A collection of historic DS models is on display at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, celebrating the firm's 60th anniversary

DS is certainly making headlines in 2015. It has formally split from parent company Citroën, launched its own bespoke model in the form of the facelifted DS 5 and is also celebrating its 60th anniversary.

It's for the last of those reasons that the collection of historic DS models you see above is gathered at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend. The six models on show stretch from the earliest version of the DS, to the model’s glory days in 1960s and the facelift that produced the famous swivelling headlights, as well as the final fuel-injected versions.

Though highly sophisticated, the DS, and the less complex ID, were also hugely popular, with over 1.3 million examples over its 21-year life.

A star of films and fashion shoots alike, the DS not only impressed critics with the clean beauty of its highly original design, but also an engineering approach that reinvented almost every aspect of the car apart from its engine. With that in mind, it's no wonder PSA Peugeot Citroën is keen to rekindle the brand, complete with its new 'Spirit of Avant Garde' tagline.

1957 Citroën DS 19 Berline

The original DS 19 was unveiled at the Paris motor show in 1955, with its reveal to the media timed to coordinate with dozens of examples being driven onto the streets of Paris. The marketing stunt worked, and over 12,000 orders had been placed by the end of the car's first day on sale.

Featuring advanced technology including hydraulic self-leveling suspension, semi-automatic transmission, aerodynamic bodywork, powered steering and disc brakes, the DS's sculptured lines earned it the title of "the most beautiful car of all time" from Classic & Sports Car magazine.

1958 Citroën DS 19 Coupé Le Paris

Another example of the DS 19, this Le Paris model is the hard-top version of the La Croisette Cabriolet. Notable features include the verticle chrome strip which runs from the rear of the roof to the floor. This covers a join in the bodywork, evidence that the car is in fact based on the DS 19 Berline. Only nine examples of the car were ever built, and just three survive today.

1964 Citroën DS 19 M Decapotable

The DS 19 M Decapotable was the first convertible DS model to be sold officially through Citroën's extensive dealer network. While most DS models came with a hydraulic transmission, the M designation on this car denotes that it has a four-speed manual gearbox.

1968 Citroën DS 21 Decapotable Usine

This DS 21 model features a new interpretation of DS's 'shark nose' grille, a change made for the 1967 model year. It features four lights mounted behind its front panels, two of which turned with the steering wheel, while the other two were linked to the suspension system in order to maintain a level light beam.

1973 Citroën DS 21 Familiale

In 1958, three years after the launch of its first DS model, the firm introduced a more spacious and practical version of the original 'Berline' model, dubbed the Familiale. Offered in both seven and nine-seat forms, the Familiale was popular as an ambulance conversion and some models were also converted for use as hearses. This late 1973 model comes with luxuries including air conditioning and a sunroof.

1973 Citroën DS 23ie Berline

Citroën replaced the ageing DS 21 with the DS 23 in 1972, with the newer model now powered by a 2.3-litre engine which could be ordered with up to 141bhp when fitted with a fuel injection, as in this example. The DS 23 would only last until 1974, however, when it was replaced by the Citroën CX. However, strong demand kept production going well into 1975. 

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Goodwood Festival of Speed 2015 gallery

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Our Verdict


The Citroën DS3 is an upmarket, stylish supermini, but does it have what it takes to beat the Mini?

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26 June 2015
The original DS was and is a remarkable car that not only impressed critics with the clean beauty of its highly original design, but also an engineering approach that reinvented almost every aspect of the car apart from its engine. With that in mind, it's no wonder PSA Peugeot decided to milk the marketing of just the appearance of the original in a cynical marketing exercise and ignore all the advanced engineering which was actually the car's real legacy and contribution to the brand.
A bit like deciding to watch 'Come Dine With Me' instead of going to dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant- and then being charged the same.

26 June 2015
I fondly recall going with my twin brother ,age 7,with my father to the Glasgow Motor Show in November 1955 and seeing the DS,it was amazing for the time compared to everything else.Think of Austin and Morris of that year.The Jaguars were nice though.It started me on a love affair with cars,which my brother and I have enjoyed to this day.Wonderful!


27 June 2015
Bright ideas they may have been but they made no money which, for any business, is what matters.

27 June 2015
Citroen kept in business for 60 years at least by being more advanced than everyone else, so they obviously made money. What cost them in the end was poor reliability-leading to withdrawing from the US market. The same thing that happened to arch-conservative non avant-garde Peugeot- and nearly took out the UK's current 'prestige' favorite, Audi, in the States as well.It was high technology and leading the field and doing it different and better that SOLD Citroens to buyers, not pretending they had it and copying everyone else. The DS reputation was BEING advanced and futuristic and unlike everyone else, not just LOOKING trendy. And when it was carried out properly it made lots of money.

27 June 2015
They were taken over as the settlement of a bad debt by the Michelin tyre company who eventually had to sell the business. It had proved extraordinarily difficult to combine these bright ideas in dependable form with a price enough people were prepared to pay. Looking back never does any good.

27 June 2015
The DS was a gloriously good-looking car, and I especially like the Familiale versions, as, for me, tends to be the case with most cars. Although I have never owned an estate car I have been a fan of them since loving to ride in the boot as a kid, a pleasure now sadly denied to the unfortunate youngsters of today. As regards the modern DS models, they are nothing but tarted-up versions of standard Citroëns, cars for fashion victims, without even the tenuous link to the historic cars which Minis and Fiat 500s have.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left


27 June 2015
One very special DS which is sadly missing is the "K" model - a commodious estate featuring fold-out beds with wipe-down fabrics, sliding mirror trays, thick curtains and of course, extra-firm self-levelling suspension. Vive La Republique!

29 June 2015
Citroen started making cars in 1919! Not 1955.

I have owned a Dyane, three GS, a CX Familiale, A Visa with a 2 cylinder engine, a new ZX 1.9D which did 100,000 miles with very little trouble.
And I drove a borrowed DS 23 for several thousand miles.

The early cars were plagued by rust. But so was every other steel bodied car in the 60's and 70's.

I rate the GS as a wonderful small car for its time, complicated and difficult to maintain, but comfortable, excellent at cruising on main roads in the 80's (mph) and brilliant in snow with its narrow tyres. The Dyane an excellent cheap convertible!

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