Live Auctions

Magic Carpet Ride: 1972 Citroen D Special

When the Citroen DS was introduced in 1955 at the Paris Motor Show, it was a sensation. Saturated with innovations like hydropneumatic suspension, front disc brakes, a single-spoke steering wheel, and futuristic styling, the car broke records for orders taken at the show. Over 1.4 million Citroen ID and DS cars were made from then through 1975. Here on eBay, in Winnipeg, Canada, is one of several variants produced over the years, a 1972 Citroen D Special. The car is bid to $3,500 in a no reserve auction. The D Special was a continuation of the ID, a base model with a smaller engine and a hydropneumatic system that operated the suspension only, not the steering or other components. It is wearing a spare wheel in the front here but the original looks like it’s in the trunk.

Aside from the styling, the Citroen’s most distinctive feature was the use of pressured hydraulics to self-level the body. This car has always used the requisite LHM fluid; in this engine bay photo, the hydraulic reservoir is the green canister. A video of the car’s features, including a demonstration of the way the suspension rises on start-up, is here. If you’ve owned one of these, you will understand when I say the system ticks and purrs as it operates; that is how you know all is well. It’s not impossible to fix a broken suspension, but it’s complicated. This one works fine, so far! This car would have had a 1985 cc inline four-cylinder motor from new, making about 90 bhp. Motor upgrades are very common: the typical swap is to the DS21 2175 cc engine. However, the D Special came with a completely conventional manual transmission, not the hydraulically assisted transmission system more common on the DS.

The distinctive styling shows up in the front of the car, with its smooth fascia. No radiator grille! But – alas – by 1972, the famous directional headlights had been banned in North America. This view of this particular car is its best; both flanks and the trunk panels require some help. The front just begs for rally lights, and in fact from the beginning of production both the DS and the ID won or placed in everything from the Monte Carlo Rally to the Rallye du Maroc.

The interior needs help in the front cockpit. The fabric seat surfaces are split. But the dash looks pretty good, the gauges are bright, and it has all of its handles and knobs. Remember, winner takes all in this auction. Are you brave enough to tackle this one?

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Looks to be a solid car to refurbish. A nice entry into classic Citroen ownership. The hydro pneumatic suspension may seem complicated but it’s really not. Actually very cleaver in design. Fortunately there are still sources to service and restore these cars and prices aren’t as bad as one would think. I have really grown to appreciate and like the design. Someday I will own a DS of my own.

    Like 9
  2. DRV

    These are so interesting, I want one just to be able to discover “different”. If you could drive it as is the spiraling cost of ownership might not break the bank. This model being the simplest of the family would be key to keeping it on the road. Under the hood pics of these always show a new green orb!

    Like 3
  3. junkman Member

    The spheres as they are called, are generally repainted when a new diaphragm is installed and it gets recharged with nitrogen.

    Like 2
  4. Rick in Oregon Rick in Oregon

    Having owned half a dozen of these over the years, the price is beyond fair and I would not be surprised to see it reach $8k plus range when bidding is done. There are indeed plenty of excellent sources for parts and information on these unique and wonderful classics and wish I could enjoy my car more but the weather in Oregon currently is just not cooperating. I do all my own wrenching so I am not exposed to the cost of service, you should be a competent wrench if you want one on a budget. Driving these is an experience all into itself and you’ve never driven one you are seriously missing out on what makes the cars very distinct, aside from their “out there” looks! Someone will have a wonderful car at the end of this auction and prices are not receding……

    Like 7
    • grant

      I hear you Rick. This rain just won’t stop. My buddy and I did sneak the Midget out for a road trip to Hoover dam and back, but we left with the top up and put it back up soon after we got north of K Falls. It’s been parked inside since we got back. Hopefully true to form on July 5th the sun will come out and we will be able to have some kind of summer.

  5. Frank

    Ad on eBay says it’s a 5-speed. Dash diagram says it’s a 4-speed?!? Also the seller has over 153 deals done but 0% feedback score? Can anyone explain that?

  6. Derek

    It is a /wee/ bit complicated, but it’s not that hard to get yer head around! Once you work out what’s going where, it’s less difficult.

    Green blood is good.

  7. chrlsful@aol.com

    “…brave enough to tackle this one?…”
    saw the “D” and came to look/read. I thought “Aw, gee, not grown upa nuff to have an S.” But get it now. Searchin for all the green balls under the hood was a lill surprise too. I must not B used to all the models. BUT I like ’em, the CX as well. More plentiful round Boston yrs ago (I wuz there ’60 – ’90 on’n off) I watched the up’n down motion for stop lights. Pretty cool. I drove a new 1 from Old Deerfield to Patterson’n back in ’75 or so & when the CX came on a screen 1 day last wk I raced to learn all I could. Too bad the company is gone. Talk abt long running manufacturer’s models, I’d say 1955 – 1991when going out of business.

    • Quidditas

      Citroen is still alive and well under the Stellantis umbrella which also encompasses Peugeot, Opel, Vaxhaul, Fiat – Chrysler, Lancia and Maseratti.

  8. chrlsful@aol.com

    “…brave enough to tackle this one?…”
    saw the “D” and came to look/read. I thought “Aw, gee, not grown upa nuff to have an S.” But get it now. Searchin for all the green balls under the hood was a lill surprise too. I must not B used to all the models. BUT I like ’em, the CX as well. More plentiful round Boston yrs ago (I wuz there ’60 – ’90 on’n off) I watched the up’n down motion for stop lights. Pretty cool. I drove a new 1 from Old Deerfield to Patterson’n back in ’75 or so & when the CX came on a screen 1 day last wk I raced to learn all I could. Too bad the company is gone. Talk abt long running manufacturer’s models, I’d say 1955 – 1991when going out of business.

  9. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car! I’ve always found the Citroen DS the best looking car produced by Citroen. I consider it a damned shame that Citroen weren’t big sellers here in the USA.

    Like 1
  10. bone

    I know from the guys here they are amazing cars and people love them , but I could never own one – they are by far one of the ugliest cars I have ever seen , IMHO . It looks like one of those 1930s rocket ships in those old Flash Gordon serials.

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