Archive for citroen ds

Save these other cars

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Desirable machines, Green Tech with tags , , , , , , , on 26/05/2015 by Alexander

Yesterday I linked a beautifully-written article on what cars are worth saving from their ICE. If you haven’t read it, it’s worth having a look because the fundamental premise is saving cars that had crap engines but were otherwise lovely.

And because I’m a bit of an unoriginal simpleton, here are some of my own picks:

Citroen DS

Credit: Boldride

Credit: Boldride

No-one in the automotive world can deny the Citroen DS was revolutionary. Materials, aerodynamics, technology, safety and comfort were all redefined by the iconic French car, but it’s Achilles heel was the engine. There was nothing revolutionary about it, in fact, it was quite the contrary. On release, it had a 1.9l petrol unit, derived from the old Traction Avant, a car from the 1930’s. Subsequent engines introduced electronic injection, but you probably won’t see it written down as part of the huge range of the DS’s groundbreaking innovations.

Such a legend deserves to live on, and a technological advance like electrification would suit it like a glove. How you’d get the complicated hydraulics to work is for boffins, but it can’t be beyond the ken of man.

DeLorean DMC-12

Credit: DeLorean

Credit: DeLorean

A no-brainer. The DeLorean had a 2.8-litre Peugeot V6, which was underpowered for such a heavy car. Solution: a torquey electric motor, that suits its subsequent sci-fi credentials perfectly. Back to the Future, indeed.

And the best thing is, someone’s done it!

Alpine A108/Willys Interlagos
I love old Alpines, so much that I put the A110 in my Dream Garage. This particular Alpine was the type of old car powered by one those tiny engines that are bang-slap on the fine line of being suitable for cars or only good for lawn-mowers. The largest put into one I believe was for the Brazilian version (with the lovely name “Interlagos”, and manufactured by Willys, and pictured above) and had 945cc. And as anyone who has had this sort of car knows, the racket these cars make can be unbearable, making it perfect for EV treatment. You’d reach your destination without your ears bleeding and head pounding from a constant thrum of a noisy engine.

And because the A108 is so small, aerodynamic and light, I reckon it would be rather efficient in its energy consumption.

Volvo 200 series
Because classic cars can’t all be sports cars or legends, here’s an example of a humdrum everyday car made famous for its safety and practicality. According to some motoring journalists, the only reason some models had large six-cylinder engines was to be able to lug so much weight around. So hey presto, there you have the perfect excuse to electrify it.

And that’s just the excuse, there are other good reasons to bring one up more to date. There are its fabulous lines that have aged unbelievably well, its comfort or that wonderful interior. Plus, since it was rather reliable, and always a contender for the Volvo High-Mileage Club, it’s probable that 200 series engines have so many miles on them that the pistons have worn down to nubs and all the wiring is flaky and brittle. So you might as well prepare it for even more miles by transforming it into an EV.

Another of the best reasons I can think of is to stop them being slammed by tastless modders.

I loved doing this. I’ll think I’ll do some more later


Citroen DS24

Posted in Car conception, Desirable machines with tags , , , on 18/03/2011 by Alexander

Interesting concept car, though I’m two months late in writing about it: Citroen DS24, a modern reinterpretation of the original DS. A redesign done properly, by design student Ugo Spagnolo. It’s set to debut in 2019, i.e., Citroen’s 100th birthday.

From the video, you get all kinds of extra information that the gallery doesn’t sport. You get hydrogen fuel cell tech, steering wheel-mounted dials, a centrally-mounted media centre and other futuristic gadgets. And so it should be, because the car will be released in eight years and a lot of automotive water will flow under the bridge until then.

Dream garage #7 – Citroën CX

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , on 07/01/2010 by Alexander

Perhaps readers who are a more than distracted may have noticed a motif (that is, if I actually had any readers). In seven cars, four are French (five if you count the Bugatti, it’s made in France and named after a Frenchman) and three of these are Citroëns. There’s a reason for that, and it’s probably embodied by the Citroën CX.

