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Citroen DS 19 (1955 – 1975)

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Citroen DS 19 (1955 – 1975)

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The Goddess of classic cars

The Citroen DS was long awaited. It was the replacement for the much loved Traction Avant, first produced in 1934 and one of the most advanced cars of its time. The retro sci-fi styling was by Flaminio Bertoni, an Italian craftsman, painter, sculptor and architect who set up Citroën’s first design studio soon after he arrived in Paris in 1931. Bertoni was also responsible for the  Citroen’s 2CV in 1948, which was still made in the same Paris factory 42 years later. Another of his designs was the corrugated HY van which unbelievably enjoyed a 33-year run of production, on sale between 1947 and 1981.

The Citroen DS was elegant yet unconventional with original looks, avant-garde interior design, hydropneumatic suspension and hydraulic assistance. There really wasn’t anything else like it. Debuting at the Pars Motor Show in June 1955, it achieved 750 sales in 45 minutes, 12,000 in just one day, and almost 80,000 by the end of the show.

Years Produced1955 - 1975
Performance0 - 60mph 22sec / Top Speed - 88mph
Power & Torque 75bhp / 101Ib ft
Engine1911cc / four cylinder / 8 valves
Drive-train Front engine FWD
TransmissionFour speed manual

Get a quote on a Classic Citroen

The Citroen DS was a car ahead of its time, although prices don’t particular show this – it’s a bit of a bargain.

A Buyer’s Guide – Citroen DS 19 (1955 – 1975)

Citroen DS 19 photo for vital statistics, classic car insurance

Citroen DS 19, Copyright of tommy japan, Flickr

Here are some tips on what to look for when searching for a Citroen DS.

  • The DS outer panel are cosmetic; it’s the main structure that matters, although you really want to check all panels for rust of course. The most important parts structurally are the side rails; check them from underneath for signs of corrosion as this could mean major repair work. Open the boot to see if there is any corrosion in the floor as well as the rear wing gutters. Once removed, you can check suspension cylinder brackets and the rear section of the inner wings for corrosion. It’s worth looking through the car’s history to see the standard of remedial work previously completed. Bonnets are durable as they are aluminium – door bottoms however can rust horrendously, as can front and rear wings. At least the roof won’t rust – it’s fibreglass.
  • With reliable four cylinder engines and a less powerful 1911cc, it’s good for at least 150,000 miles before any problems tend to surface. Any engines faults tend to be top end, with bottom end work rarely required.
  • Ensure the correct level of anti freeze, to prevent cracks in the alloy head between the combustion chambers. If the timing chain is noisy it’s an engine out job to fit a new chain and tensioner.
  • Gear changes seem complex, but are reliable if set up correctly. There’s a clutch operating cylinder, centrifugal regulator, clutch re-engagement control, gear brain and gear selection cylinders.
  • The hydropneumatic suspension and braking system are bomb proof providing they are well maintained. Corroded pipe work is a common problem and leaks usually occur by the near side wheel arch the only real solution is a new set of pipes at around £300 for the main loom which is the most likely culprit.
  • The DS was the first production car with all-round disc brakes; changing them is a 12 hour job though – even pads take 2 hours! These should be Ferodo as cheap pads can prematurely wear the discs. Upholestry is hard-wearing but the top of the back seats can deteriorate from being in the sun.

Insurance quotes for a Citroen DS 19 (1955 – 1975)

This classic Citroen DS is cheap to insure so you can protect all that glamour for very little cost. At Heritage we include both our in-house agreed value service and salvage retention at no extra cost, and with limited mileage and club member discounts, our annual fully Comprehensive policy proves excellent value for money. Here are some typical examples of how little your insurance could cost:

  • Fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 60

Annual premium – £84.95 with a £175 accidental damage excess

  • Fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 45

Annual premium – £84.95 with a £175 accidental damage excess

  • Fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 30

Annual premium – £101.92 with a £200 accidental damage excess

*NB All insurance quotes above are based on the same criteria: The vehicle is garaged overnight. Accident, claim and conviction free and limited mileage of 3,000 miles per annum with full use of a main car daily. All quotations based on an Agreed Value of £15,000. Prices may alter depending on individual criteria. Quote carried out March 2016.

Interesting fact

Nylon, a new material in 1955, was used in the earliest Citroen DS models radiator fan and dashboards.

Mark Wilkinson (Managing Director of Heritage Classic Car Insurance)

“The DS is equipped with engineering features ahead of its time and an astonishing design inside and out. Aided by its spaceship looks and avant-garde interior, it’s a true icon and rightfully so.”

insuring a Citroen DS 19 (1955 – 1975)