Just as it had done 21 years previously with the revolutionary 'Traction Avant', Citroën stunned the world again in 1955 with the launch of the futuristically styled 'DS'. Beneath the shark-like newcomer's aerodynamically efficient, low-drag bodyshell there was all-independent, self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic suspension; plus power-operated brakes, clutch and steering. No European car would match the DS's ride quality for several years, the fundamental soundness of Citroën's ahead-of-its-time hydro-pneumatic suspension being demonstrated by its survival in present-day top-of-the-range models. The DS's original 1,911cc, overhead-valve, long-stroke engine was replaced in 1966 by a short-stroke 1,985cc unit, also available in 2,175cc and 2,347cc versions, while other DS developments included swivelling headlights, fuel injection and a five-speed manual gearbox.
Other models offered alongside the original DS were the ID (a simplified, cheaper version), the cavernous Safari estate and the two-door Décapotable (convertible), the latter boasting coachwork by Henri Chapron. Right-hand drive versions were assembled in England at Citroën's Slough factory up 1966, whereupon manufacture of all RHD models reverted to France. By the time production ceased in April 1975, more than 1.3 million of these wonderfully idiosyncratic cars had been built.
Built to top-of-the-range Pallas specification, this left-hand drive DS23 has the powerful 2.3-litre engine and the desirable five-speed manual gearbox. The current owner bought the car from the original purchaser at 117,800 kilometres (approximately 73,150 miles) and has driven it a further 6,800-or so miles (circa 11,000 kilometres) since then. Carried out by marque specialists, regular maintenance has included restoration of the boot area; restoration of the roof and repainting in black (2000); anti-corrosion treatment of the body and a re-spray (2012); and replacing the drive belts and front brake discs/pads. Described as in generally good condition, this beautiful example of one of the 20th Century's most enduring automotive style icons is offered with sundry restoration invoices, old-style French Carte Grise and current Contrôle Technique.