Motoring Trailblazers - Citroën DS

Sun 15th Jul 2018

The world of motoring is hurtling headlong into a bright new future of all-electric, automated, connected technology - and Marty McFly is not behind the wheel! But what were the cars that were ‘back to the future’ of years gone by?

There have been many different trailblazing motors which were seen by the critics to be ahead of their time, and in this series, we will investigate and showcase many of the best in class.

Citroën DS

The fact that the DS had undergone 18 years of secret development before being unveiled at the 1955 Paris Motor Show tells you about the huge weight of expectation on this French classic.

Eagerly awaited, within the first hours of its debut it had taken 743 orders, by the end of the first day it had been sold 12,000 times and in its first days the DS tool in 80,000 deposits. Only the Tesla Model 3 since has eclipsed the fervour for what was an immediate and instant classic.

In the years after the Second World War, the French public were screaming for a brave new world of chic design and gallic flair and they received it in abundance with the DS. Philosoper Roland Barthes said that the DS looked like it had ‘fallen from the sky’ and it was advertised in the United States with the strapline ‘It takes a special person to drive a special car’.

The DS was the perfect combination of design and engineering. The design from Flaminio Bertoni and the engineering from Andre Lefebvre, the car was noted for its aerodynamic, futuristic body design and innovations in technology such as improved ride quality, handling and braking - which was achieved as the first production car equipped with disc brakes.

Almost 1.5m DS were sold in a twenty year period from 1955 to 1975, 1.3m of them built in the famed Paris production plant.

It’s place in history was guaranteed when Classic and Sports Car Magazine named it the most beautiful car of all time.

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