Retromobile 2022 – The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

2 CV Sahara (1960 – 1967): a rarity built in 694 units

An all-terrain Deudeuche, that is not trivial. Presented to the press on March 7, 1957 at the Ermenonville sand sea 2 CV Sahara 4 wheel drive has two 425 cc engines of 14 hp each. Enough to reach 100 km / h without difficulty. But that is not its primary function.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

The idea of ​​building an off-road 2CV did not come from Citroen. It is the work of a construction engineer, Maurice Bonafous (construction engineer). Faced with the repeated setbacks of his Jeep Willys, the same one left by the American soldiers after the landing, he decided to modify his 2cv himself and make it a crossing machine. He installed a second engine in the rear and opted for a 4-wheel drive transmission. It was only informed of this innovative prototype that Citroën became interested in the feasibility of such a model. The chevron brand adds to the recognized qualities of the 2 CV (robustness, lightness, low maintenance cost, etc.) impressive crossing capacities. The car, with 4 passengers, can climb slopes of 40° without flinching, whatever the surface (sand, snow, mud, gravel, pebbles).

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

Presented at the Paris Industrial Vehicles Show on November 6, 1958, production did not begin until the end of 1960. The Sahara differed from the classic model by its indented and widened fenders, a worked boot door to cool the rear engine. And especially by its double controls. To operate the two engines, two ignition keys are needed to operate the two starter controls, two starter pulls (one on the dashboard, the other between the seats) and two 15-litre tanks under the seats with two filler necks exiting through the right and left front doors of the car. A notable exception, the single gear lever placed on the floor between the two seats is enough to operate the two gearboxes. It is possible to disengage the rear engine and to evolve only with the front engine. Something to save fuel. Because if the 2 CV sees double, it also feeds twice. With its 735 kg (300 more than a classic Deuche) the machine swallows between 9 and 12 liters per 100 km, twice as much as its little sister. And to top it off, its price (9,820 francs) is also twice that of a classic model (4,750 francs). A rarity built in 694 units in 7 years.

CX (1974-1991): the most beautiful car 1975

Replacing the DS is no easy feat. Designed by Robert Opron and presented in 1974 the CX inherits this thankless task. But rather than play the revolution Citroën prefers the evolution, without great innovation. It is up to the designers to take over the strengths of its predecessor.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

If it has nothing innovative, its style is inspiring. The fluid hatchback has excellent aerodynamics (air penetration coefficient of 0.37), hence its name. The large front windscreen and the huge rear window make up the brightest car of the time. For the rest, the manufacturer uses the successful recipes of previous models. Starting with the hydropneumatic damping system and the engine of the DS 20 (1.985 cm³ and 102 hp) before adopting the following year that of the DS 21 of 2.2 liters and 112 hp. The monocoque structure is fixed on an axle frame which makes it possible to isolate the body from mechanical vibrations. As for the passenger compartment, it houses the single-spoke steering wheel of the DS and a dashboard with a ribbon tachometer (braking distance indicator). Power-assisted recoil steering, as on the SM, is optional. Comfort, road holding, maneuverability and safety are the key features of the model.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

Elected car of the year 1975, it received the safety prize and the “Auto style award 1975, the prize for the most beautiful car of the year. The versions parade and the hushed bourgeois style remains. It wasn’t until 1977 that the high-performance CX arrived. A 2,347 cc 128 hp injection engine version. The 2400 GTI was phased out at the end of 1984 in favor of the 25 GTI, 168 hp with a stern surmounted by a spoiler. The CX will be sold until 1991 as a series 2 which appeared in September 1985.

Traction avant (1934 -1957): a unique car

Launched on April 18, 1934 in an unstable economic context after the stock market crash of 1929, the Front-wheel Drive demonstrates marvelous innovations.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

André Citroën has just created a car like it has never existed, light, fuel-efficient, and capable of traveling at 100 km/h in complete safety. In an automotive world dominated by rear-wheel drive, the French manufacturer chose front-wheel drive. This eliminates the driveshaft at the rear axle and allows for lower ground clearance. For the penetration in the air, it realizes a body all in roundness, with a flat bottom offering an excellent aerodynamics. The engine is also completely new. An almost indestructible cast iron liner, light connecting rod pistons. The result is a fuel consumption of 9 liters per 100 km. In terms of comfort and safety, Citroën is adopting hydraulic brakes and developing an independent suspension system on the front wheels, while the old springs have been replaced by torsion bars. The ultimate six-cylinder version will even inaugurate the famous hydropneumatic suspensions then mounted on the DS and following. Available in three versions from 32 to 77 hp, it will sell 760,000 copies.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

Rosalie (1932 – 1938): 300,000 km traveled at an average speed of 93 km/h

Rosalie, Rosalie oh. Rosalie, Rosalie Ah. Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1932, the car is called by its number of fiscal horsepower as is usual then is revealed in three versions: 8 hp equipped with a four cylinder and a track of 1.34 m; 10 hp with the same engine but a wider track of 1.42 m; finally in 15 hp with a 6-cylinder engine. Available in sedan, convertible, coupe and even utility.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

But above all, the new Citroën benefits from a floating engine, discovered at Chrysler in the United States, and an innovative one-piece body in stamped sheet metal which greatly improves passenger safety and makes the car lighter. Driven by the breathtaking record set on the Montlhéry ring in 1933 (300,000 km traveled at an average speed of 93 km/h), the Rosalie is adorned with the finest features hitherto reserved for cars in higher categories. Later model will share the same 7 and 11 traction engine. 38,840 copies sold.

Retromobile 2022 - The Citroën Adventure, 80 years of history

Retromobile 2022

Caradisiac is a partner of Rétromobile 2022

Useful information

Buy your tickets for Rétromobile and the preview evening

From Wednesday 16 to Sunday 20 March 2022, (1 place de la Porte de Versailles 75015 Paris), pavilions 7.2 and 7.3

Full price: €24

Full price in presale: 20 €

Free for children under 12


Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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