Theme: Simca – The Road To Success!

In what very much resembles a transcript of a period road test, the celebrated motoring scribe, Archie Vicar, takes a critical gander at Simca’s 1967 rear-engined saloon. Has it been improved since 1966?

1967 Simca 1000 GLS: source

[This article first could have appeared in the Carlisle Evening Reporter, 16 March 1967. The original photos were by Douglas Land-Windermere. Due to the poor quality of the images, stock photos have been used.]

It’s all change at Simca which for good reason is one of France’s most successful manufacturers of motor cars. In these increasingly competitive times, every car producer must ceaselessly revise, update and otherwise improve their products and Simca have made some changes to their evergreen 1000 saloon so as to keep it in the race for customers which means that in order to appraise the new version, I have subjected it to a road test and present now my findings that readers may Continue reading “Theme: Simca – The Road To Success!”

They Got This One Right

Sino-American Lucid Motors have revealed their Air saloon, a truly good-looking car.

2017 Lucid Air: source

Take a look at these photos. This is what a modern, elegant and distinctive car looks like. It will be on sale in 2018 though only in Canada and the US. The details can be inspected here. What is interesting is the approach Lucid have taken, managing to give the car a clear identity without recourse to strange detailing and without obviously using a grille-like oblong at the front.  Continue reading “They Got This One Right”

Three Volumes in Three Parts: 1

Don’t meet your heroes, they say. It’s bound to lead to disappointment. After stalking the Lancia Trevi for 26 years I finally got to drive one. So, you ask, how did that work out?

1981 Lancia Trevi 2000
1981 Lancia Trevi 2000

Very well indeed, thanks: I got to satisfy my curiosity and did so without my hopes being dashed. Much like my short trip to Italy in June, this experience has got me thinking. And re-thinking.

Before getting to the drive, let us

Continue reading “Three Volumes in Three Parts: 1”

Theme: Places – Pakistan (classic motoring)

One of the things I like about libraries is that you find things by chance in a way that an internet search does not. 

1983 Chevrolet Caprice (?): www.pakwheels.com
1983 Chevrolet Caprice (?): http://www.pakwheels.com

Exceptions occur such as this discovery of the Vintage & Classic Car Club of Pakistan. Pakistan’s most popular cars are the Toyota Corolla, the Suzuki Mehran and the Sukuki Cultus which we know as the Swift and sometimes the Subaru Justy. Next is the Alto which now looks very aggressive… and so on through a list of practical, useful and not very expensive cars. However, it’s not all low-cost motoring… Continue reading “Theme: Places – Pakistan (classic motoring)”

Let’s Sort This Out, Shall We?

Getting to the nub of the Citroën XM’s styling inspiration.

1989 Citroen XM
1989 Citroen XM

Recently we have been discussing the origins of the Citroën XM. Here are as many of the influences I can find, not counting the aspects of the car that draw on Citroen’s own general heritage. The roll call is long and not exclusive. However, it begins with the 1974 Lotus Eclat which has a similar dropped window line, one of the XM’s signature features. Deschamp’s drawing looks like a saloon Eclat, if you Continue reading “Let’s Sort This Out, Shall We?”

Cars That Could have Been Citroëns – 1980 Ital Design Medusa

What you say isn’t always necessarily what you mean.

Ital Design Medusa. Image: autoviva
Ital Design Medusa. Image: autoviva

As Europe’s leading car design consultancy, Ital Design has always been in the business of ideas, and while they could to some extent predict the future in styling terms, they couldn’t necessarily convince the industry to follow their lead, which saw many promising styling studies on the cutting room floor. But in the industry’s defence, the price of failure has always been high.
Continue reading “Cars That Could have Been Citroëns – 1980 Ital Design Medusa”

1971 De Tomaso Deauville Roadtest

Veteran motoring correspondent Archie Vicar offers his driving impressions of the 1971 De Tomaso Deauville.

1971 De Tomaso Deauville: source
1971 De Tomaso Deauville: source

[This may be a transcription of an article that first appeared in the Hartlepool Afternoon Post].

