Best Ds To Buy
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Thread: Best Ds To Buy

  1. #1
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    Default Best Ds To Buy

    I was wondering if the various members would share with me (as I am a Citroen neophite ) their thoughts on the best year DS to buy, and what are the most preferable options (e.g. automatic or standard transmission) to have?

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    Also, what is it like to drive one of these cars, considering their hydraulic suspension.

    Carl

  2. #2
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Hi Carl,

    the best 'DS' to buy should be the one with no rust. This really should be anyones main buying critia.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/citro%EBn-forum/90325-best-project-car-you-have-ever-seen.html
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

  3. #3
    Fellow Frogger! chris's Avatar
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    You want to buy a D without even having a drive? You should try one first, you might hate it

    Chris
    GS 1220 break. Beige cars go faster

  4. #4
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Carl, give us a bit of help here. Tell us why you like the DS and what you like about it. Tell us what you want from your DS when you get it. Power, smoothness, weirdness, chick-magnetism, complexity? Do you want to drive it daily? Town or country use? Tell us how much you know already about the different kinds of DS. Do you like any other Citroens? What do you drive now and why? How handy are you with a spanner? How big are your pockets? What is your attitude to cars generally? This sounds like a lot of questions, but if you can't face answering them all individually just go with the vibe and answer what you can.

    There are lots of different kinds of DS and different people like them for different things. I have had old and new, simple and complex, and my ideas about them have changed over the 10 years or so I have had them. Tell us a bit about yourself and we might have more chance of helping you work out which kind is best for you.

    I wouldn't worry too much about driving one before you decide to buy. I didn't. But the more of them you drive the easier it will be for you to tell whether the one you are test driving is good and is right for you. Join the DS lists on yahoo (DSeries-l (that's a small L) and Citroen-DSID. There is a member of them, Ken Nelson, who lives in Detroit. I'm not sure how far that is from you. He has heaps of them and is a real expert. He might even let you drive one of his.

    Roger

  5. #5
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    You need two DS's ...

    A DS21 (or 23) injected 5spd pallas with modern working air-con.

    and

    A '50s DS19 ................... ddddrrrroooooollllll............

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    PS:This keeps life intersting as the only interchangable part on the two very similar looking cars is the bootlid .... no exageration here either
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

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    Good Sport danielsydney's Avatar
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    Just might be a silly question but as you are in america have you actually found any for sale there?

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    Simple - get a Safari!

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    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleChevron
    You need two DS's ...

    A DS21 (or 23) injected 5spd pallas with modern working air-con.

    and

    A '50s DS19 ................... ddddrrrroooooollllll............

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    PS:This keeps life intersting as the only interchangable part on the two very similar looking cars is the bootlid .... no exageration here either
    The nut behind the wheel is often interchangeable
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    Fellow Frogger! d coupe's Avatar
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    If you aren,t mechanically inclined and just enjoy driving one then a ID19B - late D Special is good , how ever if you are a masichist mechanic and want the full thrill you can't go past a DS23 fuel injected hydraulic

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    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by d coupe
    If you aren,t mechanically inclined and just enjoy driving one then a ID19B - late D Special is good , how ever if you are a masichist mechanic and want the full thrill you can't go past a DS23 fuel injected hydraulic
    Add aircon to that and you are really asking for trouble.

    A D Special or ID19 is easy to work on and start on. Far less to go wrong.

    I use the phrase "far less" loosely.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    Default Thanks for Input!

