Citroen helps De Gaulle survive assassination attempt.
On August 22, 1962, President Charles De Gaulle of France survives one of several assassination attempts against him thanks to the superior performance of the presidential automobile: The sleek, aerodynamic Citroen DS 19, known as “La Deesse” (The Goddess).
In August 1962, a group called the OAS (Secret Army Organization in English) plotted an assassination attempt on President De Gaulle, who they believed had betrayed France by giving up Algeria (in northern Africa) to Algerian nationalists. Near dusk on August 22, 1962, De Gaulle and his wife were riding from the Elysee Palace to Orly Airport. As his black Citroen DS sped along the Avenue de la Liberation in Paris at 70 miles per hour, 12 OAS gunmen opened fire on the car. A hail of 140 bullets, most of them coming from behind, killed two of the president’s motorcycle bodyguards, shattered the car’s rear window and punctured all four of its tires. Though the Citroen went into a front-wheel skid, De Gaulle’s chauffeur was able to accelerate out of the skid and drive to safety, all thanks to the car’s superior suspension system. De Gaulle and his wife kept their heads down and came out unharmed.