Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Citroen

Citroen


A chronological day-by-day history of Citroen.

Thursday 2nd April 1896

120 years ago

Armand Peugeot set up his own company, Société Anonyme des Automobiles Peugeot. He built a factory at Audincourt, dedicated to the manufacture of cars with an internal combustion engine.By 1899 sales cars for Peugeot got up to 300, which is pretty decent considering that during that year only 1200 cars were sold in France. In 1903 Peugeot added motorcycles to his factory production. After a brief period out of racing, a Peugeot car managed to win the Indianapolis 500 with Jules Goux at the wheel in 1913. The success of the car was due to the introduction of the DOHC 4 valves per cylinder engine. As war dawned in Europe, Peugeot turned to making arms and military vehicles of course. The good thing about surviving the war was that cars were now becoming more of a necessity and less of a luxury which meant bigger sales for Peugeot. In 1929 the first 201 model was introduced, a way of numbering cars that would be trademarked by the French automaker. Having survived the depression, the company the tried in 1933 to woo buyers with a more aerodynamic look. The model that came out that year had a retractable hard top, an innovation that would be also picked up by Mercedes. During the Second World War, Peugeot fate took a turn for the worse as its factories were forced to build cars and weapons for the German war effort. By the end of the war, the plants were heavily bombed and in need of reparations. It would take the company until 1948 to resume car production with the 203 model. This was only the beginning as a new series of Italian-designed models by Pininfarina completed the line-up. The success of these cars determined Peugeot to start selling in the US too in 1958. By this time, Peugeot starting collaborating with other manufacturers such as Renault (1966) and Volvo (1972). In a bid to acquire a bigger share of the market, Peugeot bought 30% of Citroen in 1974, taking over completely in just two years which meant a change in the company's name, now the PSA (Peugeot Societe Anonyme). This partnership meant that the two brands could make use of each other's technical achievements but keep their independence design-wise. Further expansion of the PSA group saw the overtaking of the European division of Chrysler in 1978, an investment which proved faulty as most Chrysler facilities and machinery was old and worn out. These models were later sold under the Talbot brand. When sales began to go under, Peugeot decided to pull the plug on all models except the Arizona which became the 309 in 1986. During the 90s Peugeot got some of its old fame back after a series of miscalculations regarding the general direction of the company. The current model line-up is aiming towards a more luxurious market, with cost cuts no longer being made to sacrifice the overall look and feel of the car. Some wins in the racing world, including rallies and even Formula 1, have helped Peugeot with sales. Now Peugeot has developed several new model ranges, outside the classic 200, 300, 400 and 600 series. The 100 and 900 are the exact opposite, with the 100 eyeing the super compact range while 900 is not for the budget shoppers. The French automaker has even a hybrid vehicle in the make, a version of the 307.

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Thursday 30th March 1899

118 years ago

The Renault corporation was founded as the Societe Renault Freres in Billancourt, France as a family firm by three Renault brothers Louis, Marcel and Fernand with a capital of 60,000 francs. From the very beginning, Louis managed to show innovation when he invented and later patented a direct drive system on his De Dion-Bouton tricycle which he already turned into a four-wheel vehicle. Louis also understood that it would be only through racing that he would make the Renault name known to the world so he entered his vehicles in city-to-city races where his brothers acted as drivers. A number of victories earned them the notoriety they were searching for. People watching the races made orders despite the fact the cars were expensive for the time. The company quickly developed and set up shop by the Seine. The model line-up now had several models, including the first saloon in 1902. That was also the year that Louis designed his first engine, a four-cylinder, which gave out 24 HP. In 1903, Marcel, one of the Renault brothers died in the Paris to Madrid race in a crash, a hard blow both for the company and for Louis who would now assign professional drivers to race for Renault. Instead, he focused on bringing Renault carts to more European markets and even over to the Americas.As the gap between the United States and Europe widened because of the war and the economic crash, Renault sought to improve production and to lower costs. After the economic crisis, he wanted to become more autonomous and started buying all sorts of businesses that provided him with the materials and parts needed to make cars. He also modernized the factory, emulating Ford and his plant, introducing assembly plants in 1922. During the economic crash of the 30s, all car manufacturers had to suffer and Renault was no exception. The company was forced to cut costs, reduce staff and become more efficient in production. That's why it started expanding into other areas, basically building anything with a motor attached to it. Busses, lorries, electric railcars, tractors and even airplane engines, all were now coming out of the Renault plant.With worker strikes plaguing all of the country, Renault was nationalized by the government in 1945 in order to keep it from going bankrupt like Citroen had done some years before. The first project made by the new company was the small 4CV, but it was postponed until after WWII. For the European market, small cars were the future because they were cheap to buy and maintain.The 4CV, introduced in 1946, proved to be a major success, much larger than initially expected. With the money the company made from sales, it bought and developed heavy machinery to help with production. Renault then turned again to the heavy goods sector and by merging two existent companies, Latil and Somua, they created a new company, completely dedicated to making trucks – Saviem. As the 4CV aged, a new model was ready to surface, the Dauphine, which appeared in 1956. It too enjoyed great success, even in the US. In fact, it was so successful over the ocean that Renault had to setup a special transport company, CAT, to accommodate the high demand. Next, the Renault 4 and the Renault 8 took over where the Dauphine left off in 1961.Renault started the 70s with another success, the sportier and more agile Renault 5, which owed its favorable welcome to its fuel efficiency during the oil crisis. But this didn't mean that the company was safe during these turbulent times. In a bid to retake the American market, Renault started assembling Rambler complete knock down kits and marketing them as Renault Ramblers.Also during the 70s, Renault began expanding its influence and opened up plants in Eastern Europe, Africa and even Australia. The partnership with the American AMC company came in 1979. At the beginning of the 80s, Renault found itself in financial trouble again and the chairman of the company at the time decided to pul the company out of racing altogether, as well as selling all non-essential assets and cutting costs left and right. The good news was that by 1987 the company began turning the balance in favor of profit, so that at the beginning of the 90s, a whole new line-up was released on the market and all models proved successful: the new Clio, the new Espace, Twingo and the Laguna. The 1995 Renault Megane was the first car ever to achieve a four-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests. Also during the 90s, Renault returned to Formula 1 racing and with success nonetheless, having won the Championship in 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997. In 1996 it was decided that a state-owned status of the company would not benefit in the long run so it was privatized again. Renault made further investments in Brazil, Argentina and Turkey. After 2000, it launched a series of less successful vehicles like the Avantime and the Vel Satis, but also continued successfully with older series like the Clio, Laguna and Megane. Now the government owns 15,7% of the company, which has since bought Romanian car manufactures Dacia and the South Korean Samsung not to mention 20% of Volvo

Renault 4CV

Renault 4CV

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Saturday 4th July 1908

108 years ago

The world's largest electric sign, 'CITROEN". debuted on the sides of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. A total of 250,000 light bulbs and 600 kilometres of electric cable were used to make the 30 metre high letters. It was recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest advertisement. The illuminations were so bright that Charles Lindbergh used the tower as a beacon when coming into land after his solo flight across the Atlantic. The sign remained in place until the company went bankrupt in 1934 (perhaps because of its high electricity bills). The company was saved a month later by Michelin at the request of the French government – Michelin was Citroën’s biggest creditor. Pierre Michelin replaced André Citroën as Chairman. More recently, to celebrate Citroën’s 90th anniversary and 120 years of the Eiffel Tower, Citroën created a special 12 minute light show as a display of ‘Créative Technologie’. Citroën streamed live footage of the event from webcams mounted in 10 new Citroën C3s, which were positioned at key vantage points around the tower itself. Cleverly, they used the event to market the C3's new 'Zenith windscreen', which, according to them, provided “unprecedented levels of visibility – perfect for admiring the full height of the Eiffel Tower and the new light show in all its glory.”

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Saturday 28th January 1911

106 years ago

The first Monte Carlo Rally ended with Frenchman Henri Rougier, in a Turcat-Mery, declared the winner. The event, officially the Rallye Monte Carlo, was organized at the behest of Prince Albert I (great-grandfather of current Prince Albert II and grandfather of Prince Rainier III, who married American actress Grace Kelly). Like many motoring contests of the time, it was seen primarily as a way for auto manufacturers to test new cars and new technologies, much like the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.Results of the hybrid event depended not on driving time alone, but on judges’ assessment of the automobiles’ design and passenger comfort, as well as what condition the vehicles were in after covering 1,000 kilometers of roads not really made for the horseless carriage. The arbitrary system provoked a minor outrage, but the judges’ decision stood. Automobile dealer Henri Rougier won first place in a Turcat-Méry 45-horsepower model. Second place went to a driver named Aspaigu in a Gobron and third to Jules Beutler in a Martini. The rally was held again the following year, but then not again until 1924. World War II and its aftermath interrupted the annual event, with no rallies from 1940 through 1948.Winning the rally gave a car manufacturer a great deal of publicity and trustworthiness. Before Paddy Hopkirk won the rally in 1964, Mini was seen as being just a commuter car. After winning, the Mini Cooper was seen as a world-beater and a hot performance car — all thanks to the Rallye. The Monte Carlo Rally is a racing event unlike any other. Where most speed contests are held on specially prepared and scrupulously maintained race tracks, the Monte Carlo is held on the roads to the north of the principality (which has a total area of just 0.76 square mile). Unlike on a race track, where there are walls to keep the cars from flying off, and safety crews seemingly every 50 yards or so, the Monte Carlo Rally has distinguishing features like narrow mountain roads, cliffs with drop-offs measured in the hundreds of feet, snow and ice. About a quarter of its stages are run at night in pitch blackness. Since 1973, the race has been held in January as the first race of the FIA World Rally Championship season. Running under the WRC calendar, the Monte Carlo Rally has highlighted wins from some of the greatest rally drivers of all time. Sandro Munari won the Monte Carlo three times in a row. Walter Röhrl had four victories. The tragic Henri Toivonen blazed to victory in 1986. Finnish superstar Tommi Mäkinen won four times in a row. And all of them were eclipsed by the young French phenomenon Sébastien Loeb, who has won Monte Carlo a staggering five times. And the cars these drivers piloted to victory also rank as some of the all-time greats: the svelte and diminutive Alpine-Renault A110 1800, the sci-fi–looking Lancia Stratos, the brutal Audi Quattro A2, the suicidally fast Lancia Delta S4, Mitsubishi’s evergreen Lancer Evo and most recently the Citroën Xsara WRC.

Henri Rougier and the victorious 45Hp Turcat-Méry before the inaugural Monte Carlo rally

Henri Rougier and the victorious 45Hp Turcat-Méry before the inaugural Monte Carlo rally

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Wednesday 5th February 1919

98 years ago

The first Voisin automobile was completed and test driven by Gabriel Voisin. Eccentric and iconoclastic, Gabriel Voisin was an aviation pioneer who sought to imprint his considerable ego on the world of automobiles. And why would he not have an ego? Wasn't it he, and not those Americans, the Wrights, who was first to fly an airplane? Hadn't his design for a V-12 pointed the way for Rolls-Royce to develop its own? Voisin's creations were true mirrors of his soul, some of the most extreme, flamboyant, and aesthetically refined vehicles ever to move under their own power. Voisin--the name translates as "neighbor"--was born at Belleville-sur-Saone, France, on February 5, 1880, the son of foundry engineer Georges Voisin. He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in nearby Lyon, and landed a job with the Parisian architectural firm of Godefroy & Freynet, but his head was in the clouds--he was interested in flight. He left architecture to join Ernest Archdeacon, head of the Aviation Syndicate, and in 1904 joined his brother Charles and Louis Bleriot, who would go on to fame as the first man to fly the English Channel, in taking over the Surcouf Aviation factory at Billancourt. When Bleriot left in 1907, the Voisin brothers established Voisin Freres in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, the world's first aviation firm. Voisin built an airplane that took off under its own power and remained airborne for 250 feet at a time when Wright's planes needed a catapult to get aloft--leading to his claim to have created the first true flying machine. In 1909, at 29, he became the youngest knight of the French Legion of Honor. The Voisins expanded their business, and succeeded in selling 59 aircraft by 1911, though Gabriel was greatly affected when Charles was killed the next year in a car crash. Fortune smiled in 1914, when Alexandre Miller, the French minister of war, chose the Voisin as the standard aircraft for the French air force. The factory was not big enough to meet demand, so his biplanes were built by other aircraft manufacturers, including Breguet and Nieuport. When the Armistice of 1918 brought an end to the big aircraft orders, Voisin beat his swords into plowshares, turning his large factory and 2,000 employees to the production of automobiles. For his first car, named the C1 for his late brother, Voisin bought a ready-made design that had been turned down by Citroën because its 80hp Knight sleeve-valve engine had been deemed too expensive to manufacture. Eccentric or stubborn, once Gabriel Voisin had chosen the sleeve-valve design, he stayed with it through the end of production, paying Charles Knight a royalty on each unit. Voisin tinkered with other ideas, including a 500cc cyclecar he called le Sulky, and the wildly experimental C2, shown at the Paris Salon of 1921. Its narrow-angle, 7.2-liter, V-12 engine was a masterpiece of complexity inside, but a minimalist triumph on the outside. Each wheel had its own closed hydraulic circuit, and the clutch consisted of two facing turbines in an oil bath. "It was too complex and therefore prohibitively expensive to produce in as small a factory as ours," Voisin admitted. The C1 was followed in production by the C3, with a high-compression engine producing as much as 140hp. Voisin offered a reward of 500,000 francs to anyone who could produce an engine of the same size that matched the Voisin's efficiency and performance, and never had to pay out--no one took up the challenge. Other models followed, including the four-cylinder C4, the car that beat the Orient Express from Paris to Milan, and the six-cylinder C11, the most commercially successful of all Voisin's cars. He built three cars propelled by his V12L engine, an inline-12 that was two straight-sixes coupled end to end. Despite his background in aviation, Voisin's coachwork owed much more to his earlier career as an architect. His designs were light, but hardly could be considered aerodynamic, their odd angles, planes and curves owing more to cubism than the wind tunnel. In fact, Voisin maintained a friendship with modernist architect Le Corbusier, who designed the door handles on early cars and would later champion Voisin's ideas for a planned industrial city. Whatever his strengths as an engineer, Voisin was a poor businessman, and often showed his disdain for the typical motorist. His suggestion for those who criticized his cars was that they buy another make. He was contemptuous of American-style advertising that put emotion ahead of cold facts, and sneered at those who would swallow such advertising. The Depression was hard on a company like Voisin that catered to the wealthy and the famous, and Gabriel Voisin lost control of his company in 1932, much like his countryman, Andre Citroën. Though he was able to regain it in 1934, he lost it for good three years later. Voisin continued to create, designing an aluminum microcar called the Biscooter after the war, and exploring ideas for steam power. An odd, six-wheeled truck powered by a 200cc engine, shown at the 1958 Paris Salon, became the last car to bear his name. He retired to Tournus in 1960 to write his memoirs, and received a steady stream of visitors, many of whom wanted to know about his rather extensive love life. (Separated from his wife, Adrienne Lola, in 1926, he married a Spanish girl of about 18 in 1950, and set up house with her and her elder sister, who "came as part of her dowry.") He remained close to his daughter from his first marriage, Jeanne. Voisin wanted to talk about his place in aviation history, and showed no interest in his automobiles. "Why are you bothering with old crocks like that?" he asked a visitor who had arrived in a Voisin. "At your age, you should be spending your time and money on pretty girls." Voisin died on Christmas Day, 1973, and was buried in the village of Le Villars, not far from his birthplace.

