The Citroën DS – Automotive Art
Memory is inherently unreliable, especially mine, but I’m reasonably certain that I saw my first Citroën DS in 1975, the year this remarkable design classic went out of production. Remarkable because the DS had barely changed from it’s unveiling at the 1955 Paris Motor Show; it still looked futuristic 20 years on, a fitting tribute to the genius of Italian sculptor Flaminio Bertoni. In 1957 philosopher Roland Barthes famously wrote “It is obvious that the new Citroën has fallen from the sky…”
Arguably, no other production car has advanced automotive engineering so far. If the 1955 car was re-released today, based on the list of features it would be considered avante-garde: Hydropneumatic suspension, adjustable ride-height, semi-automatic gear selection, power steering, crumple zones, collapsible steering column, disc-brakes, self-levelling headlights, a drag co-efficient of 0.38…the list goes on.
I can’t imagine another car that is more representative of the French character. It appeals to our aesthetic sensbilities as well as the intellect.
The last word should go to BBC Top Gear’s very own Richard “Hamster” Hammond: