WHY HAVE I commandeered your attention with this strange and irresistible object? It is obviously not a car. It cannot possibly be real. Does it even have wheels? Is it a submarine?
Sixty years after its introduction at the Paris Auto Show, the futuristic, perfectly Gallic Citroën DS 19 (D series from 1955-75) retains the ability to wow, an atom bomb of style from a time when atom bombs were kind of cool. The DS was the most technically gifted automobile of its time and the most quintessentially modern, in that it scorned all that was familiar in prewar design—big, exposed wheels, low roofs, strong shoulders and commanding chrome grilles—in favor of something utterly new, at least outside the realm of pulp science fiction.
And yet until two weeks ago I had never actually driven a DS. Now, thanks to the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tenn., which let me take theirs out of the barn, I must have one. That is a problem because I have neither the time, money nor garage space to devote to a temperamental French car that looks like a glass escargot.
Asymcar 22 discussed the DS.