Consider luxury cars from Mercedes, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin and one must undeniably concede they suggest a degree of similarity which borders on the insipid. Manufacturers are being forced by the nanny state and ever-more-cautious customers to present cars which differ from each other in only the smallest ways. So, in these increasingly competitive times, originality is even more important (and rarer!) than ever before. Luckily, the De Tomaso Deauville has it in large quantities and the car is on sale now to the lucky few. Continue reading “1971 De Tomaso Deauville Roadtest”

Theme: Sudamerica – Chevrolet in Uruguay

This is a micropost. Chevrolet have a huge range in Uruguay. This is what is looks like when seen from space:

2016 Chevrolet Urguaguay range: source
2016 Chevrolet Urguguay range: source

The Chevrolet Celta Mk1 (see below) was based on the Corsa B, on sale from 2000. It seems to have stopped production. In 2006 Chevrolet revised the car but it still seems to have its roots in the Corsa B. The Onix is a partial replacement. The giveaway is the split A-pillar: the front window frame is half of the A-pillar, just like the Corsa B (1993-2000). GM have done really well out of the Corsa and indeed Opel. I notice a lot of what they sell around the world has its roots in Rüsselsheim. There is no way they are shutting down Opel and there is no way Opel actually makes a loss. Its an accounting wheeze. Continue reading “Theme: Sudamerica – Chevrolet in Uruguay”

Theme: Film – Comic Relief

Is there a “car film” car enthusiasts can all agree to like?

From The Big Lebowski: source
From The Big Lebowski: source

Those of us who love cars belong to a broad church. The 1997 Glanza driver is unlikely to enjoy the same movies as the pootler in his perfectly restored 1932 Ford 8. Some of us worship at the altar of pistons and power while others genuflect at the shrine of good looks. My holy grail has always been big coupes, but surely there is room for us all (well maybe I’ll draw the line at modified cars). There’s never going to be a film or even a genre to suit everyone. My tuppence worth (you’re probably going to get about 48p if you keep reading) says I would have put Bullitt in a notchback and I really don’t like movies where the car is the star. What really works for me is a movie with well cast cars that are credible and complement the story being told. Perhaps comedy is where we might find some agreement amongst ourselves. Continue reading “Theme: Film – Comic Relief”

2017 Renault 4 Revealed at Paris

Or rather Suzuki showed the 2017 Ignis. Or rather they presented same car the Japanese public saw at the Tokyo motor show in 2015.

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The new Suzuki Ignis has two marketing points. One is the possibility of 4wd and the other is the robust and chunky styling. The 4wd option sets it apart from the Renault Captur. The sensible and tough look sets its apart from the Nissan Juke. The Ignis won’t replace the Jimny which has quietly become one of those reliable, steady sellers that won’t die. We wondered here about a Renault 4 for our times. Is the Jimny really that car? It’s cheap, efficient, useful and simple. Maybe the Ignis also meets the brief. Continue reading “2017 Renault 4 Revealed at Paris”

The Start of the Next Decade…

…is five or six years from now. 

2006 Citroen C6: carmagazine.co.uk
2006 Citroen C6: carmagazine.co.uk

That’s when Citroen is giving us C5 and C6 replacements. At the rate at which the car industry is changing, that seems to be as useful as H&M announcing which style will be in fashion next spring. Continue reading “The Start of the Next Decade…”

Ashtrays: Renault 4

We are very proud of our focus on this aspect of car design: ashtrays.

Renault 4 ashtray- closed.
Renault 4 ashtray- closed.

This one serves in a Renault 4. The quattrelle had a three decade production run; it’s not fanciful to wonder if it could have endured as long as the Defender had it been marketed as slightly separate to Renault’s modern range. Continue reading “Ashtrays: Renault 4”

And Now For Some News

This is a short round-up of items that aren’t worth a whole article: news from Ford, Hyundai and Citroen.

2016 DS4 Performance: source
2016 DS4 Performance: source

First, Ford have announced a V6 version of the US version of the Mondeo. The Fusion boasts 325 hp and all-wheel drive. The car has adaptive damping and, as usual with Ford, disappointing seats. Will Ford Europe make this motor available? This academic study indicates what matters to customers, regarding seating. And this item from TTAC also shows the value of good seats. The one thing I remember from my time in a Citroen Xsara: the excellent seats. Continue reading “And Now For Some News”

2016 Citroen Cxperience Concept

Sufficient time has elapsed now for Citroen to admit to making the CX. 

