GENERAL DIFFERENCES '56-'65
“…The one thing that was consistent about Citroën in the USA was that nothing was consistent…”
Richard Bonfond, September, 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 (nuancierDS.fr), 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.
FIRST DS’s ON USA SHORES
The earliest indication that a DS19 was in North America was on January 4, 1956 when a very early car, S/N 129, arrived by ship in New York. There are several accounts of this car’s arrival in the USA. Following is how the story goes…
A mechanic from Citroën named Claude Braux, along with Luigi Chinetti (the Ferrari importer for the US), drove the car in miserable weather from New York to Chicago, an 800-mile (1300 km) journey! It is said that the temperature was -16 C (3 F) and there were endless snowstorms. But the car made it to Chicago where it was hastily cleaned and prepared for the Chicago Auto Show, which opened on January 7, 1956, only three days after it had arrived in New York. Not much spare time in that schedule!
The car was described by a local newspaper as, “...the hit of the show…”. Here is a photo of S/N 129 at the auto show.
First DS in North America
The first DS in the USA may have been S/N 129 in Chicago, but it looks like California was the epicenter for the first DS’s that made it into dealer showrooms. I found that new DS19’s were at several dealerships in California as early as April of 1956. Challenger Motors (LA), Hanzel Motors (Oakland), and Meder Motor Sales (Hayward) all had DS19’s on their premises by April. For other cities in the USA, it looks like it might have been a few months later. By the fall of 1956, more DS19’s were being displayed in many cities across the USA.
Governmental regulations drove many changes to DS’s imported to the USA. The first highly organized attempt of the US government to regulate automobiles happened in 1966 when president Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law landmark legislation concerning motor vehicle safety. This act ultimately created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) and resulted in a set of design and test standards called, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
Before the FMVSS’s were first mandated on 1968 cars, there was an uncoordinated patchwork of state laws and federal laws in place for automotive safety and emission control. Many of these laws specified design practices created earlier by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), a non-governmental organization that was founded in 1905. It would have been this uncoordinated patchwork of laws and industry design recommendations that Citroën would have had to navigate when trying to import DS19’s.
Canada had their own requirements and laws. The most significant change to Canadian laws appeared to have happened in 1971 when Canada adopted automotive safety rules similar (but not identical) to the US rules. Canadian rules were called, Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), a name and acronym very similar to the US version. But since the first DS19’s predated the CMVSS by 15 years, early Canadian rules were probably a bit like the early US rules; sporadic and not highly organized into one agency.
The earliest appearance of a DS in Canada that I can find was in January of 1957 when a DS19 was displayed at Stanley Park in Vancouver after it was used in a rally event (from Vancouver to Manning Park and back, a 14 hour journey). On the other side of Canada, the Montreal Gazette newspaper reported that in August of 1957, there was only a single DS in all of Montreal. In wasn’t until 1958 when things started to really happen in Canada.
Canada’s first DS’s were imported by third-party companies, not directly by Citroën. On the east coast of Canada, there seems to have been two of these third-party importers; Auto-France, Ltée and Jim Fergusson Motors.
Lets start with the more well known of the two; Auto-France, Ltée. Auto-France announced that they were to offer Citroën DS and ID models starting in May, 1958. They were located at 7670 Decarie Boulevard, in Montreal. Citroënet reports that Auto-France was operated by a man named Harry Dubrowski, but we think this might be a typo and his name might have been Harry Dubrovsky. In either case, we couldn't find much about him.
Montreal Star, May 09, 1958
Auto-France announcing the DS and ID in eastern Canada
Auto-France in Montreal, photo about 1960
The second company offering DS's and ID's in eastern Canada was called, Jim Fergusson Motors, located at 3284 Yonge Street, in Toronto (later 3020 Yonge St). Jim Fergusson was a well established car dealer and sport car enthusiast, but in 1959 he was suddenly billing himself as a wholesaler of Citroën DS's.
