A hen André Citroën started building cars in 1919, he had already made money with gears and grenades. Within a few years he should become the largest car manufacturer in Europe, less than 20 years later he loses a lot of money, his company and six months later his health. The double angle as a trademark refers to the helically toothed gears with which Citroën earned the money for the car production.
Production based on the Ford model
But right from the start: Based on the model of Henry Ford builds the Citroën type rationally, sells it with good equipment and at a price: a great success. Opel is even copying the 5 HP, painting it green - a kind of compliment. Because customs make exports to neighboring Germany expensive, Citroën started building the Traction Avant in Cologne-Poll from 1927.
Pioneer of car advertising
André Citroën is also a pioneer of advertising: from 1922 By 1934, 250,000 lightbulbs on the Eiffel Tower form a Citroën logo that can be seen from afar. The advertising shines so far that pilot Charles Lindbergh orientates himself on it when he first crossed the Atlantic in an airplane. Citroën ensures that Lindbergh visits him after the French President and the US Ambassador. Because there are no street signs, Citroën has some put up with the brand logo, operates bus routes and is constantly expanding its workshop network.
Strokes of genius: Traction and 2CV
Even when many other manufacturers were knocking sheet metal on wood, the plant on Quai Javel in Paris was producing all-steel bodies based on a patent from Budd in Philadelphia, USA. The Type A was followed by the B models, until the presentation of the 2CV at the Paris Motor Show in 1948, the company pursued a one-model strategy. But before the 2CV comes the Traction Avant: Before theThe self-supporting body hang the engine and transmission in the subframe. A low center of gravity, a wide track and a long wheelbase ensure exceptionally good road holding - this is what gives it the nickname 'Gangster Citroën'. The high development costs, however, lead to payment difficulties; In 1934 André Citroën had to file for bankruptcy. Michelin takes over and uses a dual leadership. Pierre Boulanger, one of the two new bosses, can now implement an idea that he had in the 1920s: a simple car for the rural population. After several difficulties, including the construction of the boxer engine, and the prohibition of further development during the Second World War, the 2CV came onto the market in 1948. It stays there until 1990. Which car has been built for so long without significantly changing the body and design features?
World sensation DS
The DS was 20 years old and was a world sensation when it was presented at the 1955 Paris Motor Show. The biggest visual change: In 1967 the DS got double headlights. The further developed engine from the Traction Avant protrudes halfway into the interior, but this only plays a minor role. Because the main role, well, there are two: the hell designed by Flaminio Bertoni, which has nothing at all to do with the car design of the time, and the hydropneumatics devised by André Lefebvre. This will at least be retained as a suspension system until production of the C5 in Rennes ends in 2017. With steering wheels that automatically move back to the center even when the vehicle is stationary and brake mushrooms that react sensitively but hardly give in, hydropneumatics-Citroën users surprise, sometimes confusing with, well, an operation that is sometimes easier, but never boring.