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Time travel: On the way in the Citroën Ami 6

October 6, 2019


This weird guy was the best-selling car in France in 1966


I must admit: This car is not one of those that spontaneously closes as beautiful in the heart. At an angle looks the Citroën Ami 6 at first glance. And yet the small French sedan from the 1960s awakens more sympathy from minute to minute. One would almost say: A guy like Udo Lindenberg: No natural beauty, but an authentic guy with many inner qualities. For the 100th anniversary of the Citroën brand I could drive the Ami 6.


But let's take a quick look back: After the legendary DS was launched in 1955, the Citroën program had a big gap between 2CV and DS. At the same time, customers became more prosperous without having the same amount of money to afford a DS. The solution for brand newcomers was Ami 6. 


The Ami 6 owes its name to the desire of the Citroën brand to attract more women and city dwellers as customers. The French "Ami six" (the 6 stands also for the displacement) was therefore deliberately chosen as a pun on the English "a Missis". The market launch in France was also accompanied by billboards designed for a female target group. But that's not all: "Ami" is also the French word for "friend".


As a surprise and genuine novelty, Citroën presented the Ami 6 to the international trade press at the airfield of Villacoublay on April 24, 1961. Only a few weeks later, on June 9, 1961, the small sedan celebrated its much-noticed premiere in the German dealer network. The body of the Ami 6 with the strongly accentuated lines and the rear-inclined rear window caused a great sensation. Here, designer Flaminio Bertoni had the requirement, a vehiclewith a large trunk, optimal use of space and comfort for all passengers to develop - and this without being a station wagon and no more than four meters - perfectly implemented. Bertoni, who also designed the DS and died in 1964, regarded the Ami 6 as his most successful design. This may be surprising, but skillful fulfillment of strict specifications may be more satisfying for some designers than having a completely free hand.


So nothing like in the 3.91 meters long Ami 6: At the back I do not have much leg room with my 1.88 meters, but actually a good oneHeadroom. Clever, the number with the rear window. For this I sit on the front and back on sofa-like upholstery. On the left and on the right side, it gets pretty cuddly, no wonder with a vehicle width of just 1.52 meters.



Already in September 1961, the Citroën Ami 6 was supplemented by rear sliding windows and a trunk lid to be opened from the outside. The redesigned rectangular headlights resulted in a 26% higher light output than the conventional round headlights.


While the interior of the Citroën Ami 6 strongly reminded of the interior of the DS, the technology was derived from the Citroën 2CV - was based among other things, the air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine on the engine of the legendary "duck" and was for the Citroën Ami 6 to 602 cubic centimeters enlarged with 21 DIN-PS (16 kW) at 4,500 rpm. The top speed was 105 km / h, the average consumption was 6 liters / 100 km. In September 1963 Citroën expanded the engine offering for the Ami 6 by a more powerful engine with 24.5 hp(18 kW). An even stronger engine with 32 hp (23.5 kW) followed from model year 1968.



Under the hood of "my" car, the mentioned 24.5 hp, but they also hit only 620 kilograms of car, The cockpit is simple, but much more chic than in 2CV, the DS bonds provide plenty of time. The most important element is the revolver circuit as in the duck. Also in Ami 6 the motto is: pull out, push in, push aside. After a few meters I have the bow out and we gondeln comfortably through a suburb of Paris. For cost reasons, the Ami 6 has no hydropneumatics, but a suspension with long spring travel. Cosiness is trumps, only the typical chattering sound of the little boxer could be a bit more discreet. Well, that's the view of 2019, nobody cared about it in the 1960s. On the contrary: in 1966, the bizarre-looking Ami 6 with 162,366 registrations became the best-selling car in France.  


After the four-door sedan Citroën presented in 1964 at the Paris Motor Show the estate variant, the Citroën Ami 6 Break. Derived from the sedan, this had the same technology, but offered more uses. Two equipment - Tourisme and Confort with four or five seats - and a commercial vehicle version "Service" stood for election.



After the first 600 Ami 6 had been built in the Panhard factories, production could start in the new Citroën plant in Rennes-la-Janais (Brittany). By the end of production in 1969, the Ami 6 was produced there over a million times. In Germany, more than 10,000 vehicles were approved before the Citroën Ami 6 was replaced in March 1969 by the optically more conventional Ami 8. The Ami 8 had a four-cylinder under the hood, which later was also the GS on the way. Based on the Ami 8, a very special type was created at the end of 1969: The M 35 was a test specimen with single-disc Wankel, 267 specimens were distributed to special customers for test purposes.


Fancy getting on an Ami 6? Then you should plan a little more time in the search. In Germany Ami 6 have become extremely rare, it looks better in Holland and France. There are also providers for spare parts, the supply for the Ami 6 is not as pink as the 2CV. 


Incidentally, in March of this year, the name Ami returned. At the Geneva Motor Show, Citroën presented the electric Ami One Concept, which embodies a "vision of urban mobility". The Ami One Concept was developed as an emission-free alternative to public transport, two-wheelers or scooters and offers a compact, symmetrical design space for two people. It can be controlled by anyone who is at least 16 years old, depending on the legislation of each country; Access to a wide variety of carsharing or rental offers is made via app. It will be interesting to see what happens.



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