movie star’.
The next member of the Salter collection is a magnificent 1982 Visas Super E ‘called "Florence” - she's the only known Visa in this colour. I bought her of the original owner in 2012 and sold it when I bought the DS’.
Naturally Chris regretted parting with such a car but fortunately ‘my parents bought it back for me last year for my 50th birthday!’. The brochure promised ‘high style and instant attraction’, while the ‘Quartz clock’, cigar lighter and ‘floor carpet’ denoted ‘a wealth of refinement’.
And finally, there is the 1983 GSA X1. The GS gained a fifth door in 1979 to become the “GSA” while the “X1” badge represented enhanced performance – ‘sporting in its action’. Chris finds that it is ‘similar to the standard 1,299cc’ model but ‘the gearbox ratio is slightly different’.
The trim level was based on the Special with the addition of a tachometer, fog lamps, alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and, of course, a ‘twin coachline’. Chris acquired the X1 from its original owner ‘over 20 years ago. I saw it at a petrol station, and left my number with the owner - when they came to sell, they called me, and I bought it’. Today there are about five such GSAs on the road – ‘three are red’.
The Salter collection encapsulates so many aspects of the Citroën story. If I had the chance to take one home (an admittedly unlikely prospect), it would be the Visa. Firstly, the paint finish is certainly distinctive, but, more importantly XPJ 340 Y looks as ultra-1982 as Adam Ant’s video for Goody Two-Shoes – in other words, it is a car that really ‘takes me back’…
With Thanks To: Chris Salter