Gabriel Voisin

Gabriel Voisin

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Wednesday 28th May 1919

97 years ago

The first Citroen car, the Model A went into production, prior to its launch in April. A massive advertising campaign had preceded it with full page advertisements in newspapers and magazines announcing the launch of 'Europe's first mass production' car. Orders for 16,000 cars were reported as having been received within a fortnight and the break-even target of 30,000 was reported as having been reached before any car left the plant. The sales drive was backed with the introduction of over 1,000 Citroen dealers throughout France fully conversant with the model being launched and backed with published repair costs and stocks of spare parts. Owners had access to maintenance manuals and detailed spare parts catalogues. Buyers were barraged with posters and advertisements including eventually the lighting up of the Eiffel Tower with an enormous sign spelling out the name Citroen. All these publications resulted in Citroen forming his own publishing company named 'André Citroën Editions'

Citroën Type A

Citroën Type A

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Wednesday 7th December 1921

95 years ago

Citroën presents the second model in its range: the B2 - a more powerful and advanced version of the Type A. It was the second European car to have been constructed according to modern mass production technologies. The new car offered more power, the size of its 4-cylinder engine now being increased to 1,452 cc. The car was sometimes known as the Citroën 10HP (or 10CV), the HP in the suffix being a reference to its fiscal horsepower, a number computed according to the cylinder diameters and used to define its taxation class. In terms of engine power, maximum output was listed as 20 bhp at 2,100 rpm, which translated into a claimed top speed of 72 km/h (45 mph). Power reached the rear wheels via a three speed manual transmission: there was no synchromesh. Advertised fuel consumption of 8 litres per 100 km converts into a remarkable 26 MPG (using US gallons) or more than 31 MPG (British gallons). The car quickly gained a reputation for robustness and economy. The car was manufactured, just five minutes from the Eiffel Tower, in the 15th arrondissement of central Paris at the famous factory in the Quai de Javel (subsequently renamed Quai André-Citroën), which by 1925 was producing at the rate of 200 cars per day, applying techniques then known as "Taylorism" which André Citroën had studied personally and in depth during a visit to Dearborn that he had undertaken during the war in order to master the techniques being applied by Henry Ford for the production of the Model T.

Citroën B2

Citroën B2

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Tuesday 10th January 1922

95 years ago

Citroën unveiled its new compact brand vehicle, the 5HP, at the Paris Motor Show. The car was originally called the Type C but was updated to the C2 in 1924 which was in turn superseded by the slightly longer C3 in 1925. The Type C was, and still is, also well known as the 5CV due to its French fiscal rating of its engine for taxation purposes. More colloquial sobriquets, referring to the tapered rear of the little car's body, were 'cul-de-poule' (hen's bottom) and 'boat deck Citroën'. The four-cylinder, 856 cc (52.2 cu in) engine had a bore of 55 mm (2.2 in) and stroke of 90 mm (3.5 in), generating an output of 11 bhp (8.2 kW). There was a single Solex carburettor and magneto ignition. An electric starter was standard, allowing the car to be advertised as especially suitable for lady drivers. There were two types of chassis: the C, which was also used for the C2, and the C3. They varied in length with the original Type C/C2 measuring 2.25 metres (7 ft 5 in) in length, and the 1925 C3 measuring 2.35 metres (7 ft 9 in). The suspension used inverted quarter elliptic springs at the front and rear, braking was on the rear wheels only, controlled by a hand lever, and on the transmission by the foot brake. The maximum speed was 60 km/h (37 mph) with a fuel consumption of 5 l/100 km (56 mpg‑imp; 47 mpg‑US). Only open bodies were made with the original Type C, often nicknamed the "Petit Citron" (little lemon), due to it only being available in yellow at first, as one of the more popular variants. The C2 tourer was a two-seat version but the C3 was a three-seat "Trèfle" (Cloverleaf) three-seat model with room for a single passenger in the rear. There were also C2 and C3 Cabriolets made. There was also a wide range of C2 and C3 commercial models with 32,567 being built. Although a great success, the car was not profitable, and Citroën decided to end "Type C" production in May 1926.

Citroën 5HP.

Citroën 5HP.

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Wednesday 4th October 1922

94 years ago

On the opening day of the seventh Paris Motor Show, an aircraft flew over the city, writing Citroën’s name in letters 3-miles long as the Citroën 5HP was presented. Its 856-cc engine developed 11 bhp at 2,100 rpm. This highly economical vehicle marked the beginning of the ‘democratisation’ of the motor car. It was so easy to drive and maintain that it became the first ‘ladies’ car’. No fewer than 80,759 were built between March 1922 and December 1926. 81 French automobile makers in total exhibited at the show (plus 1 French commercial vehicle manufacturer, 7 "Coach-builders" ) and 25 non-French automobile industry businesses, 113 exhibitors in total.

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Sunday 17th December 1922

94 years ago

A Citroën expedition set off in an attempt to become the first to cross the Sahara Desert by motor car, travelling from Algiers to Timbuktu, a distance of approximately 2,000 miles. They averaged 90 miles a day in 10-bhp Type B2 half-tracks – an enormous effort for the period – and arrived in Timbuktu on 7 January.

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Tuesday 4th August 1925

91 years ago

Noel Westwood and Greg L Davies driving a Citroen 5CV left Perth and returned to that city on 30th December, the first circumnavigation of Australia by car. The vehicle was a second hand Citroen 5CV with 48,000km already on the clock. Their adventures included passing the burnt wreckage of a car abandoned by adventurer and explorer Francis Birtles on an earlier trip to the Northern Territory. Along their journey, punctured tyres were filled with grass and cowhide, and in one incident, the car was carried across the Fitzroy River by local Aboriginals. By Albury on the boarder of New South Wales and Victoria, Greg Davies had had enough and quit the trip. Westwood continued and went on to Melbourne and Adelaide, completing his trip in Perth on December 30, 1925 – during which time he had amassed a total of 17,220 km. Today, the Citroen 5CV is proudly displayed in the main hall of the National Australian Museum.

Noel (Neville) R Westwood and G L Davies

Noel (Neville) R Westwood and G L Davies

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Tuesday 28th September 1926

90 years ago

The 1.5 litre, 22 bhp Citroen B14 was launched at the Paris Motor Show. Equipped with a 3-speed gearbox, it had a maximum speed of 55 mph. A mass-market car with luxury equipment (such as a modern, fully completely equipped dashboard with indirect lighting), the B14 becomes known as "The Indefatigable" and proved to be one of the great motoring success stories of the years between the wars. It was available as a saloon, an open commercial tourer, a 2-seat or 4-seat convertible, a 2-door, 4-seat "coach", a six-window limousine and a 7-seat family vehicle.

Citroen B14

Citroen B14

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Thursday 4th October 1928

88 years ago

The Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460 model, the first Mercedes-Benz car with a straight 8-cylinder engine, was presented at the Paris Motor Show. Citroen presented the C4 and C6, the latter was the marque's first production model to be equipped with a 6-cylinder engine.

Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460

Mercedes-Benz 18/80-hp Nürburg 460

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Thursday 10th January 1929

88 years ago

André Citroën opened the doors of the Quai de Javel factory to the public during the Paris Motor Show. In 1915, during World War One, André Citroën built a shell manufacturing factory on Quai de Javel in Paris. After the war, he converted and expanded the factory to mass produce cars.The Citroën factory on the Quai de Javel was the most modern of its day in Europe (100 vehicles/day in 1919 and 200 vehicles/day in1924). In 1933, despite a particularly difficult financial situation, Citroën decided to completely rebuild the factory in just five months, without stopping production.The Quai de Javel, renamed Quai André Citroën in 1958, produced its last DS in April 1975. Administrative staff moved out in 1982. Today, the Parc André Citroën stands where the Javel plant used to be.

Quai de Javel plant

Quai de Javel plant

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Thursday 2nd October 1930

86 years ago

Daimler-Benz AG presented its biggest, heaviest and most expensive passenger car, the 770 model, "Big Mercedes" (W07) at the Paris Motor Show; it had a 7.7 litre, straight 8-cylinder engine. Citroen introduced the 55 mph C4F to replace the C4. The 1.628 litre engine - mounted on four rubber blocks - developed 30 bhp at 3,000 rpm and had a 9 bhp rating. Between September 1930 and July 1931, some 47,576 examples were built. Forty six French automobile makers and 46 non-French automobile makers exhibited at the show.

Mercedes W07

Mercedes W07

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Saturday 4th April 1931

85 years ago

Andre Michelin (77), who built the first factories for the mass production of rubber car tires, died. In 1889 he ran a rubber factory in Clermont-Ferrand, France with his brother Eduard. One day, a cyclist whose pneumatic tire needed repair turned up at the factory. The tire was glued to the rim, and it took over three hours to remove and repair the tire, which then needed to be left overnight to dry. The next day, Édouard Michelin took the repaired bicycle into the factory yard to test. After only a few hundred metres, the tire failed. Despite the setback, Édouard was enthusiastic about the pneumatic tire, and he and his brother worked on creating their own version, one that did not need to be glued to the rim. Michelin was incorporated on 28 May 1889. In 1891 Michelin took out its first patent for a removable pneumatic tire which was used by Charles Terront to win the world's first long distance cycle race, the 1891 Paris–Brest–Paris. In 1934, Michelin introduced a tire which, if punctured, would run on a special foam lining; a design now known as a run-flat tire (self-supporting type). Michelin developed a key innovation in tire history, the 1946 radial tire (then known as the "X" tire). It was developed with the front-wheel-drive Citroën Traction Avant and Citroën 2CV in mind. Michelin had bought the then-bankrupt Citroën in the 1930s. Because of its superiority in handling and fuel economy, use of this tire quickly spread throughout Europe and Asia. In the U.S., the outdated bias-ply tire persisted, with market share of 87% in 1967. In 1968, Consumer Reports, an influential American magazine, acknowledged the superiority of the radial construction, setting off a rapid decline in Michelin's competitor technology. Even in the U.S., the radial tire now has a market share of 100%. In the 1920s and 1930s, Michelin operated large rubber plantations in Vietnam. Conditions at these plantations led to the famous labour movement Phu Rieng Do.[8] "French Indochina – The French community of about 40,000 lived in the European quarters, – for the mass of the population the reality was forced labour – working to produce the colony's exports of rice, tin, tea, and above all – rubber – the source of the fortune of the Michelin company."[9] In 1988, Michelin acquired the tire and rubber manufacturing divisions of the American B.F. Goodrich Company founded in 1870. This included the Norwood, North Carolina manufacturing plant which supplied tires to the U.S. Space Shuttle Program.[10][11] Two years later, it bought Uniroyal, Inc., founded in 1892 as the United States Rubber Company. Uniroyal Australia had already been bought by Bridgestone in 1980. Michelin also controls 90% of Taurus Tire in Hungary, as well as Kormoran,[12] a Polish brand. As of 1 September 2008, Michelin is again the world's largest tire manufacturer after spending two years as number two behind Bridgestone.[13] Michelin produces tires in France, Spain, Germany, the USA, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Thailand, Japan, Italy and several other countries.