    Hello Roger,

    To answer some of your questions, the DS appeals to me because of its design and unique features such as the hydraulic suspension. Iíd like to drive it occasionally, probably not on the highway (i.e. speeds greater than 70 mph) but if a DS can or cannot reach these speeds Iíd like to know ahead of time. I donít know too much about the changes in the DS after itís introduction in the mid-50ís. In other words, increases in engine power and transmission improvements. Iíve never owned any Citroens but I currently own 4 Peugeots and 2 Renaults and have previously owned Simcas and Renaults. Iíve always enjoyed French cars of the sixties, seventies and eighties and have completed all kinds of mechanical repairs. I have always liked the French cars of that period because they were so extraordinarily unique. Citroen DS models in the US occasionally come up for sale and probably because of limited interest in them, donít seem unreasonably expensive. I would be interested in one with an interior in great shape and not too badly rusted. I would imagine that window glass and various trim parts (interior and exterior) for these cars is probably very hard to come by. Iíd like to get one that is in pretty nice shape to begin so I could enjoy it rather than spend a ton of time working on it.

    Carl

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    UFO
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    Carl

    A DS on a highway at over 70mph would be bliss. Maximum allowed speed on all state highways in Aus except for the Northern Territory is 110km/h - just when a D is really starting to come into its long legged element.

    I still have fond recollections of mine and another D special across the Snowy Mountains Hwy some years ago with the sun just up, light frost on the vegetation around us and I know the speedo was showing about 140km/h. It was fantastique!

    As others have suggested there are various contacts on the Yahoo D lists in the US and a fairly active if small contigent of CitroPhiles. Good luck in your search.
    Craig K
    2009 C5 HDi Exclusive

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    Default Hi Craig

    Hi Craig,

    So I guess these that these DSs CAN reach that speed (70 mph) without unravelling or feeling like the engine is goinjg to fly apart? Also, does that hydraulic suspension feel wierd in the sense that one feels detached from the road surface? Can anybody describe the sensations (noise, comfort, responsiveness) of driving a DS?

    Carl

  14. #14
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    These cars were designed for high speed on the really poor roads in france back in the 50's - 70's. They like and are designed to cruise at close to there maximum speed. Even the lowest powered versions do near 90mph (takes a long time to get there). Your choice of DS is very much limited as you live in the US. Most there are DS19's running brake fluid in the hydraulic system. The DS is not a fast car, it can cruise at quite hight speeds, but still has a small 1.9litre motor dragging a large body around (the equivilent yank tanks of there time would have had big block V8's).

    You really do need to go to : http://www.yahoogroups.com and join the DSeries-L list. The is quite a few US based people on this list that will be able to give you good advice with regards to the local car.

    seeya,
    Shane L.
    'Cit' homepage:
    Citroen Workshop
    Proper cars--
    '85 Series II CX2500 GTi Turbo I
    '63 ID19 http://www.aussiefrogs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=90325
    '72 DS21 ie 5spd pallas (last looked at ... about 15years ago)
    '78 GS1220 pallas
    '92 Range Rover Classic ... 5spd manual.

    Yay ... No Slugomatics


    Modern Junk:
    '07 Poogoe 407 HDi 6spd manual

  15. #15
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchfreak
    Hello Roger,

    To answer some of your questions, the DS appeals to me because of its design and unique features such as the hydraulic suspension. Iíd like to drive it occasionally, probably not on the highway (i.e. speeds greater than 70 mph) but if a DS can or cannot reach these speeds Iíd like to know ahead of time. I donít know too much about the changes in the DS after itís introduction in the mid-50ís. In other words, increases in engine power and transmission improvements. Iíve never owned any Citroens but I currently own 4 Peugeots and 2 Renaults and have previously owned Simcas and Renaults. Iíve always enjoyed French cars of the sixties, seventies and eighties and have completed all kinds of mechanical repairs. I have always liked the French cars of that period because they were so extraordinarily unique. Citroen DS models in the US occasionally come up for sale and probably because of limited interest in them, donít seem unreasonably expensive. I would be interested in one with an interior in great shape and not too badly rusted. I would imagine that window glass and various trim parts (interior and exterior) for these cars is probably very hard to come by. Iíd like to get one that is in pretty nice shape to begin so I could enjoy it rather than spend a ton of time working on it.

    Carl
    Marvellous response, thanks Carl, you've really got the vibe of my questions. I was hoping they didn't come across as too demanding but you've given me just the information I need. Here goes.

