Revolutionary cars don’t come along every day. The automotive industry is all about incrementing its way ahead by redesigning and improving upon what’s already been built. Playing it safe and guarding long-term interests is the name of the game. For OEMs with shareholders it’s best to not rock the boat.
But when the Citroën DS landed on the market in 1955 it must have looked like something from the Zeta Reticuli, not a terrestrial automaker. Its sleek body and flowing lines appear futuristic even today.
At the time the DS offered a literal boatload of cutting-edge features – from how it was designed and constructed to the way rode and drove. Its headline element was an advanced hydropneumatic suspension system that treated passengers to a butter cream-smooth ride – like floating on frosting. The DS’s fancy suspenders were even height-adjustable and load-leveling. Top that, Land Rover!
The French get no respect. All too often they’re the butt of jokes from Americans or Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. But like a Monet painting, a gothic cathedral or a Grand Cru Burgundy wine, in its day the Citroën DS was the pinnacle of its field, which is why there’s space for one of these quirky cars in my dream garage.