Citroen DS “Party Tricks” Include Three-Wheel Driving
17 April 2020 - autoevolution
The hydropneumatic suspension is far from a new concept.
Citroen was the first automaker to adopt this technology in 1954 with the Traction Avant, yet the system was perfected a year later with the introduction of the lovely DS.
Currently the French automaker's premier sub-brand, DS is French for déesse or goddess. Produced over two decades and in great numbers, the executive sedan with front-wheel-drive and Italian design by Flaminio Bertoni also features self-leveling suspension that Citroen licensed to the likes of Rolls-Royce and Maserati for its "magic carpet" ride quality. Still, why is it so important?
YouTube channel HubNut is much obliged to demonstrate why by removing the right-hand rear wheel and driving the car in three-wheel mode. Paul Magès, the person who developed the hydropneumatic suspension system of the DS, thought that this "party trick" would be helpful if the owner doesn't have a spare tire.
Because of the aeronautical-inspired design of the rear, DS owners that get a flat need to remove the quarter panel before jacking up the car. Right next to the driver's seat of this right-hand-drive example, raising the lever up translates to the suspension raising itself up to the maximum level to help you get the jack under the sill.
With the rear wheel off, you can also notice the suspension sphere in charge of that corner of the vehicle. Ask any owner to name the biggest headache in terms of servicing, and they will likely reply that it is the hydropneumatic system.
Another interesting quirk of the DS is the speedometer. This car features kilometers per hour in white as well as three inner numbers – 80, 150, and 250 – in yellow. These numbers are located under 100, 140, and 180 km/h, and their role is to give the driver an estimate about the stopping distance from those three speeds in meters.
Another feature of the DS that was pretty interesting for its era comes in the form of directional headlights. The Series 3 redesign from 1967 comes with an inner set of lamps that swivel with the steering wheel, and because we're dealing with '60s technology, the lamps are linked to the wheels by nothing more than a cable.