2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car: source
The bonnet is too high. 2016 Citroen Cxperience concept car: source

Make that 25 years in the dog house before they could bear to put the name, or something like it, on their latest concept car, the Cxperience. Thancx, Citroen. Extrapolating from this we may have the Xmination concept car in 2026. The car is showcasing the drivetrain and not the appearance. We’ll see what others have to say about the oily/electrical bits first. Continue reading “2016 Citroen Cxperience Concept”

Morphologie du Monospace

The genepool of the Monovolume is littered with evolutionary cul-de-sacs. Today, we present two examples from a highly likely source.

Citroen C 10 'Coccinelle'. Image: caradisiac
Citroen C 10 ‘Coccinelle’. Image: caradisiac

It should surprise nobody to discover that Citroën were at the forefront of monospace research. Indeed, studies into such a vehicle began under the supervision of André Lefèbvre as far back as the early 1950’s. A series of mono-volume prototypes were built under the Prototype-C nomenclature, culminating in the 1956 C 10 seen above. Continue reading “Morphologie du Monospace”

Ashtrays: 1972 Maserati Indy 4700

It’s nice to think that Giovanni Michelotti spent some of his creative time trying to think of a suitable ashtray for this car.

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He might have sat at his desk with samples from suppliers or he might have drawn some simple sketches and asked the artisans to run up a few prototypes. At some point Adolfo Orsi, the firm’s president, could have been invited to review the shortlist of possibilities. Perhaps he sat in the car and had a smoke Continue reading “Ashtrays: 1972 Maserati Indy 4700”

Not For Sale Around Here: 2012 Peugeot 301

The interior materials and colours give away the intended market. Surely this exterior would appeal to a fair few buyers?

2012 Peugeot 301
2012 Peugeot 301

What are those interior materials like? Pale, hard plastics on the door casings and velour upholstery. Nothing about the shapes scared me. With more appropriate trim I don’t see why this couldn’t find customers. Continue reading “Not For Sale Around Here: 2012 Peugeot 301”

Theme: Materials – Body Building

Originally carpenters made horsedrawn carriages with wooden bodies. They carried this technology over to the horseless carriage. 

Aluminium and wood and leather- Bristol's materials of choice
Aluminium and wood and leather- Bristol’s materials of choice

Then it became clear that for large scale production, a saw, hammer and some nails would not be up to the task. Design involves choosing a balance between what the material needs to do and how it can be formed. The appearance emerges from this compromise – the required look can drive material selection and vice versa. Often the balance is not even something at the forefront of the designer’s mind if they are working out of habit or tradition. Continue reading “Theme: Materials – Body Building”

Some Photos For Sunday: 1986 Citroen CX Prestige

Or parts of one. The photos were taken by our Dublin correspondent, Mick, who has a new post at his blog. You may want to take a gander…

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It’s a small world and in Dublin you can get to know the fleet of older classics. I am pretty sure I have seen this car driving around. I believe it might belong to a member of the Citroen Car Club and was once owned by a mining and energy magnate whose name eludes me. He had a Citroen dealership hence the car. Continue reading “Some Photos For Sunday: 1986 Citroen CX Prestige”

Theme of Last Month: Values – Head over heart?

A quick game of word association around the kitchen table with select members of my tribe provided a 100% consistent response: I say, ‘values’ – tribe members respond, ‘family’. Looks like I’ll be writing about our family car, then. 

2006 Citroen Xsara Picasso: source
2006 Citroen Xsara Picasso: source

Ladies (out of interest, does DTW have any female readers?) and gentlemen, I give you the Citroen Xsara Picasso. By the end of this September, we will have owned our Xsara Picasso for 10 years. This is a record for me. It’s almost certainly down to the fact that my wife uses it more than I and she’s perfectly happy with it. My wife appreciates my passion for automobiles, but does not really share in it, so the Picasso is a utility which causes little or no grief and performs its function without fuss – ergo, why get rid? Continue reading “Theme of Last Month: Values – Head over heart?”

Theme: Values – France

It’s time for a bit of sweeping generalisation. Let me sweepingly generalise about French cars.

