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THE DS WAGON. It looks like the very first DS wagons arrived in the USA in January of 1960. A few months later, Auto France, Ltée in Montreal introduced DS wagons to Canada. 

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Boston Globe, Jan 24, 1960

First DS wagons in USA in Boston in January, 1960

The great website has a brief history of the DS wagon HERE

DS19 12 VOLT CHANGE. DS19 models in the USA changed from 6 to 12 volts in December of 1959, meaning it took effect for most 1960’s (remember that 1960 model year cars were manufactured between 01 September of 1959 and 31 August 1960). This change happened on Euro DS19's almost a year later, for the 1961 model year.


The 12V change required a different dynamo, voltage regulator, starter, starter relay, turn signal flasher, heater fan motor, battery tray, horns, bulbs, coil, wiper motor, etc. Click HERE for an old dealer memo listing all of the differences associated with the 12V changeover. 

We think this happened to Canadian DS's at the same time. 

All wagons were 12 volt, Euro and USA.

DS19 TURN SIGNAL SWITCH AND FLASHER. One of the USA requirements that affected DS’s was associated with turn signals. A USA requirement exists that if a turn signal bulb on a car fails, the bulb’s failure must be somehow indicated to the driver. A governmental requirement that covers this is Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. While FMVSS 108 wasn’t enacted until 1968, a similar requirement appears to have been in place earlier in the form of an SAE design standard.  Note that FMVSS’s were often based on SAE content that was already in existence. Here is a relevant excerpt from FMVSS 108:


“…Failure of one or more turn signal lamps…..must be indicated by the turn signal pilot indicator (dash light) by a “steady on”, “steady off”, or by a significant change in the flashing rate…”


It is very likely that an SAE design standard is what drove Citroën to develop unique turn signal parts for cars intended for the USA. These parts included different turn signal switches, external turn signal flasher units (most Euro DS’s had turn signal flashers that were integral to the switch), and unique wiring harnesses to accommodate these parts. 


Coincident with the 12 volt changeover, DS19's in the USA received a unique turn signal switch in December 1959, meaning it took effect for most 1960's (P/N DS 522 05b). This unique turn signal switch did not have an internal flasher unit and instead used the Klaxon external flasher shown below

We think Canadian cars matched USA cars with this change.

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Chris Dubuque

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Chris Dubuque

Klaxon turn signal flasher for USA cars

ID19 TURN SIGNAL SWITCH. It has been a pain to understand the turn signal story for US models. I am reasonably sure that before June of 1960, ID19’s in the USA had egg-timer turn signal switches with external Klaxon flasher modules. But starting in June of 1960, USA ID19’s started receiving a stalk-type turn signal switch, unique to the USA (P/N DM 522 05c, without an internal flasher). This is a few months before Euro ID19’s would get a stalk type switch (P/N DM 522 05b, similar but with internal flasher). 


Euro ID19's at this time used the egg-timer switch to mechanically turn on and off the turn signal lamps.

Typical AXO Turn Signal Switch - There were various versions, some with and some without internal flasher units


Chris Dubuque


Mark Krahn

Stalk-type turn signal switch on Mark Krahn's 1960 ID Wagon

All wagons all received the stalk-type switch from the start (no egg-timer switches). But USA and Canadian wagons had the 12V version of the Klaxon external flasher unit instead of a flasher integral to the switch. As an example, Mark Krahn’s 1960 Canadian wagon has a stalk type switch and an external flasher unit, matching the USA configuration. 

DS19 CHOKE KNOB. Early choke knobs on DS19’s had a letter “S” marked on it. If we believe the parts books, the choke knob on USA DS19’s had a unique choke knob with the word “CHOKE” for a brief period from December 1959 to August of 1961. For 1962, the choke control design completely changed along with a new dashboard and had no words or letters at all, thus allowing USA and Euro choke knobs to again be the same.

choke knob.jpg

Chris Dubuque


Greg Long

“S” symbol on choke on Euro choke knob, “CHOKE” on USA cars for 1960, 1961

AC DATA PLATE. Starting in 1960, west coast DS's in the USA had a small data plate installed on the firewall (near the wiper motor) that showed the model year of the car. An example would be "AC65" which is for a model year 1965 car (see photo). On rare occasion, the 'AC' number was stamped onto the number plate itself in front of the serial number instead of being on a separate tag (but this is rare and seems to have only occurred in the early 1960's). ​Since these AC number plates were installed adjacent to the serial number, some local licensing agencies added the AC number to the serial number, sometimes not. So using the serial number plate in the photo as an example, the car's title might show the VIN as 4428619 or AC654428619. ​


