1955 Autocar review of CitroŽn DS19
Citroen DS19 Startles Paris
NEW MODEL BRISTLES WITH ORIGINAL FEATURES
THE 11 c.v. Citroen has been in production
for twenty-one years without any basic changes. It was a fairly
short-odds bet, therefore, that when it was replaced the new car would
be equally advanced in its conception, and the impact which the new D
l9 made at its presentation the night before the Paris Salon was opened
was quite staggering. It will take some time to prove whether the
innovations offered will be acceptable to the buying public.
There is a complicated system of hydraulics,
controlled from a master pressure pump and accumulator. The system is
ingenious, but there is a complementary degree of complication which
may present problems in maintenance.
The new model retains the same basic layout
as previously, with reversed engine and front wheel drive. A
constant-layshaft type of gear box is used, as hitherto, in which the
drive shaft £rom the clutch passes over the differential assembly
mounted on the end of the second motion shaft. The drive shaft to the
wheels uses a double Hooke type universal joint, placed back to back
also as hitherto.
A belt-driven hydraulic pump and reservoir
feeds an elaborate hydraulic system used for the four-wheel
oleopneumatic independent suspension, which is similar to that ﬁtted to
the rear end only of the six-cylinder 15H model, now taken out of
production. A full description of this system was given in The Autocar
of August l9, 1955. Other circuits supply hydraulic power for operation
of the four-speed gear box and clutch, which are controlled by a single
change-speed lever on the dash. The clutch pedal has, therefore,
disappeared and clutch action begins automatically at the moment of
Another circuit operates the brakes. These
are inboard discs at the front, and normal drums with leading and
trailing shoes at the rear. Finally the rack and pinion steering is
hydraulically assisted by a booster cylinder on the end of the rack,
controlled by a two-way valve on the steering column.
The four-cylinder power unit incorporates a
new aluminium cylinder head on the previous D-model cylinder block and
crankcase. It has a bore of 78 mm and stroke of 100 mm (1,911 c.c.) and
develops 75 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. with a compression ratio of 7.5 to
1. The combustion chamber is hemispherical and the valves, with an
included angle of 60 degrees, are operated by long and short rockers
actuated by push rods from the single camshaft mounted in the
crankcase. The layout is similar to that used on the Peugeot and the
Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire.
|Front suspension is by two forward facing half-wishbone forged steel arms. The wheels pivot on
balls attached to the end of each arm. A lever on the inboard end of each top arm operates the
oleo-pneumatic suspension unit. From the same lever a drop link connects to the transverse tor-
sion bar which also incorporates the static height corrector valve
A double-choke downdraught Weber carburettor
is used and the induction manifold is water-jacketed for induction
pre-heating. A twin V belt takes the drive from a pulley on the end of
the camshaft to the dynamo and water pump, on the end of which is an
eight-bladed fan moulded in nylon and running in a ducted cowl behind
the radiator. The hydraulic Pressure pump is driven by a single belt
from the same camshaft pulley.
Trailing arms are used for the rear
suspension, with a drop arm lever at their pivot points connecting to
the suspension cylinders. There is an anti-roll bar connected between
the two pivot bearings. At the centre of the anti-roll bar, on the
point of neutral twist, is a rod which connects to the control valve of
the height corrector. This valve controls the ﬂow of oil into the strut
of the suspension cylinders so that the static height of the car
remains the same irrespective of load.
Oleo-pneumatic cylinders are also used for
the front suspension. There are two L-shaped arms top and bottom which,
in effect, are each one half of an orthodox wishbone system. They
extend forward from two longitudinal bearings which are bolted in one
assembly to the frame side members at the scuttle structure. At their
outer ends they swivel on balls for wheel movement.
At the rear end of the top arm bearing is a
lever attached to the end of the arm. It connects to the lower end of
the oleopneumatic strut and also carries a drop link which is connected
to the ends of a transverse anti-roll bar. From the neutral point of
this torsion bar is a rod connecting to the static height corrector
valve, in the same way as in the rear suspension.
