ONE of the most beautiful cars of the last century was assembled right here in Australia.
The Citroen ID was a less complex version of the DS, a revolutionary car that stunned the automotive world when it was unveiled in 1955. Lauched two years later, the ID lacked the DSís trick steering, brakes and gearchange, but it was still like something from another world.
Citroen originally sent ID kits from France to England, where they were assembled and then shipped to Australia. Then, in 1961, Continental & General signed a deal with Citroen to assemble the ID at its factory in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg West.
Most of the parts came directly from France, rather than through England, which led to the sophisticated 'Parisienne' tag being added to locally assembled cars. It used some locally sourced components such as interior trim.
The ID might have been slightly dumbed down in order to make it more affordable than the expensive and luxurious DS, but it was still brimming with cutting-edge technology for the time. It shared the DSís unique hydro-pneumatic suspension system that used hydraulic lines that filled small spheres on each corner of the car with gas.
Changing federal government policy encouraged companies to switch to full local manufacture, but that didnít suit Citroenís local assembly model. As a result, the last Australian ID was assembled in 1967 and the factory continued to make Renaults and Peugeots, so the smell of cheese remained.
It was beautiful, practical and rode like a dream
Brakes, steering and suspension could all fail if the single belt came loose