In November of 1959, Fergusson started an advertising campaign to look for Ontario-area dealers to sell his Citroëns. One such advertisement is shown below.
Sun Times (Ontario), Nov 1959
Owen Sound (Ontario), Nov 1959
Jim Ferguson looking for dealers in 1959
As an interesting sidelight to the Jim Fergusson story, his wife Alice was prolific in car racing and rally events. Below is a photo of her in an ID19 (1958). Alice went on to participate in a cross-Canada rally in 1961 in a Citroën ID (The Shell 4000 rally). We have a bit more about Alice Fergusson HERE.
Notice that both of the cars in the Fergusson photos, and the car in the Auto-France photo, have Lucas front turn signals. We will discuss those more later.
Alice Fergusson racing her ID19
The Calgary Herald, 1961
On the west coast of Canada, it was a bit more confusing. DS’s first went on sale in the fall of 1958 from Regal Motors in Victoria and Le Mans Automotive in Vancouver. In early 1959, a company named Double-Nine was also in the mix. You can read about these dealerships HERE.
It is unclear who was importing the cars for these three dealers in British Columbia. But I found that there were links between Le Mans and Double-Nine with Auto-France, so it is possible that the cars were being imported by Auto-France.
But in October of 1959 (after all three of the above BC dealerships were faltering or had completely failed), a new company emerged called, Citroën Cars Distributors BC, Ltd. We think that Citroën Cars Distributors BC, Ltd. acted as the third-party importer for the west coast of Canada, similar to what Auto France and Jim Fergusson were doing in eastern Canada.
It wasn’t until 1962 that Citroën themselves started importing cars into Canada. This was in the form of a new company they formed, called Citroën Canada, Ltée, located at 7144 Cote-des-Neiges, in Montreal.
Ottawa Citizen, April 1962
With Citroën importing cars themselves, Auto-France, Jim Fergusson, and Citroën Cars Distributors BC, Ltd no longer needed to exist. And sure enough, they all disappeared. A few years later, in 1965, Citroën would set up a Canadian west-coast headquarters as well, located in Vancouver at 1290 Burrard Street. You can read about their BC headquarters HERE.
In any case, Canada seems to have been about two years behind the USA for the arrival of the DS. In the USA, the DS was in dealership showrooms in the spring of 1956 (with Citroën themselves doing the importation). In Canada, DS’s arrived about two years later, in the spring of 1958 (initially imported by third party companies).
There are plenty of photos of early Canadian DS19’s and ID19’s and they clearly show that they had USA-style Lucas turn signals and tail lamps. As such, I am reasonably confident that cars imported by Auto-France in Montreal, Jim Fergusson in Ontario, Citroën Cars Distributors in BC, and by Citroën themselves after 1962, were of a similar configuration to USA cars.
We believe that all DS19's and ID19's in the USA and Canada have certain general traits that their Euro counterparts did not have. Following is a list of these general items. On subsequent pages, we list year-to-year differences between Euro and USA/Canadian DS's.
HEADLIGHTS. All USA DS19’s and ID19’s arrived in the USA without headlights installed (see photo below as an example). Once here, sealed-beam lights (that were sourced in the USA) were installed by Citroën personnel. This was called a “port-installed” part.
Note that between 1940 and 1957, the USA required the use of 7-inch sealed-beam headlights for all cars sold in the USA.
The headlight buckets and chrome trim rings on all 1956-1967 DS19’s and ID19’s were made by Cibie, but were designed to accommodate the standard American 7-inch sealed-beam lamps.
ID19’s arriving in the USA without headlights
Incidentally, I looked into the cargo ship in the above photo (S.S. Avranches) and discovered that it was one of the so-called Liberty Ships, built in 1943, to support the war effort. I found that between 1957 and 1960 it was exclusively used to transport French cars to the USA (mainly Renault Dauphines). After 1960, it was used for a different purpose. Based on this, and the configuration of the cars, the above photo must have been taken in 1958 or 1959.
