by Ken Nelson…..
The French seldom do anything without having a very good reason. Imagine what happens in a head-on collision when your body slams into that steering wheel. Remember the DS was introduced in
Granted, there’s no guarantee that single spoke will be at the planned 7:30 position – i.e. – straight ahead orientation – but it’s only one spoke – not two or three.
So, your chest slams into that wheel, if you’re
ANY lateral deflection is better than hitting a straight center column. Further, the center tube, having one very smooth bend with nothing to CATCH and HOLD the impact on your guts, bends ALSO, away from
Further still, if you look at the steering setup, the steering column ENDS at the rack, which is BEHIND the radiator, halfway back from the car’s nose, and the entire powertrain, as the transmission is AHEAD of the engine, would have to be pushed thru or under the firewall, to shove that steering column back thru the dash and anywhere closer to the driver. It won’t happen.
And how many cars much newer than the DS have steering shafts that reach from right below the front end, all the way back to the driver’s chest? When did other brands first get collapsing “safety” columns? What – the ’70’s?
Now, I’m not finished: If you’ve ever looked under the hood of a DS, you might have noticed that, as the spare is mounted directly behind the front bumper and ahead of the radiator, you essentially have the VERY FIRST PROTECTIVE AIRBAG put into production. If someone doesn’t think of that as BRILLIANT, they’re just not thinking period. And that’s not even noting the 3-foot crush distance from bumper to radiator to absorb the energy of a head-on.
OK, I know – you’re saying ENOUGH ALREADY. WRONG! I’ve expressed this not humble opinion often before: The DS has to be the most INNOVATIVE car ever designed – bar none. No one has ever challenged this opinion by naming another example. I’m still waiting – but there’s too little space here for my whole soapbox litany.
The DS has stood the test of time. It STILL looks like it came from another planet, and that may be right. And it still has outstanding features that aren’t equalled in any other car. Is it perfect? No, but a better combo than I’ve seen elsewhere.
I’ll never forget the look on the face of a 10 yr old kid on the grubby streets of downtown Wilmington Delaware as I came off I-95 back around 1972 in my ’67 DS. He was on the sidewalk with a buddy and yelled; “Look at that SPACESHIP!” Still is, and always will be – and not only for the shape. He wasn’t old enough to have been brainwashed by advertising – he was responding with his brain. If I’d only had an I-phone camera back then…