How to tell a Citroen DS from a Citroen ID – a simple guide.Posted: October 24, 2014
I was recently asked how to tell the difference between a DS and an ID and I guess for most people this can be a bit confusing as both look the same unless you know what to look for.
In terms of the workings, only one feature distinguished between them the whole way through production, and that is the braking system. DS based models always have the more complex brake control system with a brake accumulator sphere (or 2 in the case of DS19’s until July 1960). The brake accumulator sphere is usually mounted on the top of the chassis just below the hydraulic fluid reservoir. If your car doesn’t have one it’s ID based and if it does, it’s a DS. This does not apply to Estate models which are ID’s but with the DS braking system to cope with the heavier loads they were expected to carry.
In visual terms, if one was walking down the street and saw a D Series car, how would you tell if it was an ID or a DS?
The cars didn’t generally have any badging to tell the model until the mid-60’s, however the boot chevrons were always gold on a DS and silver on an ID.
When badging began to identify the model it was on DS21 models only with individual characters (gold colour) spelling out DS21. If the car had gold chevrons and no other boot badge it was a DS19.
The first ID model with a badge to say so was the 1969 model ID20 which had individual silver coloured characters spelling out ID20 on the boot lid. This only lasted for 1 year though, because for the 1970 model year onwards the ID20 was badged D SUPER and the ID19 (which previously had no badge, just silver chevrons) was badged D SPECIAL.
So on the outside, for the general public to see, Gold chevrons mean DS and silver chevrons mean ID and this applies from start to finish. Even on D Super5 models which have DS21 on the chassis plate, but are actually ID’s, the chevrons are silver.
The badges on the quarter panel were only on DS models and said either DS or Pallas, depending on model and age.
This information pertains to mainstream French assembled cars. Some cars assembled in countries other than France may have had different badging specific to the local market.