This was the car I grew up with. My father owned more than half a dozen of these big beauties, and the impression it made on a young car fan was, to say the least, indelible. The looks, the size, the interior quirkiness were enough to make me believe that all other cars’ design were simply wrong. Why do other cars have indicator stalks instead of the clever boxes? Why do they use large, round dials instead of the space-saving revolving drums? Why do they have levers to pull to open the doors instead of the trigger-like mechanism of the CX? I could go on and on, since one of the advantages of having observed this car so much as a child is that my attention to detail was obsessive.

The CX had big shoes to fill. It had the task of replacing one of the most revolutionary cars of the 20th century, the DS. Now I won’t go into the debatable realm of whether it succeeded or not, but I think it will suffice to say that the CX’s run lasted for fifteen years (the DS had a twenty year stint), in an age where automakers had to keep changing, evolving and continuously upgrade models in order to stay afloat on the market.

The overall design was the brainchild of Robert Opron, who had joined Citroën under Flaminio Bertoni, the man responsible for the design of the DS. Opron appreciated the importance of aerodynamics, and implemented the DS’ swivelling headlamps that were glass-covered, as part of the DS’ 1967 makeover. This design element was also present in the Citroën SM, which, when looked at closely, heralded some design characteristics later included in the CX. In fact, personally I think it’s easy to see the similarities and Opron’s designing consistency in his Citroën designs, from the revamped DS passing through the GS and SM and on to the CX, what with them all sporting the same swooping rear and slightly curved-ness and horizontal-ness of the front.

I’ve always thought the CX as one of those cars that has stood the test of time extremely well. I remember how 80’s youths such as myself absolutely loathed the 70’s, yet this very openly 70’s car was irresistibly attractive even in the thick of the Thatcher years. It’s beautiful, sleek profile and tapering end gave it the necessary reminiscence to the DS to remind the drivers of the huge shoes it was filling. And like the DS, at the heart its look was the drive to find as aerodynamic a shape as possible, hence the name “CX” (“Cx” is the acronym for drag coefficient). I loved the curving shoulder-line, the long bonnet with the single, asymmetrical vent, the huge sloping windscreen, the rubber bits beneath the front bumper, the slightly concave rear windscreen on the saloon models, and especially those smiling front headlamps.

And that interior. I could dedicate an entry to the inside of the CX alone, such was the attention to detail and uniqueness bestowed by the geniuses who dreamt this car up. The single-pronged steering wheel, the absence of stalks behind it, the revolving drum speedometer and rev counter, the trigger door handles, the space, the comfort, even those crazy door-mounted ashtrays.

But enough of my slobbering praise. I’ll save some of my opinions for the captions in the following pictures.

Citroen CX gallery

Dream garage #1 – Citroën DS

Posted in Desirable machines, Dream garage with tags , , , on 15/07/2009 by Alexander

Every auto enthusiast has his or her favourite cars. And every now and then I believe we all whimsically imagine what cars we’d buy if we were stupidly rich and and had a place to put them.

So here’s my list of cars that I’d want to have in my dream garage.

The original Citroen DSFirst up is the amazing Citroën DS. This is to cars as The Beatles are to music. As the Parthenon is to Architecture. As Deep Throat is to porn movies. It changed everything. It revolutionised comfort, safety, aesthetics and even aerodynamics. It introduced into mainstream car manufacture disc brakes, hydropneumatic suspension, crumple zones and sliding the engine below the passenger compartment in case of a crash, plastic dashboards, an aerodynamic shape, swivelling headlamps, power windows, power steering and a semi-automatic gearbox powered by the same system that keeps the suspension going.

If this isn’t reason enough for it to be in my dream garage, perhaps I should emphasize the impact it had on me as a youngster. I was always exposed to quirky Citroën design since, well, as far as I can remember. But the DS had stuff I only saw on it and no other car. The dial with a big fat red circle that (I think) was the handbrake warning light. The swivelling headlamps behind a sheet of glass. The rear indicator lights sprouting out of tubes on the roof! It was always a fanfair to see a real, live DS, and the feeling has never waned.

An epic, iconic, monumental landmark in automotive history, and no doubt about it.

Citroën DS Gallery