Page creation 15/09/2008, revision 04/11/2014
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In the courtyard of an administration building
in Ho Chi Minh City, my heart stood still
when I saw the car's unmistakable roofline
under a grey plastic cover. It was indeed a
DS, but not your average DS... A very, very
It did not take long before someone agreed
to unveil the car and open a door for me.
The separation between the front and the
rear seats, it is a Prestige type ! The only
of its kind in Vietnam, so far at least, and
one of the very, very few in Asia.
There is no identification number anymore,
but this is obviously a late-years model.
I am told the car belonged to Nguyen Van
Thieu, the last President of South-Vietnam,
overthrown by the Communists in 1975. It
may be true, and in the city's museum there
is such a car (a Benz) belonging to the
former "imperialist" regime's collection. I
hope to be able to find more about it in the
future... Any information is welcome !
Update ! (April 2014) The car unexpectedly resurfaced in a collection featured in an online
report, found on a Vietnamese news website, see here (Vietnamese):
Its owner, Mr Hoan, reportedly started his vintage car collection about ten years ago, and
has already eight of them, including two Traction, this presidential DS23, and another DS,
previously introduced in this site, see
In the news report, we learn that this Prestige DS indeed belonged to last President
Nguyen Van Thieu, and then to Lieutenant General Tran Van Tra, Deputy Chief of the
People's Army of Vietnam. It was then owned by a Mr Hue, who sold it to Mr Hoan for a
mere 16,000 USD.
Update again ! (October 2014) In May 2014, I went and had a closer look. There it was,
along with a few other classic beauties (photos below). Its owner, a Colonel in the Army,
wants to remain discreet, but he acknowledged he still wants to expand his collection:
he'd like to have a "frog-eye" (pre-1967) DS, for instance.
Above right: I wonder if the inner panel's upholstery was the work of Chapron, the coachbuilder entrusted by Citroen
with the order-made fabrication of the "Prestige" special DS versions, or if it was a later job.
Below: some interesting details: the lamp for the rear VIP passengers, and on the front fender, the small opening for
heat evacuation, the stainless trim around the wheel, without forgetting the abnormal side mirror.