1990 Citroen XM
“This is the 15th Citroen I have owned in the past 45 years. The others were the 1955 – 1975 DS models. Those cars cost $2,2000 to $7,000 new. I purchase them from US owners who thought they were worn out. I have paid as little as $25 and as much as $1,800 to purchase one. Almost invariably someone would flag me down. “Is your car for sale?” “No.” “Would you take “$2,000 for it?” “Let me see; I paid $200 for it and I have driven it 150,000 miles. Yes, I will take $2000 for it.” Not only have I driven the finest car ever sold in the US, but people have also paid me to do so.
The DS model is now selling for $20,000 to $40,000 on E-bay and elsewhere. With the XM Citroen, I decided to play this game the other way. The XM was a $50,000 plus car depending on the engine. This XM has the strongest engine and the highest cost. XM’s with the V6 engine were used to transport the French president, as was the DS.”
A Surprising History
“The Day of the Jackal” movie depicts when Charles de Gaulle, his wife, and chauffer were ambushed in their family DS. 147 bullet fired, 140 hit the car but not the passengers, 2 motorcycle guides were killed and at least two tires shot out, maybe all four depending on whose account you read. The driver sped up over 70 miles per hour for the 5-mile run to the airport and safety. With the DS you can suffer more than one flat tire and have a straight trajectory, even with the hands off the steering wheel, regardless of speed. Citroen is the world leader in automotive design and automotive safety.
Automotive journalists of the time did a very poor job of describing the DS and subsequent models because they had the blinders of only understanding the typical cars that were of their time.
I grew tired of trying to correct the magazines. So I wrote perhaps the first English list of the 180 novel features that I discovered, 56 of which changed the automotive industry. Remember, the company came out of WW11 and was very protective of its people and its engineering.
For example, Citroen told its American dealers to tell Americans only that the DS was economical and had a good ride. For examples, In addition, the none-deviating steering, the 1955 DS Citroen had anti-lock brakes, Disk brakes, full power brakes (not the Mickey Mouse vacuum-assist brakes), self-levelling suspension, Nitrogen springs (instead of steel) – you do not get to feel bumps or potholes as high as 4 inches at 60 + mph, self-jacking to change a tire, more ground clearance than a Humvee 11 in the raised position for crossing a stream. Safety was paramount.
The DS model, based on the previous family car the 1934 B11 Citroen, was designed in part under Germain occupation during WWII. The B11 was the first successful mass-produced front wheel drive automobile. It went out of production in 1957. The Michelin family (of tire fame) protected the several top engineers at Michelin family farm and gave them free rein. They ended up incorporating 1/3 of the prototyped ideas in the 1955 DS Citroen. The remaining ideas plus other found their way into subsequent Citroen models. The XM is seven generations younger than the DS.”
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