Citroen DS 21

From Citroen Press: Paris, 1 October 1955. At the Grand Palais exhibition centre in Paris, a new car explodes onto the automotive scene and is hailed as a sensation by the contemporary press. The DS has arrived.

This marvel of automotive design was created by two men and their staff teams. Both were originally recruited by André Citroën and designed the Traction in 1934. André Lefèvre was an engineer, while Flaminio Bertoni was a draftsman and sculptor.

The DS was exceptional not only for its looks but also for its technology. It revolutionised automotive standards in terms of suspension, road holding, brakes and steering.

At the heart of the DS's many innovations was the high-pressure system made necessary by the hydropneumatic suspension. This system drove the power steering and disc brakes – also used by Jaguar at the time for the Le Mans 24 hour event – as well as the transmission with its automatic clutch, which prefigured the automated gearboxes of today. The DS also used avant-garde materials in its construction, including aluminum for the bonnet and plastic for the roof.

During a twenty-year career in which 1,456,115 units were produced, the DS established itself as the market standard, proudly carrying all sorts of customers. It provided a comfortable and reliable ride for families, traveling sales representatives, doctors and others, in France and elsewhere.

The DS 19:
The DS made its world debut at the Paris Motor Show on 6 October 1955. Within 45 minutes, 749 orders had been taken, and by the end of the day, 12,000.

Technical data:
4-door, 5-seater saloon.
Integrated body with removable panels.
Fiscal rating: 11 HP.
Four in-line cylinders.
Capacity: 1,911 cm3.
Effective horsepower: 70.5 bhp DIN at 4,500 rpm.

DS 19 Cabriolet:
Following a few initiatives by independent coachbuilders, Citroën decided to design its own cabriolet version of the DS to satisfy the wishes of some of its customers. The result was presented at the 1960 Paris Motor Show.

Designed by the French coachbuilder Chapron using Citroën plans, this two-door, four-seater model sported reinforced side members and cut-out rear wings.

The DS 19 cabriolet was available in 76 body colors and 11 leather-seat and upholstery colors and had a black crylon hood.

DS 23 Injection:
Launched in 1972, this model was the crowning touch to the DS range. It replaced the 21 from 1973, topping its predecessor’s already excellent performance-comfort-safety levels and joining the elite of European grand touring cars.

Its new 2,347-cm3 electronic injection powerplant made driving the DS an even smoother experience. The DS 23 Injection was the favorite of company directors and was frequently seen in official parades. It also notched up a wealth of racing trophies.

The very last vehicle produced at the Javel plant on 24 April 1975 was an electronic-injection DS 23 Pallas.

Gallery: Citroen DS 21