On Saturday Toronto’s Globe & Mail launched its inaugural edition of Style Advisor magazine across their Globe Life website. Published each weekend, they purport to engage their (and we quote) “discerning audience with unmatched visual flair and in-depth editorial about personal style, home & design, travel and entertaining.” Well, the first article in Style Advisor about automobiles touted the Citroën DS. Imagine that!
The writer, automotive journalist Peter Cheney, drove Citroënvie member Jeff Teerlinck’s DS last fall for a day. You can read the article and see the video here. (The video was also produced when Peter Cheney had Jeff’s DS.)
One thing not mentioned in the video, but you will undoubtedly notice, is that Jeff’s DS is not like any other. That’s because Jeff’s car was rebuilt 15 years ago by Bob DeBruyn who lived near Stouffville, Ontario.
Bob unfortunately passed away in 2007, and Jeff eventually purchased it in 2013 inheriting a number of unique features that Bob, who was an engineer, decided he would incorporate into the DS.
It had always seemed to Bob that when highway driving, a DS’s 4th gear is not sufficiently high to bring the engine RPM’s down, so a fifth gear would be desirable. Finding a rather good “about 1964” D , Bob started to put his experience to work. He took a DS gearbox from a 1966 DX motor and fitted SM gears and the fifth gear adapter onto it. (As it turned out, the challenge was greater than Bob expected as the SM pinion bearing needs a larger hole than the D pinion bearing. Other dimensions had to be modified as well. In hindsight, Bob stated that a five speed box from a DX engine would have probably been a better choice.)
Bob also owned a SM (heavily modified, which Jeff purchased along with the DS, – a whole other subject for a different article) and liking the shifter placement on the SM, he mounted the gear shift in the D on the floor, using the mechanism from an SM parts car. Beneath the shifting mechanism there was room for an additional heater core, that Bob fitted to make the DS extremely toasty inside for Canadian winter driving!
The air conditioner was Bob’s next dream makeover. Rather than having the noisy blower fan inside, he placed a D fan housing with the stronger motor on the other side of the firewall and modified the air intake duct. The incoming cabin air can go directly into the interior, or to the evaporator (cooling) or to the heater core under the gear shift. It is possible to recirculate a small portion of the air. The different directions of the air are controlled by GM electric door switches.
As you can see in the video the dashboard is quite different with Bob’s addition of four small gauges for oil pressure, hydraulic pressure, voltage and ammeter. The 1964 dash speedometer had room to add a LED barograph (audio vu meter) laying on its side to work as an rpm indicator. Two LEDs are actually overlayed to coincide with the speedometer, the 20 mph speedometer mark being the 2000 rpm line and 40 mph coinciding with 4000 rpm.
Bob fitted a smaller SM steering wheel to for less effort turning and to make ingress and exiting easier. [Ed note: Now we’ll have to explain why all DS out there don’t have SM steering wheels!] A cruise control was added to the windshield wiper stalk.
Not visible in the video is the reinforced frame with a galvanized steel plate that
runs from the front (lift point) to the rear. All tubing in the car is stainless to reduce the surprises of rusted through pipes and leaks.
Under the hood Bob changed the engine mounting as it transmits vibrations to the thin metal of the fire wall. The cast iron weights to dampen vibration were removed. The new mounting arrangement is that the engine rests on the heavier steel that is part of the cross member. However, as the cross member is quite a bit towards the front of the car, Bob installed two cross braces on each side that connect from the heavy nuts of the front end suspension to the plate that holds the engine mounts.
The air conditioner compressor is mounted to the left side where the alternator used to live. The compressor is driven from the small pulley of the cam shaft pulley. One bolt goes through the hydraulic pump. The compressor is a Sanden SD 709 7 cylinder 9 cubic inches per rev. That’s a fair amount for an air conditioning compressor so that’s why it is being run from a small pulley. The condensers are mounted in the fenders’ ports, one on each side, to take in air coming from the slots of the bumper. (Special bumpers with air slots were used by Citroën for D’s with air conditioning and this car has these.)
And Bob relocated the alternator to a spot above the hydraulic pump where it shares the two belts with the water pump.
All in all, probably the most modified DS you are ever going to encounter. Although the shape is classic DS, and the ride still the same, anyone familiar these iconic Citroëns is going to wonder what Peter Cheney is talking about when he claims this a “typical DS”!