Reader Submissions: 1970 Citroën DS 21 Pallas

1970 Citroën DS 21 Pallas

By Petrolicious
August 27, 2013

Owner: Lars Banka

Location: North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

?Year: 1970

Make: Citroën

Model: DS 21 “Pallas”

One day Lars Banka’s wife returned from a walk filled with excitement. She told Lars about a car she had just seen and couldn’t stop talking about it. Lars went out with his wife to try to find the car, but it was gone. When they had almost returned home, they spied the car in a different spot.

The Citroën was perfect. It was the right year, model, engine, and color. Best of all, it was for sale. Neither Lars nor his wife had been looking for this particular kind of car—they didn’t even know that they both loved this kind of car. It was love at first sight for the both of them. Though Lars and his wife had both already fallen in love with the car, they spent a dizzying weekend discussing pros and cons before calling the owner that Monday. Disappointingly, the owner had decided the Citroën was no longer for sale. It took Lars three weeks to get the owner to sell him the car, but upon handing over the keys, the owner made Lars note in the contract that in case he sold the car again, Lars would have to offer it to the previous owner before anyone else.

Lars wants to preserve the car, so he prefers to only drive it in the summer, during which time he and his wife drive it as frequently as possible, particularly on holidays in France. Their favorite place to drive the car is on the small, winding side roads near the Normandy coast, where on their left is the English Channel, and on their right are small villages and chateaus. Lars calls the Pallas “the perfect traveling car”, as it is stylish and relaxed. He even compared it to a huge whale that embraces the passengers and takes them where they need to go. (We quite enjoy this imagery.)

The shape of his car is Lars’ favorite, particularly the ultra-long front section. Some other favorite features are as follows: the look of the four eyes behind glass, the downswing of the roof, the split rear mirror against the blind spot, and the trumpet-shaped turning lights above the rear window. Lars admires the genius engineering underneath the metal skin of the car: how the high-beams are linked with the front wheels, so that dark corners are lit up before the car even makes a turn, the living-room seats which let you sink in and give an unforgettable ride, and the famous hydraulic suspension system. He claims that the car is in good shape but is no Pebble Beacher; Lars thinks a car should be allowed to show its age.

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Photography by Lars Banka and Arne Banka

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John Kjeldaas
John Kjeldaas
9 years ago

My father owned two different DSs in the 1960’s. The first was a DS 19 in the early 60’s and then a DS 21 “Grand Palais” (either a 1967 or 1968 model). Now [i]THAT[/i] was a car…it had the softest leather seats , the plushest carpet, the thickest soft roof material imaginable. My father had told me that the Citroen dealer had imported this one for the use by de Gualle on the presumption that Eisenhower was close to death and that it would be needed here. When Ike apparently seemed to get better, the dealer was allowed to sell the car.
My father kept that car until the mid ’70s. He would have kept it if it were reasonable to keep it running but parts were scarce and he needed a practical car instead of a great one. The car was scrapped, but before it was towed away, my father removed the SEATS, both the buckets from the front and the rear bench. he liked them so much that he made platform mounts and kept them in his living room for about 15 years.
The car was under-powered and it had no air conditioning, but it was as comfortable a ride as I ever had. I wish I could find one like that in good condition, and that I could afford it!

Erik Tomlinson
Erik Tomlinson
10 years ago

Beautiful. There’s just nothing else quite like a DS.

chris greta
chris greta
10 years ago

I’ve always loved the DS, long before I really understood WHAT it was. I’m in the design business and I could appreciate the unique style. It wasn’t until a few years back that I really understood the significance of the car that I decided I had to own one. It took me two years to find the right car (there are very few of them in the US) and when I did, I bought it. It was in Reno and I flew there and drove it over 2000 miles to Texas to bring it home.

I’ve been driving it almost every day the last year and it’s been fantastic. The ride comfort is like no other car on earth. The room, the quality of materials, the sheer brilliance of all the engineering is amazing. I’ve owned around 35 cars in my lifetime and nothing comes close to the DS. If you can find a good one, buy it. You’ll never let it go.

Gábor Halász
Gábor Halász
10 years ago

[b]Totalcar – Citroën DS, the miracle of travelling[/b]

[url=””]Your text to link…[/url]

Stephan Protzen
Stephan Protzen
10 years ago

No matter what cars peak your interest it should be on every enthusiast bucket list to drive DS, simply superb.
I can’t think of a better way to enjoy one than how Lars and his wife do.

10 years ago

Absolutely true! Deesse drives like nothing else before, and not much else after. Beyond that, she’s one of the most beautiful, and probably the most well-thought out vehicles ever designed.

What a beauty…

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