Citroën DS: A Mid-Century Modern Goddess

The Citroën DS is a car that represents ‘50s luxury and a level of nobility that was unheard of in its era. It’s a vehicle that will always be in style, as is the case with any good design.

The DS’s elegant insect-like shape was revealed at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. Citroën cleverly named the car as a play on the French word déesse, meaning ‘goddess’. Its heavenly curves seduced the crowds, and Citroën had received nearly 20,000 pre-orders for the DS by the end of its first day on display.


Nine days later, at the end of the show, over 80,000 people had pre-ordered the car. That number might not seem outrageous in today’s internet shopping age, but in this more simple era, it was unheard of.


One thing is clear: the Citroën DS may not be the fastest or the most expensive car ever made, but it is something special.


The DS became a symbol of French innovation, thanks to advanced tech like its famous hydropneumatic suspension that included a self-leveling function. The suspension could be lowered, giving the car a more sleek and aggressive profile, or it could be lifted to allow for more ground clearance.


It also came with a modernized power steering system, a semi-automatic gearbox and a lightweight fiberglass roof. A wider track at the front reduced understeer.


All of these features were unheard of in 1955. For perspective, we didn’t have color television and even the modern refrigerator was a luxury at this time.


Citroën’s tech history is dotted with innovations that made it famous, and the DS is one of the most seasoned of the automaker’s lineup.


Very few cars have made such enormous leaps in progress in a single model, and for that reason, the DS remained in production for a staggering 20 years. Nearly 1.5-million cars were produced in total, each of which is a beacon of French mid-century ingenuity, style and design.

Sara Ryan
Instagram: pockowokosara



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the car looking kinda thicc i finna buy it and sell it on the blak market to some erson and switch a lsx in it then paint it bright pink.

ea lamatan- #PrayForKyoAni

Are you sure about that? That Citroën is a mid-engine, front wheel drive cruiser, and engine-swapping with an LSX isn't gonna cut it


Ah France brings the O.G. of the "stance" revolution to the world! Wider front track and can lower the car with a push of a button. Awesome read!


stance is for people that don't really like cars


At first glance I don't think this car looks like it fits on this site or garners any kind of significant attention, but you have to put yourself into the context of the time and once you do I actually think this is one of those cars that would be awesome to spend a day with.

It would be so interesting to drive one of these and see what people in the 50s would have experienced compared to now. I think this article was actually a little short and would like to know a bit more about it. Great photography though. The front end is very unique looking.

I like this as it was something a little different than the normal stuff we are used to from the Speed Hunters.


My friend's dad had one when I was in high school. Coolest thing ever especially with the factory adjustable hydraulic suspension. Not the prettiest car but definitely was ahead of it's time.




Not exactly an expected sight on SpeedHunters, maybe Slow&SteadyHunters? However, I LOVE me a DS, I think they are incredibly beautiful cars and am happy to see it here!


Your suspension comment, about it being able to be lowered, giving it a better look, means you shouldn't be writing about this car, or maybe any car. Lowering Citroën suspension is nothing to do with its looks & it's not to be driven in this setting as its only for service & wheel changing. Don't write about anything if you don't really understand of what you speak, you make yourself look bad & you spread misinformation.


One of the most astounding things about the suspension was how useful it was/is. At speed, the car would adjust its attitude so as to reduce drag and increase economy. While the raising and lowering is useful for jackless wheel changing, the high levels could be used for clearing obstacles in the uneven or unmade roads. Be sure to know what you are talking about before having a crack at someone else!


A little agressive.
Though yes, you shouldn't drive it in the lowest setting that does not mean you couldn't. I sure did around car shows and the like at real low speeds. The lowest setting was also for storage as there is very little pressure in the system.
I've owned 2.


So my original comment was "A Little Aggressive", OK, how about this, you're an idiot. You must not drive Citroen on the lowest setting 'around' anywhere, the pressure in the system will be affected & could hinder steering & breaking depending on the model & each individual car, as they can vary. You may also damage the underside of the car which is just stupid. This childish desire of people on the net, which I see over & over, to lower a Citroen & drive it below it's correct driving height must stop; do you see aeroplanes driving on the road because they can, no you don't! Call Citroen & ask them if you should do that, call an engineer & ask them that, call your insurance company & ask them if you're still insured if you crash doing that, ask the police how they'll treat you if you do that & they find out, see how you do in court if you get sued - so - Don't Do It! I've owned 30 hydropneumatic Citroen & there's a CX in my garage.


Well aren't you just a joy.
BTW, grew up in France and Citroen is all my dad ever drove, he actually has 3 DSs at the moment, a C5 and an XM.
My first car was a V6 XM Exclusive and you can ask me I'm a mechanical engineer. So now that we've established my daddy is better than your daddy we can move on.
It seems that all the while you confound can't and shouldn't, there's a difference. You shouldn't drink too much sugary drink but no one says you can't, you shouldn't jump in a well but again you can if you want, you shouldn't be calling people names from behind a keyboard but hey, here you are.
Your comment about braking or steering being hindered is incorrect. The pump turns whilst the engine is running and the accumulator is pressurized, there is a valve that prioritizes steering and braking. Having a nice riding car is useless if you can't stop, don't you agree? Citroen sure thought so.


I wish the North African countries would allow for classic exports, there is such a cash of the these cars sitting in peoples gardens just waiting for someone to restore them. This is the car Charles de Gaulle credited with his life and declared a national treasure after he survived an assassination attempt in 1962 when the OAS fire a hail of 140 bullets at the car! They were upset that De Gaulle gave Algeria back to the Algerians after the French occupation, it became a very popular car there and became pinnacle of motoring in North African....and they can't be exported; trust me I tried!

I would like to share my favourite video about the car, search Jay Lenos garage 1971 Citroen DS on YouTube (wont let me share the link).


Great design, engineering, great car!


America tried it's very best, to prevent the DS from competing against Detriot. Headlights that point in the direction the vehicle is turning... Oh that's illegal. Bing, Free Market Capitalism at work.


the french had the balls to make unique and advanced cars but forgot to make them look not french enough to sell elsewhere. A shame truly, because this tech was amazing.


I had 1963 sedan with a clutch.
Also the Safari station wagon. Also with a clutch. That makes all the difference. The most over engineered car made.
Eleven ways to bring fresh air into the cabin. In Philadelphia at the time i had two good teams of mechanics and i do not mean Freds motor cars who sold them in phila. At the time i had a pair of 356 cabriolets also. Life was surely different in the 50's and '60's.
Thank you for the write up. I had an old friend that married into the Voisin family. A defunct French car mfger.
Gifford Pinchot was American.


My 1963 had red fluid. With three point seatbelts. Traveling the world i always heard one thing. No matter how fast you were going it would always be a Citroen to motor past you.
My 1969 had green fluid.
They had the reputation for bring the safest cars in the world. Built to protect the occupants. Incredible! Louie


Now we're talking!! What a beauty. Most comfortable car ever built and would stop on a dime. The brake is not a pedal but a button that if you press too hard will surely put you through the windscreen lol.


I'd be fascinated to know how and why this LHD mid-70s Euro spec French car came to end up in the Americaland with a California plate stapled over the top of British number plates... Suggests a fascinating history.
And why do Amerifolk just staple their plates on top of other registration plates when importing a car? That's fairly illegal in most places!

ea lamatan- #PrayForKyoAni