1984 Renault Espace
1984 Renault Espace

You’ll have to forgive the broad brushstrokes here. That’s how I like to start before thinking about the curlicues and details that put nuances on a rough outline. France’s automotive values emerged from the soup of French culture. That is itself a richly complex thing which has attracted the attention of the rest of the world for as long as wine, olives, cheese and berets have been cultivated in the mosaic of terroirs that make up the nation. Continue reading “Theme: Values – France”

Theme: Values – Quentin Willson’s 1992 Used-Car Tips

What are they worth now? Read on to find out.

1992 Buying Cars magazine cover

Quentin Willson, writing in Buying Cars (March 1992) offered his “dealer’s choice” of the best 50 cars. It would be a work of enormous tedium to examine the fate of his entire listing. I’ll focus on his first choice in each group. Which car turned out to hold its value most? Continue reading “Theme: Values – Quentin Willson’s 1992 Used-Car Tips”

Something Rotten in Denmark: 1964-1967 Buick Skylark

This is one for someone with patience, some spanners, some paint and a lot of money for petrol.

1964 Buick Skylark
1964 Buick Skylark

“Tatty” describes this remnant of Detroit’s golden years, a Buick Skylark which descended from the base-model Special as a line of its own in 1964. That´s a recurring theme in GM´s model evolution, how separate lines would emerge from trim variants and sometimes fade back again. It makes these cars somewhat hard to pin down if you are not into the cladistics of the USican automotive zoo. That bifurcation of product lines is something that doesn´t happen so much now. Maybe the Ford Vignale might be a recent example of the type (though Top Gear´s 2016 Car Buyers [sic] Guide does not even deign to Continue reading “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1964-1967 Buick Skylark”

A Photo For Sunday: 2007 Citroen C6

One sunny morning during the Easter period I spied this with my little eye.

2007 Citroen C6 lamp
2007 Citroen C6 lamp: instantly recognisable

There was not much time to stand and really take the car in. I had a six-year old waiting exasperatedly in my car. What I did notice was that the interior was better than I remembered it. Journalists wrote disparagingly about the centre console carried over from the Peugeot 407 but as I can never recall that car’s interior, the duplication does not strike me. It would have mattered if it had been a 406 as I have that interior engraved on my mental screen. This 2007 car had the beige leather and so looked nicely spacious and, indeed, seemed to be bearing up well which is unusual for cars in Dublin. The climate, the roads, the indifference of Irish owners to tidiness all Continue reading “A Photo For Sunday: 2007 Citroen C6”

Coming Back to America? PSA Looks West : 2

Part two: Can PSA really make it in America? Driventowrite continues its investigation.

Image:citroenvie
Image:citroenvie

A widely acknowledged axiom in business crisis management is there are five key steps to corporate recovery. First: change the senior management. Second: rapidly identify and scope the nature of the crisis. Third: take action to arrest losses by cutting the cost base. Four: Stabilise the business and five: return to growth. Up to now, PSA’s Carlos Tavares has stuck rigidly to this playbook, ruthlessly extracting cost from the business, yielding financial results that have had the industry’s top analysts patting his head in approval. Continue reading “Coming Back to America? PSA Looks West : 2”

Coming Back to America? PSA Looks West : 1

Part one: Recent reports suggest PSA are considering a return to the US market. Are they out of their minds?

Peugeot had modest US success with the 505 model. Image:productioncars
Peugeot had modest US success with the 505 model. Image:productioncars

If it isn’t chiseled in stone somewhere, it probably should be. Because if you want to make a success of the auto business, you really do need a viable (and profitable) presence in the United States – it’s simply too big, too diverse and too lucrative a market to ignore. Conversely, it’s also amongst the toughest to break into. Casualties are inevitable, even for the more successful entrants; an unintended acceleration issue here, a diesel scandal there, but you only have to track the fortunes of the auto-absentees to understand the price of retrenchment. Continue reading “Coming Back to America? PSA Looks West : 1”

Theme : Suspension – Hydrolastic rubbery goodness

A long time ago the Midlands of Britain were at the cutting edge of suspension design.

