With the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours come and gone, with Citroën being a featured marque, has their presence helped to give credibility in the classic car market?
Certainly the exposure helped to re-enforce the memories of classic Citroëns that were once available here, but did it help identify the brand in North America? We doubt it as while a DS Cabriolet was illustrated on this year’s Pebble Beach poster and a beautiful 1959 DS19 was displayed, the event’s emphasis was on exclusive versions of both the DS and the SM.
An Henri Chapron SM MyLord (convertible) made it’s way the show from Europe while Peter Mullin’s custom DS Majesty sedan with reverse opening rear doors (built for a Swiss gentleman constrained to a wheelchair who needed easy access to the rear of the passenger compartment) were prominently featured on the show field.
Also on display were two DS19 Concordes, a 1962 DS19 cabriolet and a DS21 cabriolet.
As nice at it was to see these exotic Citroëns at Pebble Beach, it is a shame that significant Citroën production models of the past century were not displayed to show the innovation that Citroën put forth in both engineering and style. It would have been nice to have shown Peter Mullin’s early unrestored 1919 Type A (the first mass-produced car in Europe), then an early Traction Avant, an early 2CV, and anlong with the DS19 sedan, an Ami 6 Break, an SM coupe, a GS and a CX. That would have been a proper tribute to Citroën!
As a it was, the cars shown helped in part to drive up the price of a 1957 DS at the Gooding Auction on Saturday to a staggering $192,500 far exceeding estimates of $70 – $90K. What is even more astonishing for the price paid was that the roof colour was not original, and the seat covering that was not period correct.
Even an automatic SM with North American headlights sold at the auction for $83,600 US. An surprisingly, a 1975 CX sold for $55,000 US.
It was a day for buyers that wanted to spend regardless of far lower market prices for comparable Citroëns for sale elsewhere.
For all the hoopla generated about Citroën being featured prior to Pebble Beach, the media coverage post the event has, as could be expected, focused on the Rolls Royce and Talbot-Lago class of vehicles, though Jeffery and Francis Fisher of Palm Beach, FL did receive the Stanford (CARS – Center for Automotive Research at Stanford) Award for their 1959 DS19 Berline d’Usine and their win is featured on the Pebble Beach Concours winners page: https://www.pebblebeachconcours.net/gallery/winners/special-awards.html
I wasn’t exactly dismayed to see an early DS sell for near $200k, but it was quite a distance from original. Not only were plastic dashboard pieces painted a totally bogus color vs their natural molded-in color of the plastic itself (I have an entirely original ’57 DS19 parts car with all-perfect plastic as-molded parts) but the underhood area had been seriously cleaned up to what I call an over-restored condition. Many original hydraulic hoses had been replaced, even tho original hose can still be found intact on some early cars. The original hose in most likely wonderful Michelin rubber, had around 4 very small triangular ribs running the length of the hose, whether it was the large hose to the pump, or smaller return hoses to the tank.
My conclusion re the “originality” of this car is that the judges really didn’t know what they were looking at. Having started with my father’s ’58 DS19 in 1962, I know what is original and what is not – especially having mostly mechanically restored a ’59 DS19 I had owned for 35 yrs, but sold to free up space, and it was a driver with excellent original suspension spheres. It went way too cheap due to very large side holes in the chassis sills yet was still perfectly straight with no twisting when driven over my huge, rough front lawn prior to sale. That sale result makes me wonder who the judges were, and just how much they knew and didn’t know about the early cars.