Cars after 1950 - Modern Times
Citroën DS 23 Pallas
Body style: saloon
Following in the footsteps of the 5CV and the Rosalie, the Traction Avant and the 2 CV, the Quai de Javel design office was again the scene for the development of one of the most original cars in the first century of motoring. The Citroën stand at the 1955 Paris Motor Show was overrun by visitors desperate to discover the next big roadster. Speechless spectators watched the model rotating slowly on a turntable, in a champagne livery with an aubergine roof.
Its styling was immediately striking – smoothly designed, with components whose perfect shape seemed to hold them in place all on their own. It appeared to be made for speed but without aggression. Although the engine was fairly traditional, everything else was new – the automatic clutch, power-assisted steering, disk brakes and hydropneumatic suspension that gave the impression of floating on air.
12,000 orders were taken on that very first day, and similar numbers the following days, but production only started in 1956, the year the simplified ID version came out. The DS and the ID continued to evolve and Citroën sold nearly 1,200,000 units. This 1975 DS Pallas is one of the last ever to have been built.
The DS is an acknowledged work of art and is displayed in La Triennale di Milano and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
General Charles de Gaulle used a DS, which helped him escape the Petit Clamart assassination attempt. It kept on driving, despite its punctured tyres.
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