I’d gotten wind that goddesses had arrived in Eugene. There was a comment left here, and then Stephanie caught a glimpse of them. I assumed maybe two at most; I was not prepared for this heavenly conclave. This is a scene one would have very likely encountered in Berkeley a few decades back. Now they’re here, like so many other California refugees, including yours truly. They’ve found a safe haven.
First up is this ID 19 Break. Its exact year is undetermined, but we can pin it down to being between 1962 and 1965 due to it having the nose which was slightly changed for 1963 to make it more aerodynamically efficient. The ID Break (station wagon) was introduced in 1958, three years after the DS 19 was introduced. I’m not going to spend much time on the development and the details of its many advanced—and complex—features, as Roger Carr covered that in his CC of the ID/DS. But we’ll likely hit on many of them more casually in our walk-around.
The DS was revolutionary in many ways, but none more so than its aerodynamics, as its remarkably low, long and sloping hood makes clear. Think 1955 Buick, as a counterpoint. The DS’ aerodynamic CD of 0.36 was unparalleled for a mass production car, and made these inherently faster on the highways than one might expect, given their rather modest engine outputs. That CD number is for the sedan; I could not find one for the Break.
I didn’t lift up any hoods, so we’ll use this picture from the web. The engine, an ohv hemi-head four which dates back to the 1930s, sits way back behind the axle centerline, the configuration that was used for FWD cars almost exclusively except for the little two-stroke DKWs, Saabs and such. The ID had all of 69 hp from 1911 cc, somewhat less than the DS versions. Power was up some, and in 1965, an ID 21 with 103 hp was available for those that wanted a fast Break.
This version of the front end has these air scoops under the headlights; I assume they go to the interior heating and ventilation system.
This one has this fine badge on the front.
There’s the famous one spoke wheel. The ID had a conventionally-shifted four speed transmission, unlike the DS which had hydraulic assist for that undertaking. The overwhelming impression when I looked at these cars now—outside and in—is how small they are in today’s context. They’re crazy low, obviously, especially with the suspension all the way down, but they’re so narrow and small inside. I can’t believe these were considered to be able to sit three across.
The back seat, and the invariably missing door card.
I couldn’t really get a proper shot of the cargo area.
There were four main variants of the Break/Familiale. I had forgotten that two of the variants had rear flip up seats.
Here they are, occupied, which also reinforces the point I was making about how small these cars are in today’s context. At the time, these were very large cars for European standards.
The rear opens via a large hatch that come about two thirds of the way down, and then there’s a small tailgate that folds down.
Let’s take a look at that unusual wheel, seemingly with no lug nuts. Like so many things, Citroën had a better idea, even if it was more expensive. The single center nut pulls a conically shaped device into the split hexagonal hub, thus expanding the hub into the center recess of the wheel. The wheel is thus firmly jammed onto the hub. This system was developed together with Michelin, back then the major shareholder of Citroen S.A.
And here’s the 165-400 Michelin X tire to go with it. After September 1965, a conventional five-lug wheel in standard 15″ size replaced this because it was cheaper, not surprisingly. And it opened up a wider range of tire sizes.
The ID Break had a reinforced body and the larger rear brakes of the DS, as well as a lower (higher numerical) final drive ratio, so that it could haul the very heavy loads that it was capable of. Thanks to its hydro-pneumatic suspension, it always rode level no matter the load. This one is actually not sitting on its suspension stops.
The ID Break was the ultimate Citroën freak’s car, more so than the DS/ID sedan. I remember seeing these back in the 70s owned by some pretty far out folks. Why? Because of its greater versatility and uniqueness. If a DS owner could wax eloquently about all the features of his car, the Break owner could inherently top that. Seating for up to eight! Some 1200 lbs or more load capacity! Always a level ride! Sleep in the back! And it’s just so out-there looking.
Let’s move on to the DS sedan. As we can see, it’s donated its brush-painted purple door to the wagon. That’ll make looking into the interior easy.
Since it has the significantly-revised four-lamp front end that arrived for the 1968 MY, we know this one is from then or later.
No doubt about it being a DS. If it’s a DS 21, then its 2.1 L four was rated at 109 hp, enough to make these surprisingly quick on the autobahn. And then in 1973, the ultimate goddess arrived, the DS 23, in both carbureted and fuel-injected forms, with the latter making a whopping 130 hp. And a five speed transmission arrived too. Good for just over 180 kmh, or 112 mph. Not bad for a four cylinder back in the early 70s, and very comfortable one at that.
