Goddess of levitation: ownership experience Citroen DS 23 Pallas

Our motorists this machine is mostly known as a supercar Fantomas. Bald villain global scale bustles with your white DS so many antispyware chips that when you look at him blush and he DB5 agent of Her Majesty. But ironically the index of one of the most famous models sitroenovskoy – DS – in tune with the French word “deesse”, which translates as ‘Goddess’ that not too villainous image corresponds to the machine on the silver screen. As we know from Greek mythology, the gods and goddesses in the Pantheon was a great multitude, so we decided to find one that would fit perfectly Deesse.

Goddess of beauty

For the first time he saw firsthand the Citroen DS, I, contrary to custom, did not even rush behind the wheel. I’m just fascinated stood in front of “the Goddess”, and the reason for it – the legendary design Flaminio Bertoni (not to be confused with the famous designer – owner of the eponymous coachbuilder Nuccio Bertone!). The outlines of the car is so light, it seems that the car is committed to the air. As planned by the authors of the project, the new French vehicle was intended to replace the awkward pre-war Traction Avant and have the most aerodynamic body in the form of drops – all these plans clearly become a reality.

Initially, the project was called VGD (Voiture Grande Diffusion?) – «A large mass car”, but later the name was changed to the DS. As a result, out of the designer’s pen came without a car radiator grille, but with a rounded nose and tapering to the tail stern and fantastic for those years drag coefficient Cx = 0.382 resistance. However, from the first sketches had to be abandoned: to place a petrol engine, it was necessary to slightly increase the height of the all-aluminum hood. To this day, this part of the car – one of the largest parts of aluminum alloys created in the world.

Open it – and look instantly … it rests on the spare wheel, nestled in an alcove in front of the radiator, next to which is attached a set of necessary instruments. Carburetor engine, shifted almost to the engine shield, hiding behind him. Place here “spare tire” was a decision Lefebvre, DS chief designer of the project, in order to free up space under the boot: beneath the aluminum rear cover hides the compartment volume of 500 liters, and fuel tank are located directly under the rear sofa. Beauty then permeates everything: even chrome fuel filler tube looks like a work of art. And so on …

Domed panorama windshield comes to the front desk, and a thin roof, surrounded by chrome moldings and if floating on thin-pillar, for the first time in the world was made of fiberglass. Generally, lightness – a characteristic feature of the elegant Frenchman which is only a vast glass area and side windows without frames. Small mirrors mounted on the thin chrome legs near the front of the rack, adjusted manually and, despite its size, great show required.

The rear part of the roof, falling to the rear of the vehicle, are located at the corners of the direction indicators in the form of cones, which were later compared with the rocket nozzle. Certain elements of the stern began massive rear pillars, deliberately blatant trimmed with aluminum and the like holding the entire structure on itself, and rear arches that cover the stylish alloy wheels, shod with 15-inch tires.

We were on the test came later modification of the DS with 2.3-liter engine (which is reflected in the index of the machine) to the rich set Pallas, named in honor of the goddess Pallas Athena. Among the many pieces of the vehicle is, for example, such exclusive as turning daytime running lights, which are connected by a linkage and drive with steering and turning of the front wheels. Eka prodigy – say the owners of modern cars: I have, they say, too, turn lights, when I twist the steering wheel. However, everything is much more interesting than in the current implementations of active headlamps on motor “sitroenovskoy” system is completely mechanical and allows the spotlight to look in turn nearly 60 degrees, and modern electric mechanisms designed only for an angle of 15-20 °.

