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Guided Visit : DS

 

Our DS exposed

All the DS and ID fulfill the requirements of very low mileage and absolute original condition (except convertibles).

* DS 19 /1955 N°32 (69780 Km)

* DS 19 / 1957

* DS 19 /1958 (62558 Km)

* DS 19 /1958 (27746 Km)

* DS 19 /1959 (41137 Km)

* DS 19 /1961 (37069 Km)

* ID 19p /1963 (27348 Km)

* DS 19 /1963 (18659 Km)

* DS 21 Cabriolet /1966 (147174 Km)

* ID 19 Commerciale /1966 (50320 Km)

* ID 19 Ambulance

* DS 19 /1967 (42191 Km)

* DS 19 Pallas /1967 (11530 Km)

* DS 21 /1967 (11505 Km)

* DS 21 /1967 (46466 Km)

* DS 21 /1967 (68894 Km)

* ID 19 /1968 (39919Km)

* DS 21M / 1969 (66171Kms)

* DSuper /1970 (50638 Km)

* DS 21 IE / 1971 (8735 Kms)

* DS 21 IE Cabriolet /1972 (57275 Km)

* DS 20 /1973 (45349 Km)

* DS 23 Pallas /1973 (19151 Km)

* DS 23IE /1973 (22150 Km)

* DSuper 5/1974 (42952 Km)

* DS 20 Préfecture /1974 (36626 Km)

 
 

THE OLDEST DS IN THE WORLD KNOW TODAY

 DS 19 de 1955 Chassis n°32. 69082 Km.

 

 

 

 

MODEL:

The genius of this car is that it came out in 1955 with the following features:

1. Hydropneumatic suspension with ride height correction, whatever the load.
2. Power steering
3. Hydraulically operated gearchange and clutch (4 speeds on a control near the steering wheel, no clutch pedal).
4.  Front disc brakes, the first production car so equipped. Furthermore, braking was assisted and brake force was distributed according to the load in the vehicle.

The novel bodywork was also revolutionary:

1. Aerodynamics: no front grille, completely smooth underside.
2.  Interior: room to stretch legs in the back
3.  Comfort: exceptional due to seats and Dunlopillo carpets
4.  Equipment: single-spoke steering wheel, futuristic dashboard, a proper heater, foot-operated parking brake.
5.  Even the fixation of the wheels with a single central nut was novel.

On the other hand, the engine was a classic 4 cylinder 3-bearing 1911cc motor derived from the one in the Traction Avant, 75Ch at 4,500rpm, used until 1961.

The DS no.32 has a number of details that differentiate it from the 1.455 million produced. Its evolution continued during the 20 years of production, here are the first and most obvious detail differences:

1.  The assembly lines were not completed until February 1956. This DS was assembled entirely by hand. Thus most of its mechanical components and body parts were numbered by being hand struck.
2.  In common with the first 200 or so cars produced, it does not have a ride height control lever (this appeared in February 1956). So there are no studs on the longerons and no holes in the longeron coverings. Changing a wheel was by a traditional jack.
3.  A lock was only present on the right front door (absent on the left), just like on a Traction Avant, up to May 1956. Not very convenient !
4.  The steering wheel was wrapped in vinyl thread before being wrapped in tape from April 1957.
5.  The front lower bodywork was embossed up to May 1957.
6.  The exhaust was central and finished in a ‘carp tail’ trim up to February 1958.
7.  The reflector trim on the rear wing had a red stripe, until May 1958.

Production for the year in 1955: 175 cars
Price at the time: 930,000 old Francs = 1,417 Euros
Minimum monthly wage at the time: 21,839 old Francs = 33 Euros

HISTORY:

On 6th October 1955, in the first few minutes of the opening of the Salon (show), the director of the foundry of Bourg Les Valence ordered the 32nd DS. 12,000 orders were taken on the first day, 80,000 during the whole time of the Salon. The assembly line did not start until November. The car was delivered on 19th December by the dealership Minodier in Valence, under the registration plate 634 BW 26 which it will keep throughout its history (see the copy of the prefecture archive records).

After a year and a half of use and a number of hydraulic problems, it was taken back by the Minodier garage on 21st June 1957 with 10,000km on the clock.

M. Savel, one of the mechanics, prepared the DS for sale for a second time. In June 1958, a grocer from Valence, M Maisonny placed an order for a 2CV van. At that time, it was common to have to wait several years for delivery of a new 2CV. He was advised that the waiting time would be reduced if he also bought a second-hand car. He therefore takes on DS no.32, which had been lingering for a year in the dealership. He would go on to use it for leisure and for long holidays in the Var. The rest of the time, it would be kept in a garage.

By 1970, it had covered 32,000 km. M. Maisonny decided to buy a new GS. These first GS’s were eagerly awaited, with customers lining up to place an order. Citroen-Valence only offered him 100 Francs for this old uninteresting DS. Our grocer declined the offer. He kept the DS with no further use until March 1984.

A common practice at Citroen at the time was to approach customers at their home in order to sell them a new car. This is what a salesman called M. Kaminski did, having become the dealer for Romans. He understood the historical significance of the vehicle and took it back for the sum of 14,000 Francs.

He sorted out the leaks caused by immobilisation and gave it a complete respray, to display it next to an SM in his garage in the centre of Romans. It was repainted black in error, when its original colour was Aubergine.

Having learned of the existence of the DS in 1985, I went to this old dealership, but M Kaminski did not want to sell then. In the summer of 1991, I was working in Norway and it was a Dutchman, Martin Boersma, who got to take the car on the road as far as Eindhoven. He had a museum for 13 years with thousands of DS models and this was the only full size car. He never drove it again.

Finally in December 2004, I was successful in attaining this pearl and put it on a trailer back to its country of origin. I became the 5th and final owner.

To my luck, it was never registered in Holland and so kept its registration plate from its very first day. After this very long period of immobilisation, the mechanical parts were seized. I had to revise everything ready for a road-test carried out by Auto-Journal for the 50th Anniversary of the DS (. Ever since, I review and take it out every Autumn when the museum is closed.

 

 

Cric pour les premières DS

En l'absence de commande manuelle de hauteur, le changement de roue s'effectue de façon classique (style 2CV), en plaçant le bras de ce cric dans un des 4 carrés de la caisse prévus à cet effet. Ces derniers ont d'ailleurs existé jusqu'à la fin de la production. Leur présence était utile en atelier, car on pouvait y placer une rallonge qui servait de point d'appui pour soulever la DS.

La commande manuelle de hauteur apparaît en février 1956, donc peu de voiture ont été munies de ce cric, on en connaît 3 aujourd'hui, la n°191 de Mr TAFFIN, la ELV 31 et la 32.

Il se rangeait sur l'aile avant droite, une patte sur le porte bidon et un carré permettaient sa fixation. Michel LEFEBVRE du bureau d'étude de l'époque m'a signalé une anecdote à ce sujet. Lors d'un essai sur une EL, ce cric était tombé de son emplacement pour venir bloquer la barre de direction. Il avait signalé ce problème et fait placer (sur les modèles à commande de hauteur) la barre et sa manivelle sous la roue de secours.

 
 
 
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