I wasn’t a very good student. I didn’t like drinking or stealing traffic cones (or studying, for that matter). Instead I spent my time lurking on eBay buying things related to the Citroen DS. Books, posters and even car parts periodically came through the post, wiping out any savings I might have made by not drinking. Purchases I can still recall include a passenger-side wing mirror, a wheel trim and even on one occasion a three-foot long rear bumper – and I didn’t even have the standard car nut excuse of being drunk.
One thing I didn’t remember buying, however, was this monster, which I re-discovered whilst rifling through My Stuff when I went to visit my parents last weekend. It’s a 1:16 scale Citroen DS Décapotable (or cabrio in everyday parlance), which I made up from a kit one summer. Although I’d completely expunged all knowledge of its existence or creation from my memory, I do remember buying it in an online auction. It came from Jersey in a massive box rattling with flimsy plastic bits, and bore all the hallmarks of something that had spent the best part of thirty years – faded stickers, no instructions and one door inexplicably half-painted.
Given that it was an old kit and probably not very good in the first place, a lot of the parts didn’t fit and couldn’t be remodelled without running the risk of snapping them irreversibly into several dozen pieces. The end result of this was that the doors didn’t close properly, the chassis bowed in the middle and the bonnet bent up at one side. At least that’s my excuse. (Although the bonnet could probably be fixed with a little strong glue, a bit of carefully-bent metal and some motivation).
The kit was modeled on the cabriolet usine, the official factory-built DS convertible of which only precious few were built. Mint condition ones today can fetch upwards of six figures, such is their rarity and desirability. When I say ‘can fetch upwards of six figures’, I am of course talking about full-scale working cars. And as for this model? Sadly, as with many kits it would be worth significantly more if it remained unmade and shrink-wrapped inside its original box. I’d probably have lost less money if I just went to the pub like all the other students.