“Ne, hvala gospodaru!” he said.

During a hunt for some other information this image crossed my path. It is an attempt to visualise a Citroen XM coupe. 

Hypothetical Citroen XM coupe:  source

It interested me to see these because I had discussed the idea of Citroen XM coupe with our correspondent in Switerland, Simon, some time ago. As a result of that discussion I decided to rustle up some visuals but never did more than send them to Simon.  Those images are shown below the break.  

The blue XM keeps pretty much the whole XM concept but loses the rear doors. The resultant car looks too short or too tall without being appreciably cheaper to build as shown than a car with a custom glass house.

I found a second XM coupe. The bordeaux car, below, looks lower and the better for it. It also deserves praise for being a bit original in its treatment. Marks are lost for the visual heaviness of the non-glazed C-pillar and the altered rear wheel arch. Further, the front wheels have moved forward relative to the scuttle so it looks rear-wheel drive. That´s pointless.

Another hypothetical Citroen XM coupe: source

My own proposal (below) is probably equally flawed. I decided to be parsimonious at the start but gave in and lowered the car. It took seven steps to get from the standard car to the final coupe. What I didn’t do was bend many lines in profile. But, in the final version I have added more curvature to the plan of the tail and the nose. The headlamps come farther around the side than on the production car.

For the seventh version I squashed the car by 3%. So, a fully realised XM coupe would and could never carry over anything from the saloon if it was to be done right. At a push maybe the bonnet and roof could be retained but really it’s a totally different car from the point of view of having no common body panels. The wheelbase and track are the same though.

The main changes my version needs are: longer doors off of the same a-pillar; a longer nose, modified front lights and front bumper; lowered roof, I removed the c-pillar and so there is new side glass aft of the b-pillar, and I ordered larger wheels.

Much as the Peugeot 406 coupe differs almost entirely from the saloon so this car differs alot from the XM production car.

I have posted three pictures. The second is the least change possible (still I have a longer door though). The third is the whole hog.

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My photo editing software is rubbish and I am not good at using it. Try viewing the images at a smaller size so as to reduce the effect of the messy bits.  The thing I concluded is that the fully modified version is too long looking. The coupe should look long but not be long.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

21 thoughts on ““Ne, hvala gospodaru!” he said.”

    1. The position of the front wheels wouldn’t work because of the XM’s mechanical package. Otherwise these experiments simply demonstrate that the XM’s styling didn’t work as a saloon and it works even less as a coupe

  1. Citroën did it best with the 1989 Activa 2 concept car, and a really beautiful one at that. It was a pity they never made it, it could’ve been a modern SM successor.

    1. Robert Cumberford considered the Activa to be a bit bland. He may have over-stated the case a bit. However, I can´t wholly disagree. I notice the car has a vague reference to the XM´s rear treatment. The lamps are enclosed in a rectangular block and don´t wrap around to the sides. Also, there is the floating roof. I suppose if the XM style were to be draped over the Activa it might work quite well. In that sense, I agree with Ingvar.

    2. The Activa has a longer front overhang, but I figure they used the chassis and front firewall and scuttle of the XM and as much of the body hardpoints as possible though it doesn’t look like it.

      What’s always been problematic with the XM is the overly large quarterlights in both front and rear door, which gives the greenhouse an overly pinched look. Translating that to a coupé you want to stress the horizontal and not the vertical for that hardtop look.

      Which they managed on the Activa using the Panhard 24/Toyota Celica trick with as fast angles on both the front and rear screen, stretching the horisontal base to the trapezoidal greenhouse, as seen from the side.

    3. The Activa 2 looked like a combination of Subaru SVX lower half and Ford Probe glasshouse

  2. I’m thinking of a low-slung Aerodeck / HPE type grand tourer, with four generous seats and possibly RX-8 style rear-hinged doors to the rear compartment. Which would probably entail huge body engineering costs which sales could never justify.

    Vulgar money would dictate using as much XM hatch inner structure to maximum effect.

    1. The third version of my XM sketch is a bit aerodecky but without the rear-hinged doors. I don´t see the point of them and certainly PSA would never go to that kind of trouble.
      Ingvar: yes, the quarter lights are rather vertical in their orientation. It´s not something that has ever bothered me though. I tend to “read” the entire glazed area as one dark shape, with length greater than its height. The trouble is you can´t force the viewer to read things a certain way if they can´t/won´t. And if you see the verical pillars or spars then the trick of painting them black failed. They are there as a consequences of other design choices such as the raked windcreen, the height of the side glass and the radius of the curve from the windscreen around to the side-glass. As Pye said, every design is a failure.

