GENERAL DIFFERENCES '66-'72

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UPDATED
10/2022

Several NWCOC club members have asked about the changes and modifications that Citroën made to import the DS model into the USA and Canada. While there have been attempts at this before, we have tried to do a more in-depth review of the unique changes and modifications that the USA and Canadian DS models had.

 

The parts books were very helpful in this endeavor, but unfortunately, there are a few mistakes, omissions, and murky areas. So we have tried to fill in the blanks in this article, at least to the best of our ability.  Due to the lack of complete documentation, this article has relied on the knowledge of several experts to fill in as many gaps as is possible.  We would like to thank the following people for their assistance in the preparation of this article (listed alphabetically);

 

Richard Bonfond, Dr. Danche, Chris Dubuque, George Dyke, Greg Long, Georges Menguy, Allan Meyer, Chris Middleton, Lon Price, and Carter Willey.

 

If any readers see any errors or omissions, please let us know. 

 

We included Canadian specification cars, but we found that the Canadian cars were even more difficult to nail down the configuration. 

US AND CANADIAN DS's

DS’s sold in the USA and Canada between 1966 and 1972 had certain traits that were different on Euro versions.  We believe that the following statements are true for North American cars. Please note that at this time, we are only addressing cars from 1966 to 1972. We might add the earlier cars later. 

 

But before we get started, it is worth clearing up one point of confusion; the difference between model year and manufacturing date. There could be up to a four month difference between a car's model year when the car was manufactured. For example:

 

  • A 1968 car could have been manufactured anytime between 01 September 1967 and 31 August 1968, or

  • A 1969 car could have been manufactured anytime between 01 September 1968 and 31 August 1969. 

Many design changes, both large and small, tended to be implemented in September to align with the next model year. We suspect that one of the reasons for this August/September change-over is that the factory was largely closed down in August, as per French custom. This allowed the factory to be mostly idle while they prepared for changes to the next year’s models. 

The parts books sometimes use model year and sometimes use manufacturing date. To further complicate things, the factory often made configuration changes in mid-year, so some features might be different (for example) between an early 1972 car and a late 1972 car.

 

Back to our general observations for 1966-1972 DS's:  

  • West coast cars in the USA had a small tag installed on the firewall (near the wiper motor) that showed the model year of the car.  An example would be "AC72" which is for a model year 1972 car. 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, the late Carter Willey and Richard Bonfond 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 in the the various east coast ports. All west coast cars after about 1960 had the AC tag. So far, we have not been able to find out the reason why west coast cars had the tag and east coast cars did not. The best guess is that the state of California required it, so they were installed on all cars processed through the Los Angeles office. Canadian cars did not receive these plates. The Nuancierds.fr website has photos of each plate from 1960 to 1972 HERE

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  • All 1966-1972 DS sedans and wagons sold in the USA (and probably Canada) had padded carpets.  The only exception were 1970 D-Specials which were unusually stripped down cars. Some Euro versions had rubber floormats or un-padded vinyl flooring.

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  • All 1966-1972 USA and Canadian cars had full sized hubcaps. The hubcap in the top photo is a "Pallas" version used on all USA and Canadian Pallas models. The hubcap in the middle photo was used on all non-Pallas models in the USA and Canada. These same two hubcaps were also used on Euro cars as well. But some euro models also had smaller half-size hubcaps, as shown in the third photo that was never used on USA cars. 

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  • All 1966-1972 USA and Canadian sedans had trunk vinyl, with the exception of the 1970 D-Special. Some Euro versions had painted trunks with no upholstery). 

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  • All 1966-1972 USA and Canadian sedans had foam trunk lid gaskets in lieu of the rubber strips that some French versions had.

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  • All USA DS's (and Canadian DS's) had speedometers calibrated in miles per hour and stopping distance in feet.

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  • All 1966-1972 USA DS's (and probably all Canadian DS's) had engine temperature gauges (some Euro versions had blanking plates in the dash instead of a gauge). 

