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Lots of stuff on American DS19’s started to deviate from Euro models in 1958. 


Also in 1958, the first ID19’s arrived on North American shores. It looks like Citroën’s dealership at 300 Park Avenue in New York had one of the very first ID19's in the USA in February. Challenger Motors in LA was probably the second USA dealer to have an ID19 in their showroom a few weeks later in March.

FRONT TURN SIGNALS. By 1958, all USA DS’s were equipped with Lucas front turn signals. For 1956 and probably all of 1957, USA DS’s had the euro front turn signals. 


These Lucas lights caused a minor change to the front fenders, since these lamps were secured with three screws in lieu of the two screws needed for the Euro lights. There was also a wiring change in the fender harnesses to accommodate these Lucas lights (they had a dual-filament bulb; one for the turn signal, one for parking lights, whereas the Euro turn signals only had a single filament bulb).


The Lucas lenses were clear on these early cars, but for 1964 and on, the lens color turned to amber.

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Euro front turn signal lamp (left), Lucas front turn signals with white lenses (right)

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Chris Dubuque

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Chris Dubuque

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Moss Motors

Details of Lucas front turn signal

The parts books for 1956-1965 cars have no specific parts identified for Canadian cars. However, based on period photos (such as the 1959 photo below), Canadian cars followed the pattern for USA cars and received Lucas turn front signals in 1958.

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Vancouver Sun, April 1959

Canadian DS19 with Lucas turn signals

REAR TURN SIGNALS. All USA 1956’s and 1957’s have Euro rear turn signals. 

But by 1958, the configuration of USA DS's had changed to the ubiquitous Lucas lamps with the twist-off lenses that were on many British cars of the era. At the same time, the housings changed to stainless steel (no more red plastic housings).

A summary of sedan rear turn signal configurations can be found HERE.

USA 1957 DS19 S/N 22334, has red plastic Euro turn signals

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Chris Dubuque

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Chris Dubuque

Greg Long

Lucas twist-off rear turn signal used from 1958 to 1966 in the USA

Based on period photos, Canadian cars followed the pattern for USA cars and received Lucas exterior lighting in 1958. 

ID19 TURN SIGNAL SWITCHES. The first ID19's came to North America in early 1958. Right from the start, all USA/Canadian ID19’s had different a turn signal arrangement than Euro cars.  North American cars had a unique external flasher made by Klaxon (shown below), initially 6V, then changing to the 12V version in May of 1959. The mechanical egg-timer switches used on early Euro ID19's clearly did not indicate when a bulb is failed (a USA regulation, probably stemming from an SAE requirement), leading to some weird configurations for USA ID’s. As such, unique versions of the egg-timer turn signal switch were used along with the Klaxon external flasher units shown below. 


Two external flasher units (made by Klaxon) were developed for USA DS’s and ID’s, one for 6V, one for 12V cars:


  • P/N DM 575 100 (6V)

  • P/N DM 575 100a (12V)

Eventually ID’s got the stalk type switch but still used the external flasher.

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Chris Dubuque

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Chris Dubuque

Klaxon turn signal flasher for USA cars

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Egg timer turn signal switch on early ID19

B-PILLAR PARKING LAMPS. The parts books show that Euro DS19’s had parking lamps on the B-pillar from 1955-1961. 


All 1956 and 1957 DS19’s in the USA also had these lights. But by 1958, they disappeared from USA cars. Removing these lights caused more wiring changes, a different B-pillar trim, and removal of the parking light switch on the dash for USA cars.


An example of a 1957 USA DS19 with these lights is shown (S/N 22334).

USA model 1957 DS19 with B-pillar lights (S/N 22334). They were gone for 1958


Chris Dubuque

The parts books show that Euro ID19’s and wagons used these B-pillar lights from 1959 to early 1962. But US and Canadian ID19’s and wagons never received them at all. Below are three examples; George Dyke's Canadian 1960, a 1959 Citroën USA brochure photo, and Mark Krahn's beautiful Canadian model 1960 wagon. 

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George Dyke

Two early ID19's showing no B-pillar parking lights


Citroën ID19 Brochure

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Mark Krahn

Mark Krahn's Canadian 1960 wagon - no B-pillar lights

WIRING. The parts books and repair manuals do not clearly identify the differences with USA wiring. I think that the four main wiring harnesses (front harness, rear harness, and left/right front fender harnesses) were identical (or near identical) between USA and Euro models until 1958. At this time, the Lucas exterior lighting and the turn signal switch differences on USA cars caused the main harness and the front fender harnesses to start deviating from the Euro models. As the years went on, the wiring deviated more and more between USA and Euro cars. 

