After the great success of the Citroen Traction Avant (front wheel drive, certainly well appreciated by the ‘gangsters’ of the era for being a very agile car for getaways), a very high standard had been set when considering presenting a new model which could fittingly replace it. This is why the engineers and designers were given complete freedom and plenty of time (it’s believed they were working on it for almost 18 years) so that in 1955 the new DS 19 was presented at the Paris Motor Show, with such resounding success that by the end of the day they had received 12,000 orders for the new car.
Over the years many modifications were made to Flaminio Bertoni’s original design, which paved the way for the DS 21 series (1966 to 1972) and the DS 23 series; the focus of this article (1973 to 1975).
The DS had a stunning design which has placed it, along with the 2CV and the Traction Avant, among the 3 most symbolic Citroens of all time, according to specialist magazines. The DS itself is among the four most influential cars of the 20th century, along with the Ford T, the Porsche 911 and the VW Beetle.
The car was considered innovative not only for its design, but also for its hydropneumatic suspension (using oil at different pressure levels), which as well as creating a particularly comfortable driving experience, also allowed you to adjust the cars height, according to the type of road it would be driving on. Another innovation it offered from 1967 (and which to this day many makers don’t offer) was its directional headlights.
Originally equipped with a 1971 cc engine with 70 hp, it was capable of reaching 140km/h (87mph) with a fuel consumption of 10 l/100km (23mpg). The engine was modified and its performance improved to the 2347 cc engine with 130 hp of the DS 23.
The four door model was later developed to produce a people carrier with 5 doors and 7 seats, and a car body manufacturer at the time also produced a cabriolet, 2 door convertible.
After 20 years, the DS went out of production in 1975, having produced 1.6 million units, and having created a lasting fame for itself.