By: ROTIMI ASHER
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]itroen DS, a groundbreaking classic car model, which marks 60 years of its first launch this year, is one of the vintage cars showcased at the maiden edition of 2015 Automedics Autofest event concluded on Sunday.
Although the auto event, which was held for seven days under the Blue Roof of the Lagos Television (LTV), attracted three new automobile brands, including Ford from Coscharis Motors, Suzuki and JAC from Elizade Automobiles Limited, the most significant exhibitions on the fair ground happens to be the Citroen DS, which, though looked dilapidated due to age, is marking 60 years of production this year.
Launched at Paris Motor Show in October 1955 to a rapturous response, the French maker of the car reported that it took 743 orders for the car in the first 15 minutes of the show, while orders for the first day alone totaled 12000.
Technically, the DS was rolled out as front-wheel drive, which was novelty at that period. It also featured hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension along with hydraulic operation of the clutch and gearbox (as well as the brakes and power steering). The car was a sensation, even by the time Nigerian enthusiast acquired them in the 70s and 80s. Even among those, who knew little about cars, what made it popular in Nigeria is its hydro-pneumatic self-leveling suspension.
Already, Citreon DS manufacturer has planned for it a year celebrations, first event being the London Classic Car Show, which takes place at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London’s Docklands from January 8-11, 2016.
At that event, Citroën UK will be displaying two classic DS models – a 1972 DS21 Prestige and an exceptionally rare 1966 DS21 Décapotable (convertible) with coachwork by Henri Chapron – alongside examples of its current DS range. It is also providing the DS5 used at President Hollande’s inauguration and three more classic DS to parade on ‘The Grand Avenue’ motoring catwalk, which is a central feature of the show on which a huge variety of historic cars will be displayed as well as driven around.
Another important classic car exhibited at the Lagos Autofest is a Mercedes-Benz 280SE. Its production started in November 1967, replacing, 250SE and 300SE, although production of export-designated 250S did not seize until March 1969.