top of page



Citroën sold 1209 cars in the USA in 1970*. Almost all of these would have been DS's, but would a few Meharis would be included in this number?

* According to a 1981 United States Trade Commission report


USTC, Dec 1981



The exterior lighting on 1970 USA cars was similar to that of the 1969 ½ USA cars except two more changes occurred:  


  • First, the side reflectors became illuminated (amber in the front, red in the rear), thus driving more wiring changes as compared to Euro models. The side marker light housings were still metal for 1970 and the lamps were made by Seima. Note that US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108 only required reflectors for 1969 cars but in 1970, the requirement was revised to require that the side reflectors be illuminated. A summary of side marker light configurations can be seen HERE.


  • Second, the Lucas roof-mounted rear turn signals on USA sedans became amber in color instead of red and the lens changed shape to be a bit longer.  Also, there was a more substantial reflector inside the lamp to improve light output. A summary of rear sedan turn signal configurations can be seen HERE.


Seima side marker lamp, amber for front, red for rear 

side marker in bag.jpg

Chris Dubuque

Lucas roof-mounted turn signal lens - different shape and amber color for USA 1970-1972 sedans and from mid-1971 on Canadian cars


Chris Dubuque

Lucas rear turn signal and mounting bracket as used on 1970-1972 USA cars and Canadian cars from mid-1971

lucas 70.jpg

Chris Dubuque

DS21 with features found on a 1970 USA car: Sealed beam headlights in cast aluminum buckets, Scintex turn signals under the bumper, blanking plates covering the Euro turn signal locations, and illuminated side marker lights with a stainless steel frame

Screen Shot 2020-06-06 at 7.51.36 AM.png



To refresh your memory, Canadian DS's had full Euro exterior lighting in 1968 and 1969. But Canadian sedans may have taken a strange turn for exterior lighting in 1970. According to the parts books, 1970 Canadian DS sedans continued to have full Euro lighting in all locations, except for the tail lights.


The parks books show that Canadian sedans in 1970 received the round Lucas tail lamps with red lenses, no back-up lights, and no license plate light extender plates. But all other exterior lighting was Euro. UK cars were delivered in a similar configuration in 1970. There are a few photos and memories that support this configuration, such as this very original blue 1970 DS21.  However we have found other 1970 Canadian DS sedans with Euro tail lamps. So the jury is still out on the tail lights on Canadian 1970's. By mid-1971, the picture for Canadian cars would become clear...

1970 Canadian sedans may have been equipped with Euro lighting in all locations except for the tail lamps.

Screen Shot 2020-07-14 at 7.54.32 AM.png



Beginning in model year 1970, both Euro and North American cars had a major dashboard redesign.  This new dashboard had three large dials (one containing warning lights, one for the speedometer, and one for the tachometer).  


As was typical, there were some dashboard differences between Euro cars and USA cars, most notably the gages in English, speedometer in MPH, and different headlight and turn signal switches: 


  • The USA headlight switch did not incorporate the function to turn on/off the inner headlights.

  • The USA turn signal switch did not incorporate the passing flasher function.


We believe that Canadian cars had the Euro switches until mid-1971, at which time the configuration of Canadian cars essentially became the same as USA cars.


For 1972, the US/Canadian wiper and headlight switches underwent more minor changes. See the 1972 section for details. 


It seems that all USA and Canadian cars had engine temperature gauges (many Euro versions had blanking plates in the dash instead of a temperature gauge). We also believe that all USA and Canadian DS’s had clocks (with the exception of 1970 USA-bound D-Specials, which were unusually stripped-down cars). 

Dashboards and wiring on Canadian cars were similar to USA cars in 1970, but not identical.


Canadian cars finally received USA-style hazard lights starting in 1970.

Citroen ds headlight switch comp.jpg

Chris Dubuque

Headlight switch used on 1970 and 1971 USA cars (left), Euro headlight switch with extra function for inner lights (right)


Chris Dubuque

All USA and Canadian cars seemed to be equipped with a temperature gage



A door buzzer was incorporated on 1970-1972 USA and Canadian cars to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) #114. 


The buzzer module, made by AXO, was hooked into the door switches and the ignition switch. Most them were disconnected many years ago due to the irritating noise they made when a door was open. Here is the extra fun part; if you try to disconnect the annoying buzzer, your interior lights quit working! 


