• Feb 12, 2009
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Citroen DS

If you had to pick one car, from throughout the history of the automobile, as the most beautiful of all time, what would it be? The Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic? Ferrari 250 GTO? Pontiac Aztek? Tough decision, and while everyone has their own opinion, we'd be hard pressed to pick just one. That's why the editors of Classic & Sports Car magazine assembled a panel of some of the most influential car designers around and asked them to choose. And what did they come up with? The Citroen DS.

Names like Ian Callum (famous for his Jaguar and Aston Martin designs), Leonardo Fioravanti (of Pininfarina/Ferrari fame), ItalDesign founder Giorgetto Giugiaro, former McLaren designer Gordon Murray, former Pininfarina chief Ken Okuyama, and Ford's European design director Martin Smith were all part of the jury which placed the Citroen DS ahead of the Jaguar, Ferrari and Lotus icons that rounded out the Top 10, which you can see in the press release after the jump. A timely choice, to be sure, as Citroen prepares to relaunch the DS line with a new concept in Geneva. But a peculiar choice just the same.


[Source: Classic & Sports Car via Car Body Design] PRESS RELEASE

Citroën DS named Most Beautiful Car

What's the most beautiful car of all time? A multi-million pound Ferrari or the curvy Jaguar E-type perhaps? No, it is now officially Citroën's humble DS, the car most famous for saving President De Gaulle from assassination.

That was the verdict when Classic & Sports Car magazine polled a jury of the world's leading car designers to nominate the most gorgeous cars ever.

The 20-strong panel ranged from Car designer of the Century Giorgetto Giugiaro – the man behind the Maserati Bora, VW Golf, Fiat Panda and Lotus Esprit – to current Jaguar director of design Ian Callum, and each picked their top three beauties.

Although Ferrari secured the most votes as a marque, they were spread across nine different models, leaving the Citroën to scoop the honours as the single most beautiful classic.

The top 10

1. Citroën DS
2. Jaguar XK120
3. Ferrari 275GTB
4. Cord 810/812
5. Ferrari 250GT Lusso
6. Ferrari 250GT Short-wheelbase
7. Jaguar E-type
8. Lamborghini Miura
9. Lotus Elan
10. Lotus Elite (1957)

James Elliott, editor of Classic & Sports Car, said: "The Citroën is a benchmark design, but we were still astonished that it came out on top when you look at the sexiness – and values – of some of its rivals.

"Apart from the Mini, it's by far the most affordable car to get any nominations at all, which probably means it's a great investment!

"Petrolheads everywhere are forever arguing about the most beautiful cars and we hope that this will put an end to the debate once and for all, though we suspect that it might just be lighting a rocket under it. I don't think anyone has ever asked this many great designers what their views are, so who better to pick the official winner... even if they all missed my favourite, the Alfa Romeo T33 Stradale?"

"It's great to see the iconic DS getting such recognition amongst such an august group of car designers , and with the amazing news that a new DS range from Citroën will appear over the next few years, it's clear we have lost none of our styling panache or instinct for innovation," commented Citroën spokesperson Marc Raven on hearing the news.

What they said about the Citroën DS

* Giorgetto Giugiaro: "The only example of a car really conceived 'outside the box'. It is just impossible to imitate."
* Leonardo Fioravanti (former Pininfarina design chief and the man behind Ferrari's Daytona, Dino and 308GTB): "A real road car that, at its time and perhaps still now, has represented the 'dream' in its extreme progress."
* Peter Stevens (British great responsible for the McLaren F1 and second-generation Lotus Esprit): "I have always considered the fact that this car was first drawn in 1955 to be extraordinary."
* Marcello Gandini (Bertone stalwart responsible for Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Countach among many others): "At the time I think it was complete folly, madness from a business and industrial point of view... but it was a really innovative car in 1955. A few people may have thought of all those beautiful ideas, but it was real bravery to implement all of them in one car."

About the Citroën DS

With its name derived from Déesse (French for Goddess), this innovative design was styled by Italian sculptor Flaminio Bertoni and launched in 1955.

The futuristic shape was an instant design classic and over the next 20 years more than 1.5 million cars were sold in a range of specifications.

But it wasn't just the shape that revolutionised automotive design: the complex self-levelling suspension, plus powered steering, clutch and brakes were otherwordly compared to rival cars of the era.

While regarded today as a technical masterpiece – and a potential nightmare for the home mechanic – it was of pioneering construction for its day with unitary 'tub', bolt on panels and a plastic roof.

But the appeal of the DS is as much as a cultural icon as a car with a long list of celebrity owners and fans (Alec Guinness, Peter Cook and Will Self among them), plus regular appearances on film and in design museums and art galleries.
About Classic & Sports Car

Founded in 1982, Classic & Sports Car is the UK's market-leading classic car magazine and Britain's third best-selling motoring monthly.

