Celebrating the DS’s 60th Anniversary
The DS is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, 2015: It was on Thursday, October 6, 1955, that this vehicle was first unveiled at the Paris Motor Show under the vault of the Grand Palais. For this grand occasion, the DS carmaker, in association with Le Monde de la DS*, offered Parisians and the city’s visitors rides in a DS through the center of Paris.
To celebrate the anniversary of the DS with Parisians or international visitors, the DS brand, in partnership with Le Monde de la DS, offered 30-minute rides in this legendary car. Fifteen DS’s, with chauffeurs, provided these tours starting at the Trocadéro fountains, opposite the Eiffel Tower, setting off to cruise the streets of Paris, passing in front of the Grand Palais, the Champs Elysées, and ending the spin at 33 rue François 1e at DS World Paris. DS enthusiasts could tour the facilities and explore the inner world of this carmaker. They could even admire the DS 21 Prestige used by Michel Debré or the exhibition dedicated to the “Maison Fabre” honoring the expertise of Master Glovers.
To share this anniversary with as broad an audience as possible, the maker had also scheduled the broadcast of a 60-second commercial to be aired on the main national television channels during prime time. A video steeped in emotion, presenting the DS, past and present, highlighting the pioneering spirit of these two legendary letters.
October 6, 1955: A legend is born
On Thursday, October 6, 1955, the DS 19 was unveiled to the world at the Paris Motor Show in the Grand Palais. At first glance, the DS looked like something from another world. For its contemporaries, it was nothing less than a revelation: sculpted styling, luxury features, and a hydraulic system that gave it unprecedented handling. This comprehensive distribution system encompassing the clutch, the brake control, steering, and gear-shifting, made every aspect of driving easier and defined the DS as a model focused passionately on comfort.
An avant-garde automobile that sold 12,000 units on that very first day; ten days later, by the time the show closed, 80,000 DS’s had been sold.
Six decades later, the DS is still the talk of the town!
The DS has unquestionably touched the lives of many French people. Throughout its existence, it boasted advanced technological features, as it did in 1967, when it introduced directional headlights that swiveled in alignment with the wheels; or in 1969, the year it came out with electronic fuel injection boosting its performance. Manufactured both in France (in Paris) and abroad (Belgium, United Kingdom, Portugal, South Africa), this car has been exported throughout Western Europe, in nearly all the Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia, and in the United States, where it still has many devoted fans. The DS’s elegance and cutting-edge construction were its main assets and, over a period of two decades, 1,456,115 units were sold.
Seen on-screen in many feature films and television series of yesterday and today, the DS was also the car of choice of movie stars, industrialists, business leaders, and other high-profile personalities.
The DS served as a four-wheeled showcase of France’s genius and savoir-faire around the world. Its sculpted lines earned the Grand Prix de l’esthétique industrielle, the top industrial design award, at the 1957 Triennale di Milano, while French literary theorist and critic Roland Barthes compared it to “an enormous gothic cathedral.” With the “Pallas” edition introduced in October 1964, the DS became an ambassador for French luxury. In late 1999, in London, it was voted “the world’s most beautifully designed object of the 20th century.”
The DS is now an outstanding legacy buoying the DS brand
Formally established on June 1, 2014, the DS brand intends to write new chapters in the grand story of these two letters, continuing to embody French luxury-automotive expertise around the world for decades to come.
For the 60th anniversary year of the DS, numerous events have been sponsored or hosted by the brand, like DS Week this past May. This event, held in the Tuileries Gardens on Sunday, May 24, brought together 700 vintage DS in central Paris. An exceptional gathering initiated by Le Monde de la DS, an association formed of collectors’ clubs: DS Club Revolution 55, Idéale DS France, and DS ID Club de France.
*Le Monde de la DS is an association formed of collectors’ clubs: DS Club Révolution 55, Idéale DS France, DS ID Club de France