DS AUTOMOBILES AT RÉTROMOBILE, THE PAST GUIDING THE FUTURE
For its third Rétromobile show, DS Automobiles is showing off its futuristic DS E-Tense, the uniquely DS vision of Grand Tourisme to come, alongside five DS and SM collection models, inviting visitors to a colourful time-travel experience.
In their carefully contrasted and truly magnificent liveries of flame red, bright blue, golden beige, sophisticated black and Amétrine green, the cars on show (courtesy of the Amicale Citroën & DS France club along with DS and SM enthusiasts’ clubs*) sum up the very essence of French art de vivre. Come and see the past, present and future of DS for yourself at the Rétromobile show, running from 8 to 12 February at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre in Paris.
“In its values of innovation, excellence and avant-garde design, the French automotive brand DS draws explicit inspiration from its illustrious forebear, the DS 19, which, with its sister the SM, stands as the timeless quintessence of French motoring luxury. In showing our latest creation —DS E-Tense— at the 42nd Rétromobile show alongside some perfect examples of these historic models we’re asserting our attachment to the timelessly harmonious interweave between exceptional design and advanced technology, between comfort and vitality, between fine traditional materials and modern sophistication.” Yves Bonnefont, DS Brand CEO.
The Rétromobile show is the number-one unmissable annual event for historic car enthusiasts everywhere. This year it runs from 8 to 12 February at the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre in Paris. At a stand measuring 400 square metres in Hall 1, DS Automobiles will be showing some of its finest heritage models. And the pace-setting DS and SM models of days gone by are sharing the stage with the up-to-the minute DS E-Tense, the latest incarnation of the same avant-garde. So visitors are invited to a delightfully colourful trip back in time with DS and SM, plus a tantalizing glimpse into the future with DS E-Tense. It all adds up to a great outing, and a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet up with experts and members of collectors’ clubs.
THE STRIKING COLOURS OF AN EXCEPTIONALLY EYE-CATCHING SELECTION
“As any woman will tell you, a car means so much more than just engines and gearboxes and stuff. What matters is the design and the colour. Sure, you can’t judge a book by looking at its cover, but you sure can judge a car by looking at the bodywork. […] The range of car colours is charted out with meticulous care, a little like a fashion designer plans the colours of his next collection […]”**. Looking at the DS Automobiles selection for this, its third Rétromobile, someone seems to have taken that to heart.
- DS 21 Cabriolet Export US, from September 1966: a glowing jewel of a car. Thanks to the Amicale Citroën & DS France association, visitors to this year’s Rétromobile will enjoy a rare glimpse of a DS Cabriolet: only 121 of this particular model —DS 21 Cabriolet 1967— were made. The 2,175 cc engine, developing 100 bhp DIN (109 SAE) at 5,500 rpm, is coupled through a four-speed hydraulic gearbox and a five-bearing crankshaft. Though this US version differs very little from its French counterpart, distinguishing features (added to comply with US regulations) include prominent front indicators and small, round rear indicators coupled with the sidelights. With its glistening Ruby Red body —code name AC 416— this truly exceptional car turns heads wherever it roams. One of its many innovations was that it introduced the use of mineral oil (LHM) in its hydraulic circuit, instead of the synthetic oil (LHS) used previously. From August 1966, all DS and ID models would use this new green-coloured liquid, which was much more stable than the previous oil under the car’s particular pressure and temperature conditions. The motoring press of the time was unanimous in praising DS Cabriolet as the ultimate in French luxury.
- DS 23 IE Pallas, Air-Conditioned, Black, from 1974: the last word in refinement. The DS 23 IE, shown here with kind support from the Idéale DS France club, appeared in the catalogue of late 1975 models. It rolled off the Javel production line on 22 November 1974. This is the highly sophisticated top-end Pallas version, with equipment seen as exceptional for the epoch: pre-equipped for Autoclima air-conditioning, leather-covered steering wheel, chrome trims, turning headlamps, etc. Its engine is the most powerful in the DS range. This flagship of French luxury motoring was sold in Avignon, and would travel the roads of France, with at least three different owners at the wheel, till 2013, with its original livery, topping 400,000 kilometres on the clock. In 2013, when it was bought by its current owner, in the Paris region, DS professionals offered it a well-earned rejuvenation. It returned to the road in May 2016, with its majestic black coat attracting admiring gazes from all who cross its path.
- DS 20 Estate, Delta Blue, from 1975: metallic sparkle. This DS 20 Estate Confort from 1975, on show here thanks to DS-ID Club de France and DS Club Révolution 55, is one of the last of its kind produced. The interior finish quality and ingenious versatility were quite remarkable for the period: the rear bench folds down to produce a large flat floor, and there are fold-up seats for taking two additional passengers. The Jersey Blue interior is a perfect match to the splendid metallic Delta Blue body —code name AC 640—, as indeed is the Pink-Grey roof (AC 136).
