Saturday, 4 July 2015

Citroen 'Le Dandy' Coupé

Another elusive edition to strike off the list. The Citroen DS in slightly weird Le Dandy Coupé form was certainly not something we'd see on the streets of Hertfordshire in the 1960s. It came in two colours: a fantastic metallic maroon and two-tone blue and white. I only knew about the maroon in those days as that was the one that the toy shop had and it was a gorgeous colour, quite unlike anything else I had in my collection then. 

Yes, it was an odd vehicle but I didn't mind and it became one of my favourites, really just because of its colour! The interior was a garish yellow that would have been absolutely dreadful if it had ever appeared in the real thing, necessitating sunglasses at the very least. The doors opened as did the boot, although that was a strange shallow affair reaching far inside the car. The wheels were the excellent spoked ones of the day and it had four jewelled lights, the two headlamps and two chrome fog lights.

The model was unlikely to stay pristine, though. Firstly that paint was a precursor to many examples where the merest tap would mean bits flaking off and, although nothing like as bad as the later models' paint, it did suffer rather and my Citroen Coupe didn't survive well when my son got hold of it at some time in the late 1980s. Secondly, it had terribly vulnerable suspension that would give up under not much more than a little pressure, being provided by a piece of chrome plastic running through the car but miserably weak and even if it didn't actually break, once it had been bent it tended to stay curved in a way that left the axle floating around in space. My maroon one has lost its rear suspension completely but, luckily still sits reasonably on display.

The third component to cause trouble would be one or other of the fog lamps which were vulnerable to break off. I lost one and used the other to repair the blue and white version. That arrived this week with just one fog lamp but in much better condition otherwise so I decided to make that as good as I could and it also gets the original box that my maroon one came in and had stayed in pretty good condition.

The blue and white version is really quite difficult to get hold of. I don't have any production figures but reckon they must be very low as it is rare to appear in places like Ebay even in poor condition. This colour variation has a beige and pea green interior, much more drab but also probably much more realistic. It reminds me of the Citroen Safari interiors. The model arrived in a very dirty condition and I am still trying to being the interior back to a brighter shade but it is all complete.

In the boot, interestingly, you can see the beige colour of the interior deeper inside whereas with the maroon one there seems to be a darker colour obscuring the yellow.

The suspension has survived rather better on the two-tone model too. One rear wheel is a bit floaty but it sits evenly on a surface so that's OK. It has a large chip in the roof but that is all so it's a great example for someone of this scarce version.

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