A 1972 Citroën DS Saloon owned by leading British broadcaster David Dimbleby, estimated at £15,000-20,000, is to be sold at Bonhams Collector’s Motor Cars and Automobilia sale in Oxford on March 8th. This beautiful and highly desirable classic Citroën is offered for sale by the highly respected BBC Television commentator and presenter of current affairs and political programmes. Perhaps best known for chairing the BBC’s long running ‘Question Time’ television series, he has acted as anchorman for the Corporation’s General Election coverage since 1979.
“I bought the car because my wife said it was the most beautiful car she had ever seen”, says Dimbleby. “I found it being restored under the arches in Battersea. The restorer said that he had just finished restoring one for Damien Hirst, so that rather turned me on to it”.
Dimbleby comes from a distinguished family of journalists and broadcasters. His father, Richard Dimbleby, became the BBC’s first war correspondent, and then its leading TV news commentator. His brother Jonathan is also a presenter and commentator for current affairs and political programmes.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that this right-hand drive car, which was imported from South Africa, was that used in the 2006 motion picture ‘The Last King of Scotland’ about the life of the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin.
Says Dimbleby, “It was red when I bought it, according to the restorer it had been used in the film The Last King of Scotland as Idi Amin’s car – I don’t know if you can prove that but it was painted the same colour. We had it restored to the original Citroën colours; stormy grey with the red interior”.
Citroën’s striking, futuristically styled ‘DS’ model stunned the world when it first launched in 1955, and has since become one of the world’s most recognizable cars. Beneath the shark-like newcomer’s aerodynamically efficient, low-drag bodyshell there was all-independent, self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic suspension; plus power-operated brakes, clutch and steering. No European car would match the DS’s ride quality for several years, the fundamental soundness of Citroën’s ahead-of-its-time hydro-pneumatic suspension being demonstrated by its survival in present-day top-of-the-range models.
Owner Dimbleby says, “I’m selling the car because I don’t have the time to use it as much as I should, I’m always flitting about, but everyone who has ever sat in it says it’s the most comfortable car they have ever been in – driving it is like sitting in an armchair.”