These tags are a bit mysterious and were not installed on every car sold in the USA. While nobody is 100% certain of the whole story, Richard Bonfond and the late Carter Willey helped us understand it, at least as well as possible. The story was that Citroën had two main headquarters to import cars; Los Angeles and New York. The Los Angeles office handled all cars shipped to the west coast ports of the USA (LA, San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) and the New York office handled all cars that arrived at the various east coast ports. All west coast cars from 1960 had the AC tag. So far, I have not been able to find out the reason why west coast cars had the tag and east coast cars did not. The most logical guess is that the state of California required it, so they were installed on all cars processed through the Los Angeles office. The AC tags were installed by Citroën personnel as a port-installed part, like the sealed-beam headlights and other parts. The website has photos of each plate from 1960 to 1972 HERE.


Chris Dubuque

West coast SM's in the USA also had these plates. Canadian cars did not receive them.

ID19 SIDE PANELS. Starting in 1960, ID19’s started using corrugated panels on B and C pillars instead of flat panels used before. But on USA ID's, the corrugations were 6 mm instead of 3 mm on European ID's of this era. 

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 Euro ID19's have 3 mm corrugations after November of 1959

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USA ID19's have 6 mm corrugated panels for 1960 and on

Why were these panels different on USA ID's? My theory is that they wanted to simplify their production by only having one configuration in the USA, noting that the Lucas turn signals required many different parts in this area. So they chose to standardize on the configuration that they had designed for DS19's in 1958.

WAGON REAR REFLECTOR. The first wagons reached North American shores in early 1960. For a brief period starting in 1960, USA wagons used a curious rear reflector. This reflector was used on USA and Canadian wagons from May of 1960 to November of 1961.

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Edward Byrd Davis

Odd round reflector used for a year and a half on USA wagons

The part number of this reflector is DS 579-1a; the same part number used on USA sedans during almost the same time period. Note that the housing and mounting method was a bit different between sedans and wagons, but the round reflector itself (made in the USA by a company named Stimsonite) was the same. Clearly there was something odd going on with USA regulations concerning rear reflectors in the late 1950's and early 1960's. 

We think Canadian wagons had this same reflector, but this needs confirmation. 

WAGON CARGO AREA. The small fold-up seats were the most common cargo-area configuration that was available in the USA. 


Standard cargo area seating configuration on most USA wagons.

However, for the earlier wagons, some of the Euro options for the cargo area were apparently available in the USA upon special order. Citroën had a number of different configurations of rear seats and cargo areas. You might want to visit to see some of these. I remember there being one or two of these unusual wagon configurations in Seattle may years ago. Unfortunately, I am not aware of any survivors for me to photograph. 


Roger Sagner (a dealer in Portland, Oregon) actually advertised ambulance configuration DS wagons for a while in the early 1960’s. This version had a 2/3 - 1/3 split fold down rear seat, common on modern cars, but very unusual for the early 1960's.

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Oregonian Newspaper 1962

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Citroën DS ambulance Brochure

WAGON CARGO AREA GLASS. The very first wagons in Europe had a plexiglass rear hatch window. But USA cars always used glass for the hatch.


Furthermore, the rear side windows in the cargo area of DS wagons in the USA were thicker than on Euro wagons.


According to the parts books and other sources, the glass differences were:

Rear wagon side window thickness

Euro - 4* mm (1960 - 1964)

Euro - 5 mm (1965 - 1975)

USA - 6 mm (1960 - 1972)

Hatch window material / thickness

Euro - 3 mm plexiglass (1960 - 1963**)

Euro - 5 mm (1963** - 1975)

USA - 5 mm (1960 - 1972)

* We think that the first cargo area side windows on European wagons were 4 mm thick, but this needs confirmation. 


** The switchover date from plexiglass to glass for the hatch window on Euro wagons is not specifically identified in the parts books, but Georges Menguy and Dr. Danche (creators of the and websites, respectively), believe it was in mid-1963.


craigslist seattle

Early North American wagon

I think that early Canadian wagons were essentially the same as USA wagons, including the glass.

WAGON HUBCAPS. The first wagons reached North American shores in early 1960. All American and Canadian wagons (and ID19's) were equipped with full-sized hubcaps, the same ones that DS19 sedans were using*. Euro wagons were equipped with half-sized hubcaps. 



* I found a few exceptions to this where very early sedans and wagons in the USA / Canada 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 wagons (left), small on Euro wagons (right)

B-PILLAR PARKING LAMPS. The first wagons reached North American shores in early 1960. USA wagons did not receive the parking lamps on the B-pillar that early Euro models had. 

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Chris Dubuque

Mark Krahn

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

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