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Backyard Easter Eggs: Small Citroen Collection

As Easter approaches, the return of pastel colors helps to drive out the doldrums of winter and remind us of resurrection, rebirth, and renewal.  If you are a fan of pastel colors, soft shapes, and “all in one basket” deals, then intrepid reader T.J. has found the ultimate opportunity for you.  For a mere $12,000 you can be the proud owner of not one but five different Citroens for sale on Craigslist in beautiful Santa Clara, California.  In this deal, you get the four cars pictured, a bonus disassembled 2CV, and two indeterminate Citroen origin spare engines.  Is this the quirky car project you have been waiting to start?

Let’s start with the basics.  The ad claims that all of the cars were driven to the location pictured in 2009.  The only exception would be the yellow station wagon, which was purchased as a parts car.  For a reason known only to God and the seller, they never moved after entering the confines of the property.  The oddity of all of them entering under their power in a single year has a mysterious Hotel California kind of vibe to it that makes you wonder what the back story might be.  Often, the back story makes the sale easier to make.  Or, it gives the buyer a story to carry on with the car.  Or, cars, in this case.

All we know about the yellow car can fit in a thimble with room to spare.  As previously mentioned, it is a station wagon purchased as a parts car.  The seller also lists the car’s VIN and tells us that it is a 1962 model.  Oddly, it may be worth it to return this one to restoration status.  In 2022, a restored Citroen wagon of this vintage sold for $22,000 at a Mecum auction.  The pictures don’t show any significant body damage, and spare parts and two engines do go with the sale.  Perhaps one is out of the yellow wagon.

The green car above is a 1970 model.  It was used as a daily driver until 2009 when it was parked.  It looks like it could be returned to the road the easiest of all of these Citroens.  Many who fall under the spell of these unusual French automobiles never want anything else.

The most interesting of all the cars in the ad is the grey 1973 model pictured above.  While it is listed as just a Citroen with a Maserati engine, this is undoubtedly a rather worn example of a Citroen SM.  These cars were a legendary collaboration between Citroen and Maserati, combining the French company’s hydropneumatic suspension and cutting-edge variable-rate power steering with the somewhat powerful Maserati engine.  The seller would sure do themselves a lot of favors by separating this car from the sale and providing a proper description of the car.

Another car not included in the pictures is a completely disassembled 1967 2CV.  This maroon vehicle is currently laying on its side on a mattress.  The seller believes that all of the parts are there.  While it has been disassembled since 2005, this may be a bit of uncertainty.  However, replacing the odd part here and there shouldn’t be an issue.  Citroen only made 9,248,809 of the 2CVs and their variants.

For $12,000, this package deal may be a good one.  While the demand for Citroens in the United States has always been small, there is a good chance that these cars could be marketed abroad.  We have seen several British sportscars returning to their mother country in the past few decades.  A triumphant repatriation to the land of cheese, wine, bread, snooty waiters, and berets would be a lot better than their current existence in a backyard.  Hopefully, they find a home soon.

Have you ever owned or driven a Citroen?  What was the experience like?  Please let us know in the comments.


  1. junkman Member

    If you’re into these, you know this is a smokin’ deal. The SM alone is worth the price of admission. Safari wagons also have a cult like following. I was into Citroens for about 15 years when I owned a 69 DS21 Pallas. Absolutely the smoothest riding vehicle I’ve ever been in. Big wide leather seats and plush floor treatments. They will travel at 100 mph all day and get 20 mpg, on three wheels if needed. Taking on this many projects is a huge task I will let someone else deal with. Cool find!

    Like 13
    • Ken Nelson Member

      Sad story here is that these are all owned by a Lockheed engineer who really knew his stuff, but suffered a massive stroke at age 62 and has been under intensive care for the last 14 yrs. Fortunately as he never married, he did well and has the resources to provide for his care. Not only did he love these ingenious cars, he has an impressive workshop with everything from welders to metal brake & shear work – the tools and knowledge he had before the stroke could handle anything his work and hobby needed. All of them except for the break were driven into his backyard in 2009 just before the stroke.
      Being in Ca. these cars are all worthy of rehabbing – I’ve already gotten one car to fire after only 15 mins of replacing the battery and hotwiring the ignition after checking on the fluids & handcranking the engine a few rotations. Trying the other DS today –

      Anyone trying to resuscitate a long-dormant engine should be extremely careful to avoid a sticking valve which can be smacked by a piston and really mess up the engine – I know from sad experience, when an intake hung open when I first tried to start my DS wagon after sitting outside thru a Chicago winter and used the starter rather than the handcrank to rotate the crank a couple revolutions.