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  • All 1966-1972 USA and Canadian sedans had stainless steel rear turn signal housings (some Euro versions had plastic housings). 

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  • All USA cars (and probably Canadian cars) had 5 mm thick door glass (some Euro versions had 4 mm door glass, usually on the rear doors). 

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  • The windshields delivered on USA cars had a different part number than Euro cars. The parts books specified windshields made by Triplex for USA cars while other brands were used on Euro cars, such as Luxrit. All USA windshields were laminated safety glass while some of the Euro windshields were apparently just tempered glass. The windshield glass thickness was also different on USA cars (7 mm instead of 6 mm which was used on most Euro cars).

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  • The rear window also had unique part numbers on USA cars up to about 1971. USA cars had 5 mm thick rear windows while some Euro cars had 4 mm glass. By 1972 it looks like Euro cars received the same 5 mm rear window that USA cars had. 

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  • The plastic embellisher for the Citromatic shift lever was different on USA and some Canadian cars, being labeled with an "S" for Starter instead of "D" for Demarreur. A few of the very late cars in the USA/Canada were labelled with "START" or even "ENGINE START".

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  • Five-speed gearboxes were never officially imported to North America.

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X

  • Borg Warner automatic gearboxes were never officially imported to North America.

  • DS23’s and D-Supers were never officially imported to North America. DS20 models were sold in Canada, but never in the USA.

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  • Fuel injected DS's were never imported to the USA or Canada.

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X

  • A decent number of DS convertibles were sold in the USA in the years of 1966 and 1967. These cars had some unique USA modifications that are discussed in the 1966/1967 section. We had planned to say that there were no 1968-1972 convertibles officially imported to the USA by Citroën. However, we have been made aware of at least one 1968 that is reported to have been sold new in California. 

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  • Most (or perhaps all) 1966-1972 wagons officially imported to the USA and Canada had the folding rear seat and the two small fold-up seats in the cargo area (some Euro versions had different rear seating options). 

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  • All USA DS's with alternators (1968-1972) were delivered with Paris Rhone alternators (no Ducellier alternators). 

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  • All smogged USA DS's (1968-1972) were delivered with SEV Marchal distributors of unique part numbers (no Ducellier distributors)

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  • All 1966-1972 DS’s sold in North America had seat belts; initially lap belts, transitioning to 3-point belts, and finally to inertia reel seat belts in late 1972. 

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  • Tires on 1966-1972 sedans and wagons sold in North America were always the same size, front and rear (most Euro versions had narrower tires in the rear). It is not clear whether the few DS convertibles sold in the USA had narrower tires in the rear. All 1969-1972 USA cars were delivered with the Michelin XH instead of the XAS.

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  • Most, or perhaps all, Canadian DS’s between 1966 and 1972 were delivered with the cold weather package, which included the cable-operated cable shutter in the radiator air duct and rear seat heaters. 

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  • For some reason, a very large number of Canadian DS's were equipped with the so-called dust option. The most obvious part of the dust option was the special hydraulic reservoir cap, but the gearbox breather and fuel tank breather were also affected. Nuancierds.fr has details of the dust option here

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  • April of 1971 is a key date for Canadian models. Nearly every USA modification that had occurred before 4/71 was thrown onto Canadian cars all at once as of this manufacturing date. 

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  • Rear seat backs were bolted into place on USA sedans. This drove different rear seat back hardware. Two tabs were welded on the seat frame and two of the bolts that secure the fuel tank cover were used to secure the seat. Euro sedans had the rear seat back held in place with two wire clips.

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  • The parts books show that the engine blocks are different between North American DS's and Euro DS's for all years between 1966 and 1972. The only difference we can find is that North American blocks all have a threaded port in the water jacket. This port has a plug in it on USA cars, but on many Canadian cars, there is an electrical block heater screwed into this port. The port seems to be unthreaded on Euro engines. The part number of the USA DS21 block is DX114-5D. Is this threaded port the only difference? 

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Euro Engine Block

USA Engine Block

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Block Heater