The logic for the door buzzer was:

Either front door open + ignition key inserted = buzzer on

As part of this door buzzer system, the interior light switches in the door jam were changed on all USA / Canadian DS's between 1970-1972 to a plastic switch that required a bigger hole in the "A" pillar. This new switch was wired in such a way that interior light operation was no longer a simple grounding operation.

To make this buzzer system work when you simply insert the key into the ignition, the key switch itself was unique for USA/Canadian cars. (USA ignition switch part numbers were 5412877 for BVH cars and 5412881 for BVM cars.) A photo below shows the unique part that senses when a key is inserted.


As you can imagine, this door buzzer system drove many more wiring changes between USA / Canadian models and Euro models.

door switch2.jpg

Chris Dubuque

door buzzer.jpg

Chris Dubuque

AXO door buzzer module, mounted under the dash on driver’s side, P/N 5422812 (DX614113A)

door switch.jpg

Chris Dubuque

Door switch used on 1970-1972 US and Canadian cars, P/N  5412813 (DX522263A)


Georges Menguy,

Comparison of European and USA door switches 1970-1972

différences Sintex.jpg

Georges Menguy,

Unique ignition switch on 1970-1972 US and Canadian cars. The circled part on the USA switch senses when the key is inserted for the door buzzer logic.

We have not been able to find a schematic that shows the USA door buzzer and interior light wiring configuration. So we made one.

USA interior light schematic (click to enlarge)

Screenshot 2023-12-29 at 7.34.38 AM.png

Chris Dubuque



As part of the new dashboard that appeared in 1970, Citroën changed the radio provisions.


Radios for DS's were optional globally, but North American cars received unique radios that were not found on European DS's.

Brochures for North American DS's between 1970 and 1972 show a radio as an option. You could get either an AM or AM/FM radio. It seems that the AM/FM version was more common than the AM-only version, although there are few AM-only versions still around. The radios used on North American cars were made by the Japanese company, Clarion.

Unfortunately, with the new dashboard, Citroën allocated only a small area for the radio, so it was very difficult to find alternate radios that would fit in the small opening. This resulted in lots of cutting and ugly modifications to the dashboard by owners trying to install alternate radios. 

Screenshot 2023-08-02 at 5.50.50 PM.png


Clarion AM radio used on 1970-1972 North American DS's (model RE-121A)


Chris Dubuque

Optional Clarion AM/FM radio used on North American DS's, 1970-1972


Chris Dubuque

Clarion AM/FM radio used on 1970-1972 North American DS's (model RE-811B)


Electric rear window defroster options were slightly different on USA cars.


Starting in 1969, Citroën offered an electric rear window defroster as an option for DS sedans. This is true for both US and European DS's. In Europe, the defogger remained optional on ID19's and D-Specials until the end, but I think it did eventually become standard on some of the higher-end models in Europe, such as Pallas's.

The story was slightly different in the USA. There are several brochures that show electric rear window defoggers became standard equipment in 1970 on USA DS21's and D-Specials (an example is THIS brochure that was printed in January of 1970). However, we don't think this is fully correct. Based on surviving cars, we think that DS21 sedans received rear window defoggers as standard equipment in 1970 as the brochure says, but D-Specials most likely starting getting them as standard equipment a year later in 1971. (An example of an American 1970 D-Special that does not have a rear window defogger is the car shown in the INTERIOR APPOINTMENTS section below.) 

Despite rear defoggers being optional on American some DS's, almost all USA sedans had them from 1969 on.

It seems that wagons first got electric rear defoggers in 1971 and they were optional in both Europe and in the USA after this date.


Too bad the rear defoggers all quit working very early into their life...

Screenshot 2023-07-16 at 10.21.52 AM.png

Rear window with a defogger on a USA DS sedan



The glove box was different on USA models starting in 1970.  USA cars had a glove box door latched by a rotary knob, while the Euro cars initially had a rectangular grab pocket to open the glove box.  It has been speculated that this change was due to a US safety requirement to have a positive latch on the glove box door so it could not pop open during an accident.  This rotary knob drove a number of changes to the dash, including a different glove box door, glove box, latch mechanism, and related hardware.