      One clang, and I killed the starter – then handcranked it – with no noise. So – went on a 1000 mile drive & back a fair distance – perfect performance of that ’70 Citromatic. Parked for lunch, came back 1 hr later, started car and BANGBANG!! What the hell?? Checked engine, retried – same result!! Sounded very much like a totally gone conrod bearing! Long story short, spent 4 days puling the entire drivetrain in brother in law’s garage while family went to grandparents using a rented hoist, dropped pan, pulled all rod caps & mains, nothing……what the hell – So – if it ain’t the bottom, it’s gotta be the top? It’s Fri morning & we’re due back home Mon for work & we’re 900 miles from home. I go to pull the head as it’s the only other thing I can think to do to search for the problem. First I break a headbolt! Then, being dead tired, I go to lighten the ally hemihead to make it easier to handle by removing the intake manifold with carb. Once it’s off, I look in the ports – and find pieces of VALVE GUIDE sitting atop the no. 3 intake valve! Thinking back, I realized that one CLANG I heard when I first spun the starter had to have been the piston hitting that stuck valve, and bent it JUST ENOUGH that it ran seemingly perfectly, but put a very small side load – bending stress – on the valve guide via the bent valvestem! The very instant I restarted the engine, that guide cracked off where it came into the port, then somehow rotated to where the stem taper retracted & split that short tube in HALF, putting two chunks atop the intake valve – causing the racket!
      Luckily, I killed the engine before the chunks could get into the engine and trash a piston!
      Yikes!! Now what? Finished pulling the head only to discover the gasket was a composite, leaving half the material on the block & the other half on the head!! SO – no replacement gasket to be found anywhere late on a Friday afternoon in N. Carolina, another “now what?” Hightailed it to local engine shop at 4 pm Friday with head, told them the story – can they find a metric valve guide to replace broken one, find me a new head bolt – for a what car?? Find me a valve, and what the hell do I do re the gasket??

      LSS – I ran to a Toyota shop hoping they’d have a metric guide in 1976 for a Citroen, nope! Tried other shops, nope. Back to eng shop – they’d hand threaded a new headbolt for me, whacked the bent valve straight & cleaned up its seat, found a metric guide somewhere which fit perfectly if not exactly same end shape & installed it, and sold me a can of Permatex Red – stickiest stuff known to man – all for a total charge of $12.50!!!! I said double, triple the price! What you’ve done is priceless to me!! They calmly said as they closed the store, “that’s what we’d charged anyone who came in off the street”. Those guys in Columbia N. Carolina, saved me totally.

      Thanking them profusely, I picked bits of composite matl off the block half of the gasket, same for head, degreased both with brakekleen, slathered 2 coats of Perm Red on each half, guided head down to block with 2 aligning rods in block holes, and jigsaw-puzzled the head to block to mate the torn gasket areas with each other, and torqued the bejesus out of the bolts.

      Sunday comes, got drivetrain back in, headed 900 mi. home to Chitown scared s…..tless the gasket would let go over the mntns, and made it to work Monday morn. Never did replace that gasket! Still thank those guys in that shop!

      Like 3
    • Mark Brewer

      I had a 1971 DS21 Pallas as well and completely agree with your assessment

      Like 0
  2. Beyfon

    Have you ever owned a Citroen? Well, probably between 30-40. As the old saying goes, “too many Citroens is not enough”!

    As for this stash, it’s certainly not something to take on on a whim. Not likely that someone will stumble across the ad and think “hmm, those cars look cool. I can probably restore them?” I’d suspect if there’s a buyer for these cars it’s probably someone who already owns 10 more!

    Like 5
  3. Troy

    Did Citroen ever build a decent looking car? Ok I get it they have a cult following but so does the Yugo and Geo metro and Charles Manson who managed to get a net worth of $400k in prison kinda sounds like Congress

    Like 5
    • Derek

      Yes, they did.

      Like 0
    • Harry

      Troy, I wholeheartedly agree. The styling appeals to a chosen few. The design team certainly seems to have been rather eccentric to say the least.

      And so I simply say..French wine, yes. Citroen, no.

