Good people of Oversteer, ready your pitchforks: I’m about to say something blasphemous. For my entire life, I’ve been told that the Citroen DS is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. One of the most gorgeous, handsome, attractive automobiles, people say. A timeless design. I’ve heard that word used to describe the car a dozen times. "Timeless." The design hasn’t aged one bit, people say. This is the generally accepted view in the automotive world: The Citroen DS is one of the most beautiful, timeless cars ever built.
Well, I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s ugly, and I think it’s really dated.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the DS, allow me to describe it for you: It’s a car from the 1950s that looks very different from all the other cars from the 1950s, in the sense that it has a really unusual teardrop shape that sort of tapers off as it goes down the car. It’s quite a thing to behold. It also has a cover over the rear wheel, presumably for aerodynamics, and so the whole car has this "otherworldly" shape that’s never really been copied since. It must’ve been a real sight on the roads, back when it came out — and for the two decades it was sold until it was finally cancelled in 1975.
Now, I admit the Citroen DS is a head-turning car, and a neat car, and a fun car to look at. But I don’t think it’s a beautiful car. Simply put, I think the teardrop shape is weird, the rear wheels are way too far back, and the overall profile is just odd — interesting, yes, but not "beautiful."
But while beauty is certainly subjective, I think it’s difficult to argue this design is "timeless." Show anyone a picture of a Citroen DS and they’ll absolutely guess it’s a car from the 1950s or 1960s. Everything about it screams that it’s a car from that era, from the wheels, to the fenders, to the small pillars between the windows. The headlights, too, look ancient — even on newer models, where the headlights were updated.
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I’ve never understood all the praise for this design. I love seeing DSs on the road, because I think they’re totally weird and bizarre — but beautiful? Come on! It looks like a slug crawling out of the ground! Timeless? No way! Sure, a modernized version of this car could be released today — but isn’t that true of all cars? If you modernize them, they no longer look dated. But this car isn’t modernized — it’s old, and the design shows it.
Anyway, the point here is simply this: I know many people disagree with me, but I just don’t think the Citroen DS is beautiful or timeless. It’s special, sure — but in a novel way; not in a way that makes me want to actually go out and buy one. Hopefully at least a few of you out there agree with me. Find a Citroen DS for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
Image credit: AlfvanBeem