Hydrolastic suspension: source
Hydrolastic suspension: source

In 1955 Citroen presented their DS which had a suspension system markedly different from the ones with which drivers were familiar. The British Motor Corporation picked up Citroen´s fragrant gauntlet. Their attempt to improve ride and handling went under the name hydrolastic and they offered it first on the period´s equivalent of a bog-standard family car, the 1100-series (born as ADO16). Continue reading “Theme : Suspension – Hydrolastic rubbery goodness”

Geneva Bites – Citroën: Back in the Wacky Races

Citroën has a mountain to climb. Is quirkiness the answer?

Citroen A (2)
Less interesting than an out of town retail park  Image:autovia-media

Unless you are won over by the C4 Cactus, or still dreaming the MPV dream while the world turns to SUVs, you will find the current Citroën collection dreary and dispiriting. Old cars, odd cars, Mitsubishi ‘captives’.So what’s the solution, apart from More Airbumps, as promised by CEO Linda Jackson? Continue reading “Geneva Bites – Citroën: Back in the Wacky Races”

Geneva oddities: Citroen Space Tourer Hyphen

While browsing around the pickings and leavings of the 2016 Geneva Motor Show I found this. Autocar, Car and Car & Driver forgot to mention it, as far as I know. But Autoblog gave it some space – we salute you. It´s the Space Tourer from Citroen.

2016 Citroen Space Tourer Hyphen: source
2016 Citroen Space Tourer Hyphen: source

It´s quite a refreshing combination of shapes and graphic design. They ought to put it into production. It´s huge fun.

This is some of what Autblog said: “Based on the standard SportTourer, this concept received input from the French band Hyphen Hyphen, and adds four-wheel-drive, a beefy increase in ride height, and neat 19-inch wheels. According to Citroen, that helps give it “an SUV personality.” It looks good on the outside, with its orange-and-gray color scheme, but the setup in the cabin is even neater. It’s very, very colorful, and like all good European vans, has a manual transmission. It looks like there’s seating for at least seven, but we’d be worried about he impact that has on its ability to haul guitars and amps.” Go and read more Autoblog because actually it´s a useful site.

Theme: Special – 1992 Citroen BX Millesime

Marcello Gandini designed the BX and it appeared in 1982. The design resisted tinkering and looked freshly out of this world even towards its end in 1994.

BX
1992 Citroen BX Millesime. Click Here For A Little Film

Twelve years is a very long run for a car in the competitive middle-sized class and it´s a credit to the original engineering and styling that it still remained believable right up to the end. However, even Citroen had to face the realities of the market and succumbed to a succession of special editions to try and generate interest in their car. Continue reading “Theme: Special – 1992 Citroen BX Millesime”

Theme: Special – Citroen AX K.Way

On scraping the back of my mind as to why this particular special had held a certain fascination for me, I think it was the very fact that, come to think of it, I could not detect what exactly was so special about this edition.

  • DTW looks at a Special Edition that was remarkable for its ordinariness.
citroen-AX-Kway-1
1988-1990 Citroen AX K-way: source

I feel duty bound to contribute something on the above theme, having agitated for it a couple of themes ago. I mentioned then a particular special edition that lodged itself in my mind, kind of like a piece of apple-peel between two molars: the AX K.Way. On scraping the back of my mind as to why this particular special had held a certain fascination for me, I think it was the very fact that, come to think of it, I could not detect what exactly was so special about this edition.

In the scholastic year ’90-’91, I was a very English student attending a very French university in Paris. A direct consequence of deciding to pursue this opportunity was that I gave up ownership of a beloved AX which I had purchased and owned from new. I recall a pining for said Alpine (?) White 11RE (4-speed – I have always regretted not paying the extra for 5, in spite of being a poor-ish student) and, hence, noticing these similarly attired cars that were quite prevalent on the streets of the City of Light. Continue reading “Theme: Special – Citroen AX K.Way”

A quarter century of the unexceptional Citroen ZX

 

Let´s look back at a quarter of a century of disappointment from Citroen. The ZX is 25 years old today.

