Translated from the – Jornal do Carro (Brazil).
The passion for old Citroën models was a lesson Jonathas Russomano learned at home. He grew up fiddling with his father’s cars, and a few years ago it became so serious that his hobby became a profession: he abandoned his business administration career and opened a restoration workshop focused on the French brand. The first old Citroën he restored was a 1974 DS23, the subject of this report.
“I did the service for a friend, whose family had already had a few DS outside of Brazil. This car spent years exhibited at the Ulbra Technology Museum, (now extinct), in the metropolitan area of Porto Alegre. Imagine how it is to rehabilitate a museum piece, an inanimate toy, so that it can return to normal operation. “
The restoration took a year and a half to complete. The original brown body paint gave way to the same black colour of the DS that were used by the presidency of France. “It was on board one of them that leader Charles De Gaulle escaped an attack in Paris in 1962. This episode was told in the film” The Day of the Jackal,” recalls Russomano.
Produced in France from 1955 to 1975, the DS was consecrated by the bold design and mechanics for the time. At the launch, the model was presented as “a car 20 years ahead”.
Among the highlights is the system that integrates steering, suspension and brakes. “Complex and difficult to regulate, it requires people who know this car well. Few workshops can service them properly, “says Russomano. After being reinvigorated, the DS returned to parade through the streets as if in 1974 and accompanies modern traffic without issues. “Since the owner has a tight schedule, it’s me who takes care of the car and also takes him to old events. The biggest payoff is you see the model you restored to success.”
Obviously a Citroën fanatic, Russomano pays tribute to the dirigibility of the French classic. “The comfort and ergonomics are very good, you sit like an armchair. The floor, lined with very thick foam, is a cuddly to place your feet. And, thanks to the hydropneumatic suspension, you float over bumps and depressions and do not feel a thing. So the DS is called in some countries ‘flying carpet’,” he says.
He speaks with the knowledge of one who has spent much time on his favorite model. “I’m 33 years old and since I was 12, I wote on a worksheet every DS that I have come across. To this day, I’ve found 28 sedans and 6 wagons, “he says.” I have a serious problem locating them: I like to meet everyone, see the state of conservation and, if possible, rescue them. I already had a dozen, but I had to reduce the collection for lack of space. “
Currently Russomano owns only a DS19, manufactured in 1967, which is undergoing restoration. But in his family’s collection there are other Citroëns: his father and his uncle in Peru have a few DS, including convertible configurations.