    It sounds like you are interested in them for the uniqueness of both their design and their engineering. With an attitude like that you will fit right in with any DS crowd, whether here, on the yahoo groups (join them!), a car club, or a rally.

    You also sound as though you are handy with a wrench. This will lower the maintenance costs. It will take you a while to learn the tricks of DS repair and maintenance but you will eventually manage it. Your familiarity with other frog cars means you understand Gallic logic but Citroens are the wierdest mechanically and DSs the weirdest of the weird. But underneath it all they are just a heap of simple little mechanical systems and hydraulic systems that just happen to be put together in a complex way. And we are here to help.

    Shane, our moderator (DoubleChevron) started the scanning of factory repair manuals and parts catalogues onto CD, and it has become an international effort. In the US, Mark Bardenwerper is the distributor. I don't have his details handy but others will or I can find them for you tomorrow. The price of the CDs (yes, there is so much info it needs several of them) is basically materials cost. It's a bargain.

    Now onto the different kinds of DS. They were produced from late 1955 to 1975. There are almost no 1955s known and few 1956s, but from 1957 on they are all out there in mostly reaonable numbers and at various times available for sale. As a general rule there are fewer early ones and more late ones around. Most people seem to prefer the later ones, for various reasons.

    1. They had more power (the original long-stroke 1911cc motor was bored out and had its stroke shortened to make it more responsive in the mid 1969s, and became 1985cc. There were also 2175 and 2347cc versions (the 21 from the mid 60s and the 23 from the early 70s) and both these larger motors were available with electronic fuel injection if you really want half-decent performance. I say half-decent because they were never designed to have great acceleration, they gain momentum rather than accelerate. They are country cars, not really comfortable around town where you just go from traffic light to traffic light. Wind them up and cruise on a trip of several hours and you will get out feeling relaxed and comforable and ready to do it again. That is their strength. The faster you go the better they handle, but body roll is pretty bad. With the extra power of the later cars, the suspension was gradually stiffened. It is still more supple than other cars but if a late DS is floaty, an early one is even floatier.

    2. The bugs were gradually ironed out of the hydraulic system. The biggest improvement was when they went from a brake-fliud-based hydraulic fluid (LHS) to a mineral fluid (LHM). LHM does not absorb moisture, so is kinder to the hydraulic components. In the rest of the world, this change happend in 1967 I think, but in the USA it was not until around 1969 because the DOT took a long time to accept anything other than brake fluid in braking systems.

    3. Parts are easier to get.

    4. More of them have survived.

    Having said all that, there are a number of us (myself included) who prefer the older ones. Mine is a 1959 DS19. I have also had a couple of 1963 models. But I have had a 1974 as well, so I know about the later ones. Those of us who like the older ones try to manage interest in them carefully so there are enough enthusiasts around to buy ones that come up for sale but not so many that we have to compete too hard for them. In response to the first 3 points above, we enthusiasts for the early cars would argue:

    1. The long stroke ones have "sufficient" power.
    2. The LHS systems work well enough if you change the fluid regularly and drive the car regularly. Sitting kills DSs.
    3. You can get or make any part you want, as long as you either have a stash of parts or parts cars, or know who has parts. There are several suppliers of new (often old stock) DS parts around the world, most of whom are in Holland. Glass and trim parts are all out there.

    As a general rule, the older cars are wierder, and truer to the ethos of the original design team, than the later cars. They might all look pretty much the same but there are negligibly few parts common to all DSs from the first to the last.

    There are two basic kinds of D, the DS and the ID. DSs are called DS19, DS20, DS21 or DS23. There are almost no DS23s in the USA because by the time they came out in the early 1970s Citroen Cars Corp had stopped importing them. IDs are called ID19, ID20, and the later ones (late 60s onwards) D Special and D Super. Their bodies are all pretty much the same, the differences lie in the DSs extra mechanical and hydraulic complexity and more salubrious interior. From about 1964 the DS was also available in a Pallas version which had greater exterior adornment, better soundproofing and really plush interior. In my opinion the only reason to get a Pallas is the soundproofing: DSs are not the quietest cars around.

