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March 14, 2017
It’s subtitled for English speakers, but he goes around finding a native speaker for every car brand. Except for Honda. What the hell Honda? Where are your people? Americans will know our brands like Ford – no self-respecting southerner would get that wrong.
Others like BMW just throw you for a loop. Thanks, but I’ll stick with B-M-W unless I’m in Europe. DS is borderline cheating. I was expecting something random, and it’s actually as it looks.
Not every automaker is represented in the video, but Gerard Farré managed to find as many native speakers representing their respective brands as possible.
What about you? How many did you know beforehand? Surprisingly, I was spot on with Citroën. Liberal Arts degree coming through in the clutch. And Italians just make you want to buy their cars.
Go see the Citroen exhibit at the Mullin Automotive Museum
OXNARD, CALIFORNIA, CITROEN CELEBRATION WILL HAVE YOU SAYING 'VIVE LA MARQUE!'
MARCH 6, 2017 Mark vaughn
A little over year from now, Citroen will celebrate its 100th anniversary of building innovative and distinct automobiles, but the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, is getting a jump on the festivities with an all-Citroen exhibit taking up its entire ground floor.
“Citroen: The Man, The Marque, The Mystique” is open now and will run through spring 2018. It features 46 cars -- everything from the very first Citroen automobile ever built, the 1919 Type A, up to a modern 2007 C6 sedan and a 2009 C3 Pluriel. In between are all the significant Citroens up to and including the 2CV, Traction Avant and a number of DS models. With the exception of the 2007 C6 and 2009 C3, the exhibit features none of the modern Citroens still selling by the hundreds of thousands in France and around the world. There would simply be too many different models made in the modern era to cram into the relatively small Mullin museum. That is too bad -- there are so many modern Citroens, especially the big luxury sedans, that we will never see here in America. But the Mullin has all the great historical Citroens that made that marque what it is today.
The 1919 Type A was the first Citroen
Before we get to that, let’s take a look at the remarkable industrialist Andre-Gustave Citroen. He got his start in industry in 1912 manufacturing enormous double-helical gearsets that used a unique chevron-patter, which became the future car company’s logo. His gearsets were pretty popular, having even been on board the Titanic. In 1913, Citroen took over the Mors car company, where he increased production by a factor of 10. When war broke out the following year, Citroen manufactured munitions, cranking out more than any other maker in France. At its peak, Citroen’s operation produced 50,000 shells a day.
When the war ended, Citroen used his experience at Mors to start making his own cars. He immediately brought innovations no other carmaker in Europe was using. He adopted Henry Ford’s assembly-line techniques, becoming the first mass-producer of automobiles on the continent. Prior to Citroen, cars left their factories as runners only, with no bodies on top. Bodies were made by custom coachbuilders. Citroen produced finished cars you could drive.
He created a dealer network for sales and service; put road signs in place all across France so his customers would know where they were going; and his employees enjoyed medical and dental coverage, a gym and child care at his factories. He used techniques in advertising and marketing that are employed to this day. He more or less invented the building wrap when he had the word “CITROEN” emblazoned in huge, lighted letters on three sides of the Eiffel Tower from 1925 to 1934. To get around punitive import taxes, he built factories in Belgium, Germany, England and Italy. He is rumored to have torn down one factory to modernize it without interfering with production.
Due to mounting debts during the Great Depression, Andre Citroen lost control of his business in 1935. The reins went to Citroen’s biggest creditor, Michelin, which took over operations that year.
All this is celebrated at the Mullin, mostly through the cars Andre Citroen and his successors produced.
The 1927 5CV Trefle has three seats
The exhibit starts with that 1919 Citroen Type A, the first mass-produced car in Europe. It’s not much to look at, but the car industry was just getting started. That the Mullin found one of these and brought it all the way to Oxnard is impressive. Next to that is a 1923 5CV, or Cinq Chevaux, with its own Lalique mascot on the hood -- a crystal figurine of five horses that lights up when the headlights are switched on. There’s also a bright yellow 1927 5CV Trefle with three seats, the third being in the middle behind the front two.
The Traction Avant came along in 1934 with revolutionary (for a production car) unibody construction, front-wheel drive and independent suspension at all four wheels. The exhibit has several examples, from a 1935 7C to Tractions Avant in production close to the end of that famous model’s run in 1955.
The 2CV is also well-represented, with both passenger car and commercial versions.
The Citroen Dyane, like the Ami, was an evolution of the 2CV meant to have a wider appeal to urbanites.
An evolution of the 2CV was the Ami line of passenger wagons. The museum offers three: a 1964 Ami 6, 1968 Ami 8 and a Dyane. We want the orange one.
