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French Barn Find: 1970 Citroën DS21

Here’s some automotive trivia worth pondering: legend has it that when Citroën debuted the DS at the Paris Motor Show in 1965 1955, it garnered 18,000 customer orders on the first day. By the end of the ten-day show, there were 80,000 pre-orders for the futuristic French car. This record achievement remained unbroken for 60 years until Tesla launched its Model 3. If you ask me, I’d rather have a DS in my driveway any day of the week. And, if I had deep enough pockets to undertake a full restoration, I’d most certainly consider hitting the Buy it Now button here on eBay for this 1970 Citroën DS21, located in an undisclosed location in the Catskills, upstate New York.

Despite the fact our subject Citroën has the requisite grime and soil of a genuine barn find (a post-and-beam barn at that!), the car appears to be in fairly decent nick overall. On the inside, everything looks to be in place and certainly worthy of saving. Sure it’s dirty and dusty, but it’ll clean up. The bigger question is the possibility of rodent damage — what’s lurking underneath that dash? It’s no fun having to trace and fix electrical gremlins. This possibility alone might have me clicking the Make Offer button.

The seller’s scant description is accounted for by what I consider to be dreaded words: “…selling it for a friend, the car was his father’s.” So this might be why there’s no mention of title paperwork and also why there’s no way he can confirm the 47,635 miles on the odometer, which may or may not have “gone around once.” My guess, from looking at the interior, is probably not. There’s really not that much wear on those leather seats and the dash looks OK, if I’m honest.

Looking at the exterior is a different story — maybe it’s 147,635 miles? Part of what makes it a bit of a mystery is that the factory Rouge Rio has a slight pinkish hue anyway. Ultraviolet fading of red paint tends to devolve it from bright red to something pinker, so in this case, the Citroën’s paint may be faded from having been the family car, or it may just be lackluster because of 27 years of dirt build-up. The bad news — dreaded news, really — that would definitely have me hitting the Make Offer button is that the engine is stuck. It’s hard to know whether copious amounts of Jig-a-loo and time might free it, or whether this is a full rebuild. I think I know the answer, but for the prospective buyer, we can always hope, right?


  1. alphasud Member

    The last picture says it all how much work is going to be required to remove the car from that barn in its final stages of collapse. I conventional car is sprung with steel springs. With this car the hydraulics are out of commission and the car is flat on the floor. Someone will need to carefully raise and support the car before trying to move it. All while looking overhead and making sure the structure doesn’t collapse. I bet the car remains solid. I don’t see rust on the trunk lid or other parts of the car. Leather interior would suggest this is the Pallas model.

    Like 11
  2. Jack

    Just one small correction, Stephen, the DS was introduced at the Paris Auto Show in 1955 not 1965.

    Like 13
    • Stephen Mostad Staff

      Great catch! You are correct: 1955. I suspect it was a typo, but hard to say as doing the research on this car was an exercise in frustration — the model changes, the trim levels, the overlaps, the hydraulic fluids, etc. Is it a Pallas as alphasud has suggested? I think that’s also correct. All this to say, I appreciate you, Jack!

      • Jack

        Thanks Stephen. I certainly appreciate what you do and we all make mistakes as we are all human (some more than others!!). I don’t comment so often but when I do it is to clarify a point kr to give some more background on a topic. After 49 years in the automotive industry I have been able to retain some level of knowledge! But not really all that much. All the best, Jack

        Like 2
  3. Rick

    This looks like a job for the Cold War Motors crew.

    Like 1
    • MikeH

      There’s not enough rust for CWM.

      Like 1
  4. Wayne

    Sold at $5,900!
    A lot more than I would have even considered bidding.
    Good luck to the buyer, you will need it!

    Like 4
    • FrankD Member

      The Seller and Buyer need to take a video of the removal from the barn.

      Like 1
  5. Emel

    Cool looking car if one can imagine. The barn…..not so much.
    One should always have a barn cat….so that you don’t have barn rodents !

    Like 2
  6. Dik Stukkien

    Dear men, I had 6 of them. These cars are so easy to work on. I bought one that had a fire under the hood, it needed a new wiring harness. Also the engine was stuck, as the car had stood after the fire one year with the dirt of the fire extinquisher in it.
    I took the 5 gearbox out and put a large bar on the cranck. Slowly moved forward and backward and after a while the engine turned freely again. After that I drove many more kilometers with that car.
    They are so easy to maintain. Buy a workshop manual and when you can do other cars, this one will go also very easy. the hydraulics is not a problem, at least not here in Europe.

    Like 9
  7. chrlsful

    DS & CX fantastic in all their variations…

    Like 1
  8. Wayne

    Emel, I had a shop cat just for that purpose. He (CB which stood for coyote bait) used to curl up on the fender of what ever I was working on. One day he tore out of the shop like his tail was on fire, the reason? His tail was on fire! He never ever parked on a fender again.

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