    Right from the start, the DS had hydraulically powered suspension, steering, brakes, clutch and gearchange. They have a little lever poking up in front of the steering wheel and you just flick it and the car changes gear for you. A manual transmission car with no stick shift! Who needs tiptronic? It's a revelation to drive, and those of us with hydraulic shift DSs don't want to go back to manual shift ones.

    This complexity and level of appointments came at a high price. This, and the initial unreliability of the cars, led to the development of a simplified version called the ID19. Still with hydraulic suspension (there were no differences in suspension between DS and ID versions ever), but with manual stick shift (always on the column but it is the nicest column shift you will find), and unpowered steering and brakes. Gradually the differences between DS and ID lessened: by 1963 the ID optional power steering, and the DS had manual stick shift as an option. The ID brakes were also improved along the way.

    The first cars had a single headlight on each side. They look the most gentle and benign of all. In 1963 the nose was modified a bit. They still looked much the same but the front bumper was changed and the underside streamlined a bit. In 1968 the front was altered substantially, with dual headlamps faired into the front wings. In the rest of the world the outer lamps were self-levelling and the inners turned with the steering, but in the USA all lamps were fixed. Some American enthusiasts import the parts to make their lights European style. These cars have a much more aggressive look, almost shark-like. At about the times of each of these changes to the nose the dashboards were changed. The oginial was a plastic masterpiece of modern art, the second rather plain Jane, and the third an ugly monstrosity.

    The key to buying a DS is to get the least rusty one you can find. If anyone tells you theirs has no rust, don't believe them. These cars are really rust prone. Any rust you can see on the outside of them is not important. The really important rust is what you can't see. Water gets in through the edges of the roof and the trunk and flows where you don't want it to. Look at the floor of the trunk, if it's rusty then the rear suspension mountings may be rusty. Rear axles have been known to fall off DSs. The sills are hidden behind the doors. They are big box sections but peel the trim away from the vertical faces on the inside edge of them and look for rust along the bottom edges. Look also at the accelerator pedal mounting bracket, the bottom of the A and B pillars and the bottom of the "parcel shelf" at the top of the trunk around the rear of the C pillars. Pull off the rear wings (one bolt) and have a good look. All this rust is repairable but why buy one that needs repair?

    As with any car, the mechanicals are easier to repair than the interiors or body. All body panels are removable. All of them. If any of them are too far gone they can be replaced. Interiors are also replaceable. But the frame is the hardest to repair of all. Don't be frightened by the hydraulics, they generally give little trouble.

    In summary:
    * All Ds had the same suspension.
    * Earlier ones are truer to the designers' vision, weirder, slower, floatier and rarer.
    * Later ones are probably easier to keep on the road.
    * DSs are higher spec than IDs, and the Pallas is the highest of all.
    * manual gearchange is simple, but hydraulic gearchange (often called Citromatic in the USA) is great fun and really weird while being pretty reliable and not that hard to adjust.
    * Rust in the frame is the killer.

    For a more comprehensive rundown on the various kinds of DS, buy a book. Citroen DS the complete story by Jon Pressnell is as good as any. And ask us more questions.

    Roger

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    Default Thanks a Ton

    Thanks Roger and Shane for the informative reply. Shane, for your thoughts and Roger, for capsulizing a complex history into the important elements - it really gives me a good basic understanding of the whole subject!

    Anyway, I will be doing more research and be looking around at what comes up and the prices and condition of these cars.

    Carl

  17. #17
    Fellow Frogger!
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    Default Best D's to buy a point of view

    A dream, or a flight of fancy.

    Is it the unique beauty, the absolute craziness, or just sheer enjoyment of a smooth ride that urges one into wanting to discover every facet of this intricate family of cars.

