Make Offer: Citroen Safari Wagon Projects

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After a day of stomping around junkyards, I tried my luck at one final yard in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After having my request to check out an old 3-Series spurned, I wandered down the street to a European repair shop that had a fleet of interesting customers cars out front. Those weren’t for sale, but this pair of Citroen Safari wagon projects was!

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As you can see, they are nearly identical. Green bodies with white roofs and the factory roof racks intact – along with a good helping of rust on the wagon in front. It’s safe to say the hydropneumatic suspension is in need of attention, and despite appearing to sit at the proper height in the front, it’s being partially suspended by a set of tires underneath.

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The car in back looked a bit better with less rust visible. I didn’t get underneath to see if there was any rust in the floors, but the door edges on the car in front were clearly in need of metal work. The Citroens are at least weather-tight, with all glass accounted for. Both cars are full of parts, some of which I’m assuming could be used for spares. The seller works for the shop next door and said he would entertain offers, but wouldn’t give me a bottom-line price.

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Anyone know what this forlorn classic is? It was sitting on the hillside between the repair shop and the salvage yard. I’m not sure who it belongs to, but if you’re interested in any of these cars, I’d recommend calling Topline Motors and asking about the Citroen wagons for sale. The phone number is (401) 766-6660. Happy hunting!

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Comments

  1. mark

    What is the value of French scrap metal these days?

    • Mike G

      I was in Paris last month and restored Citroens are all the rage right now. i’m sure these would be quite welcome, at least only for the parts.

      • Jason Houston

        But I’ll bet a dollar to a donut hole they aren’t worth the freight to send these ugly loads BACK to France where they should have stayed.

  2. Stephen

    The forlorn classic in the woods is an early or mid ’60s NSU. Either a 1000 or 1200.

  3. Rick

    I remember getting a similar appearing Citroen wagon Corgi or Dinky toy for Xmas back in about 1966 or so and being really bummed out because (a) I didn’t know what it was, and (b) I wanted an American car, any kind as long as it was American. Ended up taking a hammer to the Citroen (pretended it got into a wreck) and pounded it into little tiny pieces,

    • Dean

      …and I suspect that would be the kindest fate for these as well…

    • Horse Radish

      Ouch, I sure do hope you’ve come to your senses since.

    • Jason Houston

      Wow… best use yet for a Citroen.

      My brother and I did that to a tin 1962 Falcon, then set fire to it and it looked like a real burned-out car. My dad used to buy me foreign Dinky Toys and I would always trade them off for something American!

  4. Matt Tritt

    NSU Prinz. I lived directly across the tracks for the NSU factory in Neckarsulm, Germany, while these things were being produced in the mid-60’s. Very fun to drive and get great MPG but look sort of like a tiny Corvair.

  5. Gilbert

    NSU, but not Prinz: 1200 or 1200C, year 1971. “Prinz” was for the more little one’s, “powered”with a rear 600 cc air cooled engine. Very fun. The 1200 was more confortable, even with a kind of automatic gearbox. The “1200 TTS”, with two pairs of rond lights in front, was a true race car for the road !!!

  6. Gilbert

    Shame on you and your hammer, Rick ! ;-)
    Is it one like this you have destroyed ???

  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    As distasteful a flipping is to some car enthusiasts, these cars make a good case for it. Obviously to restore these complicated French oddballs would cost a fortune and take a long time, up to a month, possibly. And when you’re done dumping that fortune into a Gallic shooting break, you’d be hard pressed, I’d bet, to recoup half your time and money.

    So what’s wrong then with finding a bargain barn find, washing it up, pumping up the tires, marketing it right, and turning a bit of profit , without mortgaging the house and spending an agonizing month restoring a rust bucket nobody wants?

    Just askin’.

    • Jason Houston

      Nothing, really. ‘Cept if it was a Citroen, I’d box it up and send it off to the crusher.

      Talk about eye pollution… the fewer, the better.

  8. greg tritt

    This one was formerly known as prinz.

  9. Howard A Member

    Wow. Just when I thought it couldn’t much stranger than the sedan, the wagon tops it. I’m sure they were excellent cars when new, but a restoration on one now would be a night mare. They sure are different. I wonder how the neighbors feel. They sure look like eyesores sitting there.

  10. piper62j

    Citroen?? Did someone say Citroen?? Wheres the barf bag.. ?

    • Jason Houston

      Out in Cadiz, Calif. there’s a huge yard full of Citroens. And since they’re visible from the highway, I assume they issue barf bags.

  11. Nick

    I grew up with one of these in Montreal in the 70’s. My dad had a an attraction to odd cars.
    Odd? You bet. Would I get these, now? Not with a 10-meter baguette, and I like vehicles like the Mitsubishi Delicas and Suzuki Joy Pops.

  12. scott m

    I they would be asome with a modern drivetrain love the odd ones

  13. Matt Tritt

    The Citroen DS series, as these two are, are not for those who don’t know what they’re getting. They are NOT like other cars. All 4 wheels are tied together with hydraulic suspension tubes that run through the overhead and are a bugger to get to (and replace). You can change ride height by turning a dial – from almost on the ground to way up in the air for driving down country lanes with a very high center. Somone with flipping in mind should either know them well before jumping in or be prepared to lose your investment. These appear too far gone to mess with but a good one is one of the finest cars imaginable to drive – and fast!