But we also want an H van, that most slab-sided of all slab-sided commercial vehicles. The Mullin has a 1973 HY78 set up to sell Champagne. Character oozes from its every rivet.
Perhaps the most French of all the cars in the exhibit is the revolutionary DS. Its hydraulic suspension was unique among passenger cars of the time, and its interior flipped and folded to accept all 15 items of custom luggage shown in a promotional photo that also starred spokes-actress Gina Lollobrigida. On top of that, you’ll see several unique DS models with bodies customized by Henri Chapron.
Citroen the man may have passed away in 1935, but his cars and his penchant for innovation live on. Come and see the Mullin exhibit. Semi-private tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays. The museum is open to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged through the museum’s website or by calling 805-385-5400. We got a tour by docent Rick Erbst and had a splendid time, but other experts will be happy to show you around, too.
"Citroen is a marque that has always appealed to me on some level," said Peter Mullin, founder and CEO of the museum bearing his name. "The way the company set about designing its often odd but always stunning vehicles, packing them with wildly innovative technologies, is fascinating to me. I'm so pleased that we are able to share these incredible vehicles with the public who may not have ever seen them in person, and I hope we're able to create a new legion of Citroen devotees."
Bon anniversaire, Citroen!
By ROB HULL 23 February 2017
Remember the Citroen 2CV? This one crossed the Sahara twice in the late 1960s and is now valued at £65,000
- One of 100 remaining twin-engined, four-wheel-drive 2CV 'Sahara' models
- First owner drove 1964 Citroen from Nigeria to the UK and back to dodge the Civil War in Africa
- Original owner shipped the car back to the UK in 1981 with intention to restore it
- Some 31 years later, the cars was returned to original condition - and now it could be yours
The Citroen 2CV started from humble beginnings. The name stood for 'deux chevaux-vapeur', meaning two horsepower, something which it essentially replaced in 1940s agricultural France.
Over 42 years of production, some 3.8 million were made - as well as 1.2 million 'Fourgonnette' 2CV delivery vans. In other words, they were not rare.
But as 2CVs have slowly rusted out of existence, well-maintained examples are starting to become more and more collectible. Some more than others, it seems.
This limited-run Safari model is expected to sell in the UK for between - brace yourselves - £60,000 and £65,000 when it goes under the hammer.
What makes this particular derivative special is the fact it's one of very few made with four wheel drive... and an engine powering each axle.
Just 694 Sahara 4x4 2CVs were built, this one being number 657 of the limited edition.
Featuring one engine to power the front wheels and a second to drive the rear, each produced a fairly tiddly 12bhp. Each engine had a separate ignition, meaning it could be driven by the front wheels alone or just the rear if desired.
The combined 24bhp output was good enough for a top speed of 65mph, though it could do around 40mph using just one of the motors.
It also featured twin fuel tanks located beneath the front seats (hence the filler caps in each of the front doors) to supply each engine and countless other modifications to enable the cars to be used in the French colonies in Northern Africa.
And that's exactly where this one ended up, being delivered to Nigeria in 1965.
But the first owner wasn't a monsieur; an English anthropologist working for a university hospital was the first registered keeper.
While conducting federal government research in the country, he used it to travel between remote villages across harsh terrains, charming the locals with the cutesy Citroen rather than turning up in an intimidating Land Rover.
According to Classic Car Auctions, who will be selling the car next month at the NEC in Birmingham, the owner drove it 1,000 miles across the Sahara desert on return to the UK to escape the Civil War that broke out in 1967.
Two years later, he headed back to Nigeria via the unrelenting desert in the car for the return leg - a phenomenal effort by man and machine in the late 60s.
It was sold to a second owner in the 1970, a doctor working at the same Ahmadu Bello University Hospital the Briton had originally been working at.
Amazingly, in 1980, the original owner was reunited with his trusty four-wheeled French friend during a visit to the country, finding the car in a dilapidated state.
With his bond with the car too strong to let it fall into a state of disrepair, he decided to ship it back to the UK for reconditioning, where it arrived and was registered for British roads in March 1981.
However, due to a lack of spare parts available on the market, the renovations never began and the car was moved on to a new owner (the current one) soon after arriving on UK shores.
Some 31 years later, he subjected the car to a top-to-bottom restoration to return it to the fabulous condition you can see it in today.
Original features were overhauled, like the red seating, removable rear bench, full-length folding roof and both engines.
The car will be sold at the Classic Car and Restoration Show on April 1 with replacement crankshaft and crankcase halves, the original registration document from Nigeria, several photos of the car during its trip across the Sahara desert, French language 2CV Sahara and period English language 2CV brochure and the owner’s manual - you can't ask for more than that.