Are the cars in this photo DS’s or ID’s? I think ID’s due to the black B and C-post trim, no B-pillar parking lamps, black windshield gaskets, and suspiciously large diameter steering wheels used with the ID's manual steering.
Cibie headlight buckets and trim rings used on 1956-1967 DS’s in the USA with an American Sealed Beam lamp
One surviving 1956 USA DS (S/N 4086) has really strange headlights. You can see that the shape of the trim ring is unusual. This car seems to be astoundingly original in most respects; it sat unused in a California garage since 1960! But for the headlights, I am not so sure. I am tempted to say that these headlight buckets and trim rings were a one-off anomaly, or were installed after delivery by the car’s first owner, but nobody knows for sure…
S/N 4086, USA sealed-beam with unusual trim ring
It is unclear if early Canadian DS’s were equipped with sealed-beams or with Euro-style optiques.
SPEEDOMETERS. Speedometers were unique on all USA DS’s and ID’s since they were calibrated in miles per hour (MPH). Even the very first 1956’s in the USA had speedometers in MPH, including Greg Long’s very early 1956 with serial number of 4086 and the ex-Behnfield DS19 with S/N 425.
1956 DS19 S/N 4086, Speedometer in MPH
We think that all Canadian DS's and ID's had their speedometers calibrated in MPH as well. Mark Krahn’s 1960 wagon that was originally sold in BC has a speedometer in MPH (see photo). Also, George Dyke's 1960 Canadian specification ID19 has a speedometer in MPH.
Canadian 1960 wagon has speedometer in MPH
TURN SIGNAL SWITCHES. 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 (perhaps SAE document J589 and/or J590). 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.
Two unique external flasher units (made by Klaxon) were developed for USA DS’s and ID’s, one for 6V, one for 12V cars:
P/N DM 575 100 (6V)
P/N DM 575 100a (12V)
Klaxon turn signal flasher for USA cars
These Klaxon units were specifically labelled by Citroën for the USA (see photo). The mechanical egg timer type switches used on early ID19’s would clearly not comply with the above requirement for bulb failure, leading to some really unusual configurations for early ID19’s in the USA.
Egg timer turn signal switch on early ID19
After some serious parts book time and staring at surviving cars, I ‘think’ the story for US model turn signals goes as follows:
USA DS19’s initially had the same turn signal system as Euro cars. But in December of 1960, DS19’s in the USA started using a unique turn signal switch and the external Klaxon flasher. This December 1960 date is coincident with the DS19's change to 12V in the USA. Note that the AXO turn signal switch used on Euro DS19 models would indeed change its flashing rate when a bulb burned out. However, something about these Euro switches must not have satisfied the American requirements, since Citroën went to a lot of work to design a different system for USA cars.
All ID19’s in the USA had the external Klaxon flasher, initially 6V, then changing to the 12V version in May of 1959. The mechanical egg-timer switches clearly did not indicate when a bulb is failed, leading to some weird configurations for USA ID’s. As such, unique versions of the egg-timer turn signal switch were at times used along with the Klaxon external flasher units. Eventually ID’s got the stalk type switch and external flasher, similar to North American DS19’s.
We have some of the specific turn signal changes listed in the year-to-year changes.
Mark Krahn’s 1960 Canadian wagon has the US-style external flasher, suggesting that Canadian cars received USA-style turn signals.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE ON ID19 DASHBOARDS. Early ID19’s had their switches and controls on the dashboard identified with words etched into the aluminum facia. Most of these early ID19’s in the USA had dashboards printed in English, while French cars had wording in printed in French. There are a few ID19's in the USA with French language on the dash, but we think these cars were imported through a non-normal method, such as the overseas delivery plan or similar.
It looks like Canadian models also received English language dashboards since many other aspects of the cars were the same as USA models. Mark Krahn’s beautiful 1960 wagon, that was sold new in British Columbia, has a dashboard in English. Also, George Dyke's Canadian specification 1960 ID19 has the dash wording in English.
