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1972

UPDATED 2/2024

Citroën sold 1821 cars in the USA in 1972*. Does this number include SMs'? I don't know.... 

* According to a 1981 United States Trade Commission report

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USTC, Dec 1981

EXTERIOR LIGHTING

 

No exterior lighting changes occurred in 1972 on USA or Canadian cars as compared to 1971 models. 

 

 

DASHBOARD AND WIRING

 

USA/Canadian DS's manufactured in calendar year 1972 (i.e. late 1972 cars) received a seat belt light on the dashboard and a buzzer that sounded if the seat belts were not fastened. This system included a weight-activated switch in the front passenger seat to sense when someone was sitting on it and a switch on the parking brake lever mechanism (see photo, below). This system was mandated by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) for cars with manufacturing dates in 1972. 

 

The seat belt light logic was:

 

Weight on front seat (passenger side only) + seat belt not buckled + parking brake released + ignition on = light (flashing) and buzzer (steady)

For the driver's seat, the logic was the same except the driver's seat didn't have the seat weight switch installed since it can be assumed someone will always be sitting in that seat when the car is being driven. Cars that had this warning system were equipped with inertia reel seat belts. 

I  stubbornly got all of this stuff working on my personal car so you can see it operate if you watch the video below. 

Most of the wiring for this system was separate from the main harness and was simply tied onto the main harness with rubber ties. A schematic for the seat belt wiring can be found HERE.

 

Early 1972 DS’s in USA and Canada (cars manufactured in late 1971) had standard 3-point manually-adjusted seat belts and no dashboard warning light. 

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FASTEN SEAT BELT light on a late 1972 DS

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Switch on the parking brake lever used for the “Fasten Seat Belt” light logic 

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Flasher for "Fasten Seat Belt" Light

(located behind dash or in steering wheel pod)

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Buzzer for "Fasten Seat Belt" Light

(located under dash)

The seat weight switch, as noted above, was built into the front passenger seat squab. The switch is a curious device that activates when flexed. The lower foam cushion on the seat is unique for USA cars since it has a molded notch for the switch. The switch itself was made by Torrix.

Bottom view of front passenger seat with wiring for seat weight switch

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Seat weight switch embedded in the foam rubber of the front passenger seat foam

Close-up view of the Torrix seat weight switch

Demonstration of the seat belt buzzer and flashing light used on late 1972 DSs (click to play the video and enjoy the irritating buzzer)

CHOKE KNOB

 

The choke knob was changed on USA/Canadian cars mid-year in 1972. The symbol on the knob was changed to the word, "CHOKE".

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Choke knob change in mid-1972

HAZARD LIGHT SWITCH

 

The hazard light switches on many 1972 cars were labeled with the letters "HAZ" Later in 1972, the HAZ lettering was changed to read "G1".  The switches marked G1 had a metal plate installed behind the switch with the word HAZARD printed vertically. See photo. At the same time, French cars still did not have hazard lights (although hazard lights appear to have been delivered on many exported DS's). 

Another USA change can be seen in the photo below; the windshield defroster lever had white lettering "DEF" silk-screened onto the plastic housing.  The parts books suggest that these silk screened letters were added in 1970, but in practice, it seems that this change tends to mostly show up on 1972 cars. 

Canadian cars seemed to get these two changes as well. 

Hazard light switch, labeled with “G1” Also notice the defroster lever labeled with “DEF”

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Chris Dubuque

WIPER AND HEADLIGHT SWITCHES

 

For 1972 models, the headlight and wiper switches changed on USA DS's to have words instead of symbols. The part numbers are as follows:

  • USA/Canada wiper switch for 1972 cars: Part Number 5419294

  • USA/Canada headlight switch for 1972 cars: Part Number 5419293

 

We believe that this was a USA requirement of the era. It likely that Canadian cars also got these switches at the same time since there were almost zero differences between Canadian and US cars by this time. 

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1970-1971

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Wiper switch on USA/Canadian DS's

1972

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Headlight switch on USA/Canadian DS's

1970-1971

1972

CITROMATIC SHIFT GATE EMBELLISHER

 

At some point in 1972, wording on the shift gate embellisher for the Citromatic shift lever changed on North American cars.

 

On Euro cars, the start position on the shift embellisher was always labelled with the letter "D" for Démarreur (starter in French). But in mid-year 1968, USA cars changed to have the start position labelled with an "S" (presumably for Start or Starter).

 

The start position on American DS's remained labelled with an "S" until sometime in 1972 when the start position was suddenly labelled, "ENGINE START". By observation of surviving cars, it seems that early 1972 cars might have had the "S" nomenclature and it was only on later 1972's when the "ENGINE START" wording appeared. 

The parts books does not appear to show the embellisher labelled with "ENGINE START".

We think that Canadian cars received the European shift gate with the "D" nomenclature until mid-1971 at which time Canadian cars became the same as USA cars. 

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Chris Dubuque

Euro 1970-1975

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Chris Dubuque

USA 1970-1971 and perhaps early 1972

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Chris Dubuque

USA Late 1972 

HEADRESTS

All 1972 DS's in the USA and Canada had third generation headrests with snap-on pillows. A summary of headrests used on North American DS's is HERE

Generation 3 headrests as used on all 1972 DS's in North America

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SEAT BELTS

 

Early 1972 DS's (1972's that were manufactured in calendar year 1971) had standard, manually adjusted  3-point seat belts, front and rear, made by a company named Britax. 1972 DS's that were manufactured in calendar year 1972 had inertia reel seat belts on the front and rear seats (both US and Canadian cars). The parts books, owners manuals, and brochures do not seem to shed much light on the inertia reel seat belts. 

