The CitroŽn D Series

La Dťesse - The Goddess

Models and Price Guide
Resources in Europe
Pros and Cons
Medusa, Lilith and Pandora
DS References in Film, TV & Music
Links


Models and Price Guide

From 1955 to 1975 CitroŽn produced a car, the look of which has never been matched. Here is a table of the various models they produced, and some idea of the cars relative values. All prices are in French Francs and come from a 1995 French car magazine.

Model

Body

Notes

Engine

Dates

 

Poor

Excellent

ID19 Saloon Red Liquid 1911 cc 63-66   4500 25000
ID19/20 Saloon Green Liquid 1985 cc 67-69   3000 18000
D Spťcial/Super Saloon   1985 cc 70-75   2000 16000
D Super 5/DS 21M Saloon   2175 cc 73-74   4000 19000
DS19 Saloon   1911 cc 56-62   6000 35000
DS19 Saloon   1911 cc 63-66   3500 30000
DS19 Pallas Saloon Red Liquid 1985 cc 65-66   4500 32000
DS19/20 Pallas Saloon   1985 cc 67-75   6500 24000
DS19/20 Saloon   1985 cc 67-75   3000 19000
DS21 Saloon Red Liquid 2175 cc 66   5000 35000
DS21 Pallas Saloon Green Liquid 2175 cc 67   6000 39000
DS21 Pallas Saloon   2175 cc 68-72   6000 32000
DS21 Pallas Saloon Injection (EFI) 2175 cc 70-72   6000 40000
DS21/23 Saloon Carburettor 2175/2347 68-75   6000 30000
DS23 Pallas Saloon Injection (EFI) 2347 cc 73-75   10000 50000
DS19/21/23 Prestige Sťparation   1985-2347 62-74   25000 75000
DS19/21 Cabriolet Sťrie   1985/2175 61-71   90000 190000
DS23 Break/Familiale Estate aka Safari 2347 cc 73-75   5000 25000

The values are somewhat higher in Britain and less distinction is made between the models. The following values come from the March 1997 issues of 'Classic Cars' and 'Classic & Sports Car' with the former magazine giving the lower values:

Model

Style

 

Dates

Poor (no MOT)

Good (with MOT)

Excellent

DS19 Saloon   56-65 £2000/3000 £4000/5000 £6000/6800
ID19 Saloon   57-66 £2000/3000 £4000/5000 £6000/6800
DS Dťcapotable Chapron fhcs   63-71 £3500/9000 £7000/17000 £12500/23000
DS Safari Estate   57-68 £1500/2800 £2500/5000 £4000/7500
DS Safari Estate   68-75 £1500/2800 £3000/5000 £5000/7500
DS19/20/21 Saloon   66-75 £2000/2800 £4000/5000 £6000/7500
DS23 Pallas Saloon   73-75 £2000/4500 £4000/7500 £6000/10000

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Resources in Europe

Andrew Brodie Engineering Ltd. (London) by Andrew Brodie (0181 459 3725).

Euroclassique Limited by Mike Beckerman (01255 240852). Harwish, Essex. Website under construction.

French Classics (Kent) by Olivier Houiller (01474 703125).

Harry Martens Limmen. Gearboxes for the Dseries bvm and bvh ,all types,4 and 5 speed , complete reviewd with new bearings. Also parts and repairs. Harry Martens Limmen De Wieken 22 1906 DC Limmen The Netherlands tel. 0031725055570 fax. 0031848329763 email. info@harrymartens.tmfweb.nl

Retromobile (London)

Norman Tremellen & Co. (020-7283 2525) can insure your D for around £300 (ungaraged) for comprehensive insurance with a 6000 mile limit and an agreed value of £10000 without using up your NCB (just over £200 for a 3000 mile limit). You must have another vehicle available and need to join the CitroŽn Car Club to get preferential prices.

The CitroŽn Car Club.

Hughes Number Plates (01275-333856) charges £17.80 for a pair of pressed aluminium number plates (silver on black) with 3 1/8" digits (suitable for vehicles first registered before 1 January 1973). The plates are usually put in the post the following day. Other styles are available.

