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Evolution of a Goddess: Citroen ID/DS brochures, 1960s

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Images are from the brochure collection of Hemmings Motor News

As we posited in “Earthbound Spaceship,” our Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car retrospective of the Citroen DS, this front wheel-drive French classic may just be the most groundbreaking, technologically advanced production car in all of automotive history. Citroen’s flagship four-door was in production for 20 years, but that entire time, it seemed out-of-time, never ascribing to typical fashions or bound by contemporary technology.

It was neat to discover two Citroen brochures in the Hemmings archive folder, and they’re of particular interest because they show the car in both its early and late specifications, the latter representing the specifications of versions sold overseas. The first piece, bearing the stamp of a Pennsylvania imported car dealer, focuses on the ID 19 -the smaller-engined, less complex DS variant- and while it’s not dated, it appears to be from the late 1950s or early 1960s. The artwork in this brochure highlights the car’s unique eye-level rear lamps, along with the early dashboard design, and the text lists many of the car’s key selling points.


The second brochure is dated “9-69,” shows the DS in rest-of-world form, wearing those beautiful feline, glass-covered, swiveling quartz iodine headlamps that completely changed the car’s frontal aspect. While the images shown within highlight the DS sedan and station wagon -called “Break” in its native France, or as seen in this U.K.-spec brochure, “Safari”- the brochure also includes the Chapron-built Décapotable/Cabriolet. Indeed, the Safari shown is very similar to the 1974 model that met a fiery end in the spooky Seventies Disney classic, The Watcher in the Woods.


It’s interesting to see much variety the DS range would later offer, and how powerful the DS would become: the earlier brochure claimed all of 66 hp and a maximum 85 MPH from the ID’s Solex 34-carbureted 1,911-cc/ inline four, while the the DS 21 Injection offered 139 hp (SAE-rated) and 118 MPH from its electronically fuel-injected 2,175-cc/ inline-four. Early or late, these cars truly were like nothing else on the road, and remain absolutely unique today.

Excuse the size limitations of our scanner, and click on the brochure images below to enlarge.