The logic used to turn on the FASTEN SEAT BELT light (discussed in the DASHBOARD AND WIRING section above) utilized an input from the front inertia reels (notice the wire going to the front inertia reel on the below photo). This wire senses when the seat belt is buckled. 

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Factory installed inertia reel seat belts as installed in a 1972 DS21 Pallas - Notice the wire going to the front inertia reel

Rear seat inertia reel on a late 1972 DS - notice no rear shoulder harness, lap belt only

AIR CONDITIONING

 

There were several different A/C systems on American DS's.  The most common system found on American DS's for 1972 was a new Coolaire system that showed up on many DS’s.  Coolaire was a company based in Miami, Florida that provided aftermarket air conditioning systems for many cars in the 1960’s and 1970’s (Jaguar, MG, BMW, Porsche, etc).  For 1972, Coolaire re-engineered their DS air conditioning system with many improvements over their previous DS system.  

 

The new Coolaire system had fans and condensers mounted in the underpan, just behind the USA front turn signal units.  The front bumper had several rectangular vents cut into the lower part of the bumper blades to allow air to reach the condensers.  The closing panels in front of the front wheels were vented to allow the condensers to expel hot air.  A York compressor was rigidly mounted on the right side of a special gearbox bell housing, adjacent to the hydraulic pump. The compressor was driven by a belt from a special water pump that had a third pulley groove.

 

Most of these features were engineered by Citroën for their European A/C system designs. This benefitted Coolaire since it allowed for a more professional integration than the previous Coolaire system on earlier DS's that was entirely designed by Coolaire. Citroën offered an option in this time period called, Air Conditioning Provisions or Factory Preparation for A/C which meant that new cars coming from Europe would come equipped with many of the above noted provisions. Air conditioning was typically installed by Citroën personnel in the USA (or by the dealers themselves). A sample option list for USA cars (showing this $105 option) is provided HERE

 

This system may have been found on a few 1971’s, but we believe that this newer system was primarily on 1972 cars.  Refer to the 1968 section for details on Coolaire’s earlier A/C system that was used from about 1967 to 1971. 

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Coolaire A/C system used on 1972 cars

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Vented front bumper for A/C

Vented closing panel for A/C

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Coolaire installation instruction booklet from 1972 - click to open

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EMISSION AND SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Not much changed in 1972 for emission and safety equipment, except that DS21 carburetors changed to a different model Weber ("DM" series in lieu of the DL series). The new DM series was again specifically jetted to meet USA emission standards.

 

There were however more USA data plate differences in 1972. The door jam safety data plate came in four colors between 1970 and 1972; yellow, orange, green, and blue.  

 

The yellow plate was installed on all 1970, 1971, and early 1972 sedans and wagons. 

 

But starting in mid-1972 (cars manufactured after 1/72), the plates were required to show certain vehicle weight limitations, including the the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR is the maximum weight rating of the car, including fluids, passengers, and cargo. Since the weight ratings of sedans and wagons were different, Citroën used different color plates:

  • D-Specials had a GVWR of 3835 pounds (1740 kg) - ORANGE PLATE

  • DS21 sedans had a GVWR of 3970 pounds (1800 kg) - GREEN PLAGE

  • DS Wagons had a GVWR of 4520 pounds (2050 kg) - BLUE PLATE

 

Data plates were not initially included on Canadian cars, but did appear, probably in mid-1971 when the configuration of Canadian cars essentially merged with their American counterparts. 

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Yellow plate for all DS's between 1970 and early 1972

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Orange plate for D-Specials manufactured after 1/72

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Green plate for DS21 Sedans manufactured after 1/72

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Blue plate for Wagons manufactured after 1/72

BUT WAIT A MINUTE!

Lets take a closer look at the wording on these orange, green and blue safety data plates. Huh? Is that a typo? Yes it is! Somehow this escaped being noticed by Citroën. It also escaped our notice, until a reader saw the mistake! This same mistake was also on late '72 and all '73 SM's. 

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BRAKE SYSTEM

 

ID19’s and D-Specials always had a simplified brake system with a conventional brake pedal in lieu of the champignon (mushroom) brake pedal. This is true from 1966 to 1972, except for a few months in late-1971 when USA and Canadian D-Specials received the champignon brake pedal but WITHOUT a brake accumulating sphere.  We suspect this change was an interim solution associated with compliance with USA safety regulations.

 

But In 1972, D-Specials sold in North America (USA and Canada) returned to a simplified brake system with a conventional brake pedal. 

 

Leak finders were retained in 1972 for all USA and Canadian DS’s. DS's had leak finders installed on the brake pedal unit and on 1972 D-Specials, the leak finders were moved to the engine compartment. You can read more about leak finders in the 1971 section. 

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In 1972, North American D-Specials returned to a conventional brake pedal

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Leak finders as found in late 1971 and 1972 DS’s with the champignon brake pedal

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Leak finders were moved to the engine compartment in 1972 D-Specials

TRANSPORT CANADA STICKER

 

At some point, Canadian cars received a Transport Canada sticker identifying that the car complied with Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS).  After digging through Canadian government paperwork available on-line, we found a vague reference in a document that suggests this sticker was required for model year 1972 cars.  An example of a DS with the CMVSS sticker is shown. The '892' number on the sticker is a unique number assigned to the car manufacturer, in this case, Citroën

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CMVSS sticker on a Canadian DS

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. 

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

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