1991 Citroen ZX: motorstown.com
1991 Citroen ZX: motorstown.com

Such was the let-down of seeing the first photos of the Citroen ZX that I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing at that moment. You don´t normally remember this kind of thing. If you recall that Citroen´s previous big launch had been the XM, then you can understand the shock of the ZX´s all-round ordinariness. Even if the XM cost three times the price of the ZX, the difference in character was still very marked. There´s almost, but not quite, nothing Citroen about the ZX other than the badge. If you look very carefully you can find
Continue reading “A quarter century of the unexceptional Citroen ZX”

The Superb Skoda – a Mixed Blessing

The latest Superb from Skoda is a very nice thing, but I’m concerned that it lacks the essence of … Skoda

It looks rather nice from afar but is it a car to ever really love, asks SV Robinson.

2015 Skoda Superb.jpeg
20105 Skoda Suberb: newdaypost

The other morning I had the pleasure of parking up at Milton Keynes Central Station car park early, and was struck by the profile and form of the two cars between which I had inserted my C6 (I still can’t drive a manual, which is no significant hardship really, but now I’m threatened once again with immobility as the Citroen’s power steering is definitely on the blink – there always seems to Continue reading “The Superb Skoda – a Mixed Blessing”

Diamond Dog Remixed

Recently we had a bit of a discussion about the DS brand. I suggested the DS5 could do with being lower and having a different front fascia. 

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Squint and consider the roughly-made changes wrought on this image. It´s squashed by perhaps 7% and I deleted the busy stuff under the lamps. The foglamp moved rearwards. Out of curiosity I fixed the C-pillar. It´s crude work but gives at least a feel for what else this car might have been.

You´ll have to ignore the odd glitch in the A-pillar. That happened while I was compressing the image and I noticed it too late to change it.

Car Noise 2015? Part 1

A few days ago we took a general overview of the year past and reviewed the big trends.  In this article we will look at the pointless details, the stuff you´ll have forgotten by the time you swipe the screen and return to your mince pies.

2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia - was this the most discussed car of the year? www.autoexpress.com
2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia – was this the most discussed car of the year? http://www.autoexpress.com

January

Land Rover´s Discovery Sport made the front pages of the magazines and as far as I recall I didn´t read another word about this life-style accessory for the rest of the year. Jean Marc-Gales discussed his plans to save Lotus which reminds me of the perennial stories about [insert name of manager]´s attempts to save Alfa Romeo.  Among his promises: a four-door Lotus, an SUV. At present, the only hybrid they have is a concept Evora  and that was from 2012.

In the same month we got to read reviews of the Audi RSQ3, the new Suzuki Vitara, the Fiat 500X and Mazda 2. Maserati celebrated a 100 years by carrying on making their cars less and less attractive.

The Bentley SUV’s name emerged into the world and customers soon snapped up the cars by placing orders. At the other end of the year road tests declared it to be a) big, b) fast and c) thirsty. Job done.

February

The world rocked on its axis as Jaguar decided to Continue reading “Car Noise 2015? Part 1”

Visa in Three Volumes

The Citroën Visa was never a wildly popular choice in the British Isles during its lifetime and with just over 40 Visas reportedly still registered in the UK, it’s now on the extinction list.

Visa saloon Prototype. Image via autoshite.
A potential latter-day Ami 6? Image via autoshite.

Rarer still would have been this, a putative Visa saloon – (possibly Photoshopped?). Citroën – (via Heuliez) – did explore a five-door ‘break’ or estate variant, which never went beyond a mock-up.  Continue reading “Visa in Three Volumes”

The Origin of the SpeCies – aeroglazing

Perhaps we might be coming to the end of this particular strand. Here are three concepts from Ford/Ghia and GM that show the gestation of the glazed C-pillar.

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 The last vehicle, the GM, is the most convincing as it shows the floating roof though more importantly, the glazing carrying from the side-glass around the C-pillar. The Fords show a will to glaze the C-pillar yet retaining a small radius from the side to the rear. GM´s stylist had the insight to make the radii from side to front and side to back bigger. It had a dramatic effect on the shape of the wing-to-bonnet as well. Notice Continue reading “The Origin of the SpeCies – aeroglazing”

Behind Closed Doors

A foiled museum visit leaves DTW’s temporary Continental Correspondent in a philosophical frame of mind.

Citromuseum 01

My recent attempt to visit Citromuseum in Castellane in the French Alps was foiled by its rather short opening hours. Arriving in the morning, I found that, except for July and August, it only opens in the afternoon and, unfortunately, by that particular afternoon I needed to be somewhere else.