      Like 4
      • Ken Nelson Member

        Troy & Harry, in 1967 I was a grad student in engineering at NWestern U north of Chicago, and happened on a study in aerodynamics done in a wind tunnel with cars of that era. Funny thing – a 4 door, 5 passenger 1967 Citroen DS21 sedan recorded a lower drag coefficient than the Porsche 911 – how’s that for slick?

        The Citroen may not strike your fancy, but isn’t it interesting that birds have nice air cleaving beaks, sharks are ferociously fast in water with their streamlined schnozz, and Mom Nature doesn’t fool around when she/he/whatever designs living things that need to move fast thru air/water. Fact is, good designers tend to obey the laws of physics – for good reason. As some wag once said, “Physics – not just a good idea, it’s the LAW!” And basic physics says to move efficiently thru air/water, the object must be streamlined. So – is streamlining ugly to you guys? Does anyone make arrows with blunt noses like so many cars, trucks, busses? Nope. My ’59 ID19, the cheapo model with only the outstanding hydropneumatic suspension with ZERO electronics, no pwr steering or brakes – just that superb suspension – loved to cruise at 90 when I routinely drove it from Salt Lake city to LA to college – all 750 miles, and got 28 mph – on its ancient 65 hp hemihead wetsleeve engine. THAT’s efficiency,and the DS is the only car with a perfectly flat floorpan with an airfoil-shaped crosswise muffler tucked into a recess under the front seat which is also part of the floorpan.

        When you’re sitting in a DS, there’s a 1 inch foam pad under the carpet, all placed directly on the floorpan – you can’t get any more perfect streamlining on the bottom of any other vehicle – only the DS. Not only that, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that the trunk floor sweeps upward from the rear axles to the bumper, creating a low pressure area
        like Hall’s supersucker racecar which pulls the airflow over the roof down to the rear bumper and blends top with bottom air and increases the load on the rear end of the car. This feature produces a very nice coanda suction effect and acts like a Kamm tail – look that one up. It all adds up to outstanding aerodynamics that few recognize – AND beats Porsche.

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Ken, I’ve owned & worked on more than a few Citroens over the years, and I agree with you on everything except for the streamlined underside being the only car to have a flat floor.

        Tatra post war cars, including the T-600 and T-603 examples all have a flat floor [actually they have 2- an inner and outer floor. Since the Tatra T-603 has the air cooled V8 in the rear, there is no drive train either, and the steering rack is actually inside the car, with the ends sticking out from rubber boots.

        Like 2
    • Beyfon

      Troy, oh man – for a long time Citroen designed cars that made everything else look just boring and unadventurous. Obviously not everyone wants something avantgarde, so for sure it limited their customer pool but when Citroen lost the plot was in the late 80’s/early 90’s when they started bringing out cars that were perfectly neutral, inoffensive and totally boring. The Cactus finally signaled a return to uniqueness and the DS brand shows promise. The car industry needs more wild geniuses and fewer consumer focus groups.

      Like 3
  4. Richard Kirschenbaum

    Love Citroens Own 2. Always remember that a parts or project car costs the same to store as a restored classic.

    Like 1
  5. BimmerDude Member

    Here in Castro Valley CA, a few miles north of this collection, I found this in the farmers’ market parking lot a few weeks ago. The owner walked up while I was admiring it, also admitted to having an SM at home.
    Previous shoppers include a Lotus Elan owner and a councours-worthy Alfa. NorCal is a great place for parking lot surprises.

    Like 2
  6. JGD

    I test drove a DS 21 Pallas when a family member was shopping for a new car back in 1972. As Junkman stated, the ride is incredibly smooth, better than any limo I’ve ever experienced. The seating was comfortable and supportive, seemed ideal for long haul road trips. The family member liked the looks but, found the semi-automatic transmission (shift lever controlled a hydraulic clutch) and mushroom (brake button) on the floor too weird. The family member opted for an Audi 100LS sedan with A/T which she kept and drove for 28 years and some 68K miles before selling it to a collector who flew in from another State to buy it and drive it 1,500 miles to his home.

    Like 3
  7. robbert

    This is an amazing package! I’m not even going to attempt to convert anyone that doesn’t appreciate these cars.

    Like 0
  8. Chris In Australia

    Effortless long distance cruisers, comfortable. Ugly as sin. Not for me, but good luck. There’s plenty of goodness here for the Citroen lover.

    Like 0

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