1969 1/2

UPDATED

9/2020

Lots of stuff changed on DS’s bound for the USA mid-year in 1969.  These cars from late 1969 are often referred to as 1969 ½ cars. 

 

 

EXTERIOR LIGHTING

 

The 1969 ½ cars for the US market had three exterior lighting changes (see photos):  

 

  • The first difference was that back-up lights were added to comply with US standards of the era.  The two inner red Lucas tail lamps were changed to have a white lens for the back-up light function.  A plastic wedge was installed behind the back-up lamps to slightly tilt the beams downward toward the ground.  The two remaining outer red lamps were changed to accommodate dual-filament bulbs to operate both brake and running lights.  The back-up lights were operated by a switch on the front of the gearbox, actuated by the reverse shaft. The switch was made by Torrix. This Torrix switch was also used on SM, USA Mehari's, and some 2CV's.

 

  • The second exterior lighting change that occurred in 1969 ½ on USA sedans was that the Lucas rear license plate lights were moved a few inches closer to the license plate, presumably to improve illumination of the plate.  This was accomplished by adding sheet metal extender plates to the rear license plate pan.

 

  • The third change for 1969 ½ USA cars (sedans and wagons) were the addition of side reflectors on the front and rear fenders (an amber reflector in the front, red in the rear).  The reflector housings were made of stainless steel on the front fenders and cast aluminum on the rear fenders (they became plastic a few years later in 1971).  The front stainless-steel reflector housing had a gray plastic strip glued on the edge to prevent chafing. The parts were made by Seima. 

 

Note that US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #108 mandated that passenger cars sold after 01 January 1969 were required to have side reflectors on the front and rear fenders. Somehow, Citroën seems to have evaded this requirement for several months, since American DS’s didn't receive side reflectors until late 1969 (on 1969 ½ models). Perhaps the Feds allowed Citroën to base their compliance on the manufacturing date of the car and not the sell date?

Tail lights as found on USA cars from 1966 to early 1969

Tail lights as found on USA 1969 1/2 to 1972 cars. Notice the back up lights and extender plates to locate the license plate lights closer to the plate 

Plastic wedge behind the back-up lamp to tilt the light beam slightly down

Torrix back-up light switch mounted on front of gearbox on 1969 1/2 to 1972 USA cars

Left: Front reflector with stainless steel housing - this configuration was used on 1969 1/2 USA cars only

Right: Front illuminated side marker light with plastic housing - this configuration was used on 1971 and 1972 USA cars

Left: Non-illuminated rear sedan reflector with aluminum housing - this configuration was used on 1969 1/2 USA cars only

Right: Rear illuminated side marker light with plastic housing - this configuration was used on 1971 and 1972 USA cars

Rear lighting on 1969 ½ USA wagons was also changed to add back-up lights.  The lamps used on USA wagons were now made by Pecazeaux with the bottom lens white for the back-up function.  These Pecazeaux lamps were shaped like a hockey puck instead of the bullet shape of the earlier tail light lenses.  These lamps were used on DS wagons until the end of importation in 1972. They were also used on the rear of Meharis for the US market. 

 

Parts books show that Canadian sedans wagons were still equipped with the Euro lighting in 1969 ½, and this seems to be correct based on memories, photos, and remaining cars.

USA spec wagon showing Pecazeaux tail lamps, back up lamps, and side marker reflector /light

Front fender from a 1969 1/2 USA DS that had the non-illuminated side reflector. Notice the threaded fastener installed  in the fender to secure the reflector housing. This fender is unique for 1969 1/2 USA cars only. 

In 1970-1972, the side reflectors became illuminated, thus requiring a cut-out in the fender for the bulb socket and wiring. Rear fenders had similar cut-outs when the lights became illuminated 

 

Canadian cars received this fender in mid-1971 when side markers were first introduced on

Canadian models.

REAR BUMPER

 

The rear bumper and rear license plate pan were redesigned in 1969 ½ to accommodate USA-sized license plates.  Before this, it was necessary to bend the USA license plate to make it fit.  Notice that the upper and lower bumper blades were redesigned to have flattened areas to allow a better view of the license plate. These rear bumper and license plate pan changes remained on all USA-bound DS’s from 1969 ½ until Citroën stopped importing DS’s in 1972. Swiss cars eventually received this bumper as well. 

 

The parts books indicate that Canadian cars never received the redesigned rear bumper and rear license plate pan, despite the fact that the Canadian license plates were the same size as the USA plates.  However, the parts books are clearly in error since we have found several Canadian DS's from 1971 and 1972 that have the USA rear license plate pan and bumper.  Based on this, these changes appear to have been incorporated onto Canadian cars sometime between late 1969 and 1971.  Most plausibly, Canadian cars received the USA rear bumper in 4/71, a date when many USA changes made their way onto Canadian cars. 

USA license plate bent to fit the Euro license plate pan

DS21 with features found on a USA 1969 1/2 to 1972 car. Back-up lights, a redesigned rear bumper, and redesigned license plate pan to accommodate USA-sized plates

DASHBOARD AND WIRING

 

The USA dashboards went through moderate makeovers on 1969 ½ cars that resulted in dashboards similar to Euro dashes of the era, as well as those on Canadian cars.  The main differences on USA cars were:

 

  • The dashboard switches changed from the Jaeger rocker-type switches there were briefly used on USA cars in early 1969 to rectangular push-on / push-off switches made by Gelbon that were ultimately used on all later DS’s.  

 

  • The ignition switch on USA cars was relocated from the left side of the steering wheel pod to directly below the steering wheel in a small cylindrical round metal housing.