Someone will probably help us narrow that down with some details, like the dashboard. The engine’s intrusion into the front passenger area is all-too apparent.
If not, here’s a more detailed shot. I have to assume not all the engine noise could have been kept out.
Here’s the dash. And I assume that’s the shift lever that activates the hydraulically-shifted semi-automatic transmission. (Update: this is the shifter for the conventional transmission)
I’m going to cheat and copy this section from Wikipedia on the operation of the Transmission Hydralique or Citromatic:
To change gears, the driver flicked a lever behind the steering wheel to the next position and eased-up on the accelerator pedal. The hydraulic controller disengaged the clutch, disengaged the previous gear, then engaged the nominated gear, and re-engaged the clutch. The speed of engagement of the clutch was controlled automatically, responding to hydraulic sensing of engine rpm and the position of the butterfly valve in the carburetor (i.e., the position of the accelerator), and the brake circuit. When the brake was pressed, the engine idle speed dropped to an rpm below the clutch engagement speed, thus preventing friction while stopped in gear at traffic lights. When the brake was released, the idle speed increased to the clutch dragging speed. The car would then creep forward much like automatic transmission cars. This drop-in idle throttle position also caused the car to have more engine drag when the brakes were applied even before the car slowed to the idle speed in gear, preventing the engine from pulling against the brakes. In the event of loss of hydraulic pressure (following a loss of system fluid), the clutch would disengage, to prevent driving, while brake pressure reserves would allow safe braking to a standstill.
Unlike an automatic transmission, there is no Park position on the transmission where the wheels are locked. In addition, the hydraulic clutch would disengage with the engine stopped, so the car could not be left in gear when parked. The only way to prevent the car from rolling (for example, if parked on a slope) is to use the parking brake.
Whether the complexity of that was worth it is a question only those that have driven—and maintained—both versions can answer with authority.
The back seat minus the seat back.
Let’s move on to the next…Break. This one is sporting a trailer hitch.
It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, but the hitch is only maybe three inches or so from the road, if that. Of course once the engine starts up—if it does—and the suspension lifts up—if it does—then there will be more reasonable clearance.
This Break has the original style of front end, so we can pin it down to between 1958 and before 1963.
This still has the original style dashboard.
And a knob and something else on the engine cover.
The rear seat is still fairly intact.
Spare parts in the cargo area.
More further back.
Time to head over to what appears to be the daily driver, or at least one that appears to run. It makes quite a contrast to that CUV next door. Turns out the DS wasn’t exactly the car of the future, at least not that far out.
What drew my attention was the large glass roof. No this isn’t stock, by any measure.
But maybe the owner wanted a Tesla-style glass roof, which makes sense, as the Tesla Model S was pretty much the most revolutionary new car since the DS.
Makes for a bright and cheerful interior. Are those seats stock? Hmm. Maybe the later ones reclined like that. Or maybe they’ve been swapped out. The covers certainly aren’t original.
The back seat has a rather crude covering too.
And those speakers are not what I typically would associate with a DS owner. Especially since big woofers like that are extremely ineffective without a housing, as the sound waves from the front and back tend to cancel each other. There’s a reason speakers are in housings.
And those twin exhausts aren’t exactly stock either, although they’re not totally unsuitable.
That ends our visit to the goddesses of Eugene. We’ve paid our respects, if not exactly prostrated ourselves in veneration. To tell the truth, while I’ve always admired these cars, it’s strictly in the abstract. There was a co-worker who bought a beautiful DS21 at the tv station in LA in about 1978-1979, with a gleaming new paint job. And I had my Peugeot 404s. And while I enjoyed my ride in his Citroën, it scared me, in terms of its mechanical and hydraulic complexity. And sure enough, he soon became quite familiar with the local French-car mechanic.
Meanwhile, my 404s were all so straightforward and easy to fix. No exotic green hydraulic oil and pumps and cylinders and actuators. The French were either Citroën lovers or Peugeot lovers, representing two different basic personality types. I figured out early which one I was.
More godly reading on the sacred subject:
CC Citroen ID/DS: The Doddess Storms The Bastille Of Convention R.Carr
CC Twofer: 1970 DS 21 and 1974 DS 23 – The Goddess Is In The Details Tatra 87
CC Global Outtakes: Citroen DS Cabrio and Sedan Lorraine Spotted Together – A Chapron Convention, by PN
CC Driving Review – 1970 Citroen ID19 Familiale – Yes, You Can Meet Your Heroes, by Roger Carr
Cohort Capsule: Pallas Is Citroen For Brougham, by Tom Klockau
CC Outtake: Goddesses, by Don Andreina
I like that moonroof on the red one. It should always have had that (with a better finish).