English dash markings on Mark Krahn’s 1960 Canadian wagon
WINDSHIELDS. USA DS’s had a different windshield than Euro cars. “Triplex” windshields of unique part numbers were specified for all USA DS’s from the start. Triplex was a British manufacturer of laminated safety glass. Windshields made with laminated safety glass were required in the USA as far back as the late 1930’s.
It seems that many (or even most) Euro DS’s were originally delivered with windshields made of tempered safety glass, not laminated safety glass.
So far, I have not been able to confirm whether the windshields on Canadian DS19’s were laminated or tempered, but I strongly suspect that Canadian cars received the same windshields as USA cars (i.e. Triplex laminated). Note that the early parts books do not show any parts unique for the Canadian market.
REAR WINDOW. According to Dr. Danche (nuancierDS.fr), the very, very early cars in Europe (1955’s) had glass rear windows, 6 mm thick. Then 4 mm plexiglass was used for a few years as a weight savings, only to return to glass a few years later (but now 4 mm glass instead of 6 mm).
In contrast, all USA cars (DS’s and ID’s) were delivered with glass rear windows (no plexiglass). The parts books are too unclear to positively ascertain the thickness of the glass used on the really early USA DS’s, but Greg Long's very early 1956 (S/N 4086), has a 6 mm thick rear window. The parts books suggest that by March of 1957, USA cars switched to 5 mm glass for the rear window while Euro DS’s used 4 mm well into the mid 1960’s. Five-millimeter glass gradually phased-in on Euro cars. Strangely, USA sedan rear windows retained a unique part number all the way from the 1950’s to the 1970’s (DS 961 7e). I don’t know why there is a unique part number after Euro cars started using 5 mm glass.
The glass rear windows in all Euro, USA, and Canadian models were tempered glass.
In an interview from the early 1980’s, Citroën’s head body designer, Mr. Franchiset, said this about the demise of the plexiglass rear window (translated from Roger Brioult's book, L'histoire et les secrets de son bureau d'études):
“…Certainly, with it (the plexiglass rear window), we saved weight, but it was very prone to scratches when wiping it. It should always be washed with plenty of water and treated with a product for the maintenance of plastics having a polishing effect. On the other hand, a regulation was introduced concerning its use on motor vehicles. A part made of plexiglass had to be at a given distance from the occupants' heads (because the plexiglass breaks into relatively sharp shards). On the DS, the "plexi" window was considered too close to the rear passengers and, for its part, Saint-Gobain had succeeded in developing the manufacture of 4 mm thick (rear) glass….”
Dr. Danche (nuancierds.fr) has more discussion about rear window glass HERE.
DOOR GLASS. The thickness of the glass used in the doors was different on USA DS’s as compared to Euro cars. In the early years, Euro DS’s had a confusing mix of 4, 5, and 6 mm thick door glass, often thinner on the rear doors as compared to the front doors. USA DS’s however started out with 6 mm glass (front and rear doors) and later changed to 5 mm (front and rear). I read that the designers of the DS were trying to minimize the weight of the glass in hopes of lowering the cars’ center of gravity. However, the thinner glass was more prone to wind leaks, so there was clearly some back-and-forth in the Citroën design office on what was the ideal thickness. Citroën’s body designer during the DS years (Mr. Franchiset) had the following comments about door glass thickness (translated from Roger Brioult's book, L'histoire et les secrets de son bureau d'études):
“…The realization of the doors of the DS was not an easy task! Let us remember that they did not include any frame for the windows; they were designed like convertible doors, so guiding the windows in their high position could only be done by the small part remaining inside the door! The question of the weight and the height of the center of gravity had always obsessed Gabriel Voisin and André Lefèbvre. It is certain that the 'glass belt' represented by all the windows of the car is relatively heavy and, and as an aggravating circumstance, (the glass belt is) located very high in the mass of the body (and the DS had windows of large surface areas for the time). Lefèbvre therefore demanded from Saint-Gobain side windows 4 mm thick (instead of 5 to 6 mm representing the current thickness of the time) ….. However, as soon as the first DS were delivered, their owners noticed that above 125-130 km/h … the windows of the front doors "took off" from the top by a good centimeter, sometimes even more. (Mr. Franchiset) then decided to modify the glass guides housed in the doors, such that just before the windows reached their closing point, the guide curved, forcing the window to push back inwards to press firmly on its gasket. But the windows (still) lifted off at high speed, which gives an idea of the aerodynamic depression prevailing on both sides of a car. We had to resolve to make these windows 5 mm thickness…. From that moment, the windows almost did not lift off the seal. But those of the rear doors have always kept their thickness of 4 mm…”
More detail about window glass thickness on USA cars is contained in the year-to-year changes.
