Laos
A prestige again ! And from the Royal family again ! It's starting to look like a local
speciality. Even better, Laos may very well be the country with the highest number of
Prestige per inhabitant in the world ! This one has been found near Vientiane 2006 by
Manuel Boileau, a young Frenchman travelling around the world in a DS.
The owner does not want to sell it, because he thinks he may want to repair it some day;
he is also probably well aware of its potential value...  The Prestige version, with the
glass separation between the two rows of seats, was made especially for heads of states
and other VIPs, and the total production reached no more than about 500 cars (out of 1.4
million DS !), so it definitely has some kind of value. Moreover, this car may (or may
not...) have belonged indeed to the Royal family.
In 2005, Manuel Boileau took his 1971 estate DS, especially transformed from an
ambulance version, for a 3-year world tour, no less ! He created an association, Lunaya,
to support his project. His website is not online anymore unfortunately.
Update ! (June 2011) Ivan Scholte, a British
resident in Luang-Prabang, finally succeeded
in purchasing the car, and he decided to have
it restored, in Udon Thani in Thailand. It will
certainly not be an easy task, but let's wish all
the best to Ivan, who kindly sent these
snapshots in the meantime. By the way,
according to him, the car is a 1974 DS23 type.
Page creation 11/06/2006, revision 25/10/2014
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Update again ! (April 2012) While still trying to get the car to cross over the border for
restoration in Thailand, Ivan decided to enquire about the history of this car to the old man
to whom he had bought it in the first place. Brilliant idea. Here is what Ivan writes,
in
extenso
:  

"He (the old man) said that back in 1981 (he thinks), he was asked to go and survey a
collection of cars in the former Royal Palace in Vientiane. The collection of cars was left
over from when the Palace was in use up until 1975, and there were approx 25-30 cars
some of which belonged to the staff and others to the King. He was asked to dispose of
them for scrap metal. He particularly liked this Citroen DS, so he bought it for himself for
the equivalent of 6 USD. The other cars were scrapped."
   "The old man drove this car for a few years (I attach – see above – a photo he gave me
taken at that time)  About 1983 it broke down and he could not get any spare parts. It
remained undriven and neglected from that day until now. I now have it in a garage in
Vientiane and am still trying to get it going so I can drive it over the border to Udon Thani
where it can be restored. The engine has been running at least."        
"So, it is likely that this
car did in fact belong
to the King who had it
in Vientiane. I have
asked the French
Ambassador here if
there were any
records of gifts given
to the Royal family
from the French
Government but he
was unable to help.
I know the car in the
Luang Prabang
museum was a gift
from France."
Update again ! (January 2013) Ivan
managed to bring the car to Bangkok,
where the restoration work has now
begun, with parts bought in Europe. The
car had to be driven 1 km  over the
Thai-Lao border, since for some reason it
is not allowed to cross the border with the
car on a truck. Khun Pood (see pic on the
right) spent one week in Vientiane in order
to make it drivable. Without suspension
and braking system, it was a frightening
experience, according to Ivan...     
Update again ! (October 2014) Photos (below) taken in the Bangkok workshop in May
2014, the restoration is now almost complete !