The design is based on the French steel support base – the powerful spars, which are welded to the floor panel and a massive front sub-frame, holding the engine and front suspension. On top of the base welded pillar and roof frame, resulting in both a light and strong body. All the body parts of the machine carried out quick, which made it possible to quickly carry out vehicle maintenance and repair. For example, the rear fenders are attached to the body of the machine with just one bolt and to remove all the body panels in the presence of skill will only have 30 minutes! The design of the rear wings allow you to quickly change the wheel hidden under the rear wing. Due to the use of a variety of materials in the body structure initially wondered large gaps between body panels, which were fitted in place by hand. For the first time in the practice of the Citroen car offers a huge palette of paints of different colors, and the roof of contrast often stained a different color.

comfort Goddess

In those years, on the luxury and interior decoration in the “French” and was to show “the Americans” with their “road cruisers”, and richly trimmed “British” with “the Germans.” In the eyes immediately catch the soft sofas in front and behind, trimmed two-tone suede ride that unrealistic convenient: it seems that you’re sitting in your home chair, which among other things regulated in a horizontal plane. For convenience, the front and rear passengers used folding armrests and another is conveniently located on the door.

At the top of the inside of the cabin roof arch extends massive soft tissue, which does not allow careless passengers hit his head when leaving the car. Behind the seats is even more – completely flat floor that allows you to sit down fares back impressively, his legs stretched out. Unusual and the front panel – at the time it was equipped and looked no less cosmic than the exterior of the machine. For DS – the first production car, the front panel which is made of soft-touch plastic, and even here the first time there were vents blowing, which relied separate electric fan.

An important innovation “Goddess” and became an energy absorbing steering column with characteristic Citroens single needle. And when exactly the exposed wheels is slightly shifted to the left, to the “seven-thirty,” the clock. Initially DS equipped with rectangular speedometer, but by the ’60s, a new panel with three round instruments – such as we have. The center is located speedometer, right – tachometer, and the left – a set of icons that inform about the included indicator, oil pressure in the system, the level of fuel and the parking brake. On the front panel, the developers have placed turnouts stylish watch, and above them, on the ceiling, the place takes … thermometer.

Goddess of levitation

Larva ignition DS have left (I want to add “as VAZ-2107”, but do not dare to mention them in the same sentence). Turn the key – and gasoline “quartet” 2.3-liter shaken after the rest and begins to mutter something in French in the exhaust system. And do not be confused nameplate on the trunk lid, informing fuel injection – our hero is equipped with a horizontal carburettor Weber Italian company and develops 115 hp. from.

I close the door – and can hardly hear the engine. Browse to the driver excellent: panoramic windows and thin strut allow excellent view all the blind space of the machine, and before the eyes of the hood extends playground. On our machine has manual transmission, although Citroen practiced and semi-automatic with manual shifting and the clutch – a kind of “robot” half a century ago. Track five-step “mechanics”, located on the steering wheel, surely lies in the right hand, I push him away and up, including the first transmission, and the Frenchman starts moving smoothly.

On small first transmission speeds Citroen uncomfortable, so the second pass quickly. DS is kept steadily in city traffic at a speed of 60 km / h, but I have almost complete confidence that he will be able to accelerate and passport 175 km / h! Motor is enough pick-up – he pulls even if the move to the third gear. On the bumps Citroën’s corporate soft: it floats gently on the road, barely swaying. But in order to slow down, you have to find on the floor of a circular button, click on that you need a very courteously and kindly. The driver is not create pressure in the system by pressing on the brake, but only controls the amount. With unaccustomed force pressing the unusual pedal can not be calculated, and the car immediately raises the stake, klyunuv nose. Management was so unusual that in the manual even encouraged owners to practice before to go on the road. But the brakes cool car, and considering that there behind the drums and there is no ABS and other electronic assistants, and the DS will give odds to many modern competitors.

Of course, the legendary hydropneumatic suspension long been dismantled to pieces and hung with stories about rescuing the President of France and the wheel without replacing the jack, but did not say a word about it would be sacrilege. It is so quietly work out irregularities, without allowing passengers to pits and potholes that after 30 km / h seems that the body literally levitates on the road. At the same time, it does not create a terrifying rolls, characteristic for cars with soft suspension, and allows you to confidently pass the turn if necessary. Special lever in the passenger compartment, on the left of the pedals, the driver controls the clearance: “parking” rate may be 90 mm, the highway – 120 mm, and if necessary leave the asphalt, the body of the Citroen hang almost 280 mm from the road in the upper position. Even many modern SUVs can not boast of such a clearance, and this is the car!

