After 18 years of secret development as the successor to the Traction Avant, the DS 19 was introduced on 5th October 1955 at the Paris Motor Show. In the first 15 minutes of the show, 743 orders were taken and orders for the first day totalled 12,000. During the 10 days of the show, the DS took in 80,000 deposits; a record that stood for over 60 years.
Contemporary journalists said the DS pushed the envelope in the ride vs. handling compromise possible in a motor vehicle. The car featured a novel hydropneumatic suspension including an automatic leveling system and variable ground clearance, developed in-house by Paul Magès. This suspension allowed the DS to travel quickly on the poor road surfaces common in France.
In addition, the vehicle had power steering and a semi-automatic transmission (the transmission required no clutch pedal, but gears still had to be shifted by hand), though the shift lever controlled a powered hydraulic shift mechanism in place of a mechanical linkage, and a fibreglass roof which lowered the centre of gravity and so reduced weight transfer. Inboard front brakes (as well as independent suspension) reduced unsprung weight. Different front and rear track widths and tyre sizes reduced the unequal tyre loading, which is well known to promote understeer, typical of front-engined and front-wheel drive cars.
The delightful DS21 Safari we have on offer here is presented in a very good condition throughout having been maintained fastidiously by the current vendor over the last 12 years. An original right hand drive example, the car has been cared for by marque specialists under the current stewardship who himself is a DS enthusiast and collector. With only 4 previous owners and showing 61,000 miles on the odometer, this ever popular French classic comes with a V5C registration and current MOT. A tour de force in its aerodynamic design and innovative technology, the DS21 is a true collector’s car and this example would be a credit to any collection.