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February 26, 2023

Weird Advertising for a Weird Car: Balloon-Wheeled Citroen DS, 1959

In the October 1959 catalog devoted to the ID - Citroen’s communication department wanted to highlight a fundamental advantage of the ID and DS compared to any other car: the hydropneumatic suspension.

Made of four spheres and combining the action of a gas and a fluid, its flexibility and softness are second to any other. Perched on four balloons and resting in the middle of a lake, this promotional Citroen plays on the allegory of comfort by combining two elements that distinguish it from other land vehicles: air and water. The balloon sculpture, both ID and DS, take on the color “Blonde Ecaille” of the ID #176 of Paul Coltelloni, victorious at the 1959 Monte Carlo rally.

These photographs show how they did it. Note the stilts, carefully airbrushed in the final product. Balloons and undercarriages marked most of the DS’s advertising, as this uptight German family notes -- appropriate for a car that resembled a UFO.


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