The "most beautiful classics" feature coincides with an extensive redesign of the magazine and is accompanied by a free A2 poster featuring Lamborghini Miura and Jaguar E-type, plus the definitive buyers' guide to the Citroën DS.
About the panel of designers
On their own designs:

* Peter Stevens (McLaren F1): "I always intended that the design should be timeless rather than 'of the minute', and that is something that I would use as a measure of other designs."
* Ian Callum (Jaguar XF): "It is the biggest challenge I've faced, but I think we pulled it off. I don't think people appreciate how well proportioned it is, given that it's a five-seater."
* Gordon Murray (McLaren F1): "Designed as a road car, but went on to win Le Mans, which in my opinion is more difficult than F1."
* John Heffernan (Aston Martin Vantage): "When I borrowed one, it was much appreciated by 'bikers of the Hells Angels persuasion, which I liked."
* Patrick Le Quément (Renault Twingo): "Some love it, some hated it. I wrote to the president of Renault and said: 'I think you have to vote for instinctive design rather than extinctive marketing.' He wrote back: 'I agree.'"

And on other peoples' cars:

* Steve Crijns of Lotus on the Ford GT40: "It's so sexy and has so much presence without really being aggressive."
* Paul Bracq, former head of design for both Mercedes and BMW, on the Aston Martin DB9: "It's more beautiful than the current Ferraris. I don't understand modern Ferrari design: the new California looks like a big VW Karmann-Ghia."
* Julian Thomson of Jaguar on the Lamborghini Gallardo: "I love the proportions... It's a tiny modern interpretation of a supercar: things like the Bugatti Veyron are totally irrelevant to me."
* Martin Smith, executive design director of Ford of Europe on the Lamborghini Countach: "It was like a spaceship, something totally new combining smooth curves with geometric forms. I remember thinking 'I'll never be able to do something as good as that!'"
* Ian Callum, Jaguar director of design, on the Ferrari 250GT Short-wheelbase: "A blend of beauty and aggression... I just drool over them, and I can draw them with my eyes closed."
* Marcello Gandini on the Cord 810/812: "It was an impressive design for the 1930s, with solutions that could be seen in cars of 20 years later."
* Tom Tjaarda, former head of Ghia's studios, on the Jaguar E-type: "A gorgeous car. It looks narrow, like a woman in high heels. It doesn't have the stance that cars have today."

The jury

* Adams, Dennis
* Axe, Roy
* Bracq, Paul
* Callum, Ian
* Carr, Russell
* Crijns, Steve
* Fioravanti, Leonardo
* Gandini, Marcello
* Giugiaro, Giorgetto
* Heffernan, John
* Karen, Tom
* Le Quément, Patrick
* Martin, Paulo
* Murray, Gordon
* Okuyama, Ken
* Smith, Martin
* Stevens, Peter
* Thomson, Julian
* Tjaarda, Tom
* Winterbottom, Oliver

All the cars that received votes

* Alfa Romeo Canguro
* Aston Martin DB9
* Audi A6
* Bentley Continental GT
* Bentley R-Type Continental
* Bertone BAT 5
* Bertone Marzal
* BMW 328 Mille Miglia
* Bugatti T41 Royale Coupé Napoleon
* Bugatti T57SC Atlantic
* Buick Riviera (1963-'65)
* "Cadzilla"
* Citroën ID/DS
* Cord 810/812
* Delage D8-120S
* Ferrari 166 Barchetta
* Ferrari 250GT Lusso
* Ferrari 250GT swb
* Ferrari 250GTO
* Ferrari 275GTB
* Ferrari 330 P3/4
* Ferrari Dino 206S
* Ferrari Dino 246GT
* Ferrari P6
* Ford GT40
* Hispano-Suiza H6 (Tulip Wood)
* Jaguar E-type
* Jaguar XJ6 S1
* Jaguar XK120
* Jaguar XKSS
* Lagonda Rapide
* Lamborghini Countach
* Lamborghini Gallardo
* Lamborghini Miura
* Lancia Stratos
* Lincoln Continental (1961)
* Lotus Elan +2
* Lotus Elan S3
* Lotus Elite (1957)
* Maserati Boomerang
* Maserati Khamsin
* Mercedes-Benz 500K
* Mercedes-Benz Gullwing 300SL
* Mini
* Pagaso Z102 'Thrill'
* Phantom Corsair
* Triumph TR4


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 157 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bitch Pleeeeease !!!!!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Really, everyone? That people well-versed in the precepts of automotive design would pick the Citroën Goddess as the most beautiful car of all time is really a no-brainer. Just so obvious that any thinking person would have been able to predict the overall result before a single survey came back! There is just no more obvious icon of head-to-toe (if one excludes the boiler room) brilliant automotive design than the DS.

