"With its technology, comfort, vitality and performance, the DS 19 revolutionised the automotive world on its reveal at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. In 2015, the DS brand is reaching for new heights, buoyed by this legendary heritage. A unique and singular approach to executive French cars forged through innovation, boldness and an avant-garde spirit. With these strong credentials, expressed in two letters, the Brand continues today to embody French-style luxury vehicles the world over. With DS, history continues to power onwards."
Three founding fathers played a crucial role in the DS legend. André Lefèbvre, Flaminio Bertoni and Pierre Boulanger succeeded in translating into a singular, inspired and pioneering model all of the values that drive DS today: technological excellence, avant-garde spirit and boldness. Parallel paths to a destination called DS.
An engineer by trade, close to the Michelin family and CEO of Citroën. This imaginative and visionary spirit gave life to the DS project, initiating it just before the Second World War.
An aeronautical engineer by trade. Focusing on ligntness, aerodynamics and the centering of weight, he worked on the innovations that would make the DS 19 so far ahead of its time.
A talented stylist, sculptor and painter. He gave the DS its avant-garde allure with modern and elegant curves. This French-style touch of luxury was a nod from an Italian perspective.
At its launch in 1955, the DS acquired avant-garde status before going on to become a true legend over its 20-year career.
We are celebrating the 60th year of a legend. Often intimately connected to the worlds of cinema and politics, DS cars over the years became a symbol of France.
The DS was unveiled to the public on 6 October 1955 at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais. It has "obviously fallen from the sky," said the philosopher Roland Barthes. The 1950s marked the beginning of an adventure crowned with success. The technological advances and avant-garde styling of the DS outpaced all its competitors, raising the bar on excellence. This bold move quickly became a key characteristic of the company.
The DS 19 forged an international career, being assembled in the UK and Belgium from 1956 and in South Africa from 1959. The model went from success to success, with orders flooding in from Western Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States.
To win over a highly demanding public, the DS was fitted with a separate driver's compartment. Equipped with ultra-modern options, including an intercom, car radio and telephone, the DS became the car of choice for world leaders.
With its unrivalled comfort and technical performances, the boldness, vision and know-how of the DS were applauded by the public and press, and adopted by celebrities including Charles de Gaulle and Jackie Kennedy. The legendary car appealed to film stars and heads of state alike.
The 1960s saw a breath of fresh air with a cabriolet model that won the hearts of hip youngsters. The big stars succumbed to the luxurious DS Pallas. Everyone wanted a taste of motoring refinement. A wave of 1960s euphoria overcame the world and the new body style of our protagonist. DS mania had begun!
Fitted with unheard-of standard equipment including chrome-finished strips, special embellishers, special rear lights and extra headlights!
The DS Pallas featured unique metallic paintwork and swivelling lights that lit up corners before the car entered them.
From the DS 20 and DS 21 to the DS 23, each new version further improved powertrain performance and standard-fit innovation. The 1970s saw the DS come to full maturity. It shifted up a notch with the arrival of a 5-speed gearbox.
The DS made a final lap of honour in 1975 with the end of production. But far from disappearing, the DS inspired its direct descendant, the famous and flamboyant SM. But that is another story...
Just three months after launch, the DS 19 competed in the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally. After finishing seventh in 1956, the DS triumphed in 1959 and the Brand won the Constructors' Cup. The victory was the start of an illustrious career that rewarded the passion of DS drivers as much as the incredible performance of the Brand's models. The sporting prowess of the DS models - marvels of powertrain harmony - was matched only by their road-going qualities.
The DS, an impressive race performer. A pioneering spirit with victory in its sights.
With its impeccable behaviour, precise front axle and supple ride, the DS won over all kinds of drivers.
The SM name was a legacy of the DS Sport project. The sleek and powerful coupé was fitted with an engine based on the Maserati V8, owned by Citroën, and converted into a V6. Though more compact, the engine still delivered a hearty 170 hp.