Himself a Citroen fan and a 2CV owner,
Japan resident Guy de la Rupelle could not
believe what he saw, driving one sunny
afternoon in the Chiba area: a DS on the
road, with French plate numbers. He
managed to stop the driver. Guy writes:
Page creation 08/01/2007, revision 25/10/2014
" Today I came across a magnificent DS in
Togane (Chiba-pref.). It has a "kari-bango"
plate (valid 3 days) and I immediately
recognize the car seen on a picture at the
Citroën/Mazda dealer in Inage. Half-turn
and the chase begins. Headlights call, the
driver stops. "Guy-san desu-ka ?", he asks.
It appears that he has seen my 2CV inside
the Carrefour mall (yes, INSIDE the mall, in
the central area along with the wine and the
home appliances) during an exposition
organized for the promotion of my latest
He asks if I have time (yes), and I follow
him up to his house, in Honda. In the
garage nearby I see a C3, a Pluriel and a
C5. "This one is for my elder daughter, that
one for the younger one, and the C5 is for
me. I'll buy the C6 when it goes on sale next
year". Undoubtedly a very much
But his most loved one is the 1971 DS20 he
has owned for 2 years now. Purchased in
France, it was imported in Japan and
underwent a full mechanical overhaul. The
owner then decides to sell it, and here is
Monsieur Ishii the happy owner of yet
another French car.
But why a DS ?
"An old dream. It is the most beautiful
amongst French cars. The Traction does
have its charms, and I like the 2CV and the
SM, but the DS... look at its design and its
He takes the car out for a drive only 6 to 8
times a year though, and that explains the
temporary registration plate. It is not
registered in Japan, and thus keeps its
original French plate. He would like to get it
registered formally, but the authorities in
charge complain about the rear stop lamps
being too close from one another, and other
such details. Too time-consuming and
bothering, so he keeps it as it is for the
In another garage, one of his acquaintances
in Tokyo who has owned 8 Citroëns, still
keeps his DS19, but drives it only from time
to time, when the weather allows.
What does Monsieur like most ?
"The two-tone horn, and the elegance of the
bonnet and the bonnet handle. I don't know
why, I just love this bonnet handle" he
replies. "And the smoothness. Changing
gears is a true pleasure".
Mr. Ishii is a pastry cook in Honda, Chiba
prefecture, and a member of the Citroen
Club of Japon. His other passion: French
wines. His dream: to go to France, for a
classic car event, and find original parts for
his DS. "
Text and photos by Guy de la Rupelle (on
the right, with his 2CV), November, 2006.
registration plate, on
its (no less
behind the back
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Update ! (October 2014) Here are a few photos I took when I had a chance to visit Ishii-san
in 2007 and again in 2014.
Above: Ishii-san in front of his French pastry shop, adequately named "Merci". He makes 2CV-shaped madeleines,
and DS-shaped chocolates. Mmmhhh. Yummy. Below: at a nearby temple.
Above and right: another DS lies in
Ishii-san's courtyard: an Australian wagon,
1972 ID20 manual type.
Above: April 2014. The DS now has a regular registration plate. This time, Ishii-san even
let me drive !