Guy Pursey (01372-458625) sells modern head light units for £64. You have to send him the old ones so he can salvage the fixing brackets.

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Pros and Cons

The CitroŽn DS isn't necessarily the best choice of car if all you want is a mode of transport. If I could buy a modern car with as much style and individuality, but with fuel economy, safety, comfort and performance as well then I'd go for it. But I can't. And certainly not for less than £10,000. To give you an idea what I mean I'll list both its good and bad quirks.

The shape!

The style!

Driving lights which look round the corners when you turn the steering wheel. This is only available on the later models (post 1967). The earlier models are nicknamed frog-eyes [jpeg]. Note that most frog-eyes only have one pair of lights.

The hydraulic suspension which rises up when you turn on the engine like a hovercraft. However, don't buy a D which uses red hydraulic fluid, rather than green LHM, unless you're really set on it. As far as I understand, red fluid has to be changed every 6 months irrespective of mileage or the system starts to corrode. LHM only needs to be occasionally topped up. LHM was used in D's from September, 1966 so there are a few 'frog eyes' which use it.

The semi-automatic gear box is a challenge to master, but is great fun to use.

The comfy chairs. The interior feels like a living room suite. There are central arm rests inbetween both the back and front seats. (My new car is missing the central arm rest from the front).

Decent performance. Top speed is at least 100mph and long distances can be comfortably travelled at 80mph.

Despite a minimum age of 21, many D's have a low mileage (less than 100,000 km).

A D is exempt from road tax (along with other historic vehicles) if it was constructed before 1st January 1973.

but

The fuel consumption. I used to get about 25 miles per gallon.

The 'hand' brake (which is applied with the foot but release with the hand). If you have a manual gearbox then hill starts on a cold engine can be difficult. Hill starts are fine unless you have to stop again, in which case you find yourself trying to keep one foot on the accelerator to keep the engine running, one foot on the clutch because the car is still in gear, leaving no feet to apply either the brake or the hand-brake. The solution is to put the car into neutral (feet on clutch and brake) so you can then keep the car running (feet on brake and accelerator) while you apply the hand-brake (feet on hand-brake and accelerator). Alternatively you can sit at home until the engine is warm enough to tick over without stalling. This quirk must be because the standard DS design has a semi-automatic gearbox (no clutch pedal) so this scenario never occurs. Lilith ticks over high enough that I can do this foot juggle without stalling, even on a cold engine (brake + clutch...put car in neutral...brake + hand-brake...all feet off).

With a semi-automatic gearbox it's very difficult to stop a cold engine stalling by keeping the revs up...better not to go anywhere until the engine is warm. EFI models especially need to be warmed for a couple of minutes before driving...they have a computer controlled 'choke' which doesn't work very well.

Annoying wind noise from the top of the front doors when you get above 60mph. On this point, Rob Probin has emailed me with the following suggestion:

It might be worth inspecting the window guides and bracing as I've found the metal supports sometimes develop cracks from the effect of the wind trying to suck the window out whilst travelling at speeds over 50 or so. If the guides are in good nick it is possible to adjust the window to push harder to the door seal by adjusting the guide bolts located behind grommets at front and rear of door.

Poor heating. Barely any comes through and it's usually only luke warm. I'm used to the comfort of the system in my 2CV which works far better.

The radio socket is too small for standard systems.

The dipped beam lights are inadequate. This car has been designed to be alone on the road after dark. I invested in a headlight conversion (from double reflector to halogen dipping) which solved this for Medusa and Lilith, making the dipped beam lights as powerful as any modern car. As yet I haven't decided for Pandora, who's lights seem somewhat better.

There are no front towing loops. Okay, so you can't be towed with a rope anyway because the brakes don't work if the engine's off (apart from the 'hand' brake which you wouldn't want to use for a journey). I'm not sure whether a D could be towed with a sprung bar or with the front wheels off the ground since the lack of loops stops this. It also means that you have to be pulled onto trailers backwards. It is possible to tie a robe to the wheel base (the think arms which hold on the wheels) but you still have to have the engine on unless you have a high resting height and a strong handbrake.