Personally, I’m not sure how much I missed. With no disrespect to the museum itself, which I believe contains a comprehensive collection of low-mileage Citroens in original condition and is run by an energetic, enthusiastic and good-natured curator, I tend to agree with Richard Herriott, who wrote a piece on this site about car museums early last year. Continue reading “Behind Closed Doors”

2015 Citroen C4 1.6 BlueHDi roadtest

The Citroen C4 has been on sale for half a decade. The time is right to put one to the test.

2015 Citroen C4 BlueHDi: it has nice interior lamps.
2015 Citroen C4 BlueHDi: it has nice interior lamps.

During the course of this weekend test I really did struggle to think of something to say that did not over-emphasise my feelings about the car. The thing is that the C4 is a collection of details that don´t hang together. The character of the car is not in the measurable dimensions. It doesn´t actually have any character at all.

Looking at the outside of the vehicle there can be found a collection of modish features that are there to conceal quite flat sides and a less than thrilling profile. You would imagine this is to Continue reading “2015 Citroen C4 1.6 BlueHDi roadtest”

2015 Citroen C4 Picasso review

DTW took a Citroen C4 Picasso on a 186 mile trip. It does one thing better than an Opel Zafira. We´ll come to that later….

2015 Citroen C4 Picasso in diesel guise
2015 Citroen C4 Picasso in diesel guise

Introduction

There´s so much wrong with this car. Ahead of you are 1740 words, almost none of them are complimentary.

More introduction

The C4 Picasso is a car that I am sure that you have all seen on the school run, launched in 2013. It has seven seats and an electrically powered tailgate. DTW took charge of a C4 Picasso with the express intention of seeing how it coped with three adults and two children.  Normally I would structure a review like this along the lines of: general description, design, engineering, driving, comfort and conclusion. That general ordering assumes that all of those things are of equal value and you´d want to Continue reading “2015 Citroen C4 Picasso review”

Something Rotten in Denmark: 1988 Citroen CX diesel

The seller placed this ad in January and the car is still for sale despite the promise of a complete lack of rust.

1988 Citroen CX 2.5 TD
1988 Citroen CX 2.5 TD

According to the spiel, the car came from Switzerland three years ago. The car has had a new timing belt fitted, its wheels renovated and the ashtray emptied. It even has a full Danish motor certificate which is a guarantee the underbody is sound. Alas, one of the engine´s valves has blown and the owner has not had the strength of character to get around to wanting to Continue reading “Something Rotten in Denmark: 1988 Citroen CX diesel”

Old wine in a new bottle? Or old wine in an old bottle?

Our good friends at Automotive News Europe have interviewed Citroen´s CEO, Linda Jackson: expect more Cactussy Citroens.

Design-wise that C-pillar is absurd. The stuff that looks like it might be glass isn´t. Outward visibility is still actually very good and the slim b-pillars are excellent. Those rear windows don´t wind down, however.
Citroen´s template for more Citroens.

Here is the article´s intro: “The C4 Cactus has been a sales winner. Citroen has sold 90,000 C4 Cactus models since its debut last year and the car was awarded the World Car Design of the Year at the New York auto show in April. Citroen CEO Linda Jackson wants to channel the quirky compact hatchback’s success into the rest of the brand’s lineup. Jackson explained how in an interview with Automotive News EuropeCorrespondent Nick Gibbs.” I recommend you Continue reading “Old wine in a new bottle? Or old wine in an old bottle?”

Forthcoming Fiats Will Be Like IKEA.

FCA’s Olivier François outlines Fiat’s flat-pack future. 

Fiat brand CEO, Olivier Francois. Image via thedetroitbureau
Fiat brand CEO, Olivier Francois. Image via thedetroitbureau

On the basis of his recent outpourings, I rather doubt whether FCA’s Olivier François has ever been to an IKEA retail outlet. After all, visiting one of their stores is a little like dentistry. Numbingly unpleasant but necessary. On those occasions I’m forced to go, I try to plan my expeditions in military fashion: go when its quiet, get in, get the target and get the hell out. Continue reading “Forthcoming Fiats Will Be Like IKEA.”