I agree on the desirability. I absolutely love them and admire them to no end, but actually owning one? I’ll pass on that unless maybe it was number four or five in the satble.
BTW: Do two of the cars have the exact same license plate?
the guy is getting the most out of the two plates he was issued. good on him.
Same here. I loved the style, and always said I’d have a Citroen, but when it came to putting my money where my mouth was, no. I bought a Cortina. Even I could fix that!
Paul, that shot is not of the hydraulic gear lever. It sprouts out of the top of the steering column surround, rather like a mid 2000s Mercedes cruise control lever.
In fact the shot of the later daily driver shows it well. So the daily driver is the fully hydraulic version
Yes, thanks. I’ll correct the text.
My name is Arzinia this is a few of my Citroen i own twelve in all only one is a California car i am a citroen mechanic i lived in the netherlands for decades but im originally from Eugene
Hi Arzinia! Welcome back to Eugene. And a dozen, no less. Wow; I am impressed. I once owned a half-dozen 404s (and one 403).
I hope to meet you sometime, and maybe take a closer look, or even a ride?
Best friend bought new, 1967 burgasndy w/white vinyl top DS21 Pallas and as he put it full bordello red velour int. Same dauy found he’d be gone to Brazil for a year, gave keys said ‘drive it as yours for the year’ he didn;t wanbt it sitting. Fell in love, 1st drive laughed allthe way w foibles. Seats reclined to a wonderful bed, cornering amazing, got used to the mushro9om brake, had a/c, engine noise level less than a/c fan, remembered to reach over wheel to shift aftrd 1st time throiugh it. Total love w reg maintainevce no probs, totaly reliable that year, many more with Paul. AHad to exercise my own cars, drovw DS all the toime.
An old DS ” bible” from the UK mentioned that unsold DS sat at the docks soaking in the sea air. A shop. was contracted to referb them before delivery but they were starting to rust.
Many suspension died because mechanic just filled them up with transmission and not the special mineral oil. Guess they were just to advanced for your average mechanic.
Obviously there is no comparison when it comes to the engineering, but some of those pictures have me thinking that there is some styling similarities between the DS and the ’53 Studebaker.
Also, has anyone ever tried grafting the rear fenders from a wagon on to a sedan?
Great cars. Perhaps t owner has t bucks to restore them. i always admired them for engineering aa comfort. Interestingly, in 1954 when Ford offered its Skyliner (It’s the top, it’s the top, it’s the car with the transparent top!”), Citroen offered a full translucent roof for the DS. One model that I have never seen in America, I have attached. Not that it also has additional lights on the forward section of the rear deck. Quel Elegance!
Our next door neighbor bought a Goddess in 1964 or 65. He’d previously had a 1961 Imperial which, for me at age 8, was the wildest Space-Age Chariot-Of-The-Gods a boy could imagine with its floating headlights and weird rocket exhaust taillights and oval steering wheel, not to mention the ‘Exner Escape Hatch’ on the trunk. How did he come to own such exotics (for our little backwater town)? The answer was quite easy. His son became a car salesman, first for Chrysler, and then for Citroen.
The Citroen made the Imperial seem like a Victorian era carriage while the Citroen was very clearly a Buck Rogers age space ship. I distinctly remember the one-spoke steering wheel, and even at age 8 I knew that that rubber bulb where the brake pedal should be was … insane.
I was treated to a demonstration of the ups and downs of the hydraulic suspension and rides in the back seat with its grey (wool?) material covering and upright seating posture. Very un-American… It was an amazing ride on the highway, building speed slowly but gracefully. It really was a full universe away from (and ahead of ) our almost-dead-from-rust 56 Chevy station wagon.
Regrettably he only had it a year or so. “Something” kept going wrong, and no local mechanic was fool enough to mess with something which had an engine bay filled with green balls. I know that he had mechanics flown in from Atlanta twice during that brief year, and that it was replaced by a disappointingly normal Cadillac. Whether his son had moved to selling Cadillac or not, I don’t know, but in any case the future was over.
As Richard Sheil says, the semi-automatic shift lever comes out of the top of the steering column – if it comes out of the side, it’s a manual shift.
From 1969, the instruments had round dials. Since the sedan has the new front end which was introduced in 1968, I suspect this is may be a rare late-1960s transitional model.
