1955-2015: DS IS 60

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Fri, 27/02/2015 - 17:20
"From its creation in 2014, the French automotive brand DS drew on an outstanding heritage, that of the DS 19, launched 60 years ago. The legendary car embodies the values of innovation, excellence and avant-gardism. With its sister model, the SM, the DS is the ultimate symbol of French high-end automobiles.Like the 1955 DS, today’s DS models combine remarkable design, technology, comfort, performance, premium materials and refinement. As history marches on, the two letters continue to stand for the finest in automotive luxury around the world.“Yves BonnefontCEO of the DS brand

THE FATHERS OF THE DSLaunched in 1938 on an initiative from Pierre Boulanger to replace the Traction Avant in the long term, the VGD project culminated 17 years later in the launch of the DS 19 in October 1955. Three men in particular were involved in the design and development of the new model.The first one, André Lefèbvre, an aeronautical engineer by training, was a fervent proponent of front-wheel drive, as well as aerodynamics, light-weight design and mass centring. The second, Paul Magès, a self-taught engineer, was the creator of the hydraulics system. He invented the famous hydropneumatic suspension, together with the hydraulic powered steering, clutch and braking systems on the DS. Lastly, the Italian Flaminio Bertoni, a stylist, sculptor and talented painter, worked with his team to give the DS its revolutionary and elegant body styling.DÉBUT APPEARANCE FOR DS AT 1955 PARIS MOTOR SHOWThe DS made its debut at the 1955 Paris Motor Show on Thursday 6 October. Under the majestic vault of the Grand Palais, the reveal elicited both astonishment and admiration. The model’s avant-garde body design set a new benchmark immediately. Visitors and journalists succumbed to the new car’s charms, while rival carmakers could only applaud its genius. Some 12,000 DS 19 models were sold that day, but by the end of the Paris Motor Show ten days later, some 80,000 firm orders had been taken!RISE TO GLORY IN THE 1950’sDS production began on 7 October at the Javel plant in Paris (France), the day after its Paris Motor Show debut.The first models on the road turned many a head with their outstanding originality. The car’s pioneering technical and aesthetic solutions stirred endless curiosity since, not content with being a true automotive sculpture, the DS was also a concentrate of advanced technology. Its hydropneumatic suspension provided unprecedented levels of roadholding and comfort. And in an all-new safety feature, the DS 19 boasted an extremely powerful hydraulic braking system, shocking some first-time drivers with its ultra-short stopping distance.Several versions of the DS 19 were launched over the course of the 1950s. The first was the ID 19 in October 1956, followed by the estate versions and the DS 19 Prestige in 1958. The DS 19 also broke new ground that year by increasing the body paint choice from four colours to an unheard-of eight colours. The first styling upgrades came in 1959, when the body lines were refined by lengthening the rear wings and adding large, ashtray-style air vents to the front wings.The DS 19 enjoyed a highly international career right from the word go, assembled in the UK and Belgium from 1956 and in South Africa starting in 1959. As a symbol of French elegance and avant-garde, the car was exported across Western Europe, to almost all the Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia, and to the United States, where it garnered a large base of die-hard fans. [...]
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