Fifty years already of that weird Citroën

The Citroën DS (pronounced in French day-ess, like déesse, or goddess) is about to celebrate its 50th birthday! Hard to believe.

Check it out :

(article in Le Monde)

Here are two fun links,in English:

The latter is an appreciation by Roland Barthes. Sample quote: “There are in the D.S. the beginnings of a new phenomenology of assembling, as if one progressed from a world where elements are welded to a world where they are juxtaposed and hold together by sole virtue of their wondrous shape, which of course is meant to prepare one for the idea of a more benign Nature.”

I assure you, without having read the original, that the translator was faithful to it.

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  1. Nom de Dieu!

    The car indeed is worth commemorating (for Valentine’s Day too!) but the Barthes quintessentially French blather is the perfect compl(i|e)ment for your inaugual Wetmachine post.

    During the years 1966-70 I used to commute from New Jersey to New York City to got to high school. The ride into the Lincoln Tunnel was always a crawl during rush hour, which was punctuated by a car we saw most mornings. I believe it was a DS (although my memory is unreliable; it might have been a SAAB), in any event you could not miss it: the owner had affixed clear plexiglass fins to either side of the roof. It really did look like a Saturn Rocket turned sideways.

  2. Their most distinctive feature besides the body was an active Low-Rider suspension, as parodied in the gif. (Not the best thing for taking curves at high speeds, which is how the French achieve the highest highway fatality rate in Europe.)

    There’s a feeling among some French that their cars are superior to all others. I would merely say “willfully different”, like SECAM instead of PAL, etc, etc. I have a mathemetician friend who visited Benoît Mandlebrot (fractals guy) and came back with two reports: first, ego is measured in nanoMandlebrots, and second, he was so protective of his Peugot that he insisted no American mechanic could do it justice and had it shipped to France and back every year for maintenance.

    One good thing about French cars, though: they’re not American.

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