Wheeler Dealers: Mike Brewer’s 1971 Citroen Safari

I think if the Cat in the Hat drove a car, it would look like this 1971 Citroen Safari. Why? It just has those goofy looking proportions of an eight-door airport limousine from yesteryear – something that would fit right in with Dr. Seuss world. This one is a bit special, however, as it has celebrity provenance. Located in Sonoma, California, this Citroen is available, here on eBay with a current bid of $15,800, reserve not met yet.

The Citroen DS was in production between 1955 and 1975 and approximately 1.4 MM were produced; as to how many were station wagons like this Safari, I’m not sure and couldn’t find specific production data. There were about 84,000 Citroen DS’s in total, produced in 1971, but they were never common in the U.S. though you would occasionally encounter one years ago. When I was school-aged, I was in a car-pool with a fellow student whose father was a surgeon, a very nice, straight-up and quiet man. He was the type of individual that you would think would have driven a Buick or something similar, but no, he had a Citroen DS, probably about a ’65 or ’66 model. I marveled at how that car rode; it was like a gentle flying carpet. Anyway, this Safari caught my attention because I have never encountered one. As I mentioned at the outset, there is celebrity provenance in that this Safari is owned by the TV reality show “Wheeler Dealers” own Mike Brewer.

The unique feature of the Citroen DS is the comprehensive hydraulic system, a hydropneumatic affair, which serves as the backbone for the suspension system. And it is pretty obvious in its application based on my experience with its ride as I noted above. According to the seller, “The disc brakes work well and the suspension raises and lowers as designed. It feels robust and reliable with the front-wheel drive and famous hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension making the handling smooth as glass.” As for the engine, this DS is equipped with an in-line four-cylinder, 2,175 cc motor which as the seller opines, “starts and runs beautifully. It is smooth and quiet and clean-burning. The rare Semi-Automatic 4-Speed transmission shifts smoothly up and down through all of the gears.” Research tells us that this engine produces 109 HP and is fuel injected which puts its use of FI well ahead of many other automobile mass producers of the time.

The interior has a very period-correct appearance to it and seems to be in good nick. The seller indicates that some of it is original and some parts have been replaced, as is stated, it is “a mix of old and new” but it all looks pretty sound. There is no discussion regarding the floor and underside integrity.

The white finish is a repaint but looks great. The repaint is referred to as a “consumer-level white repaint”. I don’t know if that comment puts it in Earl Schieb territory or something a bit more presentable but it definitely photographs well. If you look closely, there are imperfections so this Citroen is not perfect, fortunately, the description is pretty forth-coming and there is an extensive, additional pictorial at the bottom of the listing.

While the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2 may feel at home in a Citroen DS Safari, I’m not a big risk-taker when it comes to unusual cars, even if it is one that I really like. I appreciate this one because of what I consider its inherent weirdness but I don’t think it is for me. Citroen’s biggest issue the last time it made an appearance in the U.S. was conforming to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and parts availability, not to mention their less than competitive pricing. Who knows, with Citroen’s (PSA) planned merger with FCA, Citroen may make a return to U.S. shores though hopefully, a Citroen Hellcat won’t manifest itself. Regardless of future auto merger plans, would you take a chance on such an unusual vehicle?

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Comments

  1. Bakyrdhero

    “Seems to be in good nick” well done sir

    Like 7
    • chrlsful

      “lad” /or/ “mate”, u mean, Hero.

      Like 2
      • Bakyrdhero

        Mike Brewer would say Lad, but Edd China would say Sir, I’m quite certain of it…lad, Er Sir

        Like 1
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    1.4 MM produced. I am not familiar with the “new math”. How many cars is 1.4 MM?

    Otherwise this looks like a “cracking little car!”.

    Like 9
    • Ike Onick

      I’m going with what we here in The Colonies would call a “Million”

      Like 3
    • Leonard J Kruwel

      M is Roan Numeral for 1,000. Thousands of thousands = Millions, so 1,400,000. I suppose they don’t teach that in school anymore, like cursive, it’s a subversive code used by Boomers to mystify Millenials.

      Like 12
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        I’m no Millenial, and I know cursive, but I’ve never heard of Roan numerals.

        Like 12
      • .

        I’m imagining that it was supposed to be Roman numerals? And if Roan numerals is proper, I guess the two are similar

        Like 3
      • Mountainwoodie

        OK Boomers! ( subversive chuckle inserted)

        Like 3
      • Brock Lee

        One thing boomers obviously haven’t figured out yet is spell check. Not sure what a Roan numeral is and last I checked Millenials is spelled with 2 N’s

        Like 1
      • BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

        Roan the boat

  3. mark

    Looks like they had the first idea for the design of an AMC Pacer……………

    Like 2
  4. Winfield Wilson

    In the mid-60’s, the janitor at our elementary school drove a Citroen sedan. I thought it looked like a car from outer space.

    Like 6
    • That AMC Guy

      Imagine what these looked like to people in 1955 – definitely like something that was dropped off by a flying saucer!

