October 6, 2015

60 years of DS

The DS is celebrating its 60th anniversary: It was on Thursday, October 6, 1955, that this vehicle was first unveiled at the Paris Motor Show under the vault of the Grand Palais.

October 6, 1955: A legend is born

On Thursday, October 6, 1955, the DS 19 was unveiled to the world at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais. At first glance, the DS looked like something from another world. For its contemporaries, it was nothing less than a revelation: sculpted styling, luxury features, and an hydraulic system that gave it unprecedented handling. This comprehensive distribution system encompassing the clutch, the brake control, steering, and gear-shifting, made every aspect of driving easier and defined the DS as a model focused passionately on comfort.

An avant-garde automobile that sold 12,000 units on that very first day; ten days later, by the time the show closed, 80,000 DSs had been sold.

Six decades later, the DS is still the talk of the town!

The DS has unquestionably touched the lives of many French people. Throughout its existence, it boasted advanced technological features, as it did in 1967, when it introduced directional headlights that swiveled in alignment with the wheels; or in 1969, the year it came out with electronic fuel injection boosting its performance. Manufactured both in France (in Paris) and abroad (Belgium, United Kingdom, Portugal, South Africa), this car has been exported throughout Western Europe, in nearly all the Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia, and in the United States, where it still has many devoted fans. The DS’s elegance and cutting-edge construction were its main assets and, over a period of two decades, 1,456,115 units were sold.

Seen on-screen in many feature films and television series of yesterday and today, the DS was also the car of choice of movie stars, industrialists, business leaders, and other high-profile personalities.

The DS served as a four-wheeled showcase of France’s genius and savoir-faire around the world. Its sculpted lines earned the Grand Prix de l’esthétique industrielle, the top industrial design award, at the 1957 Triennale di Milano, while French literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes compared it to “an enormous gothic cathedral.” With the “Pallas” edition introduced in October 1964, the DS became an ambassador for French luxury. In late 1999, in London, it was voted “the world’s most beautifully designed object of the 20th century.”