Anybody Ever Drive a Citroen DS-21?

Citroen was a very interesting car-they pioneered aerodynamic design, front wheel drive, and their unique hydraulic suspension. The DS-21 is still a striking design-it looked lightyears ahead of other cars of the time. I remember seeing one at an auto show-and remember the plush interior (everything was padded).
Anybody ever drive one? What were they like on the road?

Don’t know if it was this model, but I test drove one from the dealer when they were first being imported, decades ago. It was amazing, plush, lush and a ride that is hard to describe. Very soft, but I realized I had complete control. Driving hard around corners, it was flawless. The seats were a bit too soft for me, but everything else was great. Funny, when I stopped and turned off the key, the thing settled down, but when starting again, it rose up to proper road clearance. The salesman went with me, and at one point when the sidewalk had no obstacles, he told me to move over and put the right wheels up over the curb and keep going. I did, and the car did not lean even a little, just righted itself and was perfectly level.

When I opened the hood, there was a weird and funny maze of hydrolic tubes running everywhere. I asked what would happen if there were a fluid leak, and the salesman admitted that nothing would work; not the suspension, the steering, the breaking, the tranny. As there were only a handful of dealers back then, and probably no mechanic anywhere else who would know what the hell to do with one if broken, I passed. I am sure by now they have become very reliable.

Take a test drive if you can find a dealer. I’ll bet you will be pleasantly surprised.

A friend bought one about 4 months ago. So far I’ve only been a passenger. The ride is amazingly smooth.

I’ve heard it said that a Citroen is a vehicle designed by a very clever engineer who one had an automobile described to him. It certainly departs from conventional practice in a host of interesting ways. (e.g. the hydraulic system will happily raise one wheel while the other 3 sit on the ground.)

They are long out of production and I believe there is no US dealer support. If they are reliable, it’s due to a network of fanatical owners.

I can assure you that Citroens are very much still in production.

The DS-21 model ?

My friend God of Citroens has taken me for rides in Goddesses. The ride is truly exemplary–he can go full-bore over speedbumps and there’s nothing felt inside at all. The seats are very soft.

I’ve ridden in both manual-shift (because of the soft suspension, you can get into a pitch oscillation if you let in the clutch wrong) and the semi-auto versions. The semi-auto is fascinating. You shift gears with a little wand sticking up out of the steering column. The car disengages the clutch, shifts gears, and engages the clutch, all in a split second. When you stop, the car disengages the clutch. If you have to creep along, you release the brake; the car revs up the engine a little and slips the clutch so you creep. The logic is all hydraulic, with various little valves and pistons doing all the work–no electrics involved at all. It’s really a marvel of hydraulic engineering.

If I was going to buy a classic collectible car, this is the one I’d buy.

Various sites say the last year of DS-21 production was 1975.

My father owned two of these in a row, when I was young (late 50s - early 60s). According to him it was like driving a lounge room. There was maybe one dealer in the whole of Sydney so when things went wrong they knew how to charge, there being no competition. Spare parts almost invariably had to come from New Caledonia.

But the hydraulics were ultra-cool. People literally stared at the car when you started it up and it raised itself off its haunches.

I thank you for the replies. I also heard that the DS-21 had a rather strange steering geometry-the front wheels would not self-center after a turn.
Whether this was a lack of caster angle, or simply the FWD configuration, I don’t know.
The car was a marvel of engineering…too bad they never supported their dealers in the USA.

Never drove one but Clark in Real Genius (the movie) had one. Ialways thought they were cool.