The wheels are ﬁxed to the hubs by one
central bolt retained in the wheel by a circlip. The drive is taken
through a hexagonal member on the outside of the wheel hub, mating with
a corresponding ferrule depression formed in the wheel hub. The front
tyres are larger in section than the rear since the loads are
considerably higher, an estimate of the ratio being 65 per cent front
and 35 per cent rear. Front tyre size is 165 x 400 mm (approx.
6.50—-16in) and at the rear 155 x 400 mm (approx. 6.00—16in). The spare
wheel, which is mounted in front of the radiator, is 165-400 mm — the
same size as the front - but it could be used on the rear in an
Disc brakes are used at the front and are
mounted inboard at the ﬁnal drive unit in a similar manner to those of
the 2 c.v. Normal leading and trailing shoe brakes with their drums
mounted at the wheels are used at the rear. Both are operated
hydraulically from the main servo system, the operating pedal being a
plunger with a circular pad of only about 1 ĺ in diameter. The
operational travel is very small as it is required only to open the
distribution valves, which are actuated by a balance bar attached to
There is one distribution valve for each of
the front and rear brake circuits, and similarly one small accumulator
for each, taken off the main accumulator circuit. Depression of the
pedal opens the valves and oil under pressure is fed from the
accumulators to each circuit. The brake pedal load will be almost
negligible under these conditions and would be expected to lack feel.
The front disc brakes are cooled by air
inlets for the front, and have automatic adjustment for wear. The
braking system allows for varying load conditions, which means that,
irrespective of the load carried and transference to the front
resulting from it, the braking will be compensated for this condition.
No parking brake lever is provided; instead
a large pedal on the driver's extreme left doubles as parking and
emergency brake. It is connected to the front brakes by a mechanical
linkage and is thus available for emergency use in the event of failure
of the main hydraulic system. For parking the pedal is depressed and
then locked down with the aid of a knob below the facia. The knob
itself has a safety catch.
The steering wheel is of very unusual design
in that it has only one spoke, formed by bending the steering column
over into the wheel rim. Towards the rack end, the steering column is
split and provided with a ﬂattened face on each of the halves. These
two faces overlap. In the lower half are two distributor valves, one
for each direction of turn, which circuit the main oil pressure to
either side of a booster cylinder attached to the end of the rack. In
the event of hydraulic failure mechanical connection is effected by the
two_ ﬂattened faces of each half in the steering column joint.
Hydraulic assistance will considerably lighten the steering loads,
which are otherwise heavy owing to the disproportionate weight
distribution of a front-wheel-drive layout.
Synchromesh is provided on the top three
ratios of the four speed box. Operation is hydraulic, in conjunction
with the clutch release, which is incorporated in the change-speed
lever. The gear lever is merely moved into the required gear and clutch
operation is automatically combined with this movement. It has not been
possible to analyse this circuit, but there is some sort of override
mechanism on the throttle linkage as there are two slip links
incorporated in it.
|The shallow mouth of the new DSI9 has an intake on either side of the main intake to duct cold air to the inboard disc brakes
Thus the foot throttle is overridden, irrespective of its position,
and the throttle setting automatically adjusted to give the required
engine speed for the gear change. It is necessary to move through the
gears progressively, i.e., a change cannot be made direct from top to
second without going through third.
The clutch is of the normal single dry plate type without centrifugal
action, which is common practice when the clutch pedal is discarded.
The clutch plates are held in the drive position by springs, released
by hydraulic actuation from gear lever. There is a control sensitive to
engine speed to release the clutch below a set minimum speed when
idling. It is a hydraulic governor in tandem with the water pump and
connected to the selector mechanism. There is a manual override control
on the facia to put the automatic clutch out of action when the engine
is stationary. By this means the engine can be tow started.
The steering column, bent to form a single spoke, is unusual. Gear
selection and clutch operation are combined in a single lever above the
steering wheel. Facia panels are rather thin plastic
Left Rear overhang is short but luggage accommodation is good. Flashing indicators are mounted
high at the extremities of the rear windows
Integral construction is used on the same
lines as the previous cars, with deep side members formed by the body
sills and front suspension. Power unit loads are carried on the forward
bearer arms and braced into the scuttle structure.
