Classic car lovers were blowing out the candles this weekend at a special party to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the world’s most famous cars, the iconic Citroen DS.
Some 80 models, including a DS Safari first owned by Sir Alec Guinness and a DS 19 shipped over specially from Australia, came together at Citroen UK’s Head Office in Slough, just down the road from the site of the old Citroen factory where the D-Series rolled off the production line between 1956 and 1966.
The wide representation of DS models on proud display including four stunning ‘Chapron’ convertibles, five ‘Safari’ Estates and a true speciality; a converted open top four-door DS with a powerful 170hp V6 Citroen-Maserati engine!
The event also saw the return of ‘Buttercup’, a unique DS 19 built at Citroen’s Slough factory in 1957 before being shipped to Australia. The car is the oldest UK-built DS in everyday use, averaging 20,000km a year, and surely the only one in existence with ‘kangaroo safety bars’!
With its crisp, powerful lines, and featuring technology that was completely ahead of its time, the DS or ‘Goddess’ (Déesse means Goddess in French) was the highlight of the 1955 Paris Motor Show. Excited crowds flocked to the Citroen stand to gain a first glimpse of the new car, resulting in an incredible 12,000 orders by the end of the first day. In total, some 1.5 million were sold during its 20 years of production.
Designed by the Italian designer Flaminio Bertoni, the DS had a wide range of admirers including Brigitte Bardot and Charles de Gaulle, whose choice of the car for his presidential fleet saved his life - despite suffering two shot-out tyres during an assassination attempt in 1962, the presidential DS sped away to safety, helped greatly by its revolutionary hydropneumatic suspension system.
The Golden Anniversary of the DS occurs, aptly enough, as the Company prepares to launch the latest in a long line of large, executive Citroens. The new C6 is perfectly placed to follow in the steps of the DS, with its head-turning, aerodynamic styling, its high levels of refinement and a use of innovative technology that includes the latest generation hydropneumatic suspension and swivelling headlamps.Published 23 October 2005