ROOFS. For DS19’s, USA cars used the same roofs that Euro cars did; painted fiberglass.
For ID19’s, the story was not so simple. Early ID19’s in Europe (1957-1961) were equipped with translucent fiberglass roofs. These were un-sanded on the exterior, so they had the characteristic glass fiber texture, well suited to catch and retain dirt.
Typical translucent fiberglass roof on a Euro ID19
The translucent fiberglass roof was never imported to the USA. Instead, most (or all) early USA ID19's received painted aluminum roofs.
There is a long-standing rumor that someone at Citroën thought that the translucent roof wasn't suitable to American tastes, so they wanted painted roofs. But the rumor goes on to indicate that the early fiberglass roofs weren't smooth enough to look good when painted a dark color like black or aubergine, the colors they wanted for USA ID19's. As a result, they gave USA ID19's the aluminum roofs instead. Is this rumor true? I have no idea, but it does seem believable. One reviewer of this article thinks that on occasion, a painted fiberglass roof was used on early ID19's in the USA, perhaps when light colors were used. We have heard similar stories, so there is a chance that a few fiberglass roofs were mixed in with the aluminum roofs.
But at some point, USA ID19’s quit using the aluminum roofs and transitioned to painted fiberglass, just like DS’s. When did this transition happen? We are not sure. Probably early 1960’s.
Below is a photo of several very early USA ID19's (probably 1958's or 1959's). These cars were painted "champagne" with black (or aubergine) roofs, one of the US color combinations of the era (a combination not available on ID's in Europe). These roofs would have been aluminum.
Incidentally, we learned a bit about this photo by doing some sleuthing. It turns out the cars are parked in front of the International Arrivals Building at Idlewild Airport in New York (the airport was Iater renamed JFK). There is one Traction Avant, three early ID19's, one DS19, and a Panhard in the photo. Based on the various cars in the photo and other aspects of the buildings and vegetation, I think the photo must have been taken in about 1959. Clearly a delegation of American Citroëns was there to greet the international arrival of someone. I wonder who?
MacDonald Leach, Citroen Cars Corporation
Several ID19’s at Idlewild Airport in NYC, photo probably 1959
Idlewild Airport in NYC, circled area shows where the Citroëns would have been parked (1957 photo)
Canadian cars matched USA cars for the roof configuration. As an example, George Dyke’s Canadian 1960 ID19 has an aluminum roof.
TIRES. All ID19’s and DS19’s sold in the USA had the same tire size, front and rear (165X400 Michelin X). The spare tire was a 165X400 as well.
In Europe, all ID19 and DS19 sedans had 165X400’s in the front and narrower 155’s tires in the rear, except the wagons which had 165X400’s all around.
I found several Canadian brochures and other technical descriptions that indicated that Canadian DS19’s and ID19’s also had 165X400 Michelin tires in all 5 positions.
