Ravi, in New Delhi, keeps fond memories of the numerous DS he once maintained or
owned, thanks to his late father's passion for this car, and opens his photo album for us.
Ravi Gopalakrishnan's father started the
garage in 1947 in the area of Sujan Singh
Park, near the Khan market in New Delhi,
and looked after imported cars, which meant
British models such as Austin or Morris,
American cars, but also several Traction
He quickly became a fan of Citroen, and of
the DS in particular when it hit the Indian
roads in the '60s, brought in by foreigners
who worked in embassies or who travelled
overland to India.
Top left: Ravi's father
with their beloved 1965
DS21 Pallas, originally
the personal car of the
Algerian ambassador in
India, along side
Left: Young Ravi with
Right: Ravi as a
teenager, posing in
front of an Austin 7;
two wagon 2CV can
also be seen.
But life goes on, even without a DS, doesn't it.
Ravi still owns a 1947 Traction Avant, winner of the "Best Continental (=european) Car"
prize in a recent contest, during a New Delhi - Shimla raid.
He has also been the subject of a very enjoyable article appearing in an Australian
newspaper, at the following link (English):
Ravi vividly remembers being taken to
school more than once in a DS, belonging
to or maintained by his father, who quickly
established himself as the only mechanic in
Delhi able to repair such a "special" car.
Foreign representations (France, but also
Algeria, Morocco...) would typically call him
whenever they had problems, and in
exchange would help in having spare parts
shipped over from France.
Ravi naturally inherited this reputation, in
fact he says he has this car in his "genes".
As recently as in the late '90, a dutch DS
participating to the Paris-Pekin raid was in
trouble. Word spread, Ravi was called in,
and the car was back on the road again...
In their own name, Ravi and his father owned as many as six DS:
1- 1959 ID19, from the French embassy. White body, red interior. He still has the original registration papers !
Undoubtedly one of the earliest DS in India.
2- ID19 RHD, around 1960 or 61. From the French embassy too. Light green body.
3- DS Safari, LHD, american export model. From an American journalist. White body, blue interior.
4- DS21 around 1969 or 70, RHD, grey. A dark grey which Ravi calls "French grey".
5- DS21, same period, white body, brown interior.
6- DS21 Pallas, 1965, from the Algerian embassy. Black body, silver top.
Unfortunately only two pictures remain of all these DS, both showing this black 1965 car (see above). The other
DS shown below has been brought to Ravi for repairs, and is presented separately
The cherished 1965 DS21 was the last one Ravi parted with, in 1989, and he deeply
regrets it now: "a big blunder", he says. Still having in stock many original DS spare parts,
he has been contacted a few times since then from within India, but he thinks there should
be very few running cars remaining by now. But you can be sure that if he finds one, he will
waste no time restoring and driving it, for himself of course, but also... in memory of his late
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