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There's safety in numbers 


This is a newspaper advertisement by CitroŽn Cars Limited circa 1967 - 1969.
The first thing that struck me was that in this era of the sound-byte, it is far wordier than anything that might be produced nowadays. 
The second thing that struck me was the inconsistent hyphenation employed in the word road-holding (items 28 & 30). 
Leaving aside the examples of the copy writer's hyperbole - "the perfect aerodynamic shape" - it is clear that this ad was written by an enthusiast, rather than a "professional". 
Is this one of the first examples of an ad majoring on safety? Obviously this pre-dates any of Volvo's safety-oriented campaigns. While on the subject of Volvo, I recall an interview with a pair of senior people from Volvo and CitroŽn published I believe in CAR, on the merits of active versus passive safety - you can guess who was in which corner. If anyone has this article I would greatly appreciate a copy. As I recall it, CitroŽn's stance was that the dynamics of the vehicle's handling and roadholding, coupled with predictability of responses should result in a vehicle that will be able to avoid accidents while Volvo's view was that accidents are unavoidable and therefore one should design a vehicle that will minimise the effects of an accident on the human frame. 
Of course the truth lies somewhere between the two.
I also recall reading an American publication entitled "Europe on $5 & $10 a day" which warned readers that they should beware of European cars, particularly the CitroŽn DS which may appear to be moving very slowly when in fact it may be travelling at speeds in excess of 100 mph. It also warned drivers not to tailgate the DS because its braking abilities far outweigh anything that an American car can do. 
Presumably many of the 40 safety-related items listed were sufficiently unusual in the late sixties to warrant a mention. By my calculations, at least 30 of these features are to be found on the XM .
Interestingly, there's no mention of seatbelts in the ad although they were an optional fitting. All my father's DS's of this era were fitted with them. As a layman with little knowledge of vehicle construction, it appears to me that with the exception of air bags and side impact bars, there have been few improvements in vehicle design from a safety point of view. 
Since this ad predates the mid seventies oil crisis and is safety oriented, it is hardly surprising that "the perfect aerodynamic shape" offers only the benefit of "maximum high speed stability" without any mention of low fuel consumption. Finally, that "perfect aerodynamic shape" was eventually matched by Ford with the introduction of the Sierra in 1981 - both had a Cd factor 0.34.

DS19 crash test

Above and below the DS was subjected to crash tests - these pictures were taken in the mid sixties and show the results of an impact test at la Fertť Vidame.  The dummy resembles a certain French General who was a great fan of the car after he survived an assassination attempt at Petit Clamard in September 1962.

DS19 crash test
© Julian Marsh 1995 (parts CitroŽnian 1995). 
A version of this appeared in the CitroŽnian, the magazine of the CitroŽn Car Club in 1995.