Thursday, 5 July 2012 10:00 AM
The Citroen museum is tucked away on a quiet business park just outside Paris. In a modern, unassuming building is stored pretty much one of absolutely everything from Citroen’s rich and long history, with at least their fair share of era-defining cars and trucks, a row of dominating World Rally Cars, and one of the coolest cars I've ever seen.
The Conservatoire Citroën is not open to the public, but on a recent trip over I shot the lot for you’re delectation. There’ll be some famous and classic shapes you’ll know and love, a fascinating story of recently-found 2CV prototypes that were cunningly hidden from invading World War II Nazis, and some one-off stunners that’d make you the king of your Citroen car club, if you could ever get the keys.
Here are some of my favourites from the hundreds of vehicles on display, a spotlight on the aforementioned king of auto-cool, and a couple of quick test drives in some seriously suave and turbocharged classics…
Through the doors and into a vast space that’s packed with historic Citroens. Let’s take a drive down memory lane
Every great car starts with a handmade prototype model
Could be some Citroen logo inspiration here. Citroen also supplied heavy industry back in the day
And the innovations starting coming thick and fast, like mass-market front-wheel drive powertrains
You don’t have to be chic to work here. But it helps
Here are the Citroen 2CV prototypes. Built to show at the Paris Motor Show in the late 30s, but World War II got in the way. They were hidden from the advancing Nazis at the start of the war, behind false walls in a tucked away loft. This is exactly how they looked when rediscovered in the 90s
Let the classics commence
Peppered by spacey prototypes
Extra-long Presidential transport
Plenty of room for the boss
Much less for the driver. Some things never change!
You’re le nicked, mate!
Citroen’s complete dominance of the modern era of the World Rally Championship started with the Xsara
WRC spoiler evolution. From basic, to intricate…
The light and hard magnesium-alloy wheels for the rally cars
Wheel fetish, moi?!
Decades apart, but you can see the design evolution
My personal star of the Citroen show, the ultra-cool, 1973 Citroen Prototype SM. This 340bhp tarmac-skimmer was a power and high-speed stability test-bed for front-wheel drive platform development. I just love the stance, deep-dish steel wheels and warmongering twin tailpipes. There’s a 3-litre Maserati motor making the power up front
Don’t even think about it!
Vive Citroen! From the visitors’ book
Some priceless and powerful test drives coming soon…
Many thanks to the Citroen UK PR team for taking TotallyMotor on the trip, and for the warm welcome from the Conservatoire Citroën team.
Words & pics: Daniel Anslow
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