      What is actually surprising and non-obvious about this list is that they picked the Lancia Stratos as well, and that they didn't pick the Cisitalia 202. The Stratos is an extraordinarily cool car, but it is short, stubby, and ungainly. An awesome car despite its looks, not because of them. There should have been a Lancia or two on the list: the Lancia Fulvia HF and Aurelia models were more graceful and to my eyes much more beautiful than the Stratos. The Cisitalia generally set the design vocabulary for every other beautiful sports car on the above list. It is also one of only two production cars on permanent exhibit at MOMA, the other being of course the DS.
      dude
      • 5 Years Ago
      This has to be the most ugly POS car ever designed besides the AMC Pacer and Gremlin.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow, really?
      • 5 Years Ago
      THIS IS TOTALLY BOGUS , SELECTED BY ELITIST WHO HAVE NEVER LEFFT FRANCE.

      IF YOU WERE IN THE MOUNTAINS, THE DESERT OR MOST PLACES IN AFRICA, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOULD BE A JEEP CHEROKEE.

      FOR MOST "NORMAL' PEOPLE , A JAGUAR, MASERATTI OR A 1940 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL WOULD BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THIS CHOICE.

      TOTALLY UNWIELDY, HARD TO DRIVE, HARD TO MAINTAIN AND , WORST OF ALL, FRENCH
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, nobody in Africa has likely seen a Jeep Cherokee anywhere near them. The trucks in use in the developing world are predominantly old Land Rovers and newer Toyotas.

        But to the original topic, that people well-versed in the precepts of automotive design would pick the Citroën Goddess as the most beautiful car of all time is really a no-brainer. Just so obvious that any thinking person would have been able to predict the overall result before a single survey came back! There is just no more obvious icon of head-to-toe (if one excludes the engine room) brilliant automotive design than the DS.

        The only real head-scratchers in this particular list, so far as I can see, are the failure to mention the Cisitalia 202 at all and the inclusion of the Lancia Stratos.

        In addition to being one of the first cars with integrated fenders, the Cisitalia generally set the design vocabulary for every beautiful sports car to follow. It is one of only two production cars on permanent exhibit at MOMA, the other being of course the DS.

        Now, I think the Stratos is one of the coolest cars ever. If I could afford one and fit inside one, there would likely be one in my garage! But beautiful, not so much. I think many of Lancia's Fulvia and Aurelia models were more beautiful, and among the most beautiful cars in automotive history.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A surprising choice. The Jaguar E-type would be my choice as an example of "rolling art", closely followed by the Talbot-Lago but everyone has their favorite.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Most beautiful?
      Hardly...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Proof that today's car designers really are blind monkeys.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Proof that laymen don't understand good car design.

        No, I wouldn't put the DS on top of my list, either. That I reserve for cars that are unanimously beautiful, like the Aston Martin DB9.

        However, as a budding designer, this is probably my hero.

        Right now, the car design industry is a bit of a mess. Companies cribbing design cues left, right and centre and designers being held back by bean counters and fear of rejection of their designs. When was the last time you ever saw a new car that looked original? Exactly.

        The DS is the complete opposite. It's a product of a company full of self-esteem. A company daring enough to take on the establishments of big, boring companies staffed by accountants and say to the people, "We're gonna build what we think is the best car in the world and like it or not, we're gonna sell it to you."

        Yes, it is an acquired taste. And all the better for it. It's an unconventionally handsome car, like its modern-day successor, the C6.

        And thankfully, Citroën continues to make cars that push the boundaries of design.

        That DS3 Inside concept is a farce, though...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @jonjwlee

        If this was an award for the most original designs for their times, then sure. However, this is for the Most Beautiful Car, and I have to stick with my original thought.

        I've been following car design for a number of years, and wish I could afford to throw money away at a membership over at Cardesignnews, so don't take me for some backward hick who has no clue about design. I also design homes for a living, so I do spend a good amount of time concentrating on aesthetics and function/form balances. But what I see more of these days is a whole lot of people trying to make a strong visual impact with their auto concepts than an overall well proportioned design. And for the love of pete, let's give the 3" wide brushed chrome exterior trim a break. We could do with less of this new tendency to replace a lot of hood and fender real estate with headlight plastic. Is it really making the car look better to have a light stretch from grille to A-pillar? Alfa says, "Not really."

        And my name's not Layman. ;)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, this car looks like a toddler's bathtub toy! There's a long list of cars that could fit "most beautiful" (I don't like to brag, but my CTS looks much better than this), how did this one win the contest?
      • 5 Years Ago
      what the hell is ugly i took a look -does it have structure- or form- that built-- it snaps out and just looks like someone just threw some paint on da big wall,it must have been a mere put together with no concern of how the hell it looked just slap some paint on and fire it up so the clay glazed paint could shine
      this is a waste of precious time mister--- i heard someone say it sucked up
      RogerSD
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd choose a Pacer over a Citroen. It would have been much less offensive if the accompanying picture was of a 2 door with one color. Or would the 2 door not be a DS, but an SM ? Sorry, the only Citroen that I ever witnessed being sold new here was a Matchbox.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I knew the Cord 810/812 would be right near the top of the list.
    • Load More Comments