The Classic Citroëns, 1935–1975


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About the Book

When the final list for the Car of the Century competition was announced in November 1999, only one company had three finalists: Automobiles Citroën. All three models—the Traction Avant, the 2CV and the DS 19—were developed during the era when the company was owned by the Société Michelin (Michelin Tire Company). All three were created by the engineer André Lefèbvre and the stylist Flaminio Bertoni. This industry recognition highlighted the unique Citroën-Michelin affiliation, demonstrating anew how this relationship made the automaker the benchmark for progressive design and creative engineering within both the international automotive community and the general motoring public.

This work provides the first in-depth examination of the Citroën-Michelin era, focusing on the interrelationship between these firms in the development of the revolutionary Michelin X radial tire and its impact on Citroën’s avant-garde automobiles. From its origins in 1919 under the watchful eye of André Citroën, a history of the automaker’s early years is provided. Next, the author takes a detailed look at the cars of the golden age of Citroën: the Traction Avant, the 2CV, the DS/ID, the Ami-6 and Ami-8, the GS/GSA, the CX, and the Citroën-Maserati SM. The innovations, the unique designs, and the new standards of technical excellence that these cars offered are all fully covered, heavily illustrated with rare photographs of the classic automobiles.

About the Author(s)

Author and journalist John Reynolds is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers and the Society of Automotive Historians. He lives near Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England.

Bibliographic Details

John Reynolds

Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 280
Bibliographic Info: 235 photos, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7171-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8415-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments       vi
Introduction: The Cars That Monsieur Bibendum Built      1

1. André Citroën      7
2. Development of the Traction Avant, 1931–1934      30
3. The Citroën Traction Avant, 1934–1940 and 1945-1957      53
4. The Design and Development of the 2CV, 1938–1948      76
5. The Citroën 2CV, 1948–1990      96
6. The Citroën Type H Van, 1948–1981      119
7. The Conception and Development of the Citroën DS, 1937–1955      126
8. The Citroën DS, 1955–1975      140
9. The DS Pallas, 1964–1975      165
10. The ID Sedans and Breaks, 1957–1975, and the DS and ID Cabriolets, 1961–1971      173
11. The Ami-6, 1961–1969, and the Ami-8, 1969–1978      192
12. The Citroën Maserati SM, 1970–1975      201
13. The Citroën GS and GSA, 1970–1986      218
14. The Citroën CX, 1974–1989      237
15. Conclusion: The PSA Cars, 1976–2000      257

Appendix: Citroën Model Specifications      265
Bibliography      271
Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “no car fan will want to be without”—Midwest Book Review
  • “a must-have”—Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car
  • “definitive…this is perhaps his finest work…well written and informative”—Citroen Quarterly USA
  • “Reynolds’ writing remains a joy to read”—Citroenet