Citroen DS crash shows classics can have ‘inner strength’

By Giles Chapman
Dec 05 2016, 1:43 pm
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Citroen DS crash shows classics can have ‘inner strength’

Classic car drivers are, on the whole careful drivers. That’s why you can run an interesting old car with insurance that is laughably cheap compared to that required for a shiny new rep-mobile.

The most important thing, of course, is that the whole family walked away unharmed…

But the safety isn’t just in the driver’s skills of anticipation and mechanical sympathy. Older cars, despite their relatively sparse passive safety features, often have an inner strength that can be both surprising and reassuring.

I was shown this extraordinary picture when talking recently to Citroen DS aficionado Grahame Baker. He was cruising his utterly beautiful 1973 DS20 Pallas along the M20 on the morning of Good Friday 2016 when distraction struck. He was forced to brake too hard and too late to avoid hitting the car in front, and the car behind him promptly ploughed straight into the DS’s gleaming gold boot lid.

The crash, of course, would be every enthusiast’s nightmare. The car was a write-off, although Grahame was able to find a 1974 example later to replace it.

But the most important thing, of course, is that the whole Baker family walked away unharmed from the wreckage. In fact, although the ends of the car were horribly crumpled, the passenger cell was undamaged and all four doors opened without difficulty. It must certainly have been a shock for the tot in the back – who will probably never make so much as a peep again from the back seat – but a huge relief for Grahame, the parent and the classic addict.

 

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