The outline of the car is long and low, with
very little overhang at the rear; the Italian ﬁrm of Bertone (incorrect
– Flaminio Bertoni – unrelated to Bertone - was employed by CitroŽn)
were enlisted on the design side. The windscreen is curved well round
to provide excellent vision and the screen pillars are very thin, a
thinness which is helped by the fact that the doors have no window
frames. The glass of the door windows seals against ﬂexible rubber
strips attached to the body. The new model has winking indicators in
the belled-out rear ends of the chrome mouldings which extend rearward,
above the frameless windows, from the top of the curved screen. The
roof panel is plastic.
who recall the same stylist’s Bristol model will not be surprised to
learn that Bertone was responsible for the new Citroen styling
|There are no window frames above the doors, the glass sealing on ﬂexible rubber strips attached to the body framework
|The hemispherical head has a Weber double-choke downdraught carburettor. Two coils with
twin contact breakers are used for the ignition.Some of the maze of pipeline can be discerned
The rear track is narrower than the front by
7 3/4in, and the body form follows its general shape with the
noticeably greater width at the front. For its size the wheelbase is
exceptionally long at 10ft 3in, which is l 1/2in more than the present
range. Although the overhang at the rear is short the overall length is
15ft 9in. Similarly, the front track is 1/2in wider at 4ft llin, but -
which is more important-—-the turning circle has been reduced to 36ft
lin (as opposed to 45ft 6in), which considerably improves
manoeuvrability, which was always a point of criticism on the Citroen.
It is difficult to assess at the moment what
sort of reception the car will receive. It moves into a higher price
bracket than previous Citroen models by approximately £150. It is
bristling with ingenious features, but they are, of necessity, rather
complex, and the maze of hydraulic pipes with their circuits, dependent
upon one belt-driven hydraulic pump, may result in some apprehension on
the part of would-be purchasers, and this might affect its initial
Engine.—4-cyl, 78 mm bore X 100 mm stroke (3.1 ><'3.9in), 1,911 c.c. (116.5 cu in).
Compression ratio, 7.5 to 1. 75 b.h.p. at 4,500 r.p.m. Maximum torque,
101 lb/ft. Double-bodied Weber downdraught carburettor. Pump and
thermostat, nylon fan, cooling.
Clutch.—Single dry plate. Automatic hydraulic control.
with synchromesh on second, third and top. Hydraulic control. Front
wheel drive, spiral bevel ﬁnal drive. Gear change lever under steering
wheel (this is incorrect, it is above the steering wheel).
independent, oleopneumatic with anti-roll bar and static height
corrector. Rear, independent, oleopneumatic with anti-roll bar and
static height corrector.
brakes for the front wheels, drum brakes for the rear wheels. Pressure
distributed according to axle loading. Automatic adjustment on front
brakes. Total brake lining area, 80.6 sq in.
Steering.—Rack and pinion. Hydraulically assisted.
Wheels and Tyres.—Central
ﬁxing for wheels. Michelin 155-400 tyres rear, 165-400 front and on
spare wheel. English models have 165x400 tyres all round.
Fuel System.—14-gallon fuel tank. Mechanical feed pump. Oil capacity 7 pints.
Electrical System.—l2-volt S7 ampere-hour battery (6-volt system in France).
10ft 3in. Track, front, 4ft llin; rear, 4ft 3 1/4in. Overall length,
15ft 9in. Width, 5ft 10 1/2in. Height, 4ft 10in. Turning circle, 36ft
1in. Dry weight, 2,464lb (22cwt).
speed on level, 87 m.p.h.; maximum speed in third, 72 m.p.h.; maximum
speed in second, 50 m.p.h.; maximum speed in ﬁrst, 25 m.p.h.
Price.—Basic, £990, plus £413 12s 6d U.K. purchase tax; total, £1,403 12: 6d.