Flaminio Bertoni, André Lefèbvre, Paul Magès, Robert Opron. DS 23 sedan. designed 1954-1967 (this example 1973) 111

Steel body with fiberglass top, 61 × 71 1/2 × 191" (154.9 × 181.6 × 485.1 cm). Gift of Christian Sumi Zürich and Sébastien and Pierre Nordenson

Citroen advertisement: Citroen. Front wheel drive. A sculptured beauty. Hydropneumatic suspension. Aerodynamic shape. The French have a name for it: Citroen.

Curator, Paul Galloway: You're looking at a Citroen DS 23, a 1973 model, one of the last years of production of this car. When you pronounce it "DS," that is French for “goddess. And it's a beautiful car.

The top is a fiberglass roof, as opposed to a metal roof, that's to lower the center of gravity and to make it less top heavy, helping the car have this incredible road handling. One of its amazing features is a very unique suspension system called a hydro-pneumatic suspension. It automatically adjusts for potholes in the road, it can even keep driving if it's got a flat tire, it'll keep itself level, but when the car is at rest, it lowers down.

If you go around to the front, you'll notice directional headlights, the first time this had ever been done on a car. As you turn the wheel, the headlights turn with you so that you get better visibility as you go around turns.

Flaminio Bertoni is a legendary figure in the history of car design and his crowning glory is the Citroen DS. He brought an artistic perspective to a field that had been primarily dominated by engineers, up to that point. Because he had training as a sculptor, he did things like sculpt out bodies in clay.

The DS is coming out in a very tumultuous period in France's history. They're still rebuilding from the destruction and chaos of World War II. So when it debuted in 1955, it caused this incredible sensation and led to 80,000 pre-orders. Trading up to a DS was a clear mark of sophistication and economic well-being. It was expensive, but it was also immensely practical. You could fit a lot of people in there. It was fuel efficient. So, to a French family that was looking to signal their own economic success and also looking to drive a very safe car, it was the perfect choice.

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