HOOD AND TRUNK BADGES. One of the big mysteries of early DS’s and ID’s in the USA are the myriad of hood and trunk badges that are found on the early cars. It seems that nearly all of the early cars in the USA had some sort of a badge in the years of 1956, 1957, and 1958. By 1959, the badges started becoming a little less prevalent and by about 1962 or 1963, their systematic installation had stopped completely. Euro cars never received these.
Strangely, there was a variety of different badge designs and I can find no pattern to explain what badge designs were used on what cars (we found at least 6 different badge designs). Also, their installation on the car was pretty haphazard as well, indicating that different people were installing them without detailed guidance. Usually, they were installed on the forward, left corner of the hood or the aft, right corner of the trunk lid. Some cars have them on both the hood and the trunk. On occasion, they were installed in other strange locations. As you can probably expect, the parts books are of zero help. Below are photos of some of these badges!
Nearly every photo I can find of an American DS or ID in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s show cars with the badges. I even found an early 1960’s brochure from Citroën Canada that shows a badge (see below), although the photo was probably of a USA model car since I dont think Canadian cars had these badges installed.
Canadian brochure, showing a car with a hood badge
While I have no evidence to explain the story behind these badges, I am guessing that someone involved with Citroën USA thought that the car needed a company name somewhere on the car’s exterior. Perhaps this person was Charles Buchet, the man in charge of Citroën USA at the time?
The only identifiable logo on early DS’s were the chevrons on the trunk lid and these were likely recognizable in Europe. But in a place Wichita, Kansas or South Bend, Indiana, the car would have been very alien. Speaking of Wichita, Kansas, here is a new 1957 DS19 at a dealership in Wichita, and yes, it has a hood badge.
Wichita Times, Nov 1957
A 1957 DS in Wichita, Kansas? Yes.
Who required the badges? Who installed them? Why so many different designs? Lots of questions, not many answers I am afraid. Here is perhaps a small clue about who installed them however. Chuck McConnell was a co-owner of Automobile Internationale, a Citroën dealership in Seattle in the early 1960’s. Many years later, before he passed away, he gave a few of us handfuls of these badges (new-old-stock). Why would Chuck McConnell have handfuls of new badges? Perhaps they were given to the dealers and the dealers were instructed to install them? This may explain the haphazard installation locations, since each dealer would have installed them where they wanted. Also, it is also likely that Citroën Los Angeles and Citroën New York had their own badges made, thus explaining at least some of the badge design variations. As for the rest of the story of the badges? I don’t know. I wish I had asked Chuck McConnell when I had a chance…..
REAR-VIEW MIRROR. The rear-view mirror was different on all early US model ID19’s and wagons. The parts book does not show the part number of the US mirrors, but it does indicate that it was different on USA cars. Since no part number is shown for the USA mirror, I suspect it was a USA-sourced mirror that was installed by Citroën personnel once the cars were in the USA (a port-installed part, such as the headlights). The USA mirror was noticeably wider than Citroën’s mirror and had a DAY/NIGHT function (the DAY and NIGHT wording was printed in English).
What drove Citroën to install a unique mirror? It seems that the DAY/NIGHT function was not required until 1968, when FMVSS 111 “Rear Visibility” kicked in. But even before the FMVSS, there was apparently rearward visibility requirements, probably driven by older SAE recommendations. So it is likely that the tiny ID mirror did not meet the visibility criteria.
Euro ID19 mirror
USA ID19 mirror
USA ID19 mirror as shown in The Motor's magazine review of a 1961 ID19
The only good datapoint we have for early Canadian ID19’s is George Dyke’s 1960. His car has an unusual rear-view mirror as well, but a different one that was used on USA cars. So, the same rear visibility requirement (or at least a similar requirement) was probably affecting Canadian cars.
Rear View Mirror on George Dyke's 1960 Canadian ID19
DS19’s in the USA however, were equipped with the same larger rear-view mirror as their Euro counterparts and all of them, even on the early cars, had a DAY/NIGHT function.