      Like 4
  5. Sam61

    Cool car…I would add rear fender skirts/flares like the sedan.

    I’m glad you explained the celebrity context…I started searching Kathy Griffin’s celebrity “D” list…couldn’t find him.

    • Bakyrdhero

      In the car world Mike Brewer earns some celebrity status…certainly more the Kathy Griffin.

      Like 9
  6. BobinBexley Bob in Bexley Member

    Working in an automotive service drive/garage for some 20+ years I’m really not interested in fluffy BS embellishments of how the car runs & drives. Either you can explain what cash you’ve dropped into maint & repair or you’re just another politician looking for a vote.

    Like 7
  7. Rex Kahrs Member

    Mike Brewer is great, and Edd too. Check out the earlier shows of Wheeler Dealer, it’s a fun show.

    Like 14
    • ken tilly UK Member

      Yes Rex, Wheeler Dealers is an excellent show and surprisingly, none the poorer for having Ant Anstead replacing Ed China, who was great but in a different way to Ant. The biggest problem I have with WD is that they will remove the body from the chassis, repair everything that is necessary, and then replace the body without even cleaning or painting the chassis. Seems to me to be a waste of time going to the trouble of removing the body if you aren’t going to do a decent job on the chassis. I haven’t yet seen a buyer get down on his back to look under the car to see what condition it is in. If he did he might get the fright of his life considering the amount of cash he is being asked to part with. I am talking here of the UK version of WD where Ed was the restorer.

      Like 3
      • Ralph

        The main problem I have with them and most of these shows is that they usually gloss over “labor costs”

        Ant is good too, but his attitude is kind of grating compared to Edd which seemed more likable, Ant also seems to have crappy opinions about some cars that he likes to share where Edd would usually find something to like about almost any car.

        Like 3
  8. Stangalang

    Needs a LS swap..twin turbos..

    Like 2
  9. Snafuracer

    We had a few DS wagons as I was growing up. Fantastic cars. The Citromatic transmission is amazingly good once you get used to it. Our last wagon was white like this car. They drive like nothing else on the road! Far superior.

    Like 7
  10. Dougie Member

    Okay fellow boomers (aka old af). C=100. K=1000. M=1,000,000. B = 1,000,000,000. No such thing as mm, and it’s not based on Roman Numerals. Ask a Millennial what a Roman numeral is and his eyes will glaze over in a nano-second, which is…….well idgaf.

    Like 4
    • BTG88

      I use MM all the time in internal business communication in a major global corporation. Everyone knows what it means as it is just one of a long list of acronyms that we use. 1,000 x 1,000 = 1,000,000

      • MGSteve

        Wow, more discussion on this than on the subject car. On a car forum, to me, MM clearly means Morris Minor, of which well over a Million (is that an M in Millennial Speak?) were produced over a 20 year period.

        Like 2
      • Jim ODonnell

        What BTG88 said! Thank you.

        Like 1
  11. Bakyrdhero

    Ok Boomer

    Like 2
  12. Dougie Member

    you’re welcome, karen.

    Like 1
  13. jVanman34

    Nit picker here. VIN# is redundant. The N and the # are the same thing, so it is either a VIN or a VI#, but I’m sure the latter would have people scratching their heads.

    • Bakyrdhero

      I for one have always said VIN number even with the knowledge that it’s redundant. Perhaps it makes me appear as a fool, but it rolls off the tongue nicely.

      Like 1
  14. Car Nut Tacoma

    Sweet looking car. I’ve heard of the Citroen DS and ID, but I’ve never seen a Citroen DS Safari wagon. If only parts and service were made available here in the USA and Canada. I can see myself driving a car like this.

    Like 1
  15. Rich Nepon

    I was a mechanic in a Citroën dealer’s shop in the late 60’s. The cars are remarkable for their safety, ease of flat tire repair and lowering ability on the go. They were famous for confounding US garages with their hydraulics system, but it was quite straightforward.

    Like 5
  16. Pierre

    I knew someone who had one. It was amazingly comfortable. I would love to own something like this but the possibility of finding a local mechanic who could deal with it is pretty much zero.

  17. Steve McCarthy

    I have had one as my daily driver for the past 5 years. It say in the desert for some 30 years. The electrics and hydraulics have all been gone through and it’s a magnificent Road Trippin’ Car! We took it from SoCal to Olympia, WA, all along Hwy 101 this past summer. Parts ARE readily available and there are very active Citroen Car Clubs on both coasts and one in Chicago, so advice and mechanical help are readily available. So, Jim, don’t wimp out. These are REALLY rare here, they only imported some 500 to North America, ever.

  18. Garry

    A Citroen sedan was leading the London Sydney marathon car rally until it had a shattering experience less than 500 miles from home!

    Like 1
    • Mitchell Ross Member

      Driver was killed if I recall correctly

      • Garry

        No, Lucien Bianchi, survived. Killed early-mid 1969 testing an Alfa Romeo at Le Mans.

  19. Del

    I think the write up should start :

    If the Cat had a crap. this be it

    Like 1

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