Andre Michelin

Andre Michelin

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Thursday 1st October 1931

85 years ago

Production began at Ford’s Dagenham Plant in east London, then Europe’s largest factory. The first vehicle to roll off the production line was a Model AA truck. Planning of the Dagenham plant began in the early 1920s, a time when lorries were small and road networks little developed. In the UK, bulk supplies were still delivered by water transport, so the Dagenham plant, like the Ford Trafford Park plant which it would replace, needed good water access. Dagenham on the southern estuarial edge of Essex offered the prospect of a deepwater port which would allow for bulk deliveries of coal and steel on a far larger scale than the barges of the Manchester Ship Canal could manage at the old plant. In 1924, Ford Motor Company purchased land in the Dagenham marshes for £167,700. On 17 May 1929, Edsel Ford marked the start of construction on the site by cutting the first turf in the marshes.[4] Construction on the site continued for 28 months and required around 22,000 concrete piles to be driven down through the clay of the marshland site to adequately support a factory that from the start was planned to incorporate its own steel foundry and coal-fired power station. At the time when the plant was planned, western governments were increasingly responding to economic depression with protectionist policies. This was the context in which Henry Ford’s policy of setting up relatively autonomous car-manufacturing businesses in principal overseas markets can be seen. The drive for self-reliance implicit in including within the Dagenham plant its own steel foundry and power station nevertheless went beyond anything attempted by other European mass-production automakers such as Morris in England, Opel in Germany, or Citroën in France. Inspiration for Ford’s Dagenham plant came more directly from Ford’s own Rouge River plant on the edge of Detroit. The first vehicle out of the Dagenham plant was a Ford AA light truck, produced in October 1931. However, the British economy was in a depressed condition at this time, and the surviving local market for light trucks was dominated by Morris Commercial products. Production at Ford’s Dagenham plant got off to a slow start, but picked up as the local economy recovered, so that by 1937, the plant produced 37,000 vehicles, an annual total that would not be exceeded until 1953. Most of the output of the Dagenham plant during the 1930s consisted of various editions of the Ford 8, a successful model first built at Dagenham in 1932, which probably inspired the even more successful Morris 8, first produced at Cowley in 1935 by the UK market leader of the late 1930s. Wartime production included large numbers of vans and trucks along with Bren gun carriers.[5] The plant produced numerous 'special purpose' engines. Agricultural vehicles were also an important element: at one point, the Fordson represented 95% of UK tractor production. After the Second World War, Ford’s UK operation set the pace for the UK auto industry, and Dagenham products included models such as the Zephyr, Cortina, and (until production of Ford’s smaller saloons transferred to Halewood), the Anglia.[1] The 1950s was a decade of expansion: a £75 million plant redevelopment completed in 1959 increased floor space by 50% and doubled production capacity.[5] This went hand-in-hand with the concentration in-house of car body assembly, following the acquisition in 1953 of the company's principal UK body supplier, Briggs Motor Bodies. In 1960s, Ford finally began to merge its previously competing British and German subsidiaries, culminating in the creation of Ford of Europe in 1967. The new entity began to systematically merge the once-separate product lineups from Dagenham and Cologne. The 1960s was an era that had several European automakers, including Ford, investing in new assembly plants on greenfield sites.[5] The Dagenham plant was, by 1970, becoming one of the Europe’s older mass-production car plants. In 1970, production of the Ford Escort began at the new Saarlouis in West Germany.[citation needed] By this time, the UK auto industry was gaining a reputation for poor industrial relations,[1] with a particularly lengthy strike leading to a three-month shut-down at the Dagenham plant at the start of the summer of 1971. This savaged availability of the Ford Cortina Mk III during its crucial first year. By the time the Ford Cortina Mk IV was introduced to UK customers, the cars inherited several Ford UK engines but were, in other respects, virtually identical to those branded in left-hand drive European markets as Ford Taunus models. Saarlouis was joined in 1976 by another new European plant in Valencia, Spain, to produce the then new Ford Fiesta concurrently with Dagenham. The same European strategy was followed by Ford's US rival General Motors, which in the 1970s, also merged the operations of its previously independent Opel and Vauxhall subsidiaries, with similar results. Ford Dagenham in 1973, displaying what was at the time the largest neon sign in Europe This decision to concurrently manufacture the same models in other European plants reduced the company’s vulnerability to further industrial disruption at Dagenham, and gave Ford a crucial advantage over strike-torn domestic rival British Leyland, which was often unable to fulfill customer orders during the all too frequent times of industrial unrest in the 1970s, and eventually ceded its long-standing UK market leadership to Ford, something from which it would never recover, but the duplication of production also made cost comparisons between the company’s various European plants increasingly stark. During the closing decade of the 20th century, UK government policy and the country’s status as a major oil producer left the UK with a currency which by several conventional criteria was significantly overvalued against the German Mark and the currencies that tracked it.[citation needed] This tended to exacerbate any cost penalties arising from relative inefficiencies in the Dagenham plant’s operation, and new model investment decisions during the 1990s tended to favour mainland Europe. For instance, the Sierra for the European market had its right-hand drive models made at Dagenham and the left-hand drive models in Belgium; in 1990, though, all Sierra production was concentrated in Belgium, leaving the Fiesta as the only model being built at Dagenham. The Sierra's successor, the Mondeo (launched in early 1993), was also built in Belgium. However, Dagenham did become a two-model plant again in January 1996 with the introduction of the Mazda 121 - essentially a badge-engineered Fiesta - as part as a venture with Mazda until its demise four years later.[6] By 2000, the only Ford produced at Dagenham was the Fiesta, itself competing in an increasingly crowded market sector. The lead plant for Fiesta production was in Spain, however. Faced with a cyclical downturn in car demand across Europe, Ford took the decision not to tool the Dagenham plant for the replacement Fiesta due for launch in 2002, which was the year in which the company produced its last Dagenham-built Ford Fiesta. Mindful of its image as a good corporate British citizen, the company stressed that the plant engine-building capacity would be further developed to "help the UK to become the producer of one in every four Ford engines the world over". The site has also been the location of the Dagenham wind turbines since 2004. Ford announced in October 2012 that the stamping plant activities at Dagenham would cease in summer 2013. Some additional jobs would be created in the engine-assembly departments at Dagenham, but the GMB Union stated that 1,000 jobs would be lost at Dagenham, saying, "This is devastating news for the workforce in Southampton and Dagenham. It's also devastating news for UK manufacturing," according to the BBC.

Ford  Dagenham

Ford Dagenham

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Thursday 27th July 1933

83 years ago

After 134 days a Citroën 8CV driven by Petite Rosalie at Montlhéry race track completed 300,000 kilometres at the Montlhéry race track, at the average speed of 58 mph (93 km/h). At that time, it was the world record of the greatest distance achieved and the longest running time for a car.

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Wednesday 18th April 1934

82 years ago

The Citroen Traction Avant (French for ‘front-wheel drive’) was shown to an astonished public in Paris. Capable of 62 mph (100 km/h), it consumed fuel at 28 mpg. It had a welded monocoque whilst most other cars of the era had a chassis onto which the "coachwork" was built. The front wheels were independently sprung, using a torsion bar and wishbone suspension arrangement whilst rear suspension was a simple steel beam axle and a Panhard rod, trailing arms and torsion bars attached to a 3-inch (76 mm) steel tube, which in turn was bolted to the monocoque. The car remained in production until 1957, at which point it was still in advance of most of its contemporaries in most areas apart from styling. About 760,000 units were produced.

Citroen Traction Avant

Citroen Traction Avant

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Thursday 4th October 1934

82 years ago

The Citroen 22CV, a vehicle with a V8 3,822 cm3 engine developing 100 bhp, was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. Equipped with a 3-speed gearbox, it travelled at 87 mph. Heralded as the fastest and safest production car in the world, it actually remained a prototype. Another new model seen at the Show was the Citroen 11: basically the same body as the 7 but 14 cm wider and 40 cm longer. The 11 was built in six versions, and production ran to 620, 455 examples were produced between September 1934 and July 1954.

Citroen 22CV

Citroen 22CV

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Friday 21st December 1934

82 years ago

Citroen went into bankruptcy. André Citroën died as a poor broken man in July 1935.

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Friday 15th March 1935

82 years ago

Citroen unveiled the revolutionary Traction Avant (French for "front wheel drive" - also known as 7CV7, 11CV, and 15CV). It was packed with pioneering technology, from its lightweight all-steel monocoque chassis to its front-wheel-drive layout and independent torsion-bar suspension. Engineers continued to improve it, fitting rack-and-pinion steering, hydraulic brakes and radial ply tyres. Yet the Traction Avant nearly didn’t happen. Its huge development costs had plunged Citroen deep into the red, leaving a question mark over the firm’s very existence, before Michelin stepped in to complete a buy-out in 1935.he model’s hi-tech mechanicals were the brainchild of talented engineer André Lefebvre – who went on to design the 2CV and DS – while the gorgeous exterior was the work of Italian stylist Flaminio Bertoni. Early cars had a 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, which was underpowered. Stronger 1.5, 1.6 and 1.9-litre units became available and, in 1947, a 2.9-litre six-cylinder was introduced. All were mated to a standard three-speed manual gearbox. There was a bodystyle for every occasion: as well as the immaculate 1949 Légère (‘Light’) in our pictures, Citroen introduced a larger Normale model, a rakish coupé and even a stylish drop-top roadster. Six and nine-seater variants were also made, while the Commerciale was one of the first-ever hatchbacks.

Citroen CV11

Citroen CV11

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Wednesday 3rd July 1935

81 years ago

French engineer and industrialist who introduced Henry Ford's methods of mass production to the European car industry, Andre Citroen died aged 57. Although not an automobile enthusiast, he was a marketing genius. Citroêns still stand out from the rest. Different - sometimes it seems for the pure pleasure of being different for its own sake - wayward, capricious, bizarre, irritating, yet occasionally lit with flashes of engineering genius so pure that you stop short and wonder why on earth car designers persist in doing things any other way, Citroêns can't be confused with anything else in the automotive world. If God had meant us to drive around in identical tin boxes, he wouldn't have created André Citroên.

Andre Citroen

Andre Citroen

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Thursday 4th July 1935

81 years ago

The British Ministry of Transport announced that dipped car headlights would become compulsory.The earliest headlamps were fueled by acetylene or oil, and were introduced in the late 1880s. Acetylene lamps were popular because the flame is resistant to wind and rain. The first electric headlamps were introduced in 1898 on the Columbia Electric Car from the Electric Vehicle Company of Hartford, Connecticut, and were optional. Two factors limited the widespread use of electric headlamps: the short life of filaments in the harsh automotive environment, and the difficulty of producing dynamos small enough, yet powerful enough to produce sufficient current. "Prest-O-Lite" acetylene lights were offered by a number of manufacturers as standard equipment for 1904, and Peerless made electric headlamps standard in 1908. Pockley Automobile Electric Lighting Syndicate based in the UK marketed the world's first electric car lights as a complete set in 1908, which consisted of headlamps, sidelamps and tail lights and were powered by an eight-volt battery. In 1912, Cadillac integrated their vehicle's Delco electrical ignition and lighting system, creating the modern vehicle electrical system. "Dipping" (low beam) headlamps were introduced in 1915 by the Guide Lamp Company, but the 1917 Cadillac system allowed the light to be dipped with a lever inside the car rather than requiring the driver to stop and get out. The 1924 Bilux bulb was the first modern unit, having the light for both low (dipped) and high (main) beams of a headlamp emitting from a single bulb. A similar design was introduced in 1925 by Guide Lamp called the "Duplo". In 1927, the foot-operated dimmer switch or dip switch was introduced and became standard for much of the century. 1933–34 Packards were equipped with tri-beam headlamps, the bulbs having three filaments. From highest to lowest, the beams were called "country passing", "country driving" and "city driving". The 1934 Nash also used a three-beam system, although in this case, the bulbs were conventional two-filament type, and the intermediate beam combined low beam on the driver's side with high beam on the passenger's side, so as to maximise the view of the roadside while minimizing glare toward oncoming traffic. The last vehicle with a foot-operated dimmer switch were the 1991 Ford F-Series and E-Series [Econoline] vans.[citation needed] Fog lamps were new for 1938 Cadillacs,[citation needed] and their 1954 "Autronic Eye" system automated the selection of high and low beams. Directional lighting was introduced in the rare, one-year-only 1935 Tatra 77a, and later popularised by the Citroen DS. This made it possible to turn the light in the direction of travel when the steering wheel was turned, and is now widely adopted technology. The standardised 7-inch (178 mm) round sealed beam headlamp was introduced in 1940, and was soon required (exactly two per car) for all vehicles sold in the United States, freezing usable lighting technology in place until the 1970s, for Americans. Because the law was written to prevent 'bad headlights,' it by design looks backwards and has historically not been able to deal with improved, innovative designs. In 1957, the law changed slightly, permitting Americans to possess vehicles with four 5.75-inch (146 mm) round sealed beam headlamps, and in 1974, these lights were permitted to be rectangular as well. Clear aerodynamic headlight covers were illegal in the U.S. until 1983, so a work-around was used for the U.S. market, the pop-up headlight. Britain, Australia, and some other Commonwealth countries, as well as Japan and Sweden, also made extensive use of 7-inch sealed beams, though they were not mandated as they were in the United States. This headlamp format was not widely accepted in continental Europe, which found replaceable bulbs and variations in the size and shape of headlamps useful in car design. This led to different front-end designs for each side of the Atlantic for decades. Technology moved forward in the rest of the world. The first halogen lamp for vehicle headlamp use, the H1, was introduced in 1962 by a European consortium of bulb and headlamp makers. Shortly thereafter, headlamps using the new light source were introduced in Europe. These were effectively prohibited in the US, where standard-size sealed beam headlamps were mandatory and intensity regulations were low. US lawmakers faced pressure to act, both due to lighting effectiveness and vehicle aerodynamics/fuel savings. High beam peak intensity, capped at 140,000 candela per side of the car in Europe, was limited in the United States to 37,500 candela on each side of the car until 1978, when the limit was raised to 75,000. An increase in high beam intensity to take advantage of the higher allowance could not be achieved without a move to halogen technology,and so sealed beam headlamps with internal halogen burners became available for use on 1979 models in the United States. Halogen sealed beams now dominate the sealed beam market, which has declined steeply since replaceable-bulb headlamps were permitted in 1983. High-intensity discharge (HID) systems were introduced in the early 1990s, first in the BMW 7-series. European and Japanese markets began to prefer HID headlamps, with as much as 50% market share in those markets,[citation needed] but they found slow adoption in North America. 1996's Lincoln Mark VIII was an early American effort at HIDs, and was the only car with DC HIDs. Since U.S. headlight regulations continue to be different from the ECE regulations in effect in the rest of the world, the disputes over technological innovation continue today, including over automatic dimming technology.