In mid-1971, Canadian cars would get the USA glove box door.  Eventually the Euro cars would get a rotary glove box door knob, but lockable with a key. 

Glover box euro.png
Citroen ds glove box.jpg

Chris Dubuque

Euro glove box with rectangular grab pocket


Chris Dubuque

Glove box labelled for "USA"

USA glove box door with rotary knob to latch the door (1970-1972)


Chris Dubuque

USA glove rotary knob detail (1970-1972)


Georges Menguy,


Georges Menguy,


Georges Menguy,

USA vs Euro glove box details (1970-1972)



With the new dashboard, all DS's in the USA from 1970 had a data sticker adhered to the inside of the glove box door that included information about the car's tires. The requirement for this sticker seems to have been Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 110. This FMVSS was required for all cars manufactured as of Jan 01, 1968, but so far, we have not been able to find a 1968 or 1969 DS with such a sticker.


Since the inside of the glove box door was crinkle paint, the adhesive on the sticker was pretty ineffective soon fell off. 

Tire pressure sticker.jpeg

Chris Dubuque



Before and after 1970, ID19’s and D-Specials for the US market had always been well appointed with features not found on their French counterparts. Examples include carpets with foam backing, padded door panels, cloth headliners, padded vinyl in the trunk, a clock, etc. 


In an unusual move, 1970 D-Specials sold in the USA had stripped-down interior appointments, similar to what would be found on a French D-Special. They had simplified door panels, plastic headliners, floor mats with no foam backing, no trunk vinyl, and no clock. 


The uncomfortable headrests used on some USA 1969 ½ cars disappeared by 1970 in favor of a flatter headrest that we are calling the "second generation" headrest. See the Headrest Summary page for more photos of the various headrests HERE.

"Second Generation" headrests were used on 1970 models

d special door panel.png

Simplified door panels found on USA  D-Special in 1970 only

Citroen DS headrest

1970 USA D-Special. No clock, no radio, no rear defroster, but even this plain car still has a temperature gage 

Screenshot 2023-07-16 at 8.01.44 AM.png



We recently noticed a seat belt anchor hidden behind the C-pillar trim panel on a DS sedan. The nut welded on the panel is a 7/16-20 (inch-sized thread), the size used for seat belt anchors. According to the parts book, this panel was unique to USA (and Swedish) cars for 1970 and 1971. But by 1972, the parts book shows that this panel was standardized and used on all DS sedans globally. This topic was raised on a DS/ID group chat and two compilations arose:

1) One commenter indicated that his 1970 USA DS didn't have this anchor, in apparent conflict with the parts book. 

2) Several commenters indicated that French DS's between 1972 and 1975 did not have the anchor, also in apparent conflict with the parts book. 

Due to this conflicting information, it is unclear when this anchor was first used and for what countries. But since the parts book shows it for 1970, we are including it in the 1970 section. It is likely that Canadian 1971's and 1972's had the same anchor since Canadian cars became virtually the same as USA cars in mid-1971. 

Even though this anchor was never used on USA cars, a bit of research indicates that it was used in Sweden. And the fabulous website has a photo of the anchor in use on a very original Swedish DS. 

Swedish DS's apparently used the mysterious seat belt anchor


Chris Dubuque

Unused shoulder harness anchor on USA cars

ceintures arriere.jpg



For 1970, not much changed with the emission control equipment as compared to 1969 models.


Starting in 1970 however, USA cars received certain data plates not found on Euro cars; one for exhaust emission control system data, one for safety data, and a third plate that had the car's serial number.


Taking one at a time:

1) The pollution system data plate was installed on the right side of the engine compartment near the wiper motor, starting with 1970 models. It looks like very early 1970 D-Specials (that were manufactured in late 1969) had yellow plates. D-Specials manufactured after January 01, 1970 (and all 1971 and 1972 D-Specials) had green plates, and DS21's (1970-1972) had black plates.