 

  • One of the Gelbon dashboard switches was a press-to-test switch to check the dash warning light for brake pressure (see photo).  This switch was only used on 1969 ½ DS's for the US market (not used on Canadian or Euro cars). 

  • Hazard lights were fully incorporated into the wiring harnesses on USA cars in 1969 ½ with a Gelbon switch, identified with the letters "HAZ". This switch had an unusual rocking action to actuate the switch instead of the push-on / push-off actuation of other Gelbon switches. It looks like Canadian cars didn't get hazard lights until 1970 models. 

The USA/Canadian models again had minor speedometer and warning light differences from the Euro dashboards, causing wiring harness differences.  Canadian DS's did not have hazard lights in 1969.

Relocated ignition switch on 1969 1/2 USA cars

1969 1/2 DS21 dashboard on a USA model -

Similar to a Euro dashboard of the era, except for the black crinkle paint on the steering wheel surround, minor switch differences, and minor warning light differences

Press-to-test brake pressure light switch used on 1969 1/2 cars for USA. ID19's and wagons had the same switch, except the brake pedal symbol was 90 degrees different since the switch was mounted horizontally on ID's and Wagons

Gelbon hazard light switch with unusual rocking action, first used on USA 1969 1/2 DS's

INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS

 

US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #202 mandated that all passenger cars sold (or manufactured?) after 01 January 1969 be equipped with headrests on the front seats. American DS’s first received front headrests on 1969 ½ models, mounted on a fully redesigned seat.  The new seat design can be most easily distinguished by the round plastic recliner knob, in lieu of the lever used on earlier seats.  These headrests were attached to the sides of the front seats with four M5 Pozidriv screws.  Headrests were sporadically showing up on certain Euro models in these years, but they tended to be attached to the seats differently and were only installed on certain models.  

 

The first headrest to show up on USA DS's were on 1969 ½ models. The first design was a universally disliked headrest that was shaped like an upside-down teardrop. These headrests tended to push your head uncomfortably downward. See photo. Fortunately, these headrests did not last long and Citroën quickly changed the design. 

 

The second generation headrests started showing up in very late 1969 or very early 1970.  The second generation headrests used a similar metal frame, but had a flat surface positioned away from the back of your head.  

 

The third generation USA headrest were the same as the second generation, but had soft snap-on pillows.  

 

We believe that all 1970 DS's in the USA had the second generation headrests without the pillows.  But by 1971, all USA cars had the third generation headrests with the pillows. 

 

Canadian cars in this era were not required to have headrests. But in mid-1971, the configuration of Canadian cars almost fully merged with that of USA cars, so USA style (third generation) headrests were found on all of these later Canadian cars. 

Unpopular headrest design that showed up on some 1969 1/2 DS’s in the USA

Second generation USA headrests without the snap-on pillows used on some 1969 1/2 and all 1970 models

Third generation USA headrests with snap-on pillows used on 1971 and 1972 models

All three of the above headrest versions required that the seat frame have provisions to mount the headrests. Specifically, the backrest had threaded tabs welded onto the frame for the screws that secure the headrest. As a result, seats intended for USA models were slightly different. See photos. 

Seat marked with a tag indicating it is for the USA market

USA seat frame with a welded tab for a headrest mounting screw. For comparison, a seat frame for a French car is also shown

HYDRAULIC FLUID

 

USA and Canadian model cars finally received LHM hydraulic fluid in 1969 ½.  Apparently, it took several years to convince USA officials that LHM was an acceptable substitute for LHS2 (Euro models received LHM a few years earlier, on 1967 models).  LHM was a very welcome change, but many mistakes were made when LHM cars first appeared; owners and repair shops were inadvertenty using brake fluid to refill the LHM reservoir. Also, the color of LHM is almost the same as antifreeze, so there are cases of people adding antifreeze to the LHM reservoir! Citroën went to great lengths to remind people what fluid to use. The owners manuals and repair manuals had special pages printed on green paper specifying LHM. There were also several attempts to put reminders on the fluid reservoir itself on USA cars. These included the metal plate installed under the cap (below, left) and the big aluminum sheet that completely covered the top of the reservoir (below, right). The big aluminum plate on the right had a warning sticker on the top (unfortunately, the sticker is illegible on the example car used for the photo). 

Various schemes were used to help prevent American DS owners and mechanics from using the wrong hydraulic fluid in LHM cars

Green colored pages added to a USA 1969 1/2 DS owners manual to warn owners about the new hydraulic fluid

Notice Page 17b is stapled over the original page showing LHS2 fluids!

EMISSION AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT

 

Smog controls remained virtually unchanged in 1969 ½.  Canadian cars still matched Euro cars for smog control, with no secondary air injection system.  

 

1969 ½ cars in the USA received a plate mounted in the left door jam that showed that the car complied with applicable safety standards. This door jam plate changed several more times in subsequent years. 

Also starting with 1969 ½ USA models, an aluminum plate with the car's serial number was pop-riveted to the left side of the steering pod.

 

Canadian cars did not get either of these plates until mid-1971.

Safety data plate in left door jam of 1969 1/2 cars

Serial number plate riveted on the lower steering pod on 1969 1/2 cars

TIRES

 

Between 1969 and 1972, all DS’s in the USA had 180-380 (180-15) Michelin XH tires.  Euro equivalent cars would have had XAS tires, with most Euro models having narrower tires in the rear. 

 

We believe that Canadian 1966 to 1972 sedans and wagons were delivered with 180-380 XAS tires. 

Michelin advertisement for the rare and mostly forgotten XH

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