Rear view mirror on a 1957 USA DS19 - same mirror as Euro cars
INTERIOR DOOR HANDLES. All ID19’s and wagons sold in the USA had chrome interior door handles instead of the beige plastic (nylon) handles used on Euro ID19’s. There are some exceptions to this, such as the 1959 ID19 in the Lane Motor Museum, but I think that this car was an anomaly or was imported outside normal factory auspices. Another exception to this is the car used for Road and Track's road test of the ID19 from June of 1958. Why are there exceptions? All I need to do is remind you to look at Richard Bonfond's quote at the top of this page.
Canada ID19's appear to match USA cars with the chrome handles.
Chrome interior door handle vs nylon - Chrome used on USA ID19's
US model ID19 with plastic door handles
- Photo from Road and Track's June 1958 magazine
Road and Track, June 1958
POWER STEERING. ID19’s and wagons started out with manual steering, but in 1963, power steering became optional in Europe and remained optional until the end. But what about power steering in the USA?
Power steering started out as an option on ID19's in the USA, just the same as in Europe. Brochures and price lists clearly support this, including the following 1963 American brochure.
Below are two bits of evidence that show that power steering was still an option for US ID's in 1965 and 1966. One is a 1965 dealer price list and the second is an invoice for a 1966 ID19 that was sold new from Red Dellinger’s Citroën dealership in Pennsylvania.
It was not until 1971 that USA brochures started showing that power steering was standard on all of the cars.
Despite the fact that power steering was theoretically optional on USA ID's and D-Specials in the USA from 1958 to 1970, I defy you to find very many US ID's with manual steering. I would tend to say that before 1967, most ID's in the USA had power steering and after about 1968, all ID's / D-Specials in the USA came with power steering. I presume that American dealers were ordering cars with certain options and color combinations that they thought they could actually sell. Power steering was apparently considered important.
Canada was more-or-less the same.
TRUNK LID PROP. All ID19’s sold in the USA and Canada had spring loaded trunk props, just like DS19’s. Euro ID19’s initially had a metal rod to hold the trunk open, but eventually got the spring-loaded props, after March, 1961.
Trunk prop on early Euro ID19's
Road and Track, June 1958
Spring-loaded struts on USA ID19 trunk lids
Photo from 1958 Road and Track magazine road test
HUBCAPS. All USA DS19’s had the same hubcaps that their Euro counterparts had. Full-sized, made from stainless steel.
In Europe, all ID19’s and wagons had small diameter hubcaps of several slightly different styles.
But all ID19's and wagons sold in the USA had full sized hubcaps, the same ones that DS19’s were using.*
*In full disclosure, I found a few exceptions to this where very early wagons in the USA had the smaller Euro style hubcaps. But these exceptions mainly were on early 1960 wagons that were loaned to the media for road test purposes.
Large hubcap on all USA ID19's (left), small on Euro ID19 (right)
It looks like Canadian ID's and wagons also used the large hubcaps. Mark Krahn's 1960 wagon was originally equipped with large hubcaps. Additionally, George Dyke's 1960 Canadian specification ID19 was also equipped with large hubcaps (photo below).
WAGON CARGO AREA. On the later wagons (1966-1972), I think that the small fold-up rear seats in the cargo area was the only cargo-area configuration that was available in the USA.
Standard cargo area seating configuration on most USA wagons.
On the earlier wagons (1960-1965), the same fold-up rear seats were by far the most common cargo-area configuration on USA cars.
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 Citrowagon.fr 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 in the USA.
We recently discovered that 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 60/40 split fold down rear seat, common on cars now, but very unusual for the early 1960's.
Oregonian Newspaper 1962
Citroën DS ambulance Brochure
ID NORMALE. The ID19 Normale was never officially imported to the USA or Canada. The ID19 Normale model was a very low market ID built between 1958 and 1960. The most notable feature about the ID Normale was that it had the old Traction Avant 11D engine (cast iron cylinder head). Only a few hundred were manufactured.