In 2015, the Citroën DS celebrated its 60th anniversary, in style, in Paris. Over 700 DS owners traveled from all over Europe, showing how the DS still enjoys a huge following. Unanimously acclaimed for its road handling qualities, the DS would also go on to become an agile competition car. After the crew of Coltelloni and Alexander Desrosiers took home a victory in the Rally Monte Carlo, in 1959 driving an ID19, Citroën became aware of the DS’s potential and so put René Cotton in charge of creating the brand’s competition department.
In the late ’60s, the DS Series of cars was not able to vie for overall victories, in world class rallies. However, Robert “Bob” Neyret then imagined a DS prototype equipped with a shortened chassis and entrusted the realization of his concept to André Ricou a Citroën dealer in in Chambéry. The adoption of a short frame offered the dual advantages of increased agility and decreased rear oversteer when navigating bumps in the road. After witnessing Bob Neyret’s good results with his shortened DS, the Citroën racing department turned their attention to the manufacture of a prototype DS with a shortened wheelbase.
While long an important piece of Citroën’s heritage, the DS 21 Prototype seen here has an incredible patina, as if time had stopped following “TAP 72”. Only a few paint chips on the rocker panels betray the passing time. The Citroën DS prototype is based on a stock DS 21. It is probably the most successful DS prototype yet, when viewed from the front, apart from the two large side flaps and headlight protection for the grilles, nothing appears to differentiate it from a standard DS series sedan.