    2. I don’t agree they are there as a consequence of other design choices. They could’ve made without them, or made them more minimalistic. If they are needed fine, but putting them in that exact spot, made overly large, and with that angle is a conscious artistic choice of the designer. And they were designed overly large, the quarter lights are larger than they needed to be, and that is an active choice. It was something of a fad at the time, the same kind of problem can be found on the contemporary Chevrolet Lumina and Oldsmobile 88.

  3. This RWD-looking ‘thing’ (burgundy red) is a real disgrace. It has none of the SM’s flair at all, and the proportions show someone clearly hasn’t understood Citroën design at all.

    The one on top is a bit too simple, and it reminds me of the Kappa Coupé. Like this, it’s looking too short and high, as one has simply cut the length without considering the height. Omitting the rear door and keeping the overall shape doesn’t work well with the XM, as we will end up with either too many or too long rear side windows. If we go in the Herriott direction, it might work as a kind of shooting brake, but I’m still not convinced with the window’s base line.

    By the way, the Xantia doesn’t have this problem. I’ve seen (photoshop) conversions to a coupé by just deleting the rear doors and elongating the front ones. No changes to height, length or DLO outline. With the strong C-pillar and the more flowing overall shapes, this makes a quite nice coupé.

    As for the Activa 2, I’m still a fan. It’s a bit reminiscent of the Peugeot 406 transformation. The overall shape is there as well as some styling clues, but in a much more rounded idiom. The Activa’s proportions are great, very Citroën-ish, elegant and fluid (much more so than the XM). Don’t look at the interior, though – that’s early 90s organic styling of the worst kind, and along with its fabric pattern has aged very badly.

    1. I agree, it’s a bit too round, soft and flush. However, the closed front and proportions (as mentioned) are very strong hints, so is much more ‘identity’ really needed? What could it look like while not adding visual noise and complexity?
      Maybe a starting point could be less generic front lights (both headlights and fog lights). Would a more vertical theme work? Probably 1990 was a bit early for that.

  4. Nice to see Croatian language being used around here… As for the article, at first image my immediate associations were Kappa coupe. The proportions render the roof tall-ish looking. I can attest first hand, since we have both the coupe and berlina version in family ownership, that headroom is significantly lower for the coupe version. Although the coupe appears tall-ish. Kayak is the prettier Kappa coupe. So, the proportions are key.
    In that manner Activa 2 is the best XM coupe.

    1. This site attracts Lancia people. About 50% of the visitors seem to own a coupe. I consider that a compliment.

      The Croatian title is because I quite like Croatia. I might use a bit more.

      I looked into surnames recently and discovered the custom (now passed) of translating job-related surnames into Latin. Your surname, Darko, means “baker” from “pistoribus”.

      Yes, agreed, proportions are essential which is why a lot of coupes don’t work: too much carry-over components. Oddly, I prefer the Kappa coupe precisely because it is a bit odd. I wish Lancia had chosen the Kayak anyway as it might have sold better.

    2. I’ve refreshed my memory. Not building the Kayak was monumentally stupid. It’s excellent. Why on earth…. It was a plausible basis for a whole range of cars.

    3. Richard, you are spot on regarding my surname. Although my family or I do not deal in bread making, some of it still lingers around. My wife says I make the best bread in the family, even though all I do is press some buttons on the bread making machine…

      I first stumbled upon this wonderful website when doing some research on Kappa in general.
      Lancia has had a very troubled past, guided by mediocrity since FIAT arrived in late 60s.

      I do not know if you are aware of this, but there is a great Youtube channel called Davide Cironi. And it has an interview section, where none other than ingegniere Materazzi gives an insight into development of Lancia Stratos, Ferrari F40, etc.

      I do like Lancia, especially Aurelia Berlina but I am more a citroeniste.

  5. It’s only the rear of the Kappa Coupé’s glasshouse that’s too high, and as that was new it could easily have been made lower.
    My delightful (and informative) sales brochure starts with a B20; if only they’d actually made the k Coupé on the same principle.

  6. 30 years ago I did cut’n’paste (really, with pair of scissors!) job of CX photo (notably it featured a Limousine version, on which door edge ends up just before wheel arches, not over them – very important detail!) …..And it turned out almost perfect!
    As if somebody actually had envisioned a coupe version of CX in the ’70s…wouldn’t be surprising, given they made SM…

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