Citroen ID 19
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
Citroen ID19 Luxe
There will be some that reach this page because they think we have made a typo - and we need to correct the heading to read DS 19. But there was an ID 19, and it did reach Australia. There was valid thinking behind the ID; given the price of the DS and with the Traction soon to be discontinued, Citroen needed a cheaper model to fill the void.
At the Paris Salon of 1956
, the ID19 Luxe was announced, priced at F925 000. The ID19 employed the body and mechanical architecture of the DS19 but gone were the hydraulic clutch and gearchange, power steering (lower geared at 4.1 turns as opposed to the DS's 2.9 turns) and power brakes. This resulted in a far simpler hydraulic installation, required to operate the suspension only.
Coachwork (except for detail), engine (except for compression ratio, power output and carburation) and hydro-pneumatic suspension were similar in both Citroens. But the-ID had the disc-front, conventional back brake set-up without power assistance; its cogs were swapped by a normal clutch and steering-column lever without power-boosting: and the same went for the straight-out mechanical steering linkage. The result was that less engine power was used up by hydraulics, and the two-stage Weber carby of the DS, which helped with acceleration in the upper ranges, wasn't needed on the ID. A standard Solex was fitted instead.
The engine was a de-tuned version of the DS unit offering 66 bhp on 7.5 compression instead of 80 bhp on 8 to 1 compression. The interior trim was simplified with a different, painted metal dashboard with column gearchange and a conventional parking brake, door trims were embossed plastic without armrests, seats were simpler, the steering wheel was enlarged, door handles and window winders were plastic, the floor was covered with a plasticised matting instead of the foam-backed carpets of the DS.
On the Road
On the road the ID gave away only 5 m.p.h. in maximum speed (90 against 95 m.p.h.), but would sprint from 0 to 60 in 17.6 seconds against the DS's 19 seconds. It was more sparing on fuel, too: 31.3 m.p.g overall, as compared to 28.8 for the DS. The ID's conventional gear-change and clutch set-up was a touch faster and much more precise than the DS's hydraulically "cushioned" arrangement. Same with the straight mechanical steering. But it was also much heavier.
On the open-road to cruise at 75 m.p.h. - which was what most road testers claimed the car capable of - you needed very favorable conditions, or miles of level road. And to hit the claimed 90 m.p.h. top end you needed a tail wind and downhill run. Most owners will tell you the top-end acceleration over 75 is terribly weak. But that didn't stop the DS and ID from cleaning up the Alpine-type evens in Europe. There were two reasons. First the cars were over-geared, or underpowered, whichever way you like to look at it. Second - and this was revealed on the ID which had no power assistance for the steering - they had fantastic understeer characteristics. The front wheel drive effect of pulling the nose into corners, and a big 17.5 inch steering wheel to give exta leverage thanks to its lack of power assistance, made driving the ID at speed akin to a workout at the gym.
But however hard you tried, you were unable to find a weak spot in the cars handling characteristics. The ID was almost too stable, as it was impossible to produce different rates of slideslop between back and front wheels. One of the contributing reasons was that the car was shod with brilliant Michelin X tyres, as was the DS. They had sucker-like grip on the road and were quite possibly the best tyres
then available on any production car. The suspension setup was similar too, both DS and ID having the same rock-like stability and road-smoothing ride (glide may be a better description). And this is the single characteristic that distinguished them from every other motor car then on the road. The only word we can think of to adequately discribe them was "fabuleux".
Both the DS and ID had the same self-trimming characteristic. Pressure in each of the four hydro-pneumatic spheres which controlled each wheel independently was varied automatically by a master hydraulic pump to keep the ground clearance constant and adapt the ride stiffness to any load or load distribution. The suspension could be lowered to lift ground clearance to a maximum of 12 inches for emergency use. On the outside, the full wheel embellishers gave way to tiny covers for the single wheel nut, the front underpan was painted as were the B and C pillars, the headlamp rims and the door sills. The rear screen was made out of plexiglass instead of glass.
The roof was pigmented and translucent and the boot was unlined and a metal stay replaced the struts of the DS. The roof-mounted indicator cornets were painted brown, rear reflectors were round and the windscreen rubber was black instead of grey. A more luxurious version of the ID was launched in July 1957
- the Confort used DS seats, door trims, heating ducts to the rear compartment and carpets. Other embellishments included a clock, windscreen washer and additional soundproofing. A far more attractive vehicle than the Luxe, its sales soon outstripped those of its plain sister.
Citroen ID 19 Normale
The ID was still considered expensive by Traction clients so a new model, the ID 19 Normale was launched in October 1957
, using the old Traction 11D engine developing 62 bhp. Priced at F 860 000, it was extremely austere - a bench seat in the front, minimal instrumentation, a steel bonnet instead of aluminium and deletion of the rubber strips that sealed the panel shutlines. The Normale was not a success, less than 400 examples being sold.