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Tuesday 23rd July 1935

81 years ago

The world’s longest marathon car journey began. Between this day and 22nd July 1936, Francis Lecot driving a 11CV Citroen in France, covered 400,000km (c. 250,000 miles), at an average speed of 40 mph. He drove in daily spells of 19 hours and the venture included participation in the Monte Carlo Rally.

11CV Citroen

11CV Citroen

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Monday 27th January 1936

81 years ago

Production of the Cord 810 began. It was the first American-designed and built front wheel drive car with independent front suspension. It followed the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant and the Cord L-29, both of which also had front wheel drive. The 810/812 was also the first to offer hidden headlights.

1936 Cord 810 Westchester Sedan

1936 Cord 810 Westchester Sedan

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Friday 20th March 1936

81 years ago

The BMW 326 made its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show, available in 3 versions: a 4-door limousine at a price of 5500 Reichsmark (RM), a 2-door cabriolet at 6550 RM, and a 4-door cabriolet at 7200 RM. The medium-sized saloon was produced by BMW between 1936 and 1941, and again briefly, under Soviet control, after 1945. The 326 was BMW's first four-door sedan.It had an innovative design and sold well despite its relatively high price. Designed by Fritz Fiedler, the 326 featured a box-section frame that could readily be adapted for derivative models.[citation needed] Also innovative were the torsion bar rear suspension, inspired by the dead axle suspension of the Citroën Traction Avant, and the hydraulic braking system, the first to be used on a BMW car. Styled by Peter Schimanowski, the 326 was offered as a four-door sedan and as a two- or four-door cabriolet. The 326 sedan was the first BMW available with four doors. The BMW 320, BMW 321, BMW 327, and BMW 335 were based on the 326. The streamlined form of the body contrasted with previous relatively upright BMWs: drag was presumably reduced further by including a fixed cover over the spare wheel at the back. The 1971 cc straight 6 engine was a version of the 319’s power plant, with the bore increased from 65 mm (2.6 in) to 66 mm (2.6 in), and an unchanged stroke[5] of 96 mm (3.8 in) giving a displacement of 1,971 cc (120.3 cu in). In the 326 application, it was fed by twin 26 mm Solex carburettors to produce a claimed maximum output of 50 PS (37 kW) at 3750 rpm. The top speed is 115 km/h (71 mph). The four-speed gear box was supported by freewheeling on the bottom ratios and synchromesh on the top two.

BMW 326

BMW 326

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Wednesday 22nd July 1936

80 years ago

Francois Lecot driving a Citroen 11CV, ended his one year marathon after completing approximately 250,000 miles.

Automobile Club du Rhone: François Lecot and his Citroën 11CV, 1936

Automobile Club du Rhone: François Lecot and his Citroën 11CV, 1936

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Thursday 1st October 1936

80 years ago

At the Paris Motor Show, Citroën presented its first diesel-powered light utility vehicles: the 500DI (500 kg diesel), the 850DI (850 kg diesel) and the 23DI (1,500 kg diesel). The vehicles had a 7 bhp rating and were equipped with a high-turbulence, indirect-injection (1.767 L) engine with 4 cylinders developing 40 bhp at 3,650 rpm.

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Thursday 7th October 1937

79 years ago

The Renault Juvaquatre,a small famil car, was showcased at the Paris Motor Show and put on sale the following year. Citroen premiered their 11CV van and launched diesel versions of the Type 32 truck (4-cylinder engine, 3,053 cm3, 55 bhp) and the Type 45 (6-cylinder engine, 4,580 cm3, 76 bhp). The 6-cylinder engine was used in Citroen’s heavy vehicle range until 1971.

Renault Juvaquatre

Renault Juvaquatre

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Monday 3rd June 1940

76 years ago

The Germans bombed the Quai de Javel Citroen production facility. In 1915, during World War One, André Citroën built a shell manufacturing factory on Quai de Javel in Paris. After the war, he converted and expanded the factory to mass produce cars.The Citroën factory on the Quai de Javel was the most modern of its day in Europe (100 vehicles/day in 1919 and 200 vehicles/day in1924). In 1933, despite a particularly difficult financial situation, Citroën decided to completely rebuild the factory in just five months, without stopping production.The Quai de Javel, renamed Quai André Citroën in 1958, produced its last DS in April 1975. Administrative staff moved out in 1982. Today, the Parc André Citroën stands where the Javel plant used to be.

Quai de Javel Citroen plant, Paris

Quai de Javel Citroen plant, Paris

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Monday 6th November 1944

72 years ago

The first Citroën truck left the Javel plant in France.

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Thursday 3rd October 1946

70 years ago

The Paris Motor Show saw the reappearance of the Citroen 11B (available in the following variants - 11 Normale, 11BL, 11 Légère) and the 15-6G.

Citroen 15-6G

Citroen 15-6G

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Thursday 7th October 1948

68 years ago

Citroën 2CV was unveiled at the Paris Salon. The display model was almost identical to the production 2CV type A, but it lacked an electric starter, the addition of which was decided only the day before the it’s unveiling, after female company secretaries had trouble using the pull cord starter. The Type A had one stop light, and was available in only one colour, grey. The fuel level was checked with a dip measuring rod. Heavily criticised by the motoring press, the car became the butt of French comedians for a short while. An American motoring journalist quipped, "Does it come with a can opener?" The British Autocar correspondent wrote that the 2CV "is the work of a designer who has kissed the lash of austerity with almost masochistic fervour". Citroën however, were flooded with orders at the show.

Citroen 2CV

Citroen 2CV

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Saturday 12th November 1949

67 years ago

The first Volkswagen Type 2, later named the Transporter, rolled off the assembly line. Only two models were offered: the Kombi (with two side windows and middle and rear seats that were easily removable by one person), and the Commercial. The Microbus was added in May 1950, joined by the Deluxe Microbus in June 1951. In all 9,541 Type 2s were produced in their first year of production. An ambulance model was added in December 1951 which repositioned the fuel tank in front of the transaxle, put the spare tire behind the front seat, and added a "tailgate"-style rear door.These features became standard on the Type 2 from 1955 to 1967. 11,805 Type 2s were built in the 1951 model year.These were joined by a single-cab pickup in August 1952, and it changed the least of the Type 2s until all were heavily modified in 1968. Unlike other rear engine Volkswagens, which evolved constantly over time but never saw the introduction of all-new models, the Transporter not only evolved, but was completely revised periodically with variations retrospectively referred to as versions "T1" to "T5" (a nomenclature only invented after the introduction of the front-drive T4 which replaced the T25). However, only generations T1 to T3 (or T25 as it is still called in Ireland and Great Britain) can be seen as directly related to the Beetle (see below for details)[citation needed]. The Type 2, along with the 1947 Citroën H Van, are among the first 'forward control' vans in which the driver was placed above the front roadwheels. They started a trend in Europe, where the 1952 GM Bedford CA, 1958 RAF-977, 1959 Renault Estafette, 1960 BMC Morris J4, and 1960 Commer FC also used the concept. In the United States, the Corvair-based Chevrolet Corvan cargo van and Greenbrier passenger van went so far as to copy the Type 2's rear-engine layout, using the Corvair's horizontally opposed, air-cooled engine for power. Except for the Greenbrier and various 1950s–70s Fiat minivans, the Type 2 remained unique in being rear-engined. This was a disadvantage for the early "barndoor" Panel Vans, which could not easily be loaded from the rear because the engine cover intruded on interior space, but generally advantageous in traction and interior noise. Like the Beetle, the van has received numerous nicknames worldwide, including the "microbus", "minibus", and, because of its popularity during the counterculture movement of the 1960s, Hippie van/wagon, and still remains iconic for many hippies today. Brazil contained the last factory in the world that produced the T2. Production in Brazil ceased on December 31, 2013, due to the introduction of more stringent safety regulations in the country. This marks the end of an era with the rear-engine Volkswagens manufactured (after the 2002 termination of its T3 successor in South Africa), which originated in 1935 with their Type 1 prototypes.

Volkswagen Type 2

Volkswagen Type 2

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Thursday 5th October 1950

66 years ago

At the 1950 Paris Motor Show, the Citroen 2CV Fourgonnette (AU), was premiered prior to the start of production in March 1951. It offered a 250 kg payload and a 375 cc engine developing 9 bhp at 3,500 rpm. The van capable of 35 mph, consumed 55 miles per gallon. Between February 1951 and March 1978, 1,246,306 examples were made. Demand was so great that there was a six-year waiting list for delivery.

Shown at the 1950 Paris Salon, the AU (

Shown at the 1950 Paris Salon, the AU ("U" for "Utile" or useful) or Fourgonette went on sale in March 1951.

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Saturday 11th November 1950

66 years ago

Chairman of Citroen since 1935, Pierre Boulanger (65), died in a car accident.

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Friday 5th August 1955

61 years ago

The 1,000,000th Volkswagen, a standard Beetle painted gold to commemorate the occasion, was produced.Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War) when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen (or "People's Car"). Later models were designated Volkswagen 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302 or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement, the latter two derived from the type number. The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen in other countries. For example, in France it was known as the Coccinelle (French for ladybug). The original 25 hp Beetle was designed for a top speed around 100 km/h (62 mph), which would be a viable speed on the Reichsautobahn system. As Autobahn speeds increased in the postwar years, its output was boosted to 36, then 40 hp, the configuration that lasted through 1966 and became the "classic" Volkswagen motor. The Beetle ultimately gave rise to variants, including the Karmann Ghia and Type 2. The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. The 1948 Citroën 2CV and other European models marked a later trend to front-wheel drive in the European small car market, a trend that would come to dominate that market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle", built on the contemporary Golf platform with styling recalling the original Type 1. In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world's most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.

One millionth VW

One millionth VW

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Wednesday 5th October 1955

61 years ago

After 18 years of development in secret as the successor to the Traction Avant, the Citroën DS19 caused a sensation on its launch at the Paris Motor Show. Within 45 minutes, 749 orders had been taken, and by the end of the day, 12,000. The DS was revolutionary both in its aerodynamic styling and in its range of new technologies, making all other cars on show look outdated. Hydropneumatics controlled the self-levelling suspension, brakes, clutch and power steering, with the ride height adjustable from inside the car. Only the old 1,911-cc engine was carried over from the Traction Avant, which, while capable, was far from cutting edge. The budget-conscious ID 19 appeared a year after the DS19 and featured conventional brakes and steering.

Citroen DS19 - 1955

Citroen DS19 - 1955

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Thursday 6th October 1955

61 years ago

The first Citroen DS was produced. It remains one of the most extraordinary cars ever created, and is still capable of turning heads more than half a century after it first appeared. Its ‘Goddess’ name – ‘Deesse’ in French – was entirely justified because it did seem to be from another world, and looked like no other car on the road. The beautiful shape was like nothing else, while hydropneumatics controlled the self-levelling suspension, brakes, clutch and power steering, with the ride height adjustable from inside the car. But these features weren't just there for show - each high pressure system brought a genuine benefit to the driver. Only the old 1911cc engine was carried over from the Traction Avant, which while capble, was far from cutting edge. The budget-conscious ID19 appeared a year after the DS19 and featured conventional brakes and steering

