Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures


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CITROEN DS 23 Break  1974 1976
1974 1976

Even after almost twenty years since its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the DS was still one of the best-selling French cars, and it was still ahead of its competitors in many aspects.
But all the good things were coming to an end, and Citroen was ready to pull the plug. But, before that, it introduced a final series for the station-wagon version, named Break. With the 1974 model, the DS was closing its era. The station-wagon, or Break, was the last to be built and closed the doors on its exit in 1976.

The car featured the same front fascia as the sedan version, with the glass-covered headlamps. Its aerodynamic frontal area remained, most of it, the same since the car’s introduction. The taller roof, on the other hand, was specific for the station wagon. On the sides, the beltline slightly descended toward the back of the vehicle and ended into the taillights. In the back, the tailgate featured a split-opening system. Its upper side, with a wrapped-around glass area, was lifting, and the lower panel was tilted down, like on a Range Rover.

Inside, the DS Break offered up to seven seats. Citroen installed two folding, side-facing seats in the trunk. Those could have been hidden under the floor when they were not used. Despite many other improvements in the car’s design and engineering, the French Carmaker didn’t consider creating a split-folding system for the rear bench.

Under the hood, the only available engine was a 2.3-liter inline-four. It was fed by a carburetor in the base version or by a fuel-injected system for the upper trim level.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
CITROEN DS 23  1973 1975
1973 1975

The DS was one of the most revolutionary cars ever made.
Citroen launched it in 1955, but its evolution didn’t stop there. In 1973 the model received the most advanced version: the DS23.

After a few facelifts, the DS came to its final evolution in 1973. Its original designer, Flamino Bertoni, didn’t live long enough to assist with that, but the evolution brought the puzzle’s final piece, which made the car even more desirable.

While the initial model featured exposed, round headlights, the latter evolutions brought the covered headlights with the inside’s directional lamp. The aerodynamic shape was kept, and it still looked more advanced than most of the cars on the market due to its fluid lines and sloped short back.

Inside, the DS, and especially the top-trim level DS Pallas, featured wide seats at the front and a bench in the rear. Due to its long wheelbase, there was plenty of room for five passengers. Worth mentioning that Citroen designed the car so France’s president, General Charles DeGaulle, could fit in, and he was 1.96 m tall (6.4 ft).

Citroen installed a new, 2.3-liter engine under the hood, either with a carburetor or with a fuel injection system. The latter was a novelty on the market, and people were still skeptical about its reliability and performance. But the 15 hp difference between the two engine choices and its lower fuel consumption proved its value. Both versions were paired either with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed semi-automatic gearbox.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
CITROEN DS 21  1968 1975
1968 1975

The Citroen DS was one of the most revolutionary vehicles in the world when it was compared with the cars from its age.
When the DS was introduced at the 1965 Paris Motor Show, it totaled 12.000 orders on the first day and 80.000 during the ten days show. That record was broken 60 years later by the Tesla Model 3. The biggest problem for the DS was the engine, which was too small for it. It always thrived for more power, which came in 1968 along with the DS21.

The DS21 featured the same magical technologies as the DS. Its headlights turned along with the steering wheel to light inside the curve. The suspension resides on the oleo-pneumatic system that made the car float on the road, and the passengers felt like they were on a magic carpet. Moreover, the car was designed by former aircraft engineers, and the only bump on its bottom was the exhaust pipe. Everything else was straight to allow a better air-flow.

Inside, the one-spoke steering wheel was one of the most iconic elements in the car-industry. The three-dials on the dashboard were designed to prevent the sun from reflecting on them. The four-speed manual gearbox with a steering-column mounted gearstick (four on the tree) was easy to reach. Moreover, Citroen installed a sequential gearbox, as well. In 1970, the DS received a 5-speed manual. The DS’s futuristic features helped it came third for the title of “Car of the Century” behind the VW Beetle and the Ford T.

The most important evolution of the DS 21 was the 2.2-liter. It was offered with a carburetor or with fuel injection. It finally had an engine to suit the car’s magic.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
CITROEN DS 19  1955 1975
1955 1975

In 1955, Citroen introduced a car that changed the automotive history and placed third on the 1999 poll for Car of the Century: the DS.
The pronunciation of these two letters, D and S, in French is spelled as De Es, resembling the déesse, which means “goddess.” Its name wasn’t for nothing since it became the most technologically advanced vehicle in history when compared to other cars from the same time. It made all of the other cars obsolete thanks to its aerodynamic, suspension, and mechanical solutions. It saved the French president Charles de Gaulle’s life from a life-threatening situation and starred in hundreds of movies.

