Spirit of 1927: Bring on the Alps

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Our DS 3 comes to a halt at the Galibier road block

A road trip from Lyon to the Col du Galibier

CSMA members at the top of the Galibier in 1927
CSMA members at the top of the Galibier in 1927
Lyon's lush Hotel Royal
Lyon's lush Hotel Royal
Our DS 3 descends the Col de Chat
Our DS 3 descends the Col de Chat
Sailing on Lac du Bourget
Sailing on Lac du Bourget
St Michel de Maurienne. the foot of the Galibier climb
St Michel de Maurienne. the foot of the Galibier climb
Mountain biking at the Galibier
Mountain biking at the Galibier
Our DS 3 comes to a halt at the Galibier road block
Our DS 3 comes to a halt at the Galibier road block
Avalanche expert Alain Duclos on the Galibier
Avalanche expert Alain Duclos on the Galibier
Walking up the Galibier
Walking up the Galibier
Descending the Galibier
Descending the Galibier

Our road trip in the tracks of the 1927 CSMA Continental Run

In 1927, 15 members of the Civil Service Motoring Association took on an epic drive from London to the Col du Galibier in the French Alps. Both motoring and international travel were still very much in their infancy and the trip reflected the pioneering, adventuring spirit of CSMA, which had been formed just four years previously.

The trip took a week and despite various punctures and breakdowns, everyone made it to the Galibier. The mountain roads were made of dirt, the surrounding villages were still to grow with ski tourism (Valloire, the main ski station on the north of the Galibier, only opened for skiing in the 1930s). But alongside the spirit of venturing into the unknown the 1927 tourists had a joie de vivre: they were met by local dignitaries at each town they stopped at, eating well at formal dinners, with speeches of congratulations from local mayors. Reports of the trip talk of swimming in rivers, eating fruit from roadside trees and making midnight trips to sample Paris nightlife.

In May, we set out to reproduce that 1927 trip, joining the route halfway down, at Lyon. Even though the threat of avalanche meant that the road up the Galibier was closed, a local guide helped photographer Pete Goding and write Duncan Steer snow-shoe to the top. A full report and pictures appear in the first issue of Boundless magazine, the new name for CSMA Club Life magazine. Here is our video from the pass, the point that the CSMA reached 89 years ago.

YoutubeId-KGcCKN6ZZ_8

Podcast: Duncan Steer and Sean McGreevy on recreating the 1927 CSMA trip to the Galibier


DS 3 Cabrio Performance THP 210 in numbers

Price: from £18,195. 

Engine: 1598cc 4-cylinder petrol turbo

Power: 208 bhp

Torque: 221lb ft

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Performance: 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds; 143mph

Combined mpg: 52.3

CO2: 125g/km

Boot space: (max litres) 245

Web: dsautomobiles.co.uk

Focus on the DS3

Continental Run

Continental Run (PDF 3.29 MB) Download

Sean reviews the DS5, our Galibier support car

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