It is interesting to see how the car after standing for a while, gradually descends to the lower cylinders, as if tired and goes to take a break from the pressing affairs. While boarding the car a little sags under the weight of the rider, but the clever suspension almost instantaneously adjusts the clearance, adjusting to the new load. To this end, used offsets the height of the body, which is mechanically connected with stabilizers. Under full load the body sags a little, and torsion stabilizer in turn, interacts with the lever movement corrector height. Fluid from the accumulator under pressure enters the cylinder of the suspension by raising the body of the machine to the point at which the piston closes the flow corrector liquid. No electrics, here reigns Her Majesty Hydraulics!

When unloading the car body, on the contrary, rises, the corrector piston moves to another position where the excess fluid from the cylinder merge into suspension accumulator. Suspension mode control lever translates correctors wheels via several rods in one of the five predetermined positions, reducing or increasing the pressure in the hydraulic cylinders, and the body height is changing.

Front and rear independent suspension used Citroen, arms that rotate on bearings, allowing the machine to adjust the clearance. Hydropneumatic spring element, which is the main unit of suspension is a cylinder with a piston rod filled with hydraulic fluid, a part mounted on the body, and the second – on the suspension arm. During the movement of the trailing arm moves the piston inside the cylinder through hydraulic valves and pumps the liquid to the bottom of the air spheres situated on the top of the cup suspension, wherein the top spheres filled with nitrogen. As a result, the liquid compresses the gas spring function and performs, while the valve system works as a shock absorber.

Rudder with traditional Citroens is very convenient for a single needle. The steering rack with built-in booster has been designed so that the rudder is not handed blows from pits and bumps. This was achieved by setting the wheel axis of rotation vertically to their longitudinal plane. The driver is on the “steering wheel” feedback, which allows to feel the car, but the steering wheel is still a little artificial, does not depend on the road. His “highlight” in the overall picture and adds a soft suspension: on the track, and the waves of all of the above makes the car a little “float”.

For those who managed to still not acquainted with the unique features of the DS, I tell you about one. Engineer Paul Citroen Mazhes worked for him hydraulic system, which combines the elements of the elastic suspension, hydraulic power steering and the brake system. To create pressure in the circuit applied axial-piston swashplate pump, which is driven by a belt from a motor. Initially, the system applies the LHS synthetic fluid, of which, however, quickly abandoned because it required frequent replacement, and when it leaks could say goodbye to the paint coating. Later, it was replaced by “mineral water» LHM, which began to tint green, featuring the LHS from the reddish, not to confuse customers. From the pump fluid enters the main accumulator, which is by the pressure of the distributor sends it to the hydraulic suspension, brakes or power steering. Needless to say, you need to constantly monitor the level of the liquid, not to stay in the car, not only without clearance, but no brakes and power steering. Fortunately, especially inattentive and forgetful provided security system, and a car with a minimum level of liquid in the system simply will not touch with a place.

Citroen DS – a paradise for the amateur engineer and custom solutions in the design of automobiles. The more you learn about this car, the more she admire: DS is so beautiful on the go, as elegant and unusual his technical device.


The car was a 1972 purchased by Paul in 2013. The previous owner had a long and painstaking restoration carried “Goddess”, but in the end decided to sell his car. Over the past since the time of purchase and there were breakdowns: it was necessary to repair the fuel pump, alternator and air conditioning.

During the period of ownership of the happy owner dashed to his car no more than 15 000 km: DS, of course, is not used every day and spends the night in a warm garage, not knowing about the existence of the Russian winter. Basically, Paul goes on it in Europe – exhibitions and gatherings of fans of the brand. The standard OT for Citroen enters the annual replacement of the hydraulic fluid, as well as consumables, including filters and candle, on an average spent about 10 000 rubles.

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