    Or is it, when changing into fifth gear of a ' 74 DS23, feeling like you're on a runway, and forever believing, the wheels are just about to --- lift off .

    Or having the satisfaction of the plush interior, comfort, and ride of a ' 71 DS21 Hydraulique on the highway, a gearchange so smooth that it is joy itself.

    An ID19 1961. The extra soft ride the torque of the extra long stroke motor and heavy flywheel that, when being wound out, is asking to be driven faster, ----- ever faster.

    Or is it a classic ' 57 DS19, with its no fuss exterior and a strange hydraulique gear change that makes you realize that a "true" Citroen can't change any other way.
    And when, about to walk away, you are struck down by the sheer simplicity and beauty of a dashboard which would echo its way through a changing world and come to its final resting place of a long distant relative, --- the GS.

    A 1974 DS23 Automatic Pallas which can make even the city driving, sheer joy.

    Or, the year, 1967, when it all seemed to reach a peak. Chrome buttons and switches on the "slopey" dash which was to enjoy only two more years before "modernisation" definitely set in. The plush carpets, stainless steel kick plates and valences, leather and cloth, which showed pride in workmanship in a company which was about to conform slowly to the wants of an evermore changing society.

    Music on, and just -------- just thinking, one could drive, on and on -------- and on.

    Through the dazed eyes of an addict, John Paas.
    Last edited by gilberthenry; 3rd February 2006 at 09:29 AM. Reason: spelling mistake

  18. #18
    BVH Roger Wilkinson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gilberthenry
    A dream, or a flight of fancy.

    Through the dazed eyes of an addict, John Paas.
    John is one of the two best DS poets I know (the other being George Myers from Rhode Island). I can't match his poetry but I can quote some poetry from CitroŽn themselves. This is from the Owner's Handbook of a 1966 DS19. I think it represents very well the experience of driving a DS. And it comes from the manufacturer itself.


    "Here you are at the wheel of your DS 19."

    "This car combines the two essential requirements of modern motoring: comfort and safety.

    "What we mean by comfort, is a car in which one feels at home, well heated, well ventilated, softly lighted and furnished with deep seats and thick carpets. On the road, for real comfort, the suspension system of this "residence" must ensure that it is unaffected by any unevenness of the road.

    "The DS 19 offers you all this. In addition, it offers you what might be called intellectual comfort, that is to say the freedom of mind which its servo-controls provide. "Mechanical slaves" are at your feet, under the bonnet, ready to carry out your orders: start the engine, de-clutch, change gear, steer, brake and level the road. The DS 19 is fingertip controlled and effortless to drive.

    "You think, it acts.

    "With astonishing docility, the DS 19 anticipates your desires and seems to forewarn your reflexes. In the first few miles you will no doubt experience an unusual sensation, one of pleasure far beyond your expectations.

    "You will soon experience the full sense of well-being which driving this car will give you and which will remain for many years the unchallenged attribute of the DS 19, your car. You are anxious to take it out on the road and we can understand your impatience, but restrain yourself long enough to read through the following pages."

    Roger

    PS Mark Bardenwerper's (US source of DS factory manuals on CD) website is http://www.candokaraoke.com and his e-mail address is citroenid19@sbcglobal.net .

  19. #19
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    Certainly drew out some nice info there. Here in inner melbourne we see some beautiful examples. Still wish I had bought one a few years ago when prices seemed quite a bit lower.

    Anyway all this talk got me looking for some nice pix on the web, and I found this site - enjoy!

    http://www.allsportauto.com/modules....ue&zl_idMQ=100

    be sure to click on the desktop size.

    I still remember seeing one of these in the Melbourne CBD

    http://www.allsportauto.com/detailph...99&zl_idMD=148
    Last edited by leithant; 6th February 2006 at 01:15 PM.

  20. #20
    Fellow Frogger! Trixie's Avatar
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    In summary, Tantric motoring.
    John

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