Thursday, April 16, 2015

Andorra (FR) 2015
Citroën DS 21

ISSUE DATE: 20 March 2015
THEME: Citroen DS 21
STAMP SIZE: 40 mm x 40 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Francesc Ribó

The Citroën DS is a four-door, front-engine, front-wheel-drive mid-size car manufactured and marketed by the French company Citroën from 1955 to 1975 in sedan, wagon/estate and convertible body configurations. 

Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre styled and engineered the car. Paul Magès developed the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension.

Hydropneumatic suspension invented by Citroën, and fitted to Citroën cars, as well as being used by other car manufacturers, notably Rolls-Royce (Silver Shadow), Maserati (Quattroporte II) and Peugeot. It was also used on Berliet trucks and on Mercedes-Benz cars. Similar systems are also used on some military vehicles. The suspension was referred to as oléopneumatique in early literature, pointing to oil and air as its main components.

Noted for its aerodynamic, futuristic body design and innovative technology, the DS set new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking. Citroën sold 1 455 746 cars, including 1 330 755  built at the manufacturer's original mass-production plant in Paris at the Quai André-Citroën (previously the Quai de Javel).

Introduced in 1965 as a luxury upgrade the DS Pallas (after Greek goddess Pallas)equipped in comfort features such as better noise insulation, a more luxurious (and optional leather) upholstery and external trim embellishments. From 1966 the Pallas model received a driver's seat with height adjustment.


A station wagon version was introduced in 1958. It was known by various names in different markets (Break in France, Safari and Estate in the UK, Wagon in the US, and Citroën Australia used the terms Safari and Station-Wagon). It had a steel roof to support the standard roof rack. ęFamilialesę had a rear seat mounted further back in the cabin, with three folding seats between the front and rear squabs. The standard Break had two side-facing seats in the main load area at the back. The Ambulance configuration was similar to that of the Break, but with a 60/30 split in the rear folding seat to accommodate a stretcher. A "Commerciale" version was also available for a time.

Rarest and most collectable of all DS variants, a convertible was offered from 1958 until 1973. The Cabriolet d'Usine (factory convertible) were built by French carrossier Henri Chapron, for the Citroën dealer network. It was an expensive car, so only 1,365 were sold.

In addition, Chapron also produced a few coupés, non-works convertibles and special sedans (including the "Prestige", same wheelbase but with a central divider, and the "Lorraine" notchback).

Between 1959 and 1964, Hector Bossaert produced a coupé on a DS chassis shortened by 470 mm (18 1/2 inches).


In 1965, noted American auto customizer Gene Winfield created The Reactor, a Citroën DS chassis, with a turbocharged 180 hp (130 kW) flat-six engine from the Corvair driving the front wheels. Since the DS already had the engine behind the front wheels, the longer engine meant only one row of seats. This was draped in a streamlined, low slung, aluminum body.
The Reactor was seen in American Television programs of the era, such as Star Trek: The Original Series episode 2.25 "Bread and Circuses", Batman episodes 110 ("Funny Feline Felonies") and 111 (driven by Catwoman Eartha Kitt), and Bewitched, which devoted its episode 3.19 ("Super Car") to The Reactor.

The DS was successful in motorsports like rallying, where sustained speeds on poor surfaces are paramount, and won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1959. In the 1000 Lakes Rally, Pauli Toivonen drove a DS19 to victory in 1962.

In 1966, the DS won the Monte Carlo Rally again, with some controversy as the competitive BMC Mini-Cooper team was disqualified due to rule infractions. 

Ironically, Mini was involved with DS competition again two years later, when a drunk driver in a Mini in Sydney Australia crashed into the DS that was winning the 1968 London–Sydney Marathon, 98 miles from the finish line.

Stamp images thanks to La Poste

La Poste