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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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