Paris, France. House to pointy towers, nonsensical roundabouts, Austrian pastries (croissants have been invented in Vienna, truth followers) and the Conservatoire – Citroen’s very personal, very non-public Best Hits assortment.
Tucked away in a top-secret location, subsequent to the PSA manufacturing facility within the Aulnay-sous-Bois area, it contains round 250 automobiles in 6,500 sq. meters of temperature-controlled warehouse. The place as soon as it was solely accessible on an invite-only foundation, it’s now opened its doorways (and its workshop) to the general public for the measly entrance charge of €10 per particular person – and to whet the urge for food, we thought you’d admire a digital sneak-around.
The place is completely staggering. Firstly, it is huge. Secondly, the entire vehicles are completely immaculate. Thirdly, there’s actually each contribution the producer made to the wheeled world in right here, from the elegant to the Very French.
There’s the primary automotive ever made by the eponymous Andre Citroen – a 1919 Sort A – proper as much as the lovable Ami, and probably the most quintessentially absurd contraptions inbetween. It is a potent place, this – wanting throughout the ranks of vehicles you realise simply what number of contributions this storied producer’s made to motoring.
If you take a look at the density of innovation on this place, the phrase ‘forward of its time’ is unavoidable. OK, so we have descended into cliché, however we did not begin it. Citroen did.
There’s the Traction Avant, which is the primary automotive with torsion beam suspension and monocoque development. The DS, which has swivelling headlights that transfer with the steering wheel (fashionable carmakers are nonetheless touting this as a cutting-edge innovation) and hydraulic self-levelling suspension, which stays a staple of luxurious vehicles. It appeared on the DS again in 1955. The record goes on…
There’s loads of silly stuff too – fancy an AX roadster with a calculator within the dashboard? Or the 2CV (geared up with four-pot GS engine) utilized in James Bond: For Your Eyes Solely? It is all right here…