Citroën has long dreamed of settling across the Atlantic. Andre Citro ඇn, the brand’s founder, planned to build a factory in the United States in the 1930s.
Twenty years later, incredible success will give the producer hope of a fall.
A big hit
At the Paris Motor Show on October 9, 1955, the public was amazed to discover the latest innovation in the Citroën. In terms of its aerodynamic lines as a technological innovation, the DS was different from any other car at the time.
Vendors are amazed at how many attempts customers make at every cost to check out new sedans, bills and books on hand.
Citroën management knows that it has now been hit hard. It will awaken old aspirations.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean
The Chicago Motor Show opens in January 1956. Decided to send. But there was not much time left to organize the trip.
Claude Brooks, a technician at the Citroën Design Office, is commissioned to drive the Javelin car to Chicago.
On December 27, 1955, he sailed for Le Havre, where he boarded the Dutch cargo ship Ryndum.
Landed in New York City on the afternoon of January 4th. But the final stage of the journey is strictly compromised: it is – 16 degrees. More than 1,700 kilometers of snow will be released to Chicago.
Citron officials in Paris are terrified. Can Brooks come safely? The builder wants to meet a friend of his boss, Charles Buchet, in the United States.
This knowledge came from Luigi Chinetti, a Ferrari importer in the United States. And, incidentally, he was the winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The next morning Chinetti takes the DS wheel. They only have 24 hours to get to Chicago on time to clean and install the car.
It doesn’t matter if the 1,700-kilometer road is covered in snow and ice. In the midst of the chaos around, Chinetti takes all the risk to go as fast as he can.
Arrived in Chicago on the morning of January 6th. They are refrigerated: their heat does not act. But their mission is being fulfilled.
Secrets that are very difficult to protect
After proper cleaning, the DS puts its spot on the humble stance of the Citroen at the Chicago Motor Show. The exhibitors received only one piece of advice from management: Do not let anyone open the jacket and look at the car’s mechanics.
For three days they were in D.S. Is able to protect the secrets of. Alas: An intelligent boy finds a zipper to lift his coat.
Moreover, the reception of the American public is somewhat cool, in addition to the Paris show Pole.
On the other hand, the officials of the American manufacturers did not hide their interest in the DS one by one.
On display at Ford!
It was then that he approached Charles Buchet, the American boss at Citroën, to showcase the car in Detroit after Chicago. Paris refuses. But Buchet insists he is interested in promoting the U.S. brand.
He hints that the show will not take place in Detroit at the end … but does not mention that it will take place at Ford’s Museum, just a few miles from the city!
Did the Ford team take this opportunity to make an overnight trip to the DS? We do not know, but if they have revealed their secrets, they have never found it appropriate to imitate them …