My Car Quest

February 23, 2024

The Citroën DS Is A Unique Car

by Mike –

The Citroën DS has an aerodynamic, futuristic body style and uses interesting, innovative technology. The Citroën DS set new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking and was the first production car with disc brakes. It has front wheel drive and the engine in the front.

Citroën DS

The example shown here is a 1969 DS21 Pallas.

Citroën DS

I think it still looks like the car of the future even after all these years.

Citroën DS

The Citroën DS has a hydro-pneumatic suspension including an automatic leveling system and variable ground clearance, developed by Citroën engineer Paul Magès. This suspension helped the DS on the poor roads common in France at the time. Hydraulics were used in the suspension, clutch and transmission functions.

Citroën DS

Italian designer Flaminio Bertoni and French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre styled and engineered the car.

Citroën DS

The Citroën DS was successful in rallying where it won the Monte Carlo Rally twice.

There were 1,455,746 DS examples made from 1955 to 1975 including all the body styles: 4-door sedan, 5-door Safari station wagon and 2-door convertible.

1,911 cc (116.6 cu in) I4 (DS/ID 19)
1,985 cc (121.1 cu in) I4 (DS 20)
2,175 cc (132.7 cu in) I4 (DS 21)
2,347 cc (143.2 cu in) I4 (DS 23)

3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
4-speed semi-automatic

Citroën DS

Citroën DS

The Hagerty Price Guide lists a condition 1 at $54,600 and a condition 2 at $30,600. They also wrote this is their summary,

The key to owning any DS is having a skilled mechanic to work on it; one with knowledge, connections, and special tools. In mid-1969 the brake fluid that worked the suspension (and attracted moisture) was replaced by the so-called “green fluid” which is oil-based and not as corrosive. Also, cars built between 1969 and 1972 have the four covered headlight system, in which the inside lights turn with the wheels and all are self-leveling. The later the car the better, but avoid the automatic transmission, which was never sold in the U.S, if possible. Horsepower more than doubled from 63 hp in 1956 to 141 hp by 1972, and later cars can be found with five-speeds and air conditioning, particularly the Pallas models.

Citroën DS

They are not rare and one could easily spend more money fixing one up than it would be worth afterwards. It is however, tempting.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Photos by Mike Gulett from the Carmel Concours-on-the-Avenue, 2011.



Citroën DS

The Citroën DS Is A Unique Car
Article Name
The Citroën DS Is A Unique Car
I think the Citroën DS still looks like the car of the future even after all these years.


  1. Wayne Watkins says

    I think the American Kaiser had disc brakes way before the Citroen . The Citroen was the first to have assisted disc brakes . The 100S Healey was considered the first production car to have 4 wheel disc brakes as standard , but they only made 50 production cars for the public .

    Of course Jaguar had them at Le Mans , but they were considered race cars .

  2. Where were the photos taken? The black Jag from Florida looks beautiful.

  3. Glenn Krasner says

    The Citroen DS was profiled as a featured marque in last month’s “Hemming’s Sports & Exotic Car” magazine, with a beautiful red convertible version used for the pictures. It is an incredibly comprehensive article for those interested in these unusual cars. When I was growing up, they were very few and far between in the New York Tri-State area. The Peugeots were much more popular, especially the clanking diesels during the several energy crises. Incidentally, this month’s May issue of “Sports & Exotic Car” is the very last issue of the magazine. Us subscribers were all sent letters with the issue, that “due to market conditions” that our subscriptions are being converted to “Hemming’s Classic Car” instead. So, now my favorite car magazine, where I learn so much about foreign makes every month, is no more. Instead, I will learn about the boring Chevys, Fords, Chryslers, and Pontiacs I grew up with.

  4. I have owned 3 DS in the past and found them to be quite wonderful. Although by today’s standards they have no power, I always thought them just right. Rust is the main problem as they left the factory with almost no rust protection at all. Now that I am retired I am thinking of buying another! IMHO, along with the CX the best cars ever.

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