- SM Export Japan, Tholonet Beige, from 1972: rare and sophisticated. The SM Export Japan model show here by Euro SM Club is one of the 134 SM cars imported to Japan by Seibu Motors Sale, exclusive retailer in the seventies. The interior is in brown leather, an ideal match with the Tholonet Beige body, and the equipment includes tinted windows, radio and air conditioning. True to the car’s exceptional capabilities, the engine is a 2,965 cc Maserati unit coupled through a Borg Warner Type 35 automatic gearbox. This model resembles the US version, except for the front wing indicators, exclusive to the Japanese model. And there’s no frontal glazing on the four round headlamps. This rare and ultra-sophisticated 1972 model was carefully preserved by Seibu Motors Sale personnel until its recent return to the 15th arrondissement of Paris, where it was made in the seventies. The SM and DS shared the same assembly and finishing lines, as well a common design background.
- SM Carburateur, Red Black Roof, from 1971: striking contrast for striking effect. This SM, shown here thanks to SM Club de France, took the daring design stance of sporting a bright red body topped by a black roof. This unexpected colour combination was the one-off customization choice of its owner; in the catalogue of the time the SM Carburateur was available in Rio Red, Grenada Red or Black. This handsome model celebrates the refinements of French excellence with an exclusive Italian touch. The grand sports coupé style inspired a whole generation. The harmonious yet muscular outline evokes speed and power. And the car achieved the prowess of excellent roadholding plus aerodynamic performance (thanks to its sleek design with swept-back headlamps and no grille). In addition, the track was narrower at the rear than at the front, making for a smoother airflow. Driving was superbly safe and stable, thanks to hydraulic suspension, perfected over a sixteen-year research programme, attitude correction, front and rear axle systems and power braking. The front-wheel-drive car seats four very comfortably. It’s powered by a 2,670 cc Maserati V6 engine with four overhead camshafts and three dual-body carburettors. The suspension is hydro-pneumatic, and the hydraulic power steering adjusts automatically to vehicle speed. Those are just some of the features adding up to make this such an extraordinary car.
DS E-Tense: unique, electrifying and powerful. The utterly unique DS E-Tense is nothing less than foresight into the DS Grand Tourisme vision, a prism for viewing the DS future, with its characteristic emphasis on advanced technology and refinement. DS E-Tense foreshadows the DS to come, blending authentic, time-honoured craftsmanship with the sort of creativity opened up by the most innovative digital systems. DS stylists fashioned every last tiny detail to carve the epitome of a high-performance GT. With its avant-garde personality, DS E-Tense harnesses the latest technologies to rise above design clichés. The voluptuous grille and futuristic dashboard were produced by parametric design techniques borrowed from the worlds of haute couture and architecture. It took eight hundred hours of work to complete the cockpit, whose incomparable atmosphere benefits from expert input from leathercraft specialists Moynat, watchmakers BRM Chronographes and acoustics experts Focal. The deep, intense, crystalline Amétrine Green body magnifies the car’s sculptural presence. And the interior elegance is amplified by a colour scheme featuring blue-tinted green-grey leather and polished green panels. Under its exceptionally elegant bodywork, DS E-Tense has everything it takes join the select high-performance GT clique, with a powerful electric drivetrain developing 402 bhp with torque of 516 Nm and a travel range of more than 300 km.
TIME-TRAVEL SOUVENIRS FROM DS SHOP
Just steps away from the Belles exhibited in the DS Automobiles area of the Rétromobile show, visitors can stop off at the Adventure Peugeot, Citroën & DS Shop to choose a souvenir of their colourful time-travel experience. There’s a large choice of miniatures of historic DS and SM cars, DS E-Tense and current models: something for everyone, occasional enthusiasts and long-term collectors, young and old alike. Alternatively, there’s a superb range of clothing and accessories in the DS colours.
* DS and SM clubs at the DS Automobiles stand at Rétromobile (Hall 1):
- Amicale Citroën & DS France, with a DS 21 Cabriolet Export US from 1967
- DS-ID Club de France and DS Club Révolution 55, with a DS 20 Estate Confort from 1975
- Club Idéale DS France, with a DS 23 IE Pallas from 1975
- Euro SM Club, with an SM Export Japan from 1972
- SM Club de France, with an SM Carburettor from 1971
** Extract from a Citroën publication entitled How the DS is Painted, from 22 March 195X (last figure of year illegible on the archive document)