  14. Mark S Member

    If for reasons unknown to man you like these and you wanted to turn it into a project, I’m going to recommend a restomod approach, first things first gut it down to a body shell and scrap the rest. Restore the body and paint. Install a modern repro. air ride suspension, streering, and brake system. Restore original seats and interior, refit the driveline with, …… you guessed it a GM 350 fuelie, 700R, and a camero axle. Sorry I guess you won’t be able to use the three bolt wheels anymore. Now you have your gorgeous French station wagon with an American influence, parts are available and anyone can work on it. You’ll like it so much you’ll want to do the other one.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, your description of what will happen to these is probably pretty accurate. I wonder if the K-5 Blazer frame will work on this? Btw, the DS, I believe, uses a 5 bolt wheel, as the 3 bolt was more for the 2CV and Reanult cars. https://citroenclassics.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/dx4714-4.jpg

      • Mark S Member

        Hi Howard thanks for the correction on the wheels i thought they were three bolt I guess I should have looked a little closer. Have a great day.

    • Jason Houston

      And with all that exercise in spending money, you STILL have the world’s ugliest car.

  15. Billy

    Rick – you and me both, though I’m probably about five years behind you. Serious WTF as a young child. Grew up in old Volvos though, assumed my first from behind the barn at 16 (if you can make it run again, it’s yours) where it had been dead for several years. Run again the early ’68 122
    Wagon did, but not before the front floor fell out of it. Had the Flintstones vehicle for a short while. But it still ran.

  16. Passion for muscle cars!

    These looked ridiculous when new with the French styling. I can understand the appeal of the ugly car, but do you really want to be the guy with a $40,000 restoration on a car worth $10,000, I can’t help but see the finished product and think what the hell could be the appeal of a Citroen? Awful lot of work just to be laughed at and different. Can you imagine hunting parts for the restoration? I can hear the swap meet guys naming their price now “Where you going to find another one”? If you want to be seen in a car with a long nose get a Daytona or a Superbird!

  17. Matt Tritt

    Even though most folks in North America believe that anything having the name Citroen planted on it is “odd”, it’s quite the opposite in much of the world. Citroen was by far the most innovative and original auto company in Europe for much of the 20th century, the DS being way at the top of the heap (so to speak). They were probably the safest car on the road for quite a while, with unsurpassed front collision survivability, roll-over strength and road holding ability – plus the comfort! No other car has ever had more comfortable seats or better ride quality, period. Great driver’s visibility, easy ingress/egress, quiet and great MPG. The ONLY drawback with them in this market was a lack of service centers and spares, which led to untrained mechanics screwing things up (but meaning well) through ignorance. The usual problem was adding the incorrect hydraulic fluid to the suspension and/or brake reservoirs, which led to tubing failures. In Europe, these (and all cars) had their hydraulic and cooling systems flushed every year and replaced with the correct new stuff so the cars lasted quite well. It’s unfortunate that some cars get a bad rap because they never received proper care.

    • Mark S Member

      ( The ONLY drawback with them in this market was a lack of service centres and spares. ) Hi Mat I believe what you have to say about these cars, however in your own words Citroen failed there customers thus giving these cars the bad reputations they have. So now say you have one and you want to make it into a reliable car That you can work on yourself or have anyone else work on. What other practical way can you achieve that other then a restomod, that leaves the car looking as close to stock as possible. If this isn’t considered by someone that likes these cars they will likely end up in the crusher.

      • Aaron

        There’s still a decent availability of parts for these, and they’re really not that difficult, just different. Restoring a DS isn’t completely out of the realm of a good hobbyist mechanic. When I think about the touch screen in my 89 Buick Reatta going out, vs rebuilding a DS hydraulic system, I think I’d prefer working on the DS.

      • Jason Houston

        I like your last idea best. Any crusher would give any Citroen a good home.

  18. Matt Tritt

    It’s a bit of a conumdrum, alright! There IS a beauty for sale in Boulder, Co though, on CL. Like many vintage Euro cars, you have to be a real fan to own, or you’ll be an unhappy camper for sure. Both my brother and I were fortunate enough to have ridden in a DS wagon in Germany (where they were very popular) in the 60’s, and both of us were amazed with their speed (around 100 MPH) and ride comfort. My brother related that the guy driving went over a RR crossing, the kind they typically have in Europe that are higher than the roadway, going so fast that he was sure they were all going to die. Instead, it just floated over with minimal fuss without a hint of sway or bottoming out. Not sure how it is now, but back then cobblestones were very common pavers and cars were designed to handle the rapid bumpity-bumpity without losing contact or control. American made cars would shake so badly they would would shake apart without constant attention. Citroen cars, all of them, were the best at handling the very diverse driving surfaces of all cars available. I couldn’t get a new 2CV because of the long wait so I opted for a Renault 4-L instead. Still my favorite out of the 50 some cars I’ve owned in my life.

    • Mark S Member

      These two wagons look pretty rough is there enough interest in them that if in Europe they still have value?

  19. Matt Tritt

    Too rough!

  20. Matt Tritt

    Check out the one listed on craigslist in Boulder Colorado.

  21. Dominique Legeai

    ….ugly? Like anything else, it’s all in the eye of the beholder! These 2 examples are too far gone, maybe, but putting money and time aside, one could still end up with a unique car that has its place in automotive history. It is not impossible; I know a young (relatively speaking) man in Chicago who specializes in putting these and other Citroen’s (SM…) back on the road. A retro mod is a possibility, it has been done before but one ends up with a RWD car which of course is the absolute opposite of anything Citroen. Same with the suspension, if you don’t keep the unique oleo pneumatic system….well, why bother? These are what made these cars so different, so daring in 1955. All you car guys who write rather nasty comments should realize that it is thanks to auto manufacturers like Citroen that we are where we are with car handling and many other aspects of today’s “better” cars.

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