Roger is aged 94 and a resident of Prouvy near Lille (Hauts-de-France). He had had an old Citroën DS in his garage for almost 40 years when the British National Geographic channel TV program Car SOS discovered it.
Roger is the last remaining living member of the French Resistance in the region, and during the Second World War he was in charge of sabotaging bridges and train lines across the country to disrupt supplies being sent to German troops.
His story caught the eye of the TV show’s producers after his grandsons Serge and Tristan initially got in touch with the show, and TV presenters Fuzz Townshend (mechanic) and Tim Shaw (car fanatic “petrol head”) took on the challenge.
The DS had been in the family for over fifty years – after Roger fell in love with vintage vehicles upon returning to civilian life, and bought it in 1968 – but it had not been on the road since 1980.
Roger had intended to restore the car himself, but had been forced to stop to care full-time for his ill wife (below). After her death two years ago, Roger’s own failing health stopped him from continuing.
The pensioner was told that the car was being taken to appear in a TV show about vintage French vehicles, but it was instead secretly taken to the Car SOS workshop in the UK, and completely revamped.
It was found to be missing pieces, including the radiator, suspension and wing panels; had a rotten interior; and the engine barely worked at all.
After several weeks of work, the car was returned to Roger and his family in beautiful condition, including a newly-working motor, refreshed interior, new tyres, new lights, and gleaming exterior paintwork.
Despite his advanced years, the 94-year-old was able to take his ‘new’ DS for a test drive. Emotions ran high, with Roger remembering his late wife and saying how much she would have loved the restoration.
Speaking on the programme, Roger said: “I have always loved this car. It is a real shock. I didn’t think this would be possible. I would never have been able to do this. Citroen was always ahead of the curve [that’s why I loved it]. This is wonderful. It’s phenomenal. I’m going to take the car on holiday! I’m forever grateful.”