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ON ID19 DASHBOARDS. Early ID19’s had their switches and controls on the dashboard identified with words etched into the aluminum facia. Most of these early ID19’s in the USA had dashboards printed in English, while French cars had wording in printed in French. There are a few ID19's in the USA with French language on the dash, but we think these cars were imported through a non-normal method, such as the overseas delivery plan or similar. 


It looks like Canadian models also received English language dashboards. Mark Krahn’s beautiful 1960 wagon, that was sold new in British Columbia, has a dashboard in English. Also, George Dyke's Canadian specification 1960 ID19 has the dash wording in English.

A summary of DS/ID dashboard configurations can be found HERE.


Mark Krahn

English dash markings on Mark Krahn’s 1960 Canadian wagon

ID19 REAR REFLECTOR. The rear reflector on USA ID19’s was different than Euro cars on the first ID19’s to reach the USA (in early 1958). The best photo I have found of this reflector is from an American ID19 brochure (see below). 


Citroen ID19 Brochure

Round reflector on very early ID19’s

Below is a photo of a European model ID19 with a very similar small round reflector. While it looks like the one on the USA cars, it is in fact a different part number (DM 579 1d for the USA version, vs. DM 579 1b for the Euro version). Why did the USA and Euro reflectors have a different part number even though they looked the same? We think that the Euro reflector did not meet USA standards (automotive reflectors have a surprisingly complicated set of design standards).


USA ID19’s used this round reflector until July of 1959. 

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Round reflector on very early Euro ID19’s

HEATER VALVE. On all of the USA 1956 and 1957 DS19’s I can find, the heater valve is labelled in French. But by 1958, the wording on USA cars was in English. Later on in 1961, the valve design changed and only had symbols, so at that time, the valve became the same between USA and Euro cars.

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French language for 1956 and 1957 on USA cars

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By 1958, the wording changed to English on USA cars

FRONT BUMPER. The first ID19’s to reach North America happened in early 1958. These early ID19’s in the USA had a different front bumper than their Euro counterparts. I believe that early USA ID19’s had stainless steel blades with chrome-plated Zamac risers (like the DS19), while their Euro counterparts initially had an un-plated aluminum front bumper.


In 1963, the front bumpers between US and Euro ID19’s became the same (stainless steel). 

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Aluminum front bumper on early Euro ID19, Stainless Steel on USA 1961 ID19's

ID19 ROOFS. For DS19’s, USA and Canadian cars used the same roofs that Euro cars did; painted fiberglass. 


For ID19’s, the story was not so simple. Early ID19’s in Europe (1957-1961) were equipped with translucent fiberglass roofs. These were un-sanded on the exterior, so they had the characteristic glass fiber texture, well suited to catch and retain dirt. 


Michael Dant

Typical translucent fiberglass roof on a Euro ID19

The translucent fiberglass roof was never imported to the USA. Instead, most (or all) early USA ID19's received painted aluminum roofs.


There is a long-standing rumor that someone at Citroën thought that the translucent roof wasn't suitable to American tastes, so they wanted painted roofs. But the rumor goes on to indicate that the early fiberglass roofs weren't smooth enough to look good when painted a dark color like black or aubergine, the colors they wanted for USA ID19's. As a result, they gave USA ID19's the aluminum roofs instead. Is this rumor true? I have no idea, but it does seem believable. One reviewer of this article thinks that on occasion, a painted fiberglass roof was used on early ID19's in the USA, perhaps when light colors were used. We have heard similar stories, so there is a chance that a few fiberglass roofs were mixed in with the aluminum roofs. 

But at some point, USA ID19’s quit using the aluminum roofs and transitioned to painted fiberglass, just like DS’s. When did this transition happen? We are not sure. Probably early 1960’s. 

Below is a photo of several very early USA ID19's (probably 1958's or 1959's). These cars were painted "champagne" with black (or aubergine) roofs, one of the US color combinations of the era (a combination not available on ID's in Europe). These roofs would have been aluminum. 

Incidentally, we learned a bit about this photo by doing some sleuthing. It turns out the cars are parked in front of the International Arrivals Building at Idlewild Airport in New York (the airport was Iater renamed JFK). There is one Traction Avant, three early ID19's, one DS19, and a Panhard in the photo. Based on the various cars in the photo and other aspects of the buildings and vegetation, I think the photo must have been taken in about 1959. Clearly a delegation of American Citroëns was there to greet the international arrival of someone. I wonder who?


