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I Don’t Think the Citroen DS Is All That Attractive

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.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Here’s Why the Ugly Pontiac Aztek Is Actually Kind of Cool
5 Retro Cars That Don’t Quite Capture Their Former Glory
Ford EXP: The Forgotten Ford Escort

Image credit: AlfvanBeem

 

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38 COMMENTS

  1. I’m from the Netherlands and we called this car “The Ugly Duckling” I kid you not, They certainly are fun to look at but on today’s roads it will look like a complete anachronism.

  2. A friend was driving a DS along the motorway – and a wing tore off! Apparently it’s quite common of old DS’s! Classic, quirky and yes, even beautiful. Just make sure it has decent hydraulics!

  3. I truly think one needs to own and drive a Citroen DS in order to appreciate its greatness. They are not for everyone, obviously, but it is hard not to fall in love with them. I have owned a couple and I just bought a 1969 to restore. Even though it is half rusted out I think it is beautiful!

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More

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