Paris, Grand Palais, October 1955: a salvo of praise greets the presentation of the DS19 at the Salon de l’Auto. “The new Citroën is a sensation”, headlines La Croix, “This is the bomb”, announces L’Auto Journal, “Perhaps it’s the Martians’ car” says France-Dimanche. Developed from the Traction and the 2CV by its creators – the engineer André Lefèbvre, in charge of the constructor’s research department, and Flaminio Bertoni, its styling director – this highly-anticipated model is the event.
Power-assisted steering, hydraulic transmission, self-levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension with adjustable ground clearance… Everything is modern in this concentration of innovations whose futuristic aesthetic puts a bomb under the production of the day: a prow wider than the stern, a plunging bonnet, a minimalist radiator grill, a plastic roof flanked by tapered, flashing turn-indicators and a bodywork colour chart that invites you to travel: Panama Yellow, Orient Blue, Rio Red, Kandahar Grey.
This collection of books is devoted to the cars that were so cherished as to become mythical. Not the inaccessible, not the fashionable, arrogant beauties of the devil, but the sincere and loyal friends whose natural charm is forever locked in the heart… These irreplaceables that mysteriously continue to exude the perfume of the period and revive the colour of the times.
Each one is an album of previously unseen photos, exhumed from unknown families’ shoeboxes, souvenir photos more or less well-framed, but precious: pictures “from life”, snapshots in its environment, the everyday car, without the make-up put on for the “official” pictures and striking a pose for commercial purposes.
Discovering the DS in its real life – where it lives, who it goes out with, the roads it travels – reveals how much the car of that time is considered a member of the family, omnipresent in the photos, invited to the most modest picnic, to every wedding, partner of all the trips, inevitable accomplice of the holidays.
Despite the conveniences of digital technology and its free pixels, nothing is less certain today than that the car would be photographed so much and so tenderly, that it would be invited spontaneously “into the frame” and naturally associated with life’s small pleasures, judged at the time to be memorable… Putting together a tender-hearted record of happy days also shows the value of these surviving images.
Published by This Is Not A Map