MacDonald Leach, Citroen Cars Corporation

Several ID19’s at Idlewild Airport in NYC, photo probably 1959


Source: unknown

Idlewild Airport in NYC, circled area shows where the Citroëns would have been parked (1957 photo) 

Canadian cars matched USA cars for the roof configuration. As an example, George Dyke’s Canadian 1960 ID19 has an aluminum roof.

ID19/WAGON REAR-VIEW MIRROR. The rear-view mirror was different on all early US model ID19’s and wagons. The parts book does not show the part number of the US mirrors, but it does indicate that it was different on USA cars. Since no part number is shown for the USA mirror, I suspect it was a USA-sourced mirror that was installed by Citroën personnel once the cars were in the USA (a port-installed part, such as the headlights). The USA mirror was noticeably wider than Citroën’s mirror and had a DAY/NIGHT function (the DAY and NIGHT wording was printed in English). 


What drove Citroën to install a unique mirror? It seems that the DAY/NIGHT function was not required until 1968, when FMVSS 111 “Rear Visibility” kicked in. But even before the FMVSS, there was apparently rearward visibility requirements, probably driven by older SAE recommendations. So it is likely that the tiny ID mirror did not meet the visibility criteria.

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Euro ID19 mirror

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USA ID19 mirror

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USA ID19 mirror as shown in The Motor's magazine review of a 1961 ID19 

The only good datapoint we have for early Canadian ID19’s is George Dyke’s 1960. His car has an unusual rear-view mirror as well, but a different one that was used on USA cars. So, the same rear visibility requirement (or at least a similar requirement) was probably affecting Canadian cars. 


George Dyke

Rear View Mirror on George Dyke's 1960 Canadian ID19

DS19’s in the USA however, were equipped with the same larger rear-view mirror as their Euro counterparts and all of them, even on the early cars, had a DAY/NIGHT function. 

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Chris Dubuque

Rear view mirror on a 1957 USA DS19 - same mirror as Euro cars

ID19 INTERIOR DOOR HANDLES. All ID19’s and wagons sold in the USA had chrome interior door handles instead of the beige plastic (nylon) handles used on Euro ID19’s. There are some exceptions to this, such as the 1959 ID19 in the Lane Motor Museum, but I think that this car was an anomaly or was imported outside normal factory auspices. Another exception to this is the car used for Road and Track's road test of the ID19 from June of 1958. Anomalies?


Canadian ID19's appear to match USA cars with the chrome handles.

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Chrome interior door handle vs nylon - Chrome used on USA ID19's

US model ID19 with plastic door handles

 - Photo from Road and Track's June 1958 magazine


Road and Track, June 1958

ID19 POWER STEERING. ID19’s and wagons started out with manual steering, but in 1963, power steering became optional in Europe and remained optional until the end. But what about power steering in the USA?

Power steering started out as an option on ID19's in the USA, just the same as in Europe. Brochures and price lists clearly support this, including the following 1963 American brochure.

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Below are two bits of evidence that show that power steering was still an option for US ID's in 1965 and 1966. One is a 1965 dealer price list and the second is an invoice for a 1966 ID19 that was sold new from Red Dellinger’s Citroën dealership in Pennsylvania.

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It was not until 1971 that USA brochures started showing that power steering was standard on all of the cars. 


Citroën Brochure


 Citroën Brochure

Despite the fact that power steering was theoretically optional on USA ID's and D-Specials in the USA from 1958 to 1970, many (if not most) North American ID's were equipped with power steering. 

Canada was more-or-less the same.

ID19 TRUNK LID PROP. All ID19’s sold in the USA and Canada had spring loaded trunk props, just like DS19’s. Euro ID19’s initially had a metal rod to hold the trunk open, but eventually got the spring-loaded props, after March, 1961.


Trunk prop on early Euro ID19's


Road and Track, June 1958

Spring-loaded struts on USA ID19 trunk lids

Photo from 1958 Road and Track magazine road test

ID19 HUBCAPS. All USA DS19’s had the same hubcaps that their Euro counterparts had. Full-sized, made from stainless steel. 


In Europe, all ID19’s and wagons had small diameter hubcaps of several slightly different styles. But ID19's and wagons sold in the USA had full sized hubcaps, the same ones that DS19’s were using.*


* In full disclosure, I found a few exceptions to this where very early sedans and wagons in the USA had the smaller Euro style hubcaps. But these exceptions were probably on cars imported outside normal channels. 

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Large hubcap on all USA ID19's (left), small on Euro ID19 (right)

It looks like Canadian ID's and wagons also used the large hubcaps. Mark Krahn's 1960 wagon was originally equipped with large hubcaps. Additionally, George Dyke's 1960 Canadian specification ID19 was also equipped with large hubcaps (photo below). 


George Dyke

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