Citroen DS -1955

Citroen DS -1955

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Tuesday 18th August 1959

57 years ago

The first pictures of BMC’s new compact four-seater Mini, designed by Alec Issigonis, were revealed to the press. Designated by Leonard Lord as project ADO15 (Amalgamated Drawing Office project number 15) and the product of the Morris design team, the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, and the market for German bubble cars boomed. Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a 'proper miniature car'. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10×4×4 feet (3.0×1.2×1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 feet (1.8 m) of the 10-foot (3.0 m) length; and the engine, for reasons of cost, should be an existing unit. Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been recruited back to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small cars, was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: as well as Issigonis, there was Jack Daniels (who had worked with him on the Morris Minor), Chris Kingham (who had been with him at Alvis), two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957, they had designed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately named "The Orange Box" because of its colour. The ADO15 used a conventional BMC A-Series four-cylinder, water-cooled engine, but departed from tradition by mounting it transversely, with the engine-oil-lubricated, four-speed transmission in the sump, and by employing front-wheel drive. Almost all small front-wheel-drive cars developed since have used a similar configuration, except with the transmission usually separately enclosed rather than using the engine oil. The radiator was mounted at the left side of the car so that the engine-mounted fan could be retained, but with reversed pitch so that it blew air into the natural low pressure area under the front wing. This location saved vehicle length, but had the disadvantage of feeding the radiator with air that had been heated by passing over the engine. It also exposed the entire ignition system to the direct ingress of rainwater through the grille. The suspension system, designed by Issigonis's friend Dr. Alex Moulton at Moulton Developments Limited, used compact rubber cones instead of conventional springs. This space-saving design also featured rising progressive-rate springing of the cones, and provided some natural damping, in addition to the normal dampers. Built into the subframes, the rubber cone system gave a raw and bumpy ride accentuated by the woven-webbing seats, but the rigidity of the rubber cones, together with the wheels' positioning at the corners of the car, gave the Mini go kart-like handling. Initially an interconnected fluid system was planned, similar to the one that Alec Issigonis and Alex Moulton were working on in the mid-1950s at Alvis. They had assessed the mechanically interconnected Citroën 2CV suspension at that time (according to an interview by Moulton with Car Magazine in the late 1990s),[citation needed] which inspired the design of the Hydrolastic suspension system for the Mini and Morris/Austin 1100, to try to keep the benefits of the 2CV system (ride comfort, body levelling, keeping the roadwheel under good control and the tyres in contact with the road), but with added roll stiffness that the 2CV lacked. The short development time of the car meant this was not ready in time for the Mini's launch. The system intended for the Mini was further developed and the hydrolastic system was first used on the Morris 1100, launched in 1962; the Mini gained the system later in 1964. Ten-inch (254 mm) wheels were specified, so new tyres had to be developed, the initial contract going to Dunlop. Issigonis went to Dunlop stating that he wanted even smaller, 8 in (203 mm) wheels (even though he had already settled on ten-inch). An agreement was made on the ten-inch size, after Dunlop rejected the eight-inch proposition. Sliding windows allowed storage pockets in the hollow doors; reportedly Issigonis sized them to fit a bottle of Gordon's Gin. The boot lid was hinged at the bottom so that the car could be driven with it open to increase luggage space. On early cars the number plate was hinged at the top so that it could swing down to remain visible when the boot lid was open. This feature was later discontinued after it was discovered that exhaust gases could leak into the cockpit when the boot was open. The Mini was designed as a monocoque shell with welded seams visible on the outside of the car running down the A and C pillars, and between the body and the floor pan. Those that ran from the base of the A-pillar to the wheel well were described as 'everted' (lit., 'turned outward') to provide more room for the front seat occupants[citation needed]. To further simplify construction, the hinges for the doors and boot lid were mounted externally. Production models differed from the prototypes by the addition of front and rear subframes to the unibody to take the suspension loads, and by having the engine mounted the other way round, with the carburettor at the back rather than at the front. This layout required an extra gear between engine and transmission to reverse the direction of rotation at the input to the transmission. Having the carburettor behind the engine reduced carburettor icing, but the distributor was then exposed to water coming in through the grille. The engine size was reduced from 948 to 848 cc (57.9 to 51.7 cu in); this, in conjunction with a small increase in the car's width, cut the top speed from 90 to 72 mph (145 to 116 km/h). In 1959, BMC and Alec Issigonis won the Dewar Trophy, for the design and production of the Mini. The Mini shape had become so well known that by the 1990s, Rover Group – the heirs to BMC – were able to register its design as a trademark in its own right.

One of the earliest sketches for the Mini design as penned by Alec Issigonis. Note how the car changed remarkably little between concept and production.

One of the earliest sketches for the Mini design as penned by Alec Issigonis. Note how the car changed remarkably little between concept and production.

1959 Morris Mini-Minor: pure, unspoiled Mini. Along with the Austin Se7en, this car caused an absolute sensation when launched during August 1959. People took a long time to latch on to the fact that something so small could accommodate four fully-grown adults and their luggage.

1959 Morris Mini-Minor: pure, unspoiled Mini. Along with the Austin Se7en, this car caused an absolute sensation when launched during August 1959. People took a long time to latch on to the fact that something so small could accommodate four fully-grown adults and their luggage.

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Monday 24th April 1961

55 years ago

The Citroen Ami 6 was launched across Europe. The Ami 6 was created with good intentions, but ended up being one of the more eccentric attempts to extend the 2CV theme. More powerful than the 2CV, thanks to its flat twin 602cc engine, the Ami’s styling featured an awkward reverse rake rear window, and DS-style rear end. Sales in France were typically strong, but the unconventional looks failed to convince customers elsewhere, so Citroën redesigned it in 1969 with a more conventional rear window line, as well as adding a new grille and front disc brakes. In this more export friendly form, it was renamed the Ami 8. The conventional Ami was quick enough, but in 1972, Citroën put in a four-cylinder 1015cc engine from the GS. The 61bhp Ami Super had performance that was not only impressive, but scary as well.

Citroen Ami 6

Citroen Ami 6

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Thursday 3rd August 1961

55 years ago

The very first production Renault 4, the world's first car with hermetically sealed cooling-system, was built. The Renault 4 was Renault's response to the 1948 Citroën 2CV. Renault was able to review the advantages and disadvantages of the 2CV design and come up with a larger, more urban vehicle. In early 1956, Renault Chairman Pierre Dreyfus launched this new project: 'designing a new model to replace the rear engined 4CV that would become an everyman's car, capable of satisfying the needs of most consumers. It would be a family car, a woman's car, a farmer's car, or a city car'.

Renault 4 (1962)

Renault 4 (1962)

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Wednesday 22nd August 1962

54 years ago

President Charles de Gaulle of France survived one of several assassination attempts against him thanks to the Citroën DS 19, known as ‘La Déesse’ (‘The Goddess’). As his black Citroën sped along the Avenue de la Libération in Paris at 70 mph, 12 OAS (Organisation de l’armée secrète) gunmen opened fire on the car. A hail of 140 bullets shattered the car’s rear window and punctured all four of its tyres. The Citroën went into a front-wheel skid, which de Gaulle’s chauffeur was able to accelerate out of and drive to safety, all thanks to the car’s unique hydropneumatic suspension system. De Gaulle and his wife were unharmed.

Citroën DS Presidentielle (1963)

Citroën DS Presidentielle (1963)

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Friday 7th February 1964

53 years ago

Flaminio Bertoni, Italian, automobile designer, responsible for some of the most radical reconceptualisations of automobiles ever died aged 61 years. Working at Citroën for decades, Bertoni designed the Traction Avant (1934), 2CV, the H van, the DS, and the Ami 6.

Citroen H Van

Citroen H Van

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Thursday 1st October 1964

52 years ago

Ferrari introduced the 275 GTB at the Paris Motor Show. Citroen presented the Ami 6 Estate and offered safety belts as an option on all models.

Ferrari 275 GTB

Ferrari 275 GTB

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Tuesday 5th January 1965

52 years ago

The Renault 16, one of the 1960s most important cars, was introduced to the world and the press in a presentation on the Côte-d'Azur. The monocoque body housed Renault's first front-wheel-drive arrangement on a large car; although unlike the BMC equivalents the engine was mounted longitudinally. However, the unit was thoroughly modern, with an aluminium cylinder head and block and wet liners, and it would go on to power millions of Renault vehicles well into the 1990s. The R16 was a great success, with 1,845,959 R16s produced during a production run of 15 years. The car sold well in most of Europe, winning praise for its spacious and comfortable interior. It was marketed in the United States, but was not successful and only a few were sold. Interestingly, Citroën was designing an extremely similar car in the early 1960s (Projet F), to bridge their own enormous market gap between the tiny 2CV and luxury DS models. When Citroën realized that Renault was introducing the R16, they took the unusual step of cancelling Projet F.Due to the similarity of construction, rumours of Renault conducting industrial espionage abounded, but were never proven. The R16 was the first Renault-model to win the title "The car of the year".

Renault 16

Renault 16

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Friday 21st January 1966

51 years ago

The Monte Carlo rally ended in uproar over the disqualification of British cars. The first four to cross the finishing line were Timo Makinen (Finland) driving a British Motor Corporation Mini-Cooper, followed by Roger Clark (Ford Lotus Cortina), and Rauno Aaltonen and Paddy Hopkirk, both also driving BMC Minis. But they were all ruled out of the prizes - with six other British cars for alleged infringements of complex regulations about the way their headlights dipped. The official winner was announced as Pauli Toivonen, a Finn who lived in Paris, driving a Citroen. The British teams' protest to the race organisers was rejected. They boycotted the official farewell dinner held at the International Sporting Club.Prince Rainier of Monaco showed his anger at the disqualifications by leaving the rally before attending the prize-giving which he had always done in previous years. On 13 October 1966, the supreme motor racing and rally tribunal upheld the disqualifications. The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile in Paris said the iodine quartz headlights fitted on the British cars were not standard. The Citroen declared the official winner, which had similar lamps, was approved because the bulbs were fitted as standard on some models.

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Thursday 20th July 1967

49 years ago

The last Panhard, a blue Model 24b coupe , was completed to end 78 years of automobile production. Panhard & Levassor was one of the oldest car manufacturers in the world. They started car production in 1891. Before WWII Panhard was well known for its large luxurious cars. After WWII it became obvious that there was little market for these expensive cars, and Panhard switched to building smaller, more modestly-priced vehicles. These cars were called the Dyna – with Dyna X being a small sedan, and the Dyna Junior a 2-seater sports car. Mechanical layout was similar – a 652cc, 2 cylinder, air-cooled engine with front-wheel drive. Performance was modest. Dyna Junior car production ended in 1956, and the Dyna X morphed into the PL 17, having a slightly larger engine and body than its predecessor. In 1963 Louis Bionier designed the crisp-lined 2 plus 2 body called the PL 24 coupe. The name was soon changed to 24BT, and production began in 1963 using the same mechanical components as the PL 17. Initially, production was slow but picked up in 1964. Sales, though, were modest, and by 1965 the Panhard car business was failing. Taken over by Citroën in 1965, it was the end of the line for Panhard automobiles as Citroën did not want to build a car that competed with the Citroën GSA. Panhard car sales ceased in 1967. Panhard also made armored cars for the military, and production of these cars continued until 2005.

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Tuesday 17th December 1968

48 years ago

The London-Sydney Rally which had started from the Crystal Palace racing circuit in London at 2pm on Sunday, November 24th 1968, finished at Warwick Farm (an outer Sydney suburb), in Australia. Roger Clark established an early lead through the first genuinely treacherous leg, from Sivas to Erzincan in Turkey, averaging almost 60 mph in his Lotus Cortina for the 170 mile stage. Despite losing time in Pakistan and India, he maintained his lead to the end of the Asian section in Bombay, with Simo Lampinen's Ford Taunus second and Lucien Bianchi's DS21 in third. However, once into Australia, Clark suffered several setbacks. A piston failure dropped him to third, and would have cost him a finish had he not been able to cannibalise fellow Ford Motor Company driver Eric Jackson's car for parts. After repairs were effected, he suffered what should have been a terminal rear differential failure. Encountering a Cortina by the roadside, he persuaded the initially reluctant owner to sell his rear axle and resumed once more, although at the cost of 80 minutes' delay while it was replaced. This left Lucien Bianchi and co-driver Jean-Claude Ogier in the lead ahead of Gilbert Staepelaere/Simo Lampinen in the German Ford Taunus, with Andrew Cowan in the Hillman Hunter 3rd. Then Staepelaere's Taunus broke down leaving Cowan in second position and Paddy Hopkirk's Austin 1800 in third place. Approaching the Nowra checkpoint at the end of the penultimate stage with only 98 miles to Sydney, the Frenchmen were involved in a head-on collision which wrecked their Citroën and hospitalised the pair. Hopkirk, the first driver on the scene (ahead of Cowan on the road, but behind on penalties), gave up any chance of victory when he stopped to tend to the injured and extinguish the flames in the burning cars. That left Andrew Cowan, who had requested "a car to come last" from the Chrysler factory on the assumption that only half a dozen drivers would even reach Sydney, to take an unexpected victory in his Hillman Hunter and claim the £10,000 prize. Hopkirk finished second, while Australian Ian Vaughan was third in a factory-entered Ford XT Falcon GT. Ford Australia won the Teams' Prize with their three Falcons GTs, placing 3rd, 6th and 8th.

The banner for the original London-Sydney Marathon

The banner for the original London-Sydney Marathon

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Sunday 30th March 1969

48 years ago

Lucien Bianchi (34) died when his Alfa Romeo T33 spun into a telegraph pole during Le Mans testing. He won the 1957, 1958 and 1959 Tour de France as well as the Paris 1000 sports car race in the latter two years. Bianchi entered Formula One in 1959, although only with sporadic appearances at first. He drove various cars under the banner of the ENB team, including a Cooper T51, a Lotus 18 and an Emeryson. After a couple of races for the UDT Laystall team in 1961, driving another Lotus, he returned to ENB for whom he drove their ENB-Maserati. He finally secured a more regular drive in Formula One in 1968, with the Cooper-BRM team, although success was elusive despite a bright start. Bianchi managed his best Formula One performance, finishing third at the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix, in his first race for Cooper. Bianchi also raced touring cars, sports cars and rally cars, being successful in all disciplines, his biggest victories coming in the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans, behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 with Pedro Rodríguez and at Sebring in 1962 with Jo Bonnier. He was also leading the London-Sydney Marathon when his Citroën DS collided with a non-competing car.

Lucien Bianchi

Lucien Bianchi

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Thursday 10th July 1969

47 years ago

The one millionth Citroen DS rolled off the production line: a DS 21 with gold bodywork.

