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DS21 Series 2 Decapotable by Chapron RH
The Citroën DS is a four-door, front-engine, front-wheel-drive mid-size car manufactured and marketed by the French company Citroën from 1955 to 1975 in sedan, wagon/estate and convertible body configurations. Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre styled and engineered the car. Paul Magès developed the hydro pneumatic self-levelling suspension.
Noted for its aerodynamic, futuristic body design and innovative technology, the DS set new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking. Citroën sold 1,455,746 cars, including 1,330,755 built at the manufacturer's original mass-production plant in Paris at the Quai André-Citroën (previously the Quai de Javel).
The DS came third in the 1999 Car of the Century poll recognizing the world's most influential auto designs and was named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine.
After 18 years of secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 was introduced on 5 October 1955 at the Paris Motor Show. In the first 15 minutes of the show, 743 orders were taken, and orders for the first day totalled 12,000.
The ID19 followed the DS19's example in using a punning name. While "DS" is pronounced in French as "Déesse" (goddess), "ID" is pronounced as "Idée" (idea).
The DS was the first mass production car with front power disc brakes. It also featured hydro pneumatic suspension including an automatic leveling system and variable ground clearance, power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand), though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fiberglass roof which lowered the center of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprang weight. Different front and rear track widths and tire sizes reduced the unequal tire loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars.
As with all French cars, the DS design was affected by the tax horsepower system, which effectively mandated very small engines. Unlike the Traction Avant predecessor, there was no top-of-range model with a powerful six-cylinder engine. Citroën had planned an air-cooled flat-6 engine for the car, but did not have the funds to put the prototype engine into production.
In the DS they were also used for the suspension, clutch and transmission, although the later ID19 did have manual steering and a simplified power-braking system.
At a time when few passenger vehicles had independent suspension on all wheels, the application of the hydraulic system to the car's suspension system to provide a self-levelling system was an innovative move. This suspension allowed the car to achieve sharp handling combined with very high ride quality, frequently compared to a "magic carpet". The hydro pneumatic suspension used was pioneered the year before, on the rear of another car from Citroën, the top of range Traction Avant 15CV-H.allum, Roy Axe, Paul Bracq, and Leonardo Fioravanti.
Series 2 - Nose redesign in 1962
In September 1962, the DS was restyled with a more aerodynamically efficient nose, better ventilation and other improvements. It retained the open two headlamp appearance, but was available with an optional set of driving lights mounted on the front fenders.
Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973.
It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold. These DS convertibles used a special frame which was reinforced on the side members and rear suspension swing arm bearing box, similar to, but not identical to the Break (Station Wagon) frame. In total 1,365 d`usine convertibles were produced on the DS19 and DS21 chassis. The Cabriolet d'Usine (factory convertible) were built by French Carrossiers Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network.
One of the most stylish cars of the 1960s, the latter was the creation of Parisian coachbuilder, Henri Chapron, who called his first such model 'La Croisette'. A native of Nouan-le-Fuzelier in the Sologne region of France, Henri Chapron founded his coachbuilding company in 1919 at Levallois-Perret an outskirt of Paris. Unlike so many fashionable French coachbuilders, Chapron carried none of the mental baggage that came from having graduated to cars from building horse-drawn carriages; consequently, his work had a freshness and innate sense of proportion that was well suited to chassis of quality. Chapron's interpretations of the Citroën DS and ID were quite different from the regular production versions. Chapron added fins to the rear wings as early as 1965 and launched his own version of an upmarket DS at the Porte de Versailles Salon de l'Auto in October 1964 using the name 'Majesty'. At first the conversion was not approved by Citroën, forcing Chapron to buy complete cars rather than rolling chassis, but eventually the factory relented and went on to produce its own ursine version on the longer chassis of the ID Break (estate) model. Chapron continued to build his own Le Caddy and Palm Beach convertibles together with various limousines and coupés. The most popular of the latter being 'Le Dandy'. Chapron's second take on a soft-top DS, Le Caddy first appeared in 1959 and represented a considerable improvement over La Croisette. Whereas the latter had used saloon-type rear wings, necessitating a covering strip for the join between the wing and the redundant rear 'door' panel, Le Caddy used a much neater one-piece wing. The saloon's front doors were used until 1960 when longer ones were adopted, resulting in a further improvement in the design's proportions. Only 34 examples of the Le Caddy convertible were built between 1959 and 1968. Needless to say, they are all highly desirable. Chapron manufactured 389 convertibles of his own, the last in 1973. Introduced in 1960 at the same time as Le Caddy and Le Dandy was another variation on the coupé theme, the Concorde, which featured a more generously proportioned cabin with greater headroom for the rear passengers. Chapron versions were exclusive for both their price and the limited production. It is believed that just 37 or 38 examples of the Concorde coupé were built between 1960 and 1965.Only 38 were built over the next five years. In addition, Chapron also produced a few coupés, non-works convertibles and special sedans (including the "Prestige", same wheelbase but with a central divider, and the "Lorraine" notchback).
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