Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Armbrister’s Garage in partnership with Menta Motive.
(Citroën made 3 DS models: the DS19, DS21, and the DS23.)
What do you like most with a car? Incredible technology? Stunning looks? Well then, feast your eyes on the Citroën DS! This utterly gorgeous machine is not a boat, a plane, or a submarine. While the rest of the world was caught up in the Space Race, France was busy building space ships for the road.
Designer Flaminio Bertoni and aviation engineer Andre Lefebvre began designing the DS as early as the 1940s. It took years to properly create this work of automotive art. In 1955 the Citroen DS was first revealed at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. Within 15 minutes, Citroën collected over 740 deposits. The 1955 Citroën DS was eventually named “Most beautiful car of all time” by Classic & Sports Car magazine.
The futuristic styling of the DS is beyond incredible, but better than that are the mechanics! The Citroën DS powered by just an average inline 4, was built to be different. Different and better, better than anything before it. This innovative French Saloon is known for its sensational ride quality, using technological brilliance like it’s semi automatic gearbox, it’s power steering, it’s powered brakes, it even had mechanically rotating headlights that turned around corners when the driver turned the steering wheel. However, the best part of the Citroën DS was it‘s unique suspension system. If you have ever wanted to know the 8th wonder of the world, it’s hydro-pneumatic suspension.
Hydro-pneumatic suspension is insane! Hydro-pneumatic suspension is basically self leveling suspension, meaning the car‘s ride height could be controlled from inside the car. Keep in mind, this was the 1950s! It gave drivers a feeling like they were riding on clouds. The Citroën DS used machinery typically found on aircrafts. The DS arrived too late for the French Revolution, but it started the automotive revolution. The DS was produced from 1955 to 1975. The Citroën DS was, and still is, way ahead of its time.
A Drivers Feel:
By Citroen DS21 owner: Menta Motive
The first thing you notice when you take a seat in a DS is how soft everything feels. The seats are big, soft, and could also have been placed in the corner of your living room. On the spot where you relax, read a book, and enjoy a good drink. When you put your feet on the floor, you’ll feel the soft carpet with foam underneath, also unlike anything in this modern era.
Once you start the car, you feel, hear, and smell that it’s not a modern car. The engine in my DS is a 2.3L 4 cylinder with a little over 120 bhp if they haven’t left the motor yet. You can clearly hear the engine, feel the warmth through the dashboard and carpet, and the smell of gas is there as well, but hey! it’s a 50 year old car. And for a 50 year old comfortable luxurious car, it drives well with the current traffic. It’s definitely not fast, but it’s easy to accelerate and be part of the rest of the traffic.
Once the engine has started and you begin driving. That’s when you feel where the Citroën DS excels. The Hydro-pneumatic suspension! This system was designed in the 50’s to be able to drive on the unfinished, rocky roads of France. It smooths out everything. It feels as if you’re floating over the road and speed bumps aren’t a thing anymore. You can drive over them with ease, even without braking.
The hydro-pneumatic system also powers the power steering and power brakes (disc brakes). All that combined, the car was far ahead of it’s time. There are plenty of other innovative quirks and features, but you really have to experience it yourself to get a full grasp of what this car really is.
A special thanks to Menta Motive for writing the
“drivers feel” section.
Follow Menta Motive⬇️
YouTube: Menta Motive
You can also follow me on Instagram: @armbristers_garage
Read more down below for some fun facts! ⬇️
Fun Fact #1: August 22, 1962, President of France, Charles de Gaulle survives one of several assassination attempts against him. This is thanks to the Hydro-pneumatic suspension of the presidential automobile, the Citroen DS.
Fun fact #2: The name DS stands for déesse meaning goddess. Citroën clearly knew when naming it, how important this car truly is.
Hydro-pneumatic suspension video ⬇️
Thanks for reading, be safe and check out my other blogs!