When Citroën put their minds to replacing the Traction Avant which had been in production since 1934 they wanted a car that would be equally revolutionary and innovative setting new standards in style, comfort and safety.
Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre took care of the styling and engineering while Paul Magès took care of the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension that could be adjusted to ride height.
Additionally the DS featured a single spoke steering wheel, lightweight fiber glass roof to keep the center of gravity down, semi automatic transmission requiring no clutch and was the first mass production car to be fitted with disc brakes.
It was originally intended to scale up the aircooled flat 2 cylinder 2CV motor into a flat six motor for the DS, but when the development costs could no longer be met the 1,911 cc (116.6 cu in) in line four from the Traction Avant was upgraded with an aluminium hemi cylinder head that bumped the horsepower up from 60hp to 75 hp and mounted behind the gearbox which drives the front wheels.
The DS pronounced “Déesse” in French double meaning “goddess” was received with tremendous enthusiasm, which translated into 12,000 orders on the 5th of October 1955 the day it was launched at the Paris Motor Show and was described by structuralist philosopher Roland Barthes as looking as thought it had “fallen from the sky”.
The DS19 seen above at Goodwood Festival of Speed was built in 1957.
Thanks for joining me on this “Déesse Of The Sky” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Goodwood Festival of Speed. Don’t forget to come back now !
André Lefèbvre is also credited with contributing to the design of the Citroen Traction, 2CV and DS and HY models.
Clive Temple is seen driving his CGSs at Presott and the Motorsport At The Palace sprint run at Crystal Palace in London.
Thanks for joining me on this “Lowered Single Seat” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Coffee Croissants and Cars at Bristol’s Queen Square. Don’t forget to come back now !