The DS is celebrating its 60thanniversary in 2015 with its first big celebration taking place in London this week. The DS was ground breaking and got people in a flurry when the vehicle was first launched at the Paris motor show in October 1955. Citroen in France reported that it took 743 orders for the futuristic-looking car in the first 15 minutes of the show, while orders for the first day alone were 12,000 units.
As well as those looks, the DS was technically innovative and continued in production for 20 years. It was front-wheel drive, a novelty for the time, and featured hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension along with hydraulic operation of the clutch and gearbox (as well as the brakes and power steering).
The DS was the first mass-produced car with front disc brakes, mounted inboard to reduce unsprung weight, and all-round independent suspension.
Whichever way you look at it, it was nothing short of sensational. Check out some of the important moments in history below.
06 OCTOBER 1955
The Paris Motor Show sets the scene for a revolution in technology and design.
Citroën presents the DS, a car straight out of science-fiction, with original looks, avant-garde interior design, hydropneumatic suspension and hydraulic assistance. It gains 750 sales in 45 minutes, 12,000 in just one day and almost 80,000 by the end of the show.
Citroën ID 19
The ID 19 joins the range, with a choice of two versions: Standard (63 bhp, 4,000 rpm and 130kph) and Luxury (66 bhp, 4,500 rpm and 135kph).
Citroën ID 19 at Monte-Carlo
An ID 19 wins the Monte-Carlo Rally with Coltelloni-Alexandre and Desrosiers. As a result, Citroën decides to take part in other road races.
DS car body
Another first.. Citroën is invited to display a DS body at the Milan Triennale, an international exhibition of art and design chaired by the architect Gio Ponti.
01 OCTOBER 1960
Citroën Cabriolet DS 19 launched in Paris
At the Paris Motor Show, Citroën presents the DS 19 Cabriolet, with bodywork by Henri Chapron. A vast range of customisation options are on offer: 76 colour combinations, 13 bodywork colours and 11 shades for the leather trim and upholstery.
23 AUGUST 1962
The DS after the attempt on the life of General de Gaulle
General de Gaulle survives an attempted assassination at Petit Clamart outside Paris. The tyres of the president’s DS are riddled with bullets, but the car stays on the road without any other damage.
DS 19 at Versailles
At the Paris Motor Show, held in October at the Porte de Versailles centre for the first time, Citroën presents a restyled DS 19. The nose and bumper are redesigned to improve aerodynamics and performance. It can reach speeds of 160kph.
Citroën sets up a motorsports department led by René Cotton.
DS 19 Pallas
Citroën presents the DS 19 Pallas, an even more sophisticated car with particular emphasis on interior trim and finish.
The arrival of the new DS 21… More powerful, fitted with a crankshaft with five bearings, the DS 21 also features an automatic headlight levelling system to offset dynamic variations in attitude.
DS at the Monte Carlo Rally
Driven by Pauli Toivonen, the DS wins its last Monte-Carlo Rally.
Headlights of the DS & ID
All DS and ID models are restyled, including wings, bonnet, bumpers, lower fairing and also an optical system with four headlights, two of which swivel with the steering.
Electronic injection for the DS 21
Citroën leaves the competition behind once again with the arrival of the DS 21, the first French production model to feature electronic injection (12 bhp, 188kph and 10 litres per 100km).
07 OCTOBER 1969
The one millionth DS rolls off the production line: a DS 21 with gold bodywork.
The DS 23 replaces the DS 21. Featuring a carburetor and electronic fuel injection, it has the new 2,347cmᶟ engine, (188kph and 12 litres per 100km).
24 APRIL 1975
The Last DS 23 built in Paris
The last DS leaves the line at the Javel plant, vehicle number 1,330,755. It’s a DS 23 Pallas with Delta Blue bodywork and electronic injection.