Amazing to see these all in one place. And it dawned on me while reading this that I’ve never actually seen a Break, not have I ever examined a ID/DS up close. So it was great to see these up-close shots. There’s lots of details here that I never knew existed.
There are a handful of DS’s that I see around here – one is driven rather frequently, and the other sits in a driveway. But oddly I don’t recall ever encountering one at a car show.
One of my long-term automotive goals is to drive one of these… even just riding in one would be wonderful. But I think I’d pass on the ownership experience.
There is a Checker Marathon vibe in the picture of the Brake’s taillights… (obviously not the in shape of the car).
As a Berkeley native, I’ll say that it’s been more than a few decades since there was such a large congregation of DS/ID’s in one spot, even there. Before it closed down, the the French car mechanic’s shop near the Monterey Market was mostly full of Peugeot’s. Due to their greater popularity, I should point out, not because Peugeot’s were less reliable. A great find, though not quite so exotic for me as for some here, as my neighbor around the corner still owns and regularly drives his DS21. But not a Break. The only one of those I see regularly is my Corgi Toys version.
This Citroen collection would be a lot more appropriate sitting in front of the house next door with the uniquely strange Jetsonesque roofline. I live in a mid century modern house and the Break would look smashing in my driveway.
What a find! The better condition red one certainly has a few head scratching modifications. Must have had an interesting owner even by DS standards.
These are definitely worth saving and owning … just not by me.
owned a few of these over the years here in the UK, at the moment have a 1973 DS20 which was imported from Sweden which strangely has a normal brake pedal not a mushroom, never sen that before….maybe that was a Scandinavian option/rule ? It has a manual gearbox but I prefer the semi auto, one could change gear using just 1 finger and the gear lever “wand” was pushed to the left to start the engine , they also have a foot release parking brake, which always confuses people. The rear spats release with just 1 bolt for wheel changing which is so easy, put car into its highest suspension position, place jack in its slot , lower the suspension to the lowest and the car jacks itself up, so simple…Always liked the individuality/quirkiness/innovation of Citroen, also have a 1955 TA Commerciale which was probably the first mass produced full hatch back, earlier Commerciales had a 2 piece tailgate. This has been updated with an ID19 engine with a 4 speed box so easily keeps up with modern traffic.
and a lovely period ad for the Commerciale
In the modern MBA mind, DS has become a “brand” to be “leveraged”, a means to charge more for a Pug. Apparently shoppers in the EU have been distinctly unimpressed, so the company has announced DS, Alfa and Lancia will be mashed up together somehow.
DS should never have become a brand. It effectively demoted regular Citroens down to ‘ordinary-looking’, and what’s the point of a bland Citroen? Isn’t that a Peugeot? 😉
Ideally I’d say that they should limit Citroen to city cars only and Peugeot to (Euro) midsize and larger, giving the Opel Astra – perennially #2 in Germany behind the almighty Golf and #1 or 2 in the UK depending on whether it or the Focus has been refreshed most recently – a clear field in the C segment without internal competition from within Stellantis.
I had a friend who had a taste for the cheap exotics, so after the Lancia and the Fiat, he got a Deese, semi auto. It’s got a hydraulic leak, he said, could you have a look? I rode over to his remote farmhouse on my Ariel Huntmaster, with the coffin sidecar containing the tools and trolley jack, which wasn’t required due to the amazing self jacking referred to earlier, and had a look underneath. Lying in the dirt I saw there must have been at least six hydraulic lines, brakes, suspension and gearbox, all high pressure, and a slight drip emanating from God knows where. He rolled up another one and we decided the only sane solution was to carry a bottle of the magic green fluid and keep an eye on the level.
It was an amazing vehicle to drive and gave me a taste for Citroens. I later owned a 2CV, a BX and a Zantia, but I’d love a nice DS. There’s quite a thriving resto business for them here in the UK. What a brilliant company.
The DS was never the car of the future. Nobody copied it, for very good reasons. Zero influence.
Yeah, nobody else got into front wheel drive. Radial tires? Didn’t catch on. Aerodynamics? Everyone else still shapes their cars like bricks…
Really ? What other mass production car in 1954 looked as futuristic, was as aerodynamic and rode as well ? no influence ? Didn’t Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Maserati and some Mercedes later use the hydrapneumatic suspension under licence ? Issigonis has said his influence for the Mini hydralastic suspension was the DS.. Safety features like headlights that turn with a corner have only fairly recently been used on modern cars and I don’t fear a tyre blowout at speed in my DS. I’ve owned many modern and classic cars over 60 years of driving and driven lots of friend’s classic cars and my 50 year old DS is still my favourite. Personally I don’t think it looks dated at all, and always gets admiring comments from young drivers, that says something I think.
