Motoring: Marques Of The Century No.3 Citroen

Citroen's chevron badge is distinctive. What are its origins?

Andre Citroen founded a company producing gear wheels in 1913 - the double chevron represents two gear wheels meshing. This badge on popular mass- produced cars and single- deck buses and taxis built for his own transport companies through France.

Weren't Citroen at the cutting edge of technology?

Not until 1934, when they stunned the world with the Traction Avant, which means "front-wheel drive". This was the first mass-produced car in Europe to have front-driven wheels and independent suspension, and the chassis incorporated into the bodywork rather than being separate. It remained in production until 1957.

Was M. Citroen pleased?

Unfortunately the huge cost of developing and producing the car bankrupted the company and M Citroen died a year later.

What's the 2CV story?

The original specification for Citroen in 1936 called for a car to carry two French farmers in clogs and 50kg of potatoes at 30mph and 90mpg. The war got in the way, but the tin snail was launched in 1949 only in grey until colour paint arrived in 1959. The French press called it Citroen's biggest mistake; seven million have been built.

Eh? Where exactly?

In Slough in the Fifties, among other sites. The 2CV became a hit only when reimported in the Fifties. Slough also built Citroen's remarkable futuristic DS (pronounced "goddess" in French). Launched in 1955, the DS had hydraulically powered brakes, steering, gear change and self-levelling suspension.

So this sealed the company's success?

No, they flirted with rotary engines, a doomed technology, and were bought by Peugeot in 1975. Despite the technically and visually challenging CX and XM, worthy successors to the DS and the popular BX, Citroen has been absorbed into the Peugeot empire

What about Citroen supercars?

In 1969 they bought Maserati when Citroen wanted expert help to develop their ill-fated luxury coupe, the SM. It had a Maserati Bora engine but not enough buyers were convinced.

Are Citroen still quirky?

Sort of. The Xantia has hydraulic suspension and the bizarre Berlingo is a van with windows. Today, the model Claudia Schiffer promotes the dull Xsara. Enough said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Administrator

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has a track record...

    Recruitment Genius: Solar Field Sales Executive

    £40000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Relations Officer

    £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Help Desk Support

    £14500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An IT Help Desk Support individ...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable