Citroen DS21 Pallas test-drive

2014 Drive-My

1966 Citroen DS21 Pallas road-test. Owner: David Towle. Designed to be a replacement for the prewar-styled Traction Avant, the DS model was launched on October 5, 1955, and remained in production with very few changes until the early 1970s. The DS, short for Derivation Special, had an advanced aerodynamic shape; a central hydraulic system that controlled the steering, brakes and clutch; an air/fluid hydro-pneumatic, self-leveling suspension system; and a single-spoke steering wheel.

By 1966, the DS was available with either a 90hp, 1,985cc inline-four or a larger, 109hp, 2,175cc version. The small engine models are DS19s, while the larger, 2,175cc versions are known as DS21 Pallas; they feature those distinctive, diagonally positioned quad-round headlights.

Citroen DS21 Pallas

John Lobre

Organic. Simple, yet revolutionary. The DS was a total contrast to the U.S. manufacturers approach to building automobiles. It is unique in style and technology. This example is a beautiful sedan with good cruising characteristics. For me, it ranks high as one of the greatest cars of the 20th Century. Solid and steady as she goes. The ride quality and dampening was nothing less than outstanding. I can’t think of a car from the 1960s or, for that matter, the 1970s that gives a better ride. It held its line nicely through turns, thanks to precise steering and, of course, the sophisticated hydro-pneumatic suspension. The engine had excellent low-end torque and the clutch easy actuation. The seating was very comfortable, and all the gauges were clearly visible. The steering wheel was not adjustable, but located perfectly. For me, this DS is highly desirable: It’s a good driver and has a fine restoration.

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Eric Holveg

With its advanced aerodynamics and added safety features, the DS is an excel-lent example of form following function. Its flowing bodyline might be too radical for some people’s taste, but every aspect of the design makes sense; it is practical sculpture. Compared to the American cars that were available at the time, the DS ranks high, with lots of character. There’s no mistaking a DS for a Chevy Impala, that’s for sure. On the road it gives a luxurious ride for long-haul runs. I noticed that it leans into corners more than I would desire, but it always maintains total control. Easy-shifting transmission and quick steering makes for a car that’s good on the highway as well as secondary roads. Seats and roominess are more comparable to quality home furnishings than to other cars. It’s just that comfortable. As one of the most originally designed cars of the 20th Century, the DS still looks fresh today.

1966 Citroën DS21 Pallas road test

Chris Ottman

The DS has great lines, very futuristic. The George Jetson House of Styling could have designed it. Even the interior has a very artistic theme to it. While the whole car is loaded with character, the most distinctive features to me are its long, sloping hood and bug-eyed headlamps. Ride was excellent, though I found the brakes to be slightly softer than I would have expected. Handling was great, with no noticeable roll through any turns. On the road, the car shifts smoothly and accelerates with little effort. I was greeted by a very plush interior. Instrumentation was very easy to read. The dash-mounted rear-view mirror vibrated just like the one in my Citroen 2CV. Overall, I would love to own one of these. I might swap the wife for one, but it would have to be in excellent condition.

Citroen DS21 Pallas

Citroen DS21 Pallas

Citroen DS21 Pallas

 

Michael Cannon

I love it. The distinctiveness is very appealing. The long hood and pinched rear end — it reminds me of an armadillo. Its character is derived from its originality It’s so French. On the road, it gave a great, smooth ride, even over bumps. Brakes, however, were a little iffy. A lot of pedal effort was required at first, then very light pressure was needed. Little road noise was evident, even with the windows down.

SCOREBOARD 1966 Citroen DS21 Pallas

Owner

John

Eric

Chris

Michael

Styling

5

5

5

5

Character

5

5

5

5

Ride Quality

5

3

5

4

Handling

4

3

5

4

Ergonomics

5

4

5

4

Performance

3

3

5

3

Desirability

5

4

5

5

 

At times the DS exhibited lots of body roll; however, it always felt stuck to the ground. I found it to be a little light on power, but plenty to get you where you need to go. It offered superb outward visibility through the windshield. The mirrors, though, were too small. Seats are very comfortable, with nice positioning of stalk controls near the steering wheel. This car is the best. It’s a great combination of distinctive styling and quality engineering. 

Citroen DS owners and fans club and group

 

 CARS SPECIFICATIONS

Car

1966 Citroen DS21 Pallas

bodywork

body type

4/5 seater sedan/saloon / steel body monocoque

number of doors

4

designer

Flaminio Bertoni

dimensions & weights

 

mm

inches

 

wheelbase

3125

123

track/tread (front)

1500

59.1

track/tread (rear)

1295

51

length

4840

190.6

width

1790

70.5

height

1470

57.9

ground clearance

    

length:wheelbase ratio

1.55

kerb weight

1320 kg

2910 lb

weight distribution

65.00 % front / 35 % rear

fuel tank capacity

65 litres

14.3 UK Gal

17.2 US Gal

aerodynamics

drag coefficient

 

frontal area

 

cda

 

engine

engine type

naturally aspirated petrol

engine manufacturer

Citroen

engine code

M21

cylinders

Straight 4

capacity

2.2 litre
2175 cc
(132.727 cu in)

bore × stroke

90 × 85.5 mm 
3.54 × 3.37 in

bore/stroke ratio

1.05

 

overhead valve (OHV) 
2 valves per cylinder 
8 valves in total

maximum power output
(net)

101 PS (100 bhp) (75 kW)
at 5500 rpm

specific output
(net)

46 bhp/litre
0.75 bhp/cu in

maximum torque (net)

164 Nm (121 ft·lb) (16.7 kgm) at 3000 rpm

specific torque (net)

75.4 Nm/litre  0.91 ft·lb/cu3

engine construction

All iron

sump

wet sumped

compression ratio

8.75:1

fuel system

1 Webber carb

bmep (brake mean effective pressure)

947.5 kPa (137.4 psi)

maximum rpm

5500

crankshaft bearings

6

engine coolant

Water

unitary capacity

543.75 cc

aspiration

Normal

compressor

intercooler

None

catalytic converter

performance

acceleration 0-80km/h (50mph)

9.90 sec

acceleration 0-60mph

15.0 sec

acceleration 0-100km/h

15.2 sec

acceleration 0-160km/h (100mph)

33.8 sec
   

standing quarter-mile

 

standing kilometre

35.90 sec

maximum speed

175 km/h (109 mph)

power-to-weight ratio

76.81 PS/g
56.49 kW/g
75.76 bhp/ton
0.03 bhp/lb

weight-to-power ratio

17.7 kg/kW
29.57 lb/bhp

fuel consumption

fuel consumption

 

universal consumption (calculated from the above)

litres per 100km

 

km per litre

 

uk mpg

22

us mpg

 

carbon dioxide emissions

 

calculated co2

 

ved band (uk)

 

co2 effizienz (de)

 

chassis

engine position

front

engine layout

longitudinal

drive wheels

front wheel drive  

torque split

N/A

steering

rack & pinion PAS

turns lock-to-lock

3

turning circle

11.00 m

front suspension

independent by wishbones, antiroll bar and self-levelling oleo-pneumatic struts

rear suspension

independent by trailing arms, anti-roll bar and self-levelling oleo-pneumatic struts

wheel size front

5J x 15

wheel size rear

5J x 15

tyres front

Michelin XAS 180 x 380

tyres rear

Michelin XAS 165 x 380

brakes f/r

Discs/Drums, Power-assisted

front brake diameter

10in

rear brake diameter

8in
   

gearbox

4 speed manual

top gear ratio

0.85

final drive ratio

4.38

general

production total

 

model code

DS21 series II DS

model family

DS/ID

rac rating

20.1

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