Theme : Hybrids : The French-Italian Connection

Cars no longer differ from country to country, but once they had definite national characteristics. What happened when two nations met – collaboration, collision or confusion?

Maserati Khamsin

We now seem to have reached a consensus that the type of car most should be is ‘Germanic’, being lazy shorthand for something efficient, hard riding, fast enough and, usually, a bit clinical. Some sports cars remain, possibly, more traditionally ‘Italianate’ in spirit, being nervy, noisy and involving to drive. Nowadays, though, car making is truly a global industry where an Italian car maker might produce a model exclusively in Poland, and where the designers and engineers come from scores of different nations. Nearly fifty years ago this wasn’t the case. American manufacturers found that they couldn’t build 66% scale models of their domestic products and expect to sell them in Europe – from time to time they tried but learnt the lesson. Equally, German makers didn’t really expect their more austere offerings to be that popular in France, where a car was expected to be a bit more cosseting. And if it was sportiness you wanted, no-one really expected to tell the Italians what to do. Continue reading “Theme : Hybrids : The French-Italian Connection”

Theme : Evolution – When Genes Mutate

We go back to a time before fun was a 24/7 obligation

Image : citroenet.org
Image : citroenet.org

It’s near midnight early in 1955 in a nondescript French suburb. The scene is an office, deserted except for one man at a drawing board. There is a sudden flash of green light.

André Lefèbvre (for it is he) : What was that?

Linda Jackson (for it is she) : Hello André. I’m Linda. Don’t stand there looking gobsmacked. You’re French aren’t you? Don’t we shake hands?

Of course, my apologies Madame … ouch!

Oops! Sorry André, couldn’t resist. Electric handshake! You’ve got to have a bit of fun now and then. So, this is the famous Bureau d’Études? I must say, it’s a bit disappointing. Bit scuzzy really.

It is where we work. We just need the basics. The richness is in our minds.

Oh dear, it’s true what I’ve read about you. Sounds like you’ve spent a bit too much time with your Existentialist pals on the Left Bank. Anyway, I wasn’t knocking your workplace. It just looks a bit on the cheap side – Carlos would love it.

Who are you?

I’m your boss. Or rather I would be if you’d lived long enough.

But you are a woman. And you’re wearing trousers. Continue reading “Theme : Evolution – When Genes Mutate”

Is this news?

Before penning this I consulted Simon about this story on the demise of the Citroën oleopneumatic suspension system. He reminded me that the matter had come up a year ago and indeed I had myself imagined that the current Citroën C5 would be the last hydraulic Citroën. What prompted me to think it was news was that TTAC reported it yesterday. And they got the story from…

1989 Citroen XM: oppositelock.kinja.com
1989 Citroen XM: oppositelock.kinja.com

Continue reading “Is this news?”

The CX line – a micropost on the reverberations of certain design themes across decades and between brands and a reflection on their meaning

One of our readers has asked for further clarification on the meaning of the “CX line” with respect to the 2008 Renault Laguna. The first photo shows the 1976 Citroen CX, designed by Robert Opron. The second photo shows a Series 1 Renault Laguna from 2009. The CX line is partially obscured by the cut-out of the headlamps and, of course, is set within a more complex environment than the corresponding line on the 1976 car.

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Continue reading “The CX line – a micropost on the reverberations of certain design themes across decades and between brands and a reflection on their meaning”

Second Opinion: 2015 Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 diesel

SV Robinson´s review of the Citroen Cactus is deservedly our most nibbled item of clickbait here at DTW. I finally had a chance to sample the delights of Citroen´s stylish (or over-styled) supermini crossover so I hope to grab a slice of the action.

2015 Citroen C4 Cactus. I took too long to set up the photo.
2015 Citroen C4 Cactus. I took too long to set up the photo.

The version I tested had a 1.6 litre diesel engine and a five-speed gearbox. Whether it could muster 91 or 99 hp never became clear to me. The version I tested had the handy reversing camera and the full glass roof plus a centre arm rest for the driver. The interior is very colour sensitive and the grey tones of the test car dampened the sculptural quality of much the interior trim. There really is no reason to Continue reading “Second Opinion: 2015 Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 diesel”