Nigel Gough, classic car specialist at CCA, reckons there are less than 100 examples of the 2CV Sahara left in existence, with just 30 of those still in running condition.
'Not only is it a rare 2CV, but also has a unique past and fascinating story, one that will certainly appeal to collectors,' he added.
'With such limited numbers these models are now internationally sought after, and have achieved some seriously high prices at auction. This one will definitely get people talking.'
The Funky French Designs Of Citroen
By Alex Sobran February 21, 2017
What does “France” conjure for you? Long bicycle races, the Louvre, baguettes, fries? Chances are it doesn’t bridge together the places in your brain that house cutting-edge technology and automobiles. That is, unless you’re familiar with Citroen.
Called every nice and nasty synonym of quirky, the French carmaker has been praised and maligned for pushing mechanical and aesthetic boundaries for longer than most people can literally remember. Citroen has managed to occupy multiple worlds with their cars; that of the common farmer and of the most discerning aristocrat, and that of our present and of our future.
That might induce some eye-rolling, but the company really was that avant-garde. Take the 2CV for example, of which millions were produced over more than 40 years; it is the perfect embodiment of practical technology for the everyman. Designed as an alternative to the horse to drive over the less than pristine French roads post-WWII, Citroen’s president at the time, Pierre Boulanger, ensured that the initial cars would go first to those who required efficient transportation over said roads; country doctors, bakers, electricians, midwives, and other traveling workers had cars sold to them first as a result of this directive. Truly this was a car that offered revolutionary advancements in travel for the masses. Including the many variants of the base car, almost 9 million units were produced between 1948 and 1991.
The 2CV was certainly not the first car from Citroen to make a statement though. The Traction Avants before it might not have brought the automobile to the majority, but they did harbor some revolutionary DNA. These cars had major advantages over their contemporaries in the late 1930s: front-wheel drive (try translating Traction Avant), a unibody construction, and independent suspension on each corner. The low-slung look provided by the unibody made this a popular choice for gangsters of the era, but perhaps they were swayed more by the lighter weight and superior handling offered by the torsion bar setup… who’s to say?
So how did they follow the Traction Avant? Sometimes the best sequel to a paradigm shift is to just, do it again.
Enter the DS, the car that still looks like it belongs in the future. Following its unveiling in 1955 at the Paris Motor Show, 8,000 purchase orders were received on that very day when it was first shown to the world. And for good reason: the DS was the first production car to offer 4-wheel disc brakes, headlights that turned with the wheels and adjusted themselves based on the car’s ride height, and, speaking of changes in height, the DS also pioneered a hydropneumatic suspension system which provides arguably the most comfortable experience one can have in a car. The ability to raise and lower the car was great for adjusting clearance over the road, but it also allowed for another unique feature: the ability to change your tires without a jack. Definitely worth a quick search on YouTube.
The DS was offered in an array of models and trim levels, from the lower-end ID variants, to the Pallas editions that featured extensive luxury options, even all the way up to coach-built rarities like the Henri Chapron Concorde, pictured here in contrasting silver and burgundy, which entailed a new body and redesigned interior for those looking for the highest echelons of exclusivity without straying from what made the DS such a pleasant car to drive.
While the DS undoubtedly had the comfort and style requisite of any respectable grand tourer, the first true GT car from the Gallic brand came to fruition in 1970 with the release of the SM. Citroen had recently purchased financially-troubled Maserati, and went about exercising their engine expertise not long afterward. The SM was the successful product of this union between France and Italy, receiving the innovative hydropneumatic system first introduced in the DS, as well as a V6 motor engineered and built by Maserati. At the time of its release, the SM was the fastest front-wheel-drive car in the world. And to maintain the adequate amount of steering feedback necessary to drive at high speeds for long periods of time, Citroen equipped SMs with an early form of variable power steering; at low speeds the wheel would turn lock-to-lock with much less resistance than it would traveling along the road, making it as easy to park as it was to accurately control at highway speed.
The cutting-edge styling of the SM really started to embody that adjective; hard lines and distinct angles make up the unique look of the car, which at once harkens back to the DS in the way the car sort of launches up and out from the rearmost corners, and yet carves out its own presence too, never to be considered an update or a “re-imagining.”
It goes without saying that the interior design of cars that look they way they do on the outside should be equally radical, and the SM does not disappoint once you open the door. The inside features a single spoke steering wheel, scorpion-like ribbed leather seats, and a brushed metal surface atop the center console that provides the backdrop for that too-cool shifter; I had a hard time watching the road instead of that complex chrome cylinder during every gear change.
So the next time someone tells you that France is only good at hoisting white flags, tell them to read a history book, and preferably one with some Citroens. They certainly deserve a place in it.
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