Citroen DS 1955-75 -

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Citroen DS 1955-75

Automobiles from 1950 > Extra about cars in 1950 A-I
Citroën DS 1955
Citroen DS 1955

When introduced in 1955 Citroën’s DS was the most advanced car of its time. Under its sleek body was a complex hydropneumatic system, driven off the engine. This powered the self-leveling suspension, the brakes, and the steering, and provided automatic clutch operation and assistance to the gearshift. Nearly 1.5 million of the DS family were made, the last in 1975. Relaxingly seductive to drive, this car became a high-tech emblem of a newly resurgent France.
THE DS was innovative in every aspect of its design, from its aerodynamic body to its unusual construction, with outer panels bolted to an inner “skeleton” base unit. The hydropneumatics were the key technical feature, but other novelties included inboard disc brakes at the front, a special front suspension designed to enhance stability, and the extensive use of many different types of plastic. As with all Citroëns after the Traction Avant of 1934, the DS had front-wheel drive, the engine being mounted in-line, with the gearbox in front of the engine. The unusual front suspension used twin leading arms, while at the rear there were trailing arms. The less well-equipped ID model was launched in 1956, with simplified hydropneumatics, an orthodox clutch, and manual transmission; but over the years its specifications were progressively brought closer to those of the DS.

Citroën DS/ID, 1955–75

Model  Citroën DS/ID, 1955–75
Assembly  Mainly Paris, France
Production  1,455,746
Construction  Steel body-chassis skeleton
Engine   2,175 cc, ohv in-line four (DS21)
Power   109 bhp at 5,500 rpm (DS21)
Transmission  Four-speed, hydraulic operation
Suspension   All-independent, hydropneumatic
Brakes  Inboard front discs; rear drums
Maximum speed  106 mph (171 km/h)

Citroen DS fronf view
Citroen DS rear view

From “basking shark” to “cat’s eye”

The DS21 features low-set air intakes rather than a conventional grille. For 1963 the prow was remodeled, with v-shaped bumpers and three intakes in the below-bumper apron, as seen here. This “basking shark” front was redesigned for 1968. It received twin “cat’s eye” lights behind a plastic cowl; depending on the model, the inner lights swiveled and the outer were made self-leveling.

Citroën DS specifications 1955
Citroen logo include 1919

Citroën’s chevrons

The Citroën emblem, used from the first car of 1919, has two chevrons. These represent the chevron-pattern helical gears with which marque founder André Citroën made his name and fortune, after he had devised a means of mass-producing this form of gear-wheel.
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