It looks like an ordinary Euro-classic, but this 1964 Citroen DS is actually a V8-hearted hot rod from the twisted mind of rock legend Alice Cooper.  

A Diamond in the Rough 

1964 Citroen DS -

1964 Citroen DS –  |  Shop 1964 Citroen DS on

The idea behind our Cool Car Find series is to scour the listings on to find rare, unusual, and otherwise notable cars for our writers to spotlight. And while they are all worthy of conversation, some listings end up surprising us. Such was the case with this 1964 Citroen DS.

The DS, for those unfamiliar, was a revolutionary car back when it debuted in the mid-1950s. It featured a host of major technological advancements packaged in tasteful yet distinctive styling and went on to a twenty-year run seeing over 1.4 million units sold over that time. I suggested the car to my editor, pitching it as a weird French car of some historical note. Skeptically/enthusiastically, they assented. And then I read the seller’s vehicle description…

It turned out this was no ordinary DS, if such a thing could be said to exist. Rather this DS had been thoroughly restomodded with a new chassis and suspension, interior upgrades, and a 400-horsepower LS1 V8 packed under the hood. And what maniacal genius had sneakily transformed this seemingly run-of-the-mill DS into such an elegantly unassuming beast? None other than Mr. Shock Rock himself, Alice Cooper.

Indeed, the seller notes that this Citroen DS hot rod was commissioned by Alice Cooper, built by Kevin Bradley Kreations, and featured at the SEMA convention (2006) and in Hot Rod magazine (2007). But before we dig into all the wild upgrades and modifications of this specific example, we need to step back and appreciate how odd and innovative the Citroen DS really was.

The Citroen DS was Revolutionary

1964 Citroen DS -
1964 Citroen DS -

The Citroen DS is what you get when nearly two decades of delays and development allow an idea to be iterated, refined, and honed until it’s capable of shocking even the most jaded of automotive journalists. And that’s just what the DS did at the Paris Motor Show in October of 1955.

The DS was originally envisioned back in the 1930s as Citroen’s follow-up to their Traction Avant. A global economic depression and the Second World War repeated put any hopes of completing the project on ice. It took until the early 1950s before Citroen was ready to finalize the DS. The company already had a reputation for innovation and risk taking and the DS cemented that reputation.

The car’s aerodynamic body was designed by Italian designer Flaminio Bertoni, with engineering by Andre Lefebvre, and their combined efforts yielded an impressive (for the day) 0.37 drag coefficient. The roof was built from fiber glass and the hood completed in aluminum, cutting weight and lowering the center of gravity to improve handling stability. The car’s spaceship looks perfectly positioned the DS as the car of the future at the dawn of the Space Race.

A French Magic Carpet Ride 

1964 Citroen DS -
1964 Citroen DS -

Even more revolutionary was the DS’s suspension, developed by Paul Mages. The DS featured an oleopneumatic (a.k.a. hydropneumatic) self-leveling design, first used on the Traction Avant’s rear suspension, with a front leading arm and rear trailing arm. The suspension was self-leveling and ride height could be adjusted manually. The result was both keen handling and a glass-smooth ride on even the roughest of French cobble-stone streets. The DS was decades ahead of other cars in ride quality.

The car’s hydraulics extended to the front disc brakes, another leap forward, as well as to the power-assisted steering and the clutch of the semi-automatic transmission. The wheelbase was long for its size at 123 inches (for reference the Cadillac Eldorado of the time had a wheelbase of 129 inches but was over 30 inches longer in total than the DS). The front wheel track was wider than the rear, which alleviated understeer and allowed the car to be driven with one of the rear wheels missing. A center wheel lock made tire changes easier, further aided by the car’s adjustable suspension. That came in handy for racers as the DS went on improbable but consistent success as a rally car, starting with a class win in the 1956 Monte Carlo Rally.

1964 Citroen DS -
1964 Citroen DS -

The DS’s engines were one spot where Citroen was forced to compromise. The company worked on developing fuel-injected flat-six, in air-cooled and water-cooler forms, but implementing the new engine was to prove too costly and engineers settled for reusing the 1911-cc inline-four from the Traction Avant, an engine that had been in use since 1934. Even so, larger versions of the engine were offered over the course of the DS’s twenty-year run, scaling from the 1911-cc to 1985-cc, 2175-cc, and finally, a 2341-cc.

The Citroen DS was a sensation when it first debuted. It garnered over 80,000 reservations over the 10-day Paris Motor Show, 12,000 on its first day. In production from 1955 through 1975, the DS proved as beguiling to car buyers as it had been to the automotive press back in 1955.

Alice Cooper’s Hot Rod Citroen DS 

1964 Citroen DS LS1 V8 -
1964 Citroen DS LS1 V8 -

What initially attracted me to this 1964 Citroen DS was its dazzling green paint job and overall excellent condition. It turns out that the paint job is just one of many modifications requested by Alice Cooper. This shade of aquamarine is Volvo’s 457 Flash Green. Other subtle aesthetic changes include the grey leather interior and custom seats, gauges, and LED interior lighting. Despite these changes, the DS looks remarkably original from the outside.

Yet this DS has undergone major structural and mechanical revisions. Most thoroughgoing is the new Art Morrison chassis and a new suspension consisting of a Mustang II front end and a four-link rear with Alden shocks. There’s a custom roll cage as well. The car rides on Billet Specialties chrome wheels and stops via Wilwood disc brakes. In place of the traditional four-cylinder is a burly 350 cu.-in. LS1 V8 making 400 horsepower and paired with a new four-speed automatic transmission.

1964 Citroen DS -

1964 Citroen DS –  |  Shop 1964 Citroen DS on

This Citroen DS hot rod is much like the rockstar who envisioned it. Out golfing (as is his wont), Cooper might appear as just another boomer in a pastel polo, when in fact he’s a heavy metal legend known for his frightful, ghoulish stage shows and a demonic on-stage persona. This Citroen DS hot rod, with its funny mid-century styling and Swedish green paint job, appears innocuous right up until you stomp down on the throttle, receive the V8’s jolting thunderclap, and speed away with a screeching cloud of tire smoke.

This 1964 Citroen DS hot rod, brainchild of Alice Cooper, can be yours for just $74,990.

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Chris Kaiser

With two decades of writing experience and five years of creating advertising materials for car dealerships across the U.S., Chris Kaiser explores and documents the car world’s latest innovations, unique subcultures, and era-defining classics. Armed with a Master's Degree in English from the University of South Dakota, Chris left an academic career to return to writing full-time. He is passionate about covering all aspects of the continuing evolution of personal transportation, but he specializes in automotive history, industry news, and car buying advice.

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