Citroën DS Profile

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Citroën DS General Information

In rally history these cars, DS as well as ID, stand out in 2 magic facts:
- This is the car with the longest wheelbase we have on record, the only rally car ever with a wheelbase of over 3meters!
- Further Citroën even as a works team mostly used a standard group1 version on marathon rallies. Peugeot did similar for a long time with huge success, but for Citroën it was an even more standing out fact, as this way they proved how amazingly brilliant their "everything hydraulic" concept was, especially the hydropneumatic suspension.

As a model the Citroën DS was basically an upmarket version to the innovative ID models, actually the downgraded ID came even a little later as many people found it hard to cope with these extremely innovative hydraulic gimmicks of the DS. Rallye drivers did especially not like the hydraulic brakes, because the DS' hydraulic brakes were operated through an "on/off" button in place of the pedal, called "champignon" for its looks. This made it impossible to brake in measures. Thanks God Citroën dropped this feature on the DS from 1961. But otherwise only the DS had the full selection of all these hydraulic gimmicks, the hydraulic suspension, power steering, etc.. Indeed the Citroën DS is the first car in automobile history with power steering! As well the engine choice further underlines that DS is upmarket to ID, as the most common versions were ID19, DS21 & DS23. Put a dot between the 2 digits of the numbers and you have the engine displacement in litres. Many people believe today the visible difference between ID & DS was that the ID had round "frog eye" head lights, while the DS featured modern, aerodynamic, big ones. This is not entirely correct. The ID was a simpler version with less hydraulic gimmicks, but in design there have been cross versions, i.e. early DS19 models that we note also have the "ID-lights".

There is a lot behind these futuristic cars. It is incredible to think one of Citroën's most famous designs was probably never really intended to be a Citroën. The ID/DS was originally designed by Talbot designer Walter Becchia as a replacement to the Panhard (who also had links to PSA) PL/CT models, just as this brand went under. Long term Citroën fans don't like to hear about this Panhard link, but compare the front of the Panhard CT with the modern, aerodynamic, big "DS-lights" and you find this is an eye opener, as if in the front design the Citroën DS was just a facelift of this Panhard CT! Still, one can not underline strong enough how innovative these cars were. I love it how in recent years Mercedes advertises their innovation of headlights that look round curves as they turn with the steering wheel on the expensive S-Class. Mercedes' innovation? This means it took Mercedes 40 years to copy Citroën!

As well the names need a mention, as for a long time Citroën ran a theme of 2-digit letters that were seemingly picked at random. But not for this car: ID stood for "idea" while DS in the French language sounds like "Goddess".

In the program not much changed. Like the ID the DS was used for long distance events in near standard specification. The early program was with the ID, but the DS soon ran alongside the ID and as for the "upmarket" description, you can easily see why the DS was to become the more successful one of these two versions. The ID won the Monte Carlo 1959 and very, very nearly won the ERC 1960, but it was the DS that took wins in Tour de Corse 1961 & 1963 or Finland 1962. This actually goes in line with Citroën dropping those weird on/off champignon brakes on the DS in 1961, from now on with its hydropneumatic suspension the DS was clearly the superior rally car over the already successful ID.

In fact, had there been a top manufacturers title, this would have gone to Citroën, as the ERC battle 1960 was a close call between Citroën drivers Paul Coltelloni and René Trautmann versus the sole Mercedes of Walter Schock. It was so close, that only when both Citroën crashed on the last event, the title was Schock's, with Mercedes then withdrawing from this RAC Rally 1960 in their typical sporting style. Coltelloni actually was the ERChamp of 1959, but here he kept swapping between a Citroën ID and an Alfa Giulia GTA, so not a clean Citroën claim.

The Citroën DS never got that high in the ERC ranks, but that had a simple reason and was not down to the car's abilities: Citroën later turned their back to European sprint style events in favour of marathons, a story linked back to an emberrassing Mini disqualification on the Monte 1966, that promoted Citroën to become the winners. Unlike many believe, Citroën did not at all appreciate what happened and therefore they were as well not involved with this type of events when the WRC debuted in 1973. But the first marathon victory the DS had already far earlier to its name: Liége-Sophia-Liége 1962 with Lucien Bianchi. But the probably most famous moment of Citroën in that era was as well for some unwanted, if not so controversial, curiosity: In the 1968 London-Sydney Rally Lucien Bianchi's Citroën DS convincingly lead nearly all the way only to crash out less than 100km from the finish of this 15,000km rally!

Citroën DS Related Content

Citroën DS Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Citroën DS 19 (61-66) 75/4500 150/3000 4800.1790.1470 1250 (16.7) FWD (3125)
Citroën DS 21 (66-72) 109/5500 167/3000 4800.1790.1470 1250 (11.5) FWD (3125)
Citroën DS 23 (73-75) 130/5500 205/4000 4874.1803.1470 1340 (10.3) FWD (3125)
Citroën DS 23 Proto (72-73) 190/6000 250/4500 4274.1803.1470 1120 (6.2) FWD (2580)

Random Citroën DS Photos

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Citroën DS Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
4th. 1975 WRC Rally Morocco J. Deschaseaux J. Plassard #24 [UNKNOWN] 27:32:52
3rd. 1973 WRC Rallye de Portugal F. Romaozinho J. Bernardo #20 [UNKNOWN] 6:08:48
2nd. 1973 WRC Rally Morocco B. Neyret J. Terramorsi #9 [UNKNOWN] 15:20:04
3rd. 1973 WRC Rally Morocco R. Bochnicek S. Kernmayer #21 [UNKNOWN] 15:34:37
4th. 1973 WRC Rally Morocco R. Ponnelle P. de Serpos #15 [UNKNOWN] 15:39:56
8th. 1973 WRC Rally Morocco J. Deschaseaux J. Plassard #7 [UNKNOWN] 16:48:26
6th. 1973 WRC Acropolis Rally R. Bochnicek S. Kernmayer #21 [UNKNOWN] 8:40:13

Citroën DS Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1976 WRC Rally Morocco R. Ponnelle P. de Serpos #30 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1975 WRC Rally Morocco R. Ponnelle . UNKNOWN #25 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Austrian Alpine Rally R. Bochnicek S. Kernmayer #21 [UNKNOWN] SS99 oil pipe
Ret. 1973 WRC Rallye de Portugal R. Bochnicek S. Kernmayer #27 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?
Ret. 1973 WRC Rallye de Portugal F. Romaozinho J. Bernardo #20 [UNKNOWN] SS99 ?