Take a guess what vehicle Jay Leno touts as the most comfortable car in the world. Go ahead, guess. If you said a 44-year old Citröen, then you’re probably cheating.

Regardless, the 1971 Citröen DS does indeed take that esteemed top spot in Jay’s list of comfy four-wheeled travel. The biggest reason is the innovative suspension, which uses shocks filled with fluid and air to create a masterful ride quality. There’s also the lounger seats, plus copious foam padding in the carpets.

In fact, the Citröen DS came with a lot of interesting technical novelties we’d normally associate with a modern vehicle. For example, that suspension will self-raise, which allows for tire changes with nothing more than a jack stand. The roof is fiberglass, which keeps weight low, both in terms of pounds and physical location on the body. In a crash, the engine was designed to shove underneath the cabin to prevent crushing the passengers. The headlights turn with the steering wheel, which helps illuminate around bends.

The number of forward-thinking features stuffed into this car is actually rather astounding. It makes you realize that despite the high levels of technical sophistication exhibited by modern vehicles, a similar level of capability can be achieved with simple, clever, mechanical design.

Jay makes a good case in labeling the ’71 Citröen DS the greatest car of the 20th-century. While I still think that’s a rather generous title, there’s no doubt that it does indeed rank up there with some of the best in the world. Also, this video includes some extremely weird Citröen ads, which alone are worth the click.

Click past the jump to read more about the Citröen DS.

Citröen DS

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Citröen DS saw enormous success when it was in production. The French automaker very nearly sold 1.5 million examples in the 20 years that it was offered, including a four-door sedan, five-door station wagon, and two-door convertible body style.

Developed in secret during the German occupation of France during World War II, the DS was first unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1955. Critics quickly swooned over the car’s ability to deliver not only crisp handling, but fantastic ride quality as well. The exterior design is unique, to say the least, with smooth aerodynamics and futuristic body lines.

Sporting a water-cooled four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, the car is not known for being particularly quick. However, that didn’t stop Citröen from entering the DS in the Monte Carlo Rally, an event it won in 1959 and 1966. The DS also took victories in the 1000 Lakes Rally in 1962, and London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally in 1974.

The DS uses hydraulic systems for the brakes, power steering, suspension, clutch, and transmission. The result, as Jay puts it, is a car that can be driven “with as little effort as possible.” Nowadays, as we move toward the proliferation of completely autonomous motoring, that’s a sentiment that will certainly find wide popularity
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