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Thursday 1st October 1970

46 years ago

The Citroën GS, part of a new wave of forward thinking European saloons that rode on a crest of a wave with cars such as the Alfasud and Fiat 128, was introduced in Paris. However, as appealing as the GS was to drive, thanks to its supple suspension and willing air cooled flat-fours that could be thrashed all day long, it was a flawed gem, and failed to sell significantly outside of France. Citroën brought its big car Hydropneumatic technology to the small car market with the GS, and that was central to its appeal, especially on undulaing roads. Looking like a scaled-down blend of DS and SM, and predicting the 1974 CX, motive power for this futuristic family saloon was, at first, a 1015cc air-cooled flat-four engine. But during its production run, the engine was expanded through to 1.3-litres. The dasboard and controls were highly eccentric and, naturally, there was self-levelling suspension. Built as 5-seat 4-door saloon or 5-door estate, the GS was produced in 1,896,742 examples between September 1970 and July 1981.

Citroën GS

Citroën GS

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Thursday 11th March 1971

46 years ago

Maserati launched the Bora, a two-seater, mid-engined Grand Tourer at the Geneva Motor Show. Produced from 1971 to 1978, it had a top speed of 171 miles per hour (275 km/h). Classified as a supercar, it is considered by some to be the pinnacle of Maserati performance. Other vehicles unveiled at the show included the Citroen SM, Lamborhini Countach, and Monteverdi 375.

Maserati Bora

Maserati Bora

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Wednesday 25th October 1972

44 years ago

The 3,000,000th Mini was produced. Produced by British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000, the original is considered a British icon of the 1960s. Its space-saving transverse engine front-wheel drive layout – allowing 80 percent of the area of the car's floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage – influenced a generation of car makers. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T, and ahead of the Citroën DS and Volkswagen Beetle. This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis. It was manufactured at the Longbridge and Cowley plants in England, the Victoria Park/Zetland British Motor Corporation (Australia) factory in Sydney, Australia, and later also in Spain (Authi), Belgium, Chile, Italy (Innocenti), Malta, Portugal, South Africa, Uruguay, Venezuela and Yugoslavia. The Mini Mark I had three major UK updates – the Mark II, the Clubman and the Mark III. Within these was a series of variations, including an estate car, a pick-up truck, a van and the Mini Moke – a jeep-like buggy. The performance versions, the Mini Cooper and Cooper "S," were successful as rally cars, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. In 1966, the first-placed Mini was disqualified after the finish, under a controversial decision that the car's headlights were against the rules. On introduction in August 1959 the Mini was marketed under the Austin and Morris names, as the Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. The Austin Seven was renamed Austin Mini in January 1962 and Mini became a marque in its own right in 1969. In 1980 it once again became the Austin Mini and in 1988 the Rover Mini. BMW acquired the Rover Group (formerly British Leyland) in 1994, and sold the greater part of it in 2000, but retained the rights to build cars using the MINI name.

Lord Stokes celebrating the three millionth Mini off the line

Lord Stokes celebrating the three millionth Mini off the line

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Saturday 24th February 1973

44 years ago

Two breeds of AMC Gremlin appeared in the 1973 Chicago Auto Show, including one fitted with the new "Levi's" interior. The Levi's edition featured seats and door panels in blue spun nylon, with copper rivets to resemble the familiar blue jeans. Nothing else at that year's show looked anything like the Citroen SM-Maserati, blending the French company's air-oil suspension with a Maserati V-6 engine. Front-wheel drive assured better winter traction, thus, the model was displayed with a set of skis mounted on a roof rack. Plymouth had thoughts of warmer weather, displaying it's Gold Duster as a "spring special" in an attempt to attract customers to dealerships after a hard Chicago winter.

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Wednesday 28th August 1974

42 years ago

Citroen C 2000 and 2200 fastbacks, with engines inherited from the Citroën DS, positioned between the bottom of range DSuper and the exclusive DS 23 Pallas, were launched.

1975 CX 2200 - The oldest continuously registered CX in Britain

1975 CX 2200 - The oldest continuously registered CX in Britain

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Thursday 3rd October 1974

42 years ago

The Paris Motor Show premiered the Citroen CX 2000. Less revolutionary than its predecessor - the DS - the CX offered all of Citroën's recent technical developments; a transversely mounted engine/gearbox assembly at the front, all-independent constant-height hydropneumatic suspension, power-operated brakes with front discs and double circuits, single wiper blade, concave rear window and a futuristic instrument panel. The CX is built as a 4-door, 5-seat saloon.

Citroen CX 2000

Citroen CX 2000

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Wednesday 16th October 1974

42 years ago

Cars introduced at the opening of the London Motor Show included the Aston Martin Lagonda (long wheel-base, four-door version of the Aston Martin V8), Lotus Esprit (Worldwide launch), Lotus Eclat (2+2) (Worldwide launch), Panther De Ville (Worldwide launch, for the basic model it was one of the most expensive cars being displayed at the time) and Toyota 1100. The Citroën CX had been launched a few weeks earlier at the Paris Motor Show and was scheduled for inclusion in the 1974 London show. However. It was withdrawn at the eleventh hour, possibly because the manufacturers found themselves unable to schedule right hand drive production of the car till well into 1975. The model nevertheless went on to win first place with motoring journalists voting for the European Car of the Year a few months later.

Panther De Ville

Panther De Ville

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Thursday 24th April 1975

41 years ago

The last Citroen DS was produced, ending a run of nearly 20 years. Produced in sedan, wagon/estate and convertible body configurations, Citroën sold 1,455,746 cars, including 1,330,755 built at the manufacturer's original mass-production plant in Paris . Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni and the French aeronautical engineer André Lefèbvre styled and engineered the car. Paul Magès developed the hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension. Noted for its aerodynamic, futuristic body design and innovative technology, the DS set new standards in ride quality, handling, and braking.

Citroen DS 1967-1975

Citroen DS 1967-1975

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Thursday 7th October 1976

40 years ago

The Citreon LN, which combined the bodyshell of the Peugeot 104 Z with the economical 602 cc two-cylinder petrol engine of the Citroën 2CV, was introduced. Equipment levels were low, but the LN's key selling points were its cheap price and low running costs.

Citroen LN

Citroen LN

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Sunday 14th August 1977

39 years ago

The world’s longest ever rally, the Singapore Airlines London to Sydney rally, started in Covent Garden, London. The race was won at Sydney Opera House on 28 September by the British team of Andrew Cowan, Colin Malkin and Michael Broad in a Mercedes 280E. They were followed home by team-mate Tony Fowkes in a similar car. Paddy Hopkirk, this time driving a Citroën CX, took the final podium spot. The 1977 London-Sydney Marathon was the first-ever rally to have a competing truck, several years ahead of the Paris Dakar. It had two former Grand Prix drivers; several front-line international rally drivers; Fiat entered a team of prototype diesels - the first time for a diesel works-rallycar on an international event. There were works-factory teams at one end, and privateers at the other in everything from a fibreglass kit-car, the Magenta; the first time a kit-car had ever been accepted into an international rally; a Mini Clubman and even a Mini Moke. In between, there were Range Rovers, Jeeps, Peugeots, Mercedes of various descriptions, Ford Escorts, a Mazda rotary-engined car, Datsuns, Volvos, Saabs, even a mobile-home camper van. Crews came from around the world to take part… professionals, experts, adventurers, more than one crew were on their first-ever rally, including a couple who literally drove straight from a dealer’s showroom direct to the start-ramp. It was also the first big-time rally for a Subaru 4WD.There were several instances of cheating that would have made Dick Dastardly proud, including a crew that left London and then flew their car to India, cheekily trying to check in at the time-control table set up outside the hotel in Madras without even bothering to remove the car still strapped to the back of a truck, having come straight from the airport. The route took in mountains, rivers wild enough for a Datsun to float off downstream, and several deserts – the Australia section was a marathon drive in its own right. When the ship arrived late into Freemantle, rather than cancel sections to get the rally back on schedule, it was decided to make up the lost time by simply running it non-stop – for seven days and nights.

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Thursday 5th October 1978

38 years ago

The 5-door, 5-seat Citroen Visa, with a choice of two engines was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show. The Special and Club had a 652 cm3 air-cooled flat twin engine developing 36 bhp DIN at 5,500 rpm, a 4 bhp rating and a maximum speed of 78 mph, while the Super had a Peugeot engine, 1,124 cm3, liquid-cooled 4-cylinder in-line developing 57 bhp DIN at 6,250 rpm, a 5 bhp rating and a maximum speed of 90 mph. Like the LN in 1976, the Visa was a result of the partnership between Citroën and Peugeot.

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Thursday 2nd October 1980

36 years ago

The limited edition Citroen 2CV Charleston, with a two-tone paint scheme and round headlamps, was introduced. Citroën originally planned to make just 8,000 examples of the 2CV-based Charleston, but in 1981 it became a standard model.

Citroen 2CV Charleston

Citroen 2CV Charleston

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Saturday 2nd October 1982

34 years ago

The Citroen BX was unveiled in Paris under the Eiffel Tower. The BX was designed to replace the successful Citroën GS/A that was launched in 1970, with a larger vehicle. The midsize BX with hydropneumatic suspension set new accents in aerodynamics, chassis and economy. Inside the switch satellites were integrated into the dashboard speedometer with a magnifying glass. A body with strong geometric lines was created by Italian designer Marcello Gandini working for Bertone. Round curves were taboo. A particular innovation was the lightweight body: at the bumpers, the hood, the rear hatch and the C-pillar trim plastics were used. Moreover, at Citroën the body was the first which was designed and developed on a computer. The rear axle got equipped with trailing arms and drawn lengthwise spring elements. The clever and compact axle suspension allowed for a flat cargo area. New standards of particularly careful corrosion protection were reached using galvanized steel and zinc coating. From 1985, Citroën launched three estate versions: BX BX 16 RS Break, BX 19 TRS Break and BX 19 RD Break. Later the BX 4 TC “Evolution” was launched, the Group B version of the Citroën BX with an extended front as the new 2.15 liter turbo engine was mounted longitudinally. Initially two engines were available: an engine with 1360 cm3, and 62 (or 72) PS and one with 1580 cm3 and 90 PS. The two upper trim levels 14 E and 14 RE were offered with five-speed transmission and an output of 72 PS. In April 1984, the Citroën BX is available with a 1.9-liter diesel version with 64 DIN hp. From November, the Citroën BX GT was followed with 1891 cm3 and 105 hp, the later with the special model BX Digit with all digital instrument cluster. From 1987, the BX received a facelift: with large white turn signals and wide fenders, new bumpers and a redesigned dashboard with conventional round dials and controls. Two more special engines: in 1987, the 1.9 liter GTi 16V with 158 hp (from 147 hp in 1988) was the first mass-produced in French 16V engine with ABS as standard. In 1988, the 1.8 liter turbo diesel with 90 PS followed. The French advertising campaign used the slogan "J'aime, j'aime, j'aime" showing the car accompanied by music written specially by Julien Clerc. The British advertising campaign used the slogan "Loves Driving, Hates Garages", reflecting the effort of Citroën to promote the reduced maintenance costs of the BX, over the higher than average maintenance costs of the technologically advanced GS/GSA; while still performing in the Citroën style on the road.

Citroen BX

Citroen BX

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Thursday 31st October 1985

31 years ago

Some of the conspicuous exhibits at the 26th Tokyo Motor Show included the Porsche 959, BMW M3, Benz 190E 2.3-16, a concept car Citroen Eole, and Saab 900 Turbo 16 EV-1 equipped with 60 solar cells for starting the motor. The lineup of European superstar cars was really spectacular. GM displayed a Cadillac with the steering wheel on the right for the Japanese market, which kicked off its full-scale export strategy for Japan.

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Thursday 2nd October 1986

30 years ago

The Citroen AX was launched at the Paris Motor Show. The version on display - a three-door front-wheel drive model with a drag coefficient of 0.31 - was equipped with an all-new power unit and gearbox assembly.

Citroen AX

Citroen AX

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Saturday 18th October 1986

30 years ago

Pride of place at the British International Motor Show held at NEC went to Jaguar's new XJ6, which had enjoyed enormous publicity even before this, its international launch. Appearing in Britain for the first time, Suzuki's stunning little RS1 concept car, a mid-engined two-seater packing a 1300cc twin-cam - a modern Midget in spirit. Bertone's four-seater Zabrus was based on Citroen BX running gear. Long doors opened vertically, the front seats rotated to aid access, and the rear hatch was extended well into the roof.

Citroen Zabrus (Bertone), 1986

Citroen Zabrus (Bertone), 1986

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Friday 27th July 1990

26 years ago

The last Citroen 2CV rolled off the production line at the company’s plant in Mangualde, Portugal at four o’clock on the afternoon. Since its debut in 1948, a total of 5,114,959 2CVs had been produced worldwide. It was conceived by Citroën Vice-President Pierre Boulanger to help motorize the large number of farmers still using horses and carts in France. The 2CV featured a low purchase cost; simplicity of overall maintenance; an easily serviced air-cooled engine (originally offering 9 hp); low fuel consumption; and an extremely long travel suspension offering a soft ride, light off-road capability, high ground clearance, and height adjustability via lengthening/shortening of tie rods. Its front and rear wings, doors, bonnet, fabric sunroof and trunk lid were all-detachable. One automotive author described the 2CV as "the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car", calling it a car of "remorseless rationality".

Last 2CV comes off the assembly line in Portugal

Last 2CV comes off the assembly line in Portugal

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Thursday 4th October 1990

26 years ago

The Mercedes 500E (W124) was formally presented at the Paris Motor Show. Assembled by Porsche, the limousine delivered some 326 hp with a 5.0 litre four-valve, V8 engine. The Renault Clio was also introduced at the show and went on sale in France soon after, although it was not available in the rest of Europe until March 1991. Also unveiled was the Peugeot 206 and the Citroen Visa GTI.