Nobody copied it in its entirety, but it was certainly influential.
Nobody else made a car that looked like this, true. It just took a few decades and a fuel crisis before anyone else bothered with aerodynamics. it took about a decade before other Euro mass-producers started to fiddle with FWD, though rarely in a car of this size. Hydraulic suspensions still aren’t a regular thing, but Citroen certainly raised the bar on ride quality.
In so many ways, the Citroen DS/ID showed the world what was possible, if you let the engineers dream, and try to productionize that dream. It might not have always been as reliable or as foolproof as the ordinary way, but when it worked – Wow!
The Citroen Traction Avant/DS form of FWD was derivative of earlier Cord and Miller FWD designs, so it wasn’t a Citroen innovation. Nor was it influential, since the FWD of Citroen and Renault wasn’t the form that spread around the world and is use in to this day. The transverse-engine format was popularized by Issigonis, and it has since been adopted by Citroen and Renault. The form factor of the DS was certainly innovative, but it also wasn’t emulated. That leaves the hydraulic systems, which were creative and admired by many. Few actually adapted them though, and those abandoned them in favor of less finnicky systems in time.
None of that diminishes the creative approach to making a family sedan that bankrupted Citroen. Too bad they ran out of money before developing an engine that was equal to the car.
The DS came out in 1955 and Citroën went bankrupt in 1974. No causal link between those two was ever established.
Buying Maserati, Panhard and Berliet in quick succession, co-creating a Wankel engine factory with NSU, screwing up the F (later known as the GS) and failing to hook up with Fiat… Lots of blame to go around, but the DS ain’t one.
The Wankel et al are the prime causes for sure, however, once upon a time, in a land far, far away – well, in a place I can’t remember or find now – I once read that Citroen didn’t really make much money for Michelin on each DS. They were pretty complex devices, and you’d have to think it is cheaper to stamp out big panels rather than building up punts and hanging things on them. In the same way, say, that it was super-cheap in the ’50’s to have someone make up white metal bearings for your crappy Anglia and by the ’70’s it really wasn’t anymore, the labor – rowdy unionised French labor at that! – to make DS’s was pretty costly even by the mid-’60’s.
I can’t find anything to back this statement, btw, despite a bit of a search.
Getting essentially banned from selling their cars in the US didn’t help matters either
The Breaks are my favorite form of ID/DS, I find them all mechanically very interesting cars and but I’ve got to be honest, the teardrop shape and covered rear wheels have always turned me completely off of them, where the back half of the break looks somewhat conventional. The one thing only thing I dislike that carried over is the crudeness of the rear end and taillights, the Break is more conventional in placement but still look manage to look like retrofitted trailer lights, only the break housings remind me of a Checker Marathon. There’s also that triangular recessed portion on the side of the quarter panels, which makes it look like the bumper is missing
I’m with you on the rear end of the Break – it looks like a back-street hack-shop conversion rather than the production job I know it is. Such a contrast between the rear and the rest of the car.
The challenges of designing a wagon from a low streamlined saloon, I guess. Plus, it was the late 50s and fins were in. The same thing happened in Sweden around the same time…
Both wagons were made for many years afterwards and both looked older than the saloons they derived from very quickly.
I’ve got to agree. The wagon is just an unholy mess, though admittedly a fascinating cobble of ill-blessed bits. Funnily enough, I’ve found that most non-car folk prefer the wagon, as they cannot bear those covered-in rear wheels on the saloon.
(Ok, “most” was only actually friends or relatives walking past the Citroen workshop in the middle of our town in the ’80’s, but, you know….)
You had a Citroen workshop in your town?
Outer-east suburb, Dandenong foothills. Garage did other work, but owner mainly did (and owned) Cits, Renault and Peugeot, foryears and years, from when the burb was still pretty rural. And I do mean years – serviced my sister’s 505 in circa 1991 when he was 85! Retired at about 88, and lived quite a few years after. Grumpy, crusty old-Australia type for whom less words were too many, but just loved his French cars. I recall him speaking (for once) with enthusiasm about how he wished he could get to Europe and drive the latest Frog turbodeisels, not long before he retired.
He always drove from a collection of DS’s and Pugs, including at least two Safaris, so they were always there right next to the station for all to walk past.
