Just as it had done 21 years previously with the revolutionary 'Traction Avant', Citroën stunned the world again in 1955 with the launch of the futuristically styled 'DS'. Beneath the shark-like newcomer's aerodynamically efficient, low-drag bodyshell there was all-independent, self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic suspension; plus power-operated brakes, clutch and steering. No European car would match the DS's ride quality for several years, the fundamental soundness of Citroën's ahead-of-its-time hydro-pneumatic suspension being demonstrated by its survival in present-day top-of-the-range models. The DS's original 1,911cc, overhead-valve, long-stroke engine was replaced in 1966 by a short-stroke 1,985cc unit, also available in 2,175cc and 2,347cc versions, while other DS developments included swivelling headlights, fuel injection and a five-speed manual gearbox.
Other models offered alongside the original DS were the ID (a simplified, cheaper version), the cavernous Safari estate and the two-door Décapotable (convertible), the latter boasting coachwork by Henri Chapron. Right-hand drive versions were assembled in England at Citroën's Slough factory up 1966, whereupon manufacture of all RHD models reverted to France. By the time production ceased in April 1975, more than 1.3 million of these wonderfully idiosyncratic cars had been built.
This right-hand drive DS20 was purchased new by one J F Bidgood, an officer serving with the British Army in Germany, and would have been first registered on either German or BAOR plates. Its owner used the DS to travel between the UK and Germany for many years, and when the bodywork needed repair in the mid-1990s the work was carried out in Germany. Subsequently, the car suffered an engine failure and was consigned to storage in the UK. In 2014 it was re-commissioned and the original 2.1-litre engine and five-speed gearbox replaced by a 1,985cc unit and four-speed 'box. During re-commissioning, the cylinder head removed, skimmed, pressure tested and re-fitted with a new gasket. In addition, a new fuel tank, boot lining kit, carpet set, hydraulic pressure valve and four new suspension spheres were fitted.
Described as in generally very good condition, totally reliable and rust free, this beautiful example of one of the 20th Century's most enduring automotive style icons is offered with sundry invoices, MoT to September 2016 and a V5C registration document. The original engine and gearbox are available if required.