Very early 1970 D-Specials (cars that were manufactured in late 1969) had yellow data plates


Chris Dubuque

1970 D-Specials manufactured after January 01, 1970, and all 1971 and 1972 D-Specials had green data data plates

Citroen ds smog data plate.png

Chris Dubuque

1970-1972 DS21's had black data plates

Citroen DS smog plate.jpg

Chris Dubuque

2) The safety equipment data plate was in the left door jam.  This data plate first showed up in 1969 1/2 (see the 1969 1/2 section for details). But for 1970, the plate slightly changed design and wording. 1970 DS's had two versions of this plate, one for 1970 cars that were manufactured in late 1969 and one for 1970 cars that were manufactured after January 01, 1970. Late 1972 cars received different color plates (see the 1972 section for more detail). 

Yellow safety equipment data plate in the left door jam of 1970 DS's that were manufactured in late 1969

Screen Shot 2022-09-09 at 9.18.01 AM.png

Yellow safety equipment data plate in the left door jam of 1970 DS's manufactured after January 01, 1970, 1971 and early 1972 sedans and wagons for USA

plate certification yellow.jpg

Chris Dubuque

3) Finally, an aluminum plate with the car's serial number was pop-riveted to the left side of the steering pod on all USA cars. This type of plate first showed up on 1969 1/2 cars (refer to the 1969 1/2 section for details). 

Between 1969 1/2 and 1972, all USA cars received a serial number plate that was riveted on the steering wheel pod.

serial tag.jpg

Chris Dubuque

None of these data plates were initially included on Canadian cars, but all three did appear, probably in mid-1971 when the configuration of Canadian cars essentially merged with their American counterparts. 


North American models had some unusual configurations of the cooling systems. We think that these changes started for 1970 models and continued until the end of importation in 1972. Much of this does not show up correctly in the parts books.


Let's start with D-Specials. Between 1970 and 1972, almost all D-Specials in the USA all had the same radiator as their European counterparts. (i.e. the small, vertical-flow radiator, with 2 cooling rows). Since the original release of this article, we have been advised of a few exceptions where USA D-Specials may have been delivered with the larger radiator discussed below. If true, this is rare

Screenshot 2024-06-03 at 9.15.51 PM.png

Vertical Flow Radiator


It looks like most 1970 through 1972 DS21's in the USA (sedans and wagons with the 2.1 liter engine) had the large cross flow-radiator. This is the radiator with the electric fan and the external water tank mounted above the water pump. We say most since we found a few exceptions where USA DS21's between 1970 and 1972 were delivered with the smaller vertical flow radiator (same as a D-Special but with 3 rows of cooling tubes instead of 2). A reader indicated that in 1970 and 1971, it was an option in the USA to have the larger radiator, but we can find no evidence that it was a formal option. By 1972, we are more confident that all USA DS21's had the large radiator. 


Per the parts books, the larger cross-flow radiator was used on European models with fuel injection.


Chris Dubuque

Horizontal (cross) Flow Radiator

So between the years of 1970 and 1972, most DS21's in the USA had the larger radiator and most D-Specials in the USA received the smaller radiator....but there were exceptions. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any patterns or documentation that explains the exceptions. 


Chris Dubuque

Cross Flow radiator with electric fan and external water tank used on 1970-1972 DS21's in North America



At first glance, it looks like the cross-flow radiator system used on American DS21's between 1970 and 1972 was the same one that was used on the fuel-injected European cars. But some of the parts were in fact, different on USA cars.


Specifically, the external water tank and its hose were different. It seems that the belt driven air pump for the smog system would have caused a potential interference with the Euro water hose for this tank. This caused Citroën to have to move the water hose, which in turn caused the tank to be redesigned. 

Below are photos of the Euro water tank and the USA tank. You can see that the spigot for the water hose has been relocated from the forward side of the tank, to the aft. The hose is of course different as well (the hose on the USA car runs behind the distributor and under the spark plug wires whereas the hose on the Euro version runs above the alternator). The parts books don't seem to show any of these differences. 


Chris Dubuque

Hose spigot location

USA version (left), EURO version (right)


Chris Dubuque

USA version


Chris Dubuque

EURO version

Since Canadian cars only got the smog pump system (secondary air-injection) in mid-1971, we believe that Canadian cars up until 4/71 were probably equipped as their European counterparts (with the standard vertical-flow radiator).


But after 4/71, Canadian cars would be equipped as USA cars.



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. 

Refer to the early 1969 section for more information and photos of XH tires.

bottom of page