Today’s trivia: in 1970, Citroen moved its US headquarters from New York City to a 48-lane bowling alley on Van Nostrand Avenue in Englewood, NJ.
I don’t remember if visitors were required to rent special shoes or not.
Was it still a working bowling alley? There’s something very French about being REQUIRED to stop work at 5 pm, even if it’s so the lanes can be clear for bowlers.
L’arrondisement dix-neuf d’Eugene.
Interesting but I’m glad I’m not a neighbor trying to sell.
I never noticed until now how much the front of the Datsun 240Z was a copy of the early DS/ID…
I would put it at the older end of that range, judging by its headlamps. They’re a symmetrical-beam type, producing a low beam with a flat-across cutoff that does not rise to the right (or to the left)—basically a glorified fog lamp giving very short seeing distance. The asymmetrical European beam (flat cutoff at the top of the left side of the beam, upsweep/upstep to the right, for right-hand traffic) was devised and standardised in regulations in 1957, and its large improvement in seeing distance drove widespread adoption that was rapid, but not instantaneous. I’m nowhere near enough of a troonhead to be able to rattle off part numbers and running change dates, but broader knowledge of the evolution of French practice suggests to me this high-end car would’ve received asymmetrical headlamps in perhaps ’59 or ’60.
Paul, thank you so much for this in-depth look at the evolution of the DS. I’ve always been curious about the production variations I’ve noticed. And who knows, one day I might finish building one!
I’m afraid you’re a little off the nose for the first ID wagon, Paul. That’s a 1963-64 car with the updated nose – the air scoops and the rubber inserts are the dead giveaway (pre-MY63 nose looks like the car below). But it has the clapper wipers, so it’s pre-MY65.
What a strange and wonderful assortment, though! Hydro madness. Love it.
I know what happened: I transposed the two wagons. The second (gray) wagon has the first type of front end. I spent a fair bit of time figuring this out, then transposed the two. I will fix that now.
“It makes quite a contrast to that CUV next door.” I think that “CUV” is actually a mini-minivan in the form of a 2nd-generation Mazda5. But I guess they’re effectively the same type of vehicle.
Nice collection I should have had a camera with me yesterday the Citroen collection I was amongst would blow your mind and its for sale lock stock and barrel,
I was in Hamilton NZ at a long established Citroen wrecking yard getting rims for my Superminx they guy has stuff going back to the 30s and whole cars just sitting there unused including several fibreglass roofs for these Breaks actually theres very little he hasnt got but it will all be scrapped shortly hes retiring and at 73 I dont blame him,
I’ll be going back soon to get a radiator for my daughter’s Xsara providing he can identify the right one it seems every engine option in those had a unique radiator and they dont swap around.
To annoy fussy neighbours, I hope the owner goes out each night and swaps a few panels about so they never know which car to complain to the city about. In fact, by the looks, he might just.
They’re definitely a theory-only purchase for me too. I reckon that when you’re young enough to have the enthusiasm to get one, you don’t have the money, and when you’re old enough to have the money, they all look like this and your bones say “non”. Also, one brutal reality is that a Renault 16 from ’65 give 90% of the effectivness for 20% of the complication, or a 404, 80% of the goods for 10%.
I did not know about the pre-’65 wheels being one-bolt, knowing only that some wheels looked plainer than others. More dead-end craziness: I’m in the crowd that loves these buses, and accepts that they had a certain influence, but not one of their major distinctions became mainstream.
The interior shot of the red-seated one really shows one such unusualness, apparent because the plastic top cover on the column is off. The one-spoke is in fact the actual column itself. Safe, clever, and not followed.
Did any car ever have more dashboards? Plastic and steel, wood (truly, on some UK models), RHD differences, strip speedos in at least two formats, round gauges, multi-gauges with chrome edging, and finally rather dullard plastic ’70’s. Viva la variations, I guess.
The location of the engine, behind the axle, with the transmission in front I believe to only be common to French car makers. The engine in front of the axle with transmission behind is found in Subarus these days. In the 70’s and 80’s Audi used the same layout with a straight four. Quite a bit of front overhang. I believe that the SAAB 99 went with transmission next to the engine.
In comments about the DS not leading anywhere Paulson wrote that the transverse engine layout of Issigonis has been adopted. While true as far as that goes, the engine transmission layout of Issigonis hasn’t seen much other usage (Lamborghini Miura). The currently popular layout of engine inline with the transmission started with the FIAT 128.