True DS convertables were built by Henri Chapron. Some non-Chapron convertables have fibre glass doors and rear panels which makes them quite flimsy. These cars can also have problems with sealing the hoods. They can look significantly inferior to the real thing and are worth nothing like as much. Some conversions use steel panels which should be better (though steel panels can still be badly made and roof seals can still be a problem.) I have heard that a safari chassis makes for a better conversion but also that the difference is small so should not be worthy of concern.

The only way to idle a semi-automatic with the clutch engaged is to keep your foot on the brake (and therefore have your brake lights on). Holding it on the handbrake will wear the clutch plates unless the gear stick is in neutral.

The rear screen heaters never work.

The springs in the boot lids tend to lose their springiness. A temporary measure is to remove and restretch them. Do not add washers to try to keep the boot lid up. You are likely to bend the metal while forcing the lid closed.

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Medusa, Lilith and Pandora

I bought Medusa [jpeg] at the end of January, 1996. She was a 1974 D Super valued at £6,500. She was in excellent condition and only had 80,000km on the clock. Unfortunately, she suffered an engine fire [jpeg] at the end of August, 1996. I've heard that she has been bought for restoration, so if anyone spots her (ABW283M) let me know.

Lilith [jpeg] is a five-speed 1972 D Super, valued at £7,500 with a kilomťtrage of 164,000 (once round the clock). I thought she was a D Super 5 but the engine is a DY3 (1985cc not 2175cc). Although I bought her straight after Medusa's engine fire, she wasn't MOTed until June 13, 1997 (spending a long time in the body shop [jpeg]). I drove her to the Peterborough CitroŽn Car Club rally [jpeg] on June 15, 1997 where I met Julian Marsh but had to leave before meeting any other list folk. Since the doors didn't shut properly I never accepted her as completed so eventually (August, 1998) she had more money spent on a second trip to the body shop as was sold for a higher price. The intention was that the money from this sale would pay for the extra work and a new car for me.

Pandora [jpeg] [jpeg] [jpeg] [jpeg] is a 1972 DS21 EFI, valued at £10,000 with a kilomťtrage of 91,000, but she isn't black (but her Oxford blue body has already grown on me). She was the only suitable replacement for Lilith that OFCC could offer me. Having now driven her, I never want to go back to a manual gearbox...though keeping the changes smooth is tricky at low speeds. After a several attempts at balancing the automatic clutch it looks like she is now as smooth as she is going to be...still doesn't like being under-revved but kangarooing can now be avoided.

If you're wondering how I chose the names...I'd already named my 2CV Wyvern and I wanted names which would be compatible but female. Medusa was an M(reg)DSuper. Lilith came from internet searches for medusa, demoness and goddess. Both names conjure powerful dark images. For inspiration check out my abbreviated version of the Witches' Goddess. Pandora isn't quite such a dark name for not quite such a dark car. She was so named because she is my last hope for a trouble free DS.

On 1st April 2004, I drove Pandora to London (with my 2 year old son) to sort out what seemed to be a charging problem. I broke down on the M40 and had to be RACed to the garage. By the end of the day the problem (which now seemed to the the EFI system) seemed to be fixed by I broke down again before leaving the trading estate. To cut a long story short I ended up selling Pandora for £500 cash plus half the day's repair charges and I took the bus home. My last hope for a reliable DS failed me.

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DS References in Flim and TV

DS References in Music


Links

Citroen @ Buzzez   CitroŽn Links
Josef Arzberger AT World's largest list of Citroen-clubs (English/French/German. Rest of site in German only)
Niels Heilberg DK  
Jurgen Koolhaas NL  
Toine Moors NL CitroŽn Links
Jint Nijman COM (DE)  
Andrť Pol NL CitroŽn Andrť
Hans Tacq NL CitroŽn World & CitroŽn Comic of the Month

Other Links

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OSCar Central.
Wyvern the 2CV.

If you have any comments to make about this page then why not email me at .

This page was last updated on May 9, 2006. All photos linked to from this page are copyright W.L. Carter.
Thanks go to to Peter Lawrence, among others, for sending me film references.