1972 CITROËN DS 21

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1972 CITROËN DS 21

Background

Consistently voted among the most stylish cars of the 20th Century, the Citroen DS is a bona fide design classic. Starting production in 1955, it spent 20 years rolling off the production line in either a saloon, estate, or convertible.

But not only did the DS offer a head-turning design, it also set new standards for both comfort and braking. The Citroen DS was the first mass produced car to feature hydropneumatic suspension and disc brakes, plus the Series 3 introduced directional headlights to the world of mass-produced cars as well.

All models featured a front-engine, front wheel drive configuration with engine displacement ranging from 1,911 cc through to 2,347 cc with transmission choices of a 3-speed automatic, a 4-speed manual, a 5-speed manual and a 4 speed semi-automatic.

The car may be famed for its comfort and style, but the Citroen DS also had its fair share of motorsport as it was used in rally racing for 15 years – it won the Monte Carlo rally twice. Its innovative suspension would have been a factor as it helped to improve handling whilst allowing the car to cover rough ground speed. The front and rear tracks were also different widths to help combat understeer.

It wasn’t just the rally stages it was competitive; the DS was insanely popular straight after the cover had been lifted off. After just 15 minutes of being unveiled at the 1955 Paris Motor Show 743 orders were taken with 80,000 deposits taken over the 10 days the show ran. This was a record, which was to stand for over SIXTY years until the Tesla Model 3 came along.

The Vehicle

This car was made in 1972 and is a 21 model, meaning it’s fitted with a four-cylinder petrol engine with a displacement of 2,175 cc. This was introduced in 1965 but was improved with electronic fuel injection by Bosch in 1970, making the DS one of the first mass produced cars of its time to do so.

This car is running beautifully, offering a ride that makes you feel like you’re floating on air due to its famous suspension. This particular example features the uber-classic/ chic combination of black paint and black leather, the beloved choice of French Presidents.

The car has been with its current owner since 2007 and has seen light use, and has been maintained on a regular basis. It has been regularly serviced by Andrew Brodie Engineering, a highly respected Citroen Specialist in North West London.

On the Outside

This Citroen DS is very striking in its ‘noir’ colour scheme. Its paintwork is mostly in good condition with contrasting brightwork, which also looks to have been maintained well (the roof has small signs of wear). Another lovely contrast is the gold badging, which only makes the DS even look more regal.

The jaw-dropping aesthetics are thanks to Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre, although the Series 3, the car here, was designed by Robert Opron. If that name is familiar, it’s because he was also responsible for the Citroen SM and CX. With this being a Series 3, the famous directional headlights are standard fit, allowing the driver to see better when cornering – very cutting edge in the 1960s.

Silver DS badges adorn the C pillars, as do the high mounted indicators, which are almost a fashion statement all by themselves – making something functional chic aswell. Look down from there and you’ll see the wheel spats, which look so good you wonder why aren’t used more commonly in car design. Even the fuel filler flap has its own certain je ne sais quoi about it.

The engine bay is not mint condition, but it’s got just about the amount of patina. Plus it’s mechanically sound – the most important thing. Radial tyres wrap around the wheels which have a centrelock design to them making them easier and quicker to remove if you happen to get a puncture.

There are a few small imperfections, such as cosmetic damage to the offside rear (see the small dent in the rear bumper as well as a few other marks) and imperfections to the nearside rear roof line. The panel gap at the bottom of the bonnet is not quite straight either, but doesn’t take away from the fact this is one extremely stylish car.

On the Inside

As with the exterior, the Citroen DS has plenty of charms and character features, such as the single spoke steering wheel with a column mounted gear selector. The switchgear and upholstery are in good condition, but it’s worth noting that the headlining does sag a little (as mentioned previously).

That aside, the interior of this DS is well kept with some lovely period features such as the large Citroen badging on the glovebox. While the inside has retained the same character and style it had leaving the factory, there are some areas that could benefit from attention, such as internal chrome piping to the front seats and the door handles, which are tarnished. The carpets have been re-fitted properly, though, and a broken sun visor has also been replaced by the owner.

Underneath

The engine bay is good for its age. The car has had regular servicing via a well-respected Citroen specialist and the spare wheel is present under the bonnet. The car is mechanically sound, but there are some areas of rust to consider, and one of the rubber exhaust hangers needs to be repaired.

This model is fitted with the semi-automatic gearbox, which has misguided views as being difficult to maintain or work on. This is not the case and be maintained easily once understood. The transmission is cutting edge for its age, but it’s important not to leave the car in gear as they can cause a headache for the next time you go to drive it!

History Highlights

The car has been with its current owner since 2007 and has been regularly serviced via Andrew Brodie Engineering, a Citroen Specialist in North West London. Although the car would benefit from some attention, it’s been well maintained and is mechanically sound.

September 2007 saw a large bulk of work carried out as all 4 suspension spheres were replaced along with fresh air ducts, sun visor, new bonnet lining, new boot lining, new starter relay, and windscreen wiper arm. A JVC sound system was installed and the headlining was pulled down and re-glued where possible.

More recent work includes:

Early 2008 saw a battery replacement.

In 2012 an uprated 70amp alternator was fitted, making the car better mannered in traffic.

In 2016 an electric fuel pump was fitted for easy starting after a winter lay-up.

In 2017 a new clutch and front brake discs were fitted.

In 2021 a new radiator was installed with an oil change.

What We Think

There aren’t many cars that compare to the timeless style of the Citroen DS, and even though it’s fifty this year it looks as stunning as ever. This example is ready to be used a regular driver, or make up a light restoration project.

Whether it’s parked in Monte Carlo or in your local Waitrose car park it’s bound to draw admiration and respect. Some will simply appreciate the elegant styling whereas those in the know will know just how significant this car was not only to Citroen, but the automotive world as a whole, thanks to the innovate engineering.

This is your chance to own an automotive legend, and arguably Citroen’s greatest icon.

Our estimate for this car is £16,000 - £20,000.

Viewing is always encouraged. This particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays between 9am-5pm, to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage options plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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Seller

DanKeeling

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 46275
  • Chassis Number: 4660979
  • Engine: 2175 cc
  • Gearbox: semi
  • Steering position: LHD
  • Colour: Black
  • Interior: Black
  • Estimated Price: £15,000 - £20,000

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