Mercedes 500E interior

Mercedes 500E interior

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Thursday 17th January 1991

26 years ago

A Citroën ZX Rallye-Raid driven by Ari Vatanen won the 13th Paris-Tripoli-Dakar Rally (9,186 km).

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Thursday 7th March 1991

26 years ago

The £200,000 Bentley Continental R debuted at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show to a standing ovation, upstaging the Mercedes W140 S-Class also launched there. Customer response was enthusiastic, and the Sultan of Brunei purchased the red show car right off the Geneva stand. The Citroën ZX also made its official debut at the show.

Bentley Continental R

Bentley Continental R

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Thursday 12th September 1991

25 years ago

The first Frankfurt International Automobile Exhibition to focus solely on "passenger cars", opened its doors. With more than 935,000 visitors, and 1,271 exhibitors from 43 countries displaying their new products and innovations, it was a huge success. Citroen unveiled two world firsts: the Citroën ZX Diesel and the Citroën XM Estate,whilst Audi presented the Audi Quattro Spyder.

Citroen ZX

Citroen ZX

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Friday 3rd January 1992

25 years ago

The Citroen Xantia made its market debut. Citroën sold over 1.2 million Xantias during its 9 years of production. Furthermore, in January 2001, when production ended, Iran's SAIPA produced it.

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Thursday 2nd July 1992

24 years ago

Jacques Calvet, Chairman of Automobiles Citroën, inaugurated the Citroën Institute.

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Tuesday 29th September 1992

24 years ago

Pierre Lartigue and Michel Périn completed a 16,000 km (9,940 mile) adventure to win the first Paris-Moscow-Beijing rally with a Citroën ZX Rallye Raid.

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Wednesday 16th December 1992

24 years ago

At a special press conference in Paris for 350 journalists from France and other countries, Jacques Calvet, Chairman of Automobiles Citroën gave a special preview of the Xantia. The new 5-door saloon, marketed in March 1993, was the fruit of the partnership between Citroën and Bertone.The name "Xantia" was derived from Xanthos, meaning "light" in the Greek language.

Citroen Xantia

Citroen Xantia

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Monday 1st March 1993

24 years ago

The Citroen Xantia arrived in UK showrooms.The Xantia replaced the earlier Citroën BX, and maintained the high level of popularity of that model, but brought the car more into the mainstream to compete harder with its rivals, such as the Ford Mondeo, Nissan Primera, Rover 600, Toyota Carina E and Vauxhall Cavalier.

Citroen Xantia

Citroen Xantia

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Tuesday 21st September 1993

23 years ago

The two millionth Citroen AX rolled off the production line at the Aulnay-sous-bois site.

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Thursday 10th March 1994

23 years ago

The Citroën Evasion was presented at the Geneva Motor Show. The fruit of a detailed study of customer expectations, the new people-carrier offered all the qualities of a top-range saloon in terms of driving pleasure, comfort, roadholding and safety. The range comprised two petrol engines: 2.0i (1,998 cm3 developing 123 bhp) and the 2.0i Turbo CT (1,998 cm3 developing 150 bhp); and three levels of trim: X, SX and VSX. AUDI AG unveiled the Audi A8, the first production model with all-aluminum body. At the same time a new naming process was introduced for the Audi models. From then on the Audi 80 was known as the A4, the Audi 100 was called the A6. They were followed in 1996 by the Audi A3, and the Audi A2 in June 2000.

Citroën Evasion

Citroën Evasion

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Monday 18th April 1994

22 years ago

The 250,000th Citroen Xantia left the Rennes-la Janais production unit.

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Wednesday 29th March 1995

22 years ago

The Rover 400 was officially launched, and was met with a sense of muted antipathy from the press. It was clear to even the most casual observer that this car was almost pure Honda in its design – in fact, to more seasoned observers, the changes that Rover had made were disappointing in their ineffectiveness. In a nutshell, the new mid-sized Rover appeared to be almost as much a Honda (as opposed to a British car) as the original joint-venture – the Triumph Acclaim – had been back in 1981. Many questions were soon asked of Rover: Why such a disappointing design? Had it not been for BMW, would this have been the shape of Rovers in the future? Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion.Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion. Rear view was more appealing than the frontal aspect, but somehow the proportions seemed slightly wrong – the cause probably being attributable to the long nose and short, truncated tail. The saloon version, which appeared early in 1996, addressed this issue admirably – and proved to be one of a very rare breed of cars: a well-balanced notch-from-hatch conversion. As it was, there was a lot to applaud the Rover 400 for, though: the car marked the first application for the new, enlarged version of the K-series engine – now cleverly expanded to 1589cc. Refinement and performance of this new version was certainly up to scratch, and like its smaller brother, it proved to be more than a match for its Honda counterpart. This change in engine policy meant that in terms of petrol powered units, the range was now powered entirely by British engines (1.6-litre automatic, aside), whilst the diesel versions were now L-series powered (as opposed to Peugeot XUD-powered). The 400 range offered a wide variety of power options – 1.4-litres through to the 2.0-litre T-series engine – and even though the entry-level model was somewhat smaller than its rivals, Rover countered the lack of cubic capacity with a high specific output. Although the 136bhp version of the T-series engine found a natural home in the Rover 400, it was the 2.0-litre version of the KV6 engine (codename Merlin) that really excited the company. Producing a healthy 150bhp, the KV6 was under development and running in Rover 400 “mules” even before the car was launched – but it would not be until the arrival of the facelifted Rover 45 model in 1999 that a V6-powered Rover midliner entered the sales catalogue. Be that as it may, the highlight of the K-series was somewhat overshadowed by the rest of the car. The people that mattered – the customers – found the Rover 400 somewhat disappointing and overpriced. If the premium pricing policy seemed like a winner with the classy and compact R8, its replacement certainly did not appear to have the looks to justify the continuation of this policy. Of course, Rover countered this allegation by telling everyone to wait for the saloon version, due in early 1996, but it did not ease the fact that the new 400 hatchback was not what the public wanted at the time, and was certainly not offered at a favourable price. Autocar magazine was reasonably pleased with the 416i and reported so in their road test. The verdict was lukewarm – and they gave the car qualified approval: “with looks that will be routinely mistaken for Honda’s new five-door Civic, this latest 400 needed to be convincingly different beneath the badge. This it achieves by a whisker. With that sweet spinning, characterful K-series engine and an outstanding urban ride quality, Rover has created a car that feels genuinely unique, not just a cynical badge engineered Honda. Sure, Peugeot’s 306 still has the dynamic measure of this car, but compared with the dull homogeneity of the competition from Ford and Vauxhall, the 416i offers up just enough “typically Rover” character, just enough specialness to raise it above the common horde. But only just.” At least Autocar were realistic in their choice of rivals for this car, plucking them from the small/medium arena. In Rover’s launch advertising for the 400, they pitched it against such luminaries as the Ford Mondeo, Renault Laguna and Citroën Xantia. Interestingly, it compared very well to all-comers in this class on the handpicked “ride quality” index figure. All but the Citroën, that is. Profile shot of the 400 saloon shows that classy-looking saloons can be sired from hatchbacks – maybe the public's perception of the Rover 400 range would be remarkably different had this version been launched first.Profile shot of the 400 saloon shows that classy-looking saloons can be sired from hatchbacks – maybe the public's perception of the Rover 400 range would be remarkably different had this version been launched first. Sales of the Rover 400 in the UK were buoyant, and in direct comparison with the combined sales of the outgoing R8 400 and Montego, they appeared to be quite good. But the comparison is certainly muddied by the fact that the 400 was designed to fight in the “D class” rather than the upper end of the “C class”, as marketeers liked to refer to the differing market sectors. So in the heart of the UK market, where Ford and Vauxhall continued to make hay, Rover continued to appear almost mortally weak. In the first full year of sales, the 400, including the stylish saloon version, grabbed 3.15 per cent of the market – and although Rover continued to make noises about not chasing volume sales, the cold hard facts were that after allowing for Honda’s royalty payments on each 400 sold, profit margins were not huge. Export sales continued to make reasonable headway, so even though sales in the home market were suffering, Rover’s production volumes remained at a reasonable level – no doubt helped by the BMW connection. However, exports are affected by the fluctuations of the currency markets, and as we shall see, Rover and BMW would suffer terribly from these in later years. In 1997 and 1998, the Rover 400 captured 2.85 and 2.55 per cent of the UK market respectively, maintaining a regular top ten presence. By the following year, however, this had collapsed disastrously to 1.51 per cent. What had caused this collapse? Well, the product had never captured the public’s imagination in the way that the R8 had, but also, following the change in government (May 1997) and the strengthening of sterling against European currencies, the price of imported cars had become so much cheaper in relation to that of the domestically produced Rover. This allowed companies such as Renault (with the Megane) and Volkswagen (with the Golf) to make serious inroads into the Rover’s market. What made the situation even worse for Rover was the flipside: the price of UK cars became more expensive in export markets, so in order to remain price competitive, Rover needed to drop their prices to such an extent that they began to make serious losses. By 1999, BMW had begun to take emergency measures for Rover – and the first of those, was the replacement of the 400 by the 45 in December 1999.

Rover 400

Rover 400

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Thursday 14th September 1995

21 years ago

The Audi TT was first shown as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The model took its name from the successful motor-racing tradition of NSU in the British Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle race since 1911. The Citroen Xantia Estate was also unveiled at the show.

Audi TT concept - 1995

Audi TT concept - 1995

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Tuesday 21st November 1995

21 years ago

The Citroën Saxo was unveiled to the press prior to its launch in February 1996. It shared many engine and body parts with the Peugeot 106 (which itself was a development of the Citroën AX), the major difference being interiors and body panels. Production ended in 2003, when it was replaced with the Citroën C2.

Citroen Saxo car brochure - 1996

Citroen Saxo car brochure - 1996

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Thursday 7th March 1996

21 years ago

At the 1996 Geneva Motor Show the Lamborghini Diablo SV (Sport Veloce) was presented, a simplified and more sporty version of the Diablo, inspired by the legendary Miura SV. With an engine power of 525 bhp, reduced weight and a shorter final drive ratio the car reaches 100 km/h in less than 4 seconds. VW presented the new Beetle, Citroen launched the Saxo with all seven Saxo models, - VTS, SX, VSX, VTL and VTR on show and the Car of the Show accolade went to Jaguar Cars fastest production car ever - the ultra high performance, supercharged version of the XK8 - the first generation of a new XK series. The XK8 was available in coupé or convertible body styles and with the new 4.0-litre Jaguar AJ-V8 engine. In 1998 the XKR was introduced with a supercharged version of the engine. In 2003 the engines were replaced by the 4.2-litre AJ34 engines in both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions. The first-generation XK series shares its Jaguar XJS-derived platform with the Aston Martin DB7, both cars tracing their history back to an abandoned Jaguar development study in the mid-1980s known as XJ41/XJ42, which had been mooted to be known as the F-Type.

Jaguar XK8

Jaguar XK8

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Thursday 3rd October 1996

20 years ago

Coupes dominated the first day of the 1996 Paris Motor Show when Kylie Minogue kicked the day off releasing the new Ford SportsKa. Peugeot released the 307 CC concept car - a genuine coupe and cabriolet with seating for four adults - and Citroen unveiled the Pluriel, a car which could be transformed quickly into five different body styles.

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Wednesday 21st January 1998

19 years ago

Jean-Martin Folz unveiled the new organization of the PSA Peugeot Citroën group, illustrated by the slogan "two marques, one group".

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Tuesday 2nd June 1998

18 years ago

At the Retromobile Show in Paris, Citroën displayed three unique pre-war 2CV models from a series corresponding to the vehicle approved in 1939.

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Tuesday 13th October 1998

18 years ago

The Automobile Hall of Fame set up in 1939 in Michigan to commemorate the history of the automobile and pay tribute to the figures who have ensured its enduring success, welcomed André Citroën into the fold, where he joined Henry Ford, Karl Benz and Rudolf Diesel amongst others.

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Monday 13th December 1999

17 years ago

The Aulnay plant in France produced the one millionth Citroen Saxo.

Citroen Saxo

Citroen Saxo

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Wednesday 17th May 2000

16 years ago

PSA Peugeot Citröen rolled out the 5000th electric car, a white Citroën Saxo, produced at the Heuliez assembly plant in Cerizay, France.

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Thursday 12th July 2001

15 years ago

The decision to make Toyota Aygo was made when the presidents of Toyota and PSA Group, Fujio Cho and Jean-Martin Folz respectively, decided to produce a small car to share development costs. The Peugeot 107 and Citroën C1 were rebadged versions of the same car.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

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Tuesday 11th September 2001

15 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show opened to international media, with a series of concept and production vehicle debuts kicking off in the early morning. First news of terrorist attacks in the US came in the early afternoon. Large display screens were switched over to news coverage, opening celebrations were cancelled, and the usual upbeat presentations were absent for the rest of the show. MG Rover Group unveiled its stunning new luxury high performance sports coupe - the MG X80. Styled by MG Rover's world renowned design director Peter Stevens, the £55,000 MG X80 had a high-technology super-formed aluminum body, mounted to a steel box section chassis. Skoda revealed its new model, the Superb. There was a large number of concept vehicles, including the Citroën C-Crosser, SEAT Tango, Renault Talisman, Jaguar R Coupe, Ford Fusion and Audi Avantissimo. Top production car debuts included the BMW 7 Series, Ford Fiesta, Citroën C3, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo and Lamborghini Murcielago.