The aeronautical engineer Andre Lefebvre designed the car, and he used all his skills and knowledge from the air industry to make it as aerodynamic as possible. Moreover, all body panels, including the door panels and the roof, could have been removed for painting. Its rear quarter fenders were removable with the same key used to remove the wheel-nuts to replace the rear tires. One of the best car’s features was the swiveling headlights, which turned the headlamps toward the car’s direction via a cable system.

Citroen installed the engine at the front, behind the axle, with the gearbox placed in front of it. That led to better weight distribution and a longer wheelbase. Due to that, the interior was very roomy by any standards. Without any intrusion into the interior, its completely flat floor made it possible to fit three adult-sized passengers in the back without complaints. The one-spoke steering wheel helped the driver better view the instrument cluster placed in front of the driving seat.

Under the hood, Citroen developed a unique engine for those times, with hemispherical burning chambers. Since it didn’t have a large displacement, it didn’t provide too much power, but it was enough to propel the car fast at high speeds for those times, thanks to the car’s aerodynamic. Its manual transmission was offered as standard, while a semi-automatic gearbox with a small selector placed on top of the steering column helped the driver change the gears without the clutch.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
CITROEN DS 19 Cabrio
CITROEN DS 19 Cabrio  1958 1973
1958 1973

The DS19 Convertible was the proof that a small coachbuilder could convince a significant carmaker to produce a vehicle that they didn’t want to make.
When Citroen introduced the DS at the 1955 Paris Motor Show, it became a show-stopper. It was the most successful car in history, and its first 24 hours sales were so high that only the Tesla Model 3 could exceed them decades later. But in 1955, the orders were made either in persona or by phone, and an army of clerks had to typewrite the orders. Citroen’s management was happy as long as the orders kept coming, but they forgot about particular developments. It was an era when people started to enjoy freedom again, and the open-top vehicles began to appear in most carmakers’ offers. But Citroen considered that the rag-top 2CV was enough for them. For their customers, it wasn’t.

Henry Chapron, a small entrepreneur, was a coachbuilder who worked for several carmakers before WWII. He took a standard DS, reinforced its structure, and cut its roof. He made the first open-top DS and unveiled it at the 1958 Paris Motor Show. The orders started to pile up, and he could barely keep up with them. He tried to convince Citroen’s management to sell him unfinished DS products without rear and side windows and rear doors so that he could transform them into convertibles. They disagreed, so he had to buy them from various dealers. Also, his customers were encouraged to buy the cars and get them for conversions.

That situation lasted for almost two years before Citroen finally cut a deal with the French coachbuilder. The carmaker supplied empty bodies to Chapron, he converted them, and Citroen sold them through their dealership network only starting with 1960.

Full Description and Technical Specifications
CITROEN DS 21 Cabrio
CITROEN DS 21 Cabrio  1968 1971
1968 1971

Henry Chapron saw an opportunity to built an open-top version of the Citroen ID19/DS after the car was launch on the market, a car that was in high demand, but Citroen didn’t want to build it.
Chapron started to build the open-top version of the ID19 in 1958, asking Citroen to provide him the platforms. When the carmaker said no, he bought complete vehicles and transformed them. He built 25 units in just one year. Citroen allowed Chapron to become a subcontractor and sold its open-top cars in the carmaker showrooms, forced to see the car’s popularity. Moreover, that version was showcased in Citroen’s booth at the 1960 Paris Motor Show. The Goliath was beaten again by David (who, in this case, was named Henry).

By 1968 the carmaker worked closely with the independent contractor, but it imposed several rules and design cues to follow, and those were acceptable. The DS21 featured the same front fascia as the four-door sedan version, with glass-covered dual headlamps. Its doors were longer than a regular DS, and the A-pillars were elegantly shaped to look like they were manufactured on the Citroen’s assembly line.

Inside, the DS21 featured exclusive leather upholstery but kept the same dashboard as the sedan version. In the back, the coachbuilder had to push the bench forward and store the canvas-top behind. That resulted in a small knee room left for the rear passengers. Chapron built only 483 DS21s out of the total of 1365 convertibles. The others were based on the ID19 and DS19.

Under the hood, the DS21 Cabrio (Decapotable) featured the same 2.2-liter gasoline engine from the regular DS21, paired with a four-speed manual or a 4-speed semiautomatic gearbox.

Full Description and Technical Specifications

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