Definitive Early DS History in Canada and the USA

Chris Dubuque has been hard at work in 2022 documenting the changes and modifications that Citroën made to import early DS 19 and ID 19 models into the USA and Canada.

Part of a comprehensive “Citroën in North America” e-resource that he has published, this latest (January 1, 2023) update to the early history of the DS over here is another amazing effort with a number of discoveries.

He tells how the first DS brought over to the USA on January 4, 1956 was driven from New York City through severe snowstorms to make it’s just-in-time debut at the 1956 Chicago Auto Show 3 days later!

From the first DS dealers in the USA to what transpired in Canada with Citroën, establishing dealers and eventually a corporate presence, is an absolutely fascinating read for any Citroën history buff.

Chris also covers the many subtle changes made to pre-’65 DS and ID models for both the USA and Canadian markets. Check it all out here:


  1. This article was so interesting with all the technical detail that I read it for a third time.
    I owned a 1963 Citroën ID 19 right hand drive, South African assembled model, the car was already 5 years old at that time and I was only 20 years old, my first car and a car I always wanted from a very young age.
    I was earning a very low salary as a marine engineering apprentice and had to do my own service and maintenance work on this technically advanced car. What was such a wonderful experience, in no time I had so many other local Citroën owners willing to assist and giving advice, people I never new before. It shows you Citroën owners care for each other.
    The car impressed me so much that I have owned several Citroën cars over my 55 years of car ownership: 3 x Citroën GS 1220 Club, Citroën C3, Citroën C5 and now at an age of almost 75 years I am currently driving a 2015 Citroën C4 Aircross and hopefully still upgrading to the latest Citroën C5 Aircross one day. In fact there was only 5 years of car ownership that I did not own a Citroën.
    Back to the article.
    I have noticed, mention is made about different tyre size combinations fitted to DS and ID models, What about the different wheel rims that were fitted to the early DS and ID models? The early models, like mine, came out with a very unique single Allen key screw type fastener. Later models from around 1965 have 5 stud rims. Was the design changed to 5 studs because of US or Canadian regulations?
    Thank you for the interesting material on your website,
    Johan Prins
    South Africa

    1. The change to 5 stud rims was made for manufacturing reasons. And they were easier to balance tires on them as they were able to fit on modern tire balancing machines.

      1. Hi George, I’m sure back around early ’60s, Michelin realized that the DS single rims were basically outmoded by all the other wheels in the world going to multiple studs, and the 165-400 mm rims were outmoding themselves re size versus the “standard” SAE 15 inch rims. if as a customer, you were in a place where Michelins weren’t readily available, and NO one else except some Italian brands used 400 mm rims, what could you do? Citroen/Michelin was locking themselves into a corner re availability around the globe. PLUS, the singlebolt hubs had to be hellishly expensive to manufacture compared to simple discs with studs. They must’ve realized that the Traction 400 mm rims were a lot cheaper to make than the more difficult to form deep draw singlebolt ones. I’ve always been astonished at the considerable lack of cost/function comparisons that Citroen didn’t seem to be concerned about! The singlebolt wheel was the one item they most likely could have done without, considering the over-the-top production of that part compared to a stud plate like every other wheel but knockoff splined wire ones.

        The singlebolt hub was in many ways an ingenious way of attaching a wheel, but economically it had to add a lot of cost to the car.

        As for the lack of a center hole on the 5 lug rims to facilitate balancing, in all my yrs of driving DSs singlebolt or 5 stud, I’ve really never had a balancing problem. Thinking back on that, I have tended to conclude that Michelin tires have been so perfectly made that either they are inherently very well balanced out of the mold, or the DS suspension is SO good that I’ve never felt any real imbalance in a wheel/tire combination. Honestly, in 58 yrs in these cars, I can’t remember ever having one being imbalanced enough to cause me to find a way to do it!

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