MG X80

MG X80

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Thursday 13th September 2001

15 years ago

The first generation Citroen C3 was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show. When l it appeared in car show rooms in 2002 it was available with 1.1, 1.4 and 1.6 litre petrol engines, and 1.4 and 1.6 litre common rail diesel engines. In accordance with the PSA Group policy, the C3's chassis was used for the Peugeot 1007 and the Peugeot 207. Many components of the C3 are the same as those of the Peugeot 206.

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Wednesday 30th July 2003

13 years ago

The last ‘classic’ Volkswagen Beetle, number 21,529,464, rolled off the production line at VW’s plant in Puebla, Mexico, and was shipped to the Volkswagen company museum in Wolfsburg, Germany. It was ironic that the car that became a symbol of flower power in the 1960s and inspired Disney’s Herbie in the 1997 The Love Bug film had its roots in Nazi Germany. The Volkswagen Beetle (officially the Volkswagen Type 1, informally in Germany the Volkswagen Käfer and in the U.S. as Volkswagen Bug) is a two-door, four passenger, rear-engine economy car manufactured and marketed by German automaker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. The need for this kind of car, and its functional objectives, was formulated by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, who wanted a cheap, simple car to be mass-produced for his country's new road network. Hitler contracted Ferdinand Porsche in 1934 to design and build it. Porsche and his team took until 1938 to finalise the design. The influence on Porsche's design of other contemporary cars, such as the Tatra V570 and the work of Josef Ganz remains a subject of dispute. The result was one of the first rear-engined cars since the Brass Era. With 21,529,464 produced, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Although designed in the 1930s, the Beetle was only produced in significant numbers from 1945 on (mass production had been put on hold during the Second World War) when the model was internally designated the Volkswagen Type 1, and marketed simply as the Volkswagen (or "People's Car"). Later models were designated Volkswagen 1200, 1300, 1500, 1302 or 1303, the former three indicating engine displacement, the latter two derived from the type number. The model became widely known in its home country as the Käfer (German for "beetle") and was later marketed as such in Germany, and as the Volkswagen in other countries. For example, in France it was known as the Coccinelle (French for ladybug). The original 25 hp Beetle was designed for a top speed around 100 km/h (62 mph), which would be a viable speed on the Reichsautobahn system. As Autobahn speeds increased in the postwar years, its output was boosted to 36, then 40 hp, the configuration that lasted through 1966 and became the "classic" Volkswagen motor. The Beetle ultimately gave rise to variants, including the Karmann Ghia and Type 2. The Beetle marked a significant trend, led by Volkswagen, Fiat, and Renault, whereby the rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout increased from 2.6 percent of continental Western Europe's car production in 1946 to 26.6 percent in 1956. The 1948 Citroën 2CV and other European models marked a later trend to front-wheel drive in the European small car market, a trend that would come to dominate that market. In 1974, Volkswagen's own front-wheel drive Golf model succeeded the Beetle. In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled the Concept One, a "retro"-themed concept car with a resemblance to the original Beetle, and in 1998 introduced the "New Beetle", built on the contemporary Golf platform with styling recalling the original Type 1. In the 1999 Car of the Century competition, to determine the world's most influential car in the 20th century, the Type 1 came fourth, after the Ford Model T, the Mini, and the Citroën DS.

VW Beetle (1949)

VW Beetle (1949)

The last classic VW Beetle

The last classic VW Beetle

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Friday 1st August 2003

13 years ago

An original Citroën 2CV prototype appeared as the centrepiece at the opening of an exhibition at the Design Museum in London exploring the work of the flamboyant Italian and former Citroën designer Flaminio Bertoni. The 2CV was displayed alongside a Traction Avant, a DS and a model of a DS at the exhibition, which was titled ‘When Flaminio Drove to France – Flaminio Bertoni’s Designs for Citroën’.

Citroën 2CV prototype

Citroën 2CV prototype

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Tuesday 9th September 2003

13 years ago

The Frankfurt Motor Show, opened it’s doors, with the simultaneous launch of the 5th generation of VW Golf and Opel Astra. Ford unveiled the first production models based on next year’s new Focus platform – the Mazda 3 and new Volvo S40 sedan. The 2003 Show was also a significant event for BMW, with the debut of the new 5-Series saloon and 6-Series coupe, while the X5 was updated for 2004 and joined by the smaller, all-new X3. Mercedes showed the production version of the SLR McLaren; Jaguar the X-Type Estate and Maserati returned to the luxury saloon fold with the premiere of the new Quattroporte. Leading the concept car debuts from Europe were the Citroen C-Airlounge, Renault Be-Bop, Peugeot 407 Elixir, SEAT Altea, and Saab 9-3 Sporthatch, together with surprises from Lancia with the Fulvia Coupe concept and Skoda with the Roomster. Japanese makers were also strongly featured with concepts such as the Toyota CS&S, Nissan Dunehawk, Mazda Kusabi, Mitsubishi ‘i’, and Suzuki S2.

VW Golf (5th generation)

VW Golf (5th generation)

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Friday 19th September 2003

13 years ago

The Citroen C2 was officially launched in the UK. It replaced the Citroën Saxo, and was built at the Aulnay plant, on the outskirts of Paris. A different design of the C2, based on that of the Peugeot 206, was sold in China. The Citroën C2 was discontinued in October 2009, and replaced by the Citroën DS3 in January 2010.

Citroen C2

Citroen C2

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Friday 24th September 2004

12 years ago

The Paris Mondial de l’Automobile (Paris Motor Show) opened its doors to the press and featured a wealth of new concept and production cars. There were a number of major releases from Ford, BMW and Mercedes and, naturally, the French makers Peugeot, Citroën and Renault featured strongly as well. World debuts included the Alfa 147, Aston Martin DBR9, Audi A4, BMW 1 Series, BMW M5, Citroën C4, Ferrari F430, Ford Focus, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Sportage, Mazda 5, Mercedes A-Class, Mitsubishi Colt CZ3, Opel Astra GTC, Peugeot 1007, Porsche Boxster, Renault Mégane Trophy, Škoda Octavia Estate, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Prius GT.

BMW 1-Series

BMW 1-Series

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Saturday 25th September 2004

12 years ago

The Zonda C12 S Monza debuted at the Paris Motor Show as a track-day version of the Zonda for private use. Also presented at the Show was the new stylish Citroën C5, available as a five-door hatchback or saloon.

Zonda C12 S

Zonda C12 S

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Monday 15th November 2004

12 years ago

The Citroen C4 range went on sale in the UK. It was designed to be the successor to the Citroën Xsara and was mechanically similar to the Peugeot 308, which was launched in 2007.

Citroen C4

Citroen C4

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Thursday 6th January 2005

12 years ago

Thieves broke into a German car showroom and stole only the coffee machine. Dozens of brand new Citroen cars were parked in the showroom in Bonn and the keys were on the wall. But the thieves ignored all the new motors, and instead unplugged and made off with the coffee machine.

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Monday 28th February 2005

12 years ago

Production commenced on the new Citroën C1, a compact car with attractive, fun styling, available in three-door and five-door versions.

Citroën C1

Citroën C1

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Tuesday 1st March 2005

12 years ago

The Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe was unveiled at the 75th Salon de L’Automobile in Geneva. It heralded new generations of Jaguar sports cars and sports saloons, as Jaguar Chairman and CEO, Joe Greenwell, explains: "The Advanced Lightweight Coupe represents the very essence of Jaguar, its heart and soul. If you want to know what lies ahead for us, what direction we will take - this is Jaguar’s answer." Created by Jaguar’s advanced design team under Design Director Ian Callum, this high-performance show car was indicative of more than just the company’s evolving design direction; the Advanced Lightweight Coupe was a rallying call for a company whose reputation was founded on beautiful, dynamic sports cars. Combining stunning design with advanced lightweight construction technologies, the Advanced Lightweight Coupe represented true sporting luxury in an exciting, high performance package. The Cadillac BLS show car, built at the loss-making Saab factory in Sweden previewed the brand’s dynamic new entry model for 2006, while the fastest car ever offered by Corvette and General Motors, the Corvette Z06, made its European debut. The fun and funky Citroen C1 city car and the Citroen C6 also made their world debut.

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

Jaguar Advanced Lightweight Coupe

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Thursday 15th September 2005

11 years ago

BMW unveiled a Bangle-designed concept coupe version of the Z4 and Citroen introduced the C6 at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

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Thursday 24th November 2005

11 years ago

The new Citroen C6 executive saloon become the very first car in the world to be awarded a maximum 4 star Euro NCAP pedestrian safety rating, as well as a maximum 5 stars for occupant protection, making it arguably the safest car on the road.

Citroen C6 (2005-2012)

Citroen C6 (2005-2012)

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Wednesday 12th April 2006

10 years ago

BMW 3 Series was named World Car of the Year at the New York Auto Show. Other winners selected by the jury of 48 international automotive journalists from 22 countries were the Porsche Cayman S (World Performance Car). Honda Civic Hybrid (World Green Car) and the Citroen C4 (World Car Design of the Year).

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Saturday 15th September 2007

9 years ago

Rally driver Colin McRae (39) and three other people were killed when their helicopter crashed near Lanark in Scotland. The son of five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae and brother of rally driver Alister McRae, Colin McRae was the 1991 and 1992 British Rally Champion and, in 1995 became the first British person and the youngest to win the World Rally Championship Drivers' title, a record he still holds. McRae's outstanding performance with the Subaru World Rally Team enabled the team to win the World Rally Championship Constructors' title three times in succession in 1995, 1996 and 1997. After a four-year spell with the Ford Motor Co. team, which saw McRae win nine events, he moved to Citroën World Rally Team in 2003 where, despite not winning an event, he helped them win the first of their three consecutive manufacturers' titles. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to motor sport in 1996.

Colin McRae

Colin McRae

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Wednesday 12th December 2007

9 years ago

Ryton manufacturing plant located in Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire, England produced its last car, a Peugeot 206. After the war Ryton became the headquarters of the Rootes Group, but when the organisation entered financial difficulties in the 1960s the company (in stages) and thus the plant were taken over by American car-making giant Chrysler. Chrysler itself entered financial difficulties and sold the plant, along with the rest of its European operations for a symbolic US$1.00 to PSA Peugeot Citroën in 1978. The 140-acre site was sold to developer Trenport Investments Ltd for industrial use in March 2007 and was demolished in November 2007.

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Sunday 9th May 2010

6 years ago

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened what was dubbed as the Middle East's biggest car plant set up by Iranian state-run automobile company Saipa. Saipa began by assembling Citroën's two-cylinder mini passenger car, the Dyane, in 1968. It went under the name Jyane (or Jian) in Iran. There was also an uncommonly ugly glazed panel van version of the Jyane, as well as the Baby-Brousse, a rustic little buggy in the style of a Citroën Méhari but with a metal body. Later, a pickup version of the Jyane also appeared. The Baby-Brousse was built from 1970 until 1979. In 1975 Saipa began manufacturing licensed versions of the original Renault 5 and later the Renault 21. Production of Citroëns ended in 1980. From 1986-1998 Saipa built the Z24 pickup, a license built version of the 1970-1980 Nissan Junior with a 2.4-litre engine. In 1998 Saipa took over the Zamyad company, which then undertook the production of the Z24. Since 2003, this truck has been sold under the Zamyad brand.Renault 5 production ended in 1994 (Pars Khodro took over the production lines), and the 21 was discontinued in 1997. In 1993 a relationship with KIA began, and production of the Kia Pride commenced. Saipa's Pride is marketed under the names Saba (saloon) and Nasim (hatchback). At the 2001 Tehran Motor Show the liftback Saipa 141 was added to the lineup. This is a five-door version based on the Saba, and is somewhat longer than the Nasim. The Pride series cars carry 97% local content. From 2001 to late 2010, Saipa has had also produced the Citroën Xantia under licence as well as assembling sedan models of the previous generation Kia Rio using parts imported from Korea, from May 2005 to late 2012 where Saipa lost its license to produce Kia Rios.In 2000, SAIPA purchased 51% of Pars Khodro. It also manufactures the Citroen C5 and the New C5. Other products are the Renault Tondar 90, a Renault Logan assembled by SAIPA and its subsidiary Pars Khodro in a joint venture with Renault known as Renault Pars, with over 100,000 orders within a week of it going on sale in March 2007.Production was launched in Venezuela in 2006, and in Syria in 2007

Saipa 232

Saipa 232

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Monday 3rd January 2011

6 years ago

The Citroën DS4 was launched, the second vehicle in the DS line is a raised four-door coupé that combined performance and versatility for a new driving sensation.

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Monday 18th April 2011

5 years ago

Following the Citroën DS3 and DS4, the brand unveiled the DS5 in Shanghai. Bold and sculptural, the Citroën DS5 was a perfect fit with the DS line with its radical choices in architecture, styling and sophistication.

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Tuesday 10th July 2012

4 years ago

Ten years after their first WRC win, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena shattered the standing records in motorsports when they clinched their ninth WRC title in Alsace, France. At the same time, Citroën claimed its eighth world title in the Manufacturers' championship.

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Thursday 6th March 2014

3 years ago

The 84th Geneva Auto Show opened its doors to the public. Cars premiered included Audi S1, Bentley Flying Spur V8, Citroen C1, Cireon C4 Cactus, Ferrari California, Nissan Juke, Renault Twingo, Toyota Aygo and the VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

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