A trio of Citroën oddities in this take on that famous French creed – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.
1982 Citroen BX Coupé prototype
Seasoned Citroën fans are no doubt aware that Citroën toyed with the idea of a BX Coupé but never allowed it to reach the production stage; a full size mockup, looking somewhat like a mix of BX and Renault 11 3-door hatchback has survived and can be viewed at the Citroën Conservatoire.
There was however another, far more ambitious BX-derived Coupé in development for a time, also styled by carrozzeria Bertone. This project was initiated early in 1982, some months before the introduction of the BX hatchback at that year’s Paris Motor Show. Surviving documents reveal that this coupé was intended for a higher marketing segment and was also to be sold in the United States.
Translating the six theme philosophy brief notes brings the ambitions of Citroën to light:
1) 4-seater Coupé with acceptable rear seating.
2) Overall size close to that of the BX Berline but lower.
3) Originality and a personality to distinguish itself from the competition.
4) High class and refinement, especially concerning the interior.
5) Sportiness and aggressivity. (sic)
6) Flagship for the Citroën model range.
In September of 1982 a full scale model was available for viewing at the Stile Bertone premises in Caprie. It was in the style typical for Bertone concepts during this era, (created under the supervision of Marc Deschamps) as exemplified by, for instance the Mazda MX-81 Aria or Corvette Ramarro. Most of all however it invites comparison with the later Citroën Zabrus of 1986, also by Bertone.
In the treatment of the windshield, rear view mirror and A-pillar as well as the kick-up in the beltline at the end of the door, embryonic elements of the XM are already clearly present in the BX Coupé proposal. The later Zabrus on the other hand reveals little or no XM DNA – did Citroën instruct Bertone not to give away too many XM styling cues to the public?
Alas, like its more conventional sister, this BX Coupé was also ultimately destined for the dustbin of unrealised plans; Citroën boss Xavier Karcher ultimately deemed the projected price of the car too high and its market chances too uncertain.
1977 Citroën Elysée
This ambitiously named version of the Ami 8 (it’s difficult to imagine monsieur le Président arriving there in one) was an Argentina-only luxury version of Citroën’s popular air-cooled light family car.
Offered only in vert élysée, the car continued the green theme inside as well with reclining front seats and colour coded bouclé carpet on the floor. Both front and rear doors were fitted with armrests and an AM radio was standard equipment. Mechanically everything remained unchanged- the air-cooled 602cc two cylinder engine delivering 35 SAE hp allowing for a maximum speed of 77 Mph.
Interestingly, the protective side strips along the flanks look very much as if they are based on the same items normally fitted to the DS Pallas although it is difficult to fully confirm this from the small photos. First introduced in 1977, the élysée was offered only until 1978 (that year white, ochre and blue were added to the colour choices) at which time it was discontinued together with its more sparsely equipped relatives in Europe. Citroën Argentina SA ceased all activity and left the country a year later.
1963 Ami Coupé D’Ieteren
D’Ieteren was a Belgian coachbuilder that produced several creations on luxury car’s chassis; in 1948 the company started to assemble VW’s. In 1963 Daniel D’Ieteren presented this Ami Coupé that had been designed and built by his company to the management of the Citroën factory in Vorst where the regular Ami was being produced. Vorst was not interested and the one-off Coupé was eventually sold to a Citroën dealer in Liege; unfortunately it is believed to have been scrapped later on.
The D’Ieteren company was sold to Volkswagen in 1970 and currently imports and distributes several makes of the Volkswagen Group in Belgium.
1986 GS Chic
When cars have run their course in the Western World, some enjoy a second, or extended life elsewhere. The Citroën GS as built and sold in Indonesia is an example. The GS Chic was offered there in 1986 and 1987, two years after the last GSA was sold in Europe.
In France, Citroën introduced the GSA Chic as a special edition in 1985 in an effort to counter falling sales after the introduction of the BX. In all 1200 GSA Chics were made. With their GS Chic, Citroën Indonesia produced a peculiar hybrid – from the front it looks just like the regular GSA, but when we walk around to the rear there is no hatchback. In fact the rear is identical to the old GS with the exception of a GSA rear bumper. If the brochure is to be believed the interior of the GS Chic was the modernised GSA version with the unique to Citroën Lanules by the steering wheel.
Why this unusual halfway house between GS and GSA? The answer probably lies in the fact that Citroën Indonesia did not receive (or did not see the need to purchase) the altered pressing dies for the GSA. By cleverly substituting as many new GSA parts as possible which fit the old GS body they were able to modernise the car by relatively simple means.