One of the 20th century’s most gifted automotive designers, Flaminio Bertoni (1903-1964) was responsible for designing the bodywork of such classic – and stylistically diverse - cars as the elegant Traction Avant, supremely functional 2 CV and alluring DS 19.
Of all the totems of daily life that the French writer Roland Barthes celebrated in his book Mythologies, none moved him more than the Citroën DS 19, the car that his compatriots had nicknamed “the goddess”. “It is obvious that the new Citroën has fallen from the sky in as much as it appears at first sight as a superlative object,” he wrote. “The DS – the goddess – has all the features of one of those objects from another universe which have supplied fuel for the neomania of the eighteenth century and that of our own science fiction.”
Barthes was not alone in his admiration for the DS 19, which drew adoring crowds from the moment it was unveiled at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. The ‘goddess’ was the product of years of research and development by Citroën’s extraordinarly gifted team of engineers led by the former Grand Priz champion André Lefèbvre and Bertoni.