Theme: Facelifts – Leading by a nose

The re-definitive facelift: 1968 Citroën DS


Further to today’s piece on the Studebaker Starliner’s lamentable fall from grace, how on earth does one attempt to facelift a design of the Citroën DS’ magnitude?

The prospect must have scared Citroën design chief, Robert Opron witless, given that he was not only filling the shoes of the Désse’s architect; the enigmatic Flaminio Bertoni, but restyling what had by the mid-1960’s, become an icon.

DSgesFortunately, Opron proved more than capable, and despite abortive attempts to restyle the rear, the 1968 facelift of the DS not only honoured the original, but enhanced it. So well integrated were the new headlamp units that it swiftly became almost impossible to envisage any other arrangement. To many eyes, (including my own), the facelifted version has been and will always remain the definitive DS. ‘Chapeau’, Mr Opron.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

2 thoughts on “Theme: Facelifts – Leading by a nose”

  1. Definitely one of the best facelifts ever. In fact it’s more than a facelift – more like the finishing touch that the DS/ID needed to complete the sleek look of the original. I particularly like the way it makes the front end look wider than the rear, more solidly planted yet aerodynamic.

  2. In the context of the era, the DS was still a “futuristic” looking design, so the facelift did not seem necessary in terms of keeping it up to date, hence, it could easily have been a change for change’s sake and, therefore, look like an impurity foisted on to the original. I had always thought that the main driver for this facelift was the need to accommodate the then innovative “turning” headlamps – someone out there will probably know whether that was the case or not – and as such, may have meant form having to follow function, itself often a good foundation for design. Either way, I agree it is the most successful substantive facelift (there are some others I could mention that I think have enhanced the look of the original car (Mk1 Focus facelift), but, on the whole, most of these have been effective tidy-ups rather than big changes that work).

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