We love to celebrate a birthday here at Stoneacre towers, and this year marks the 60th anniversary of the iconic Citroen DS, a car recognised for its avant garde nature and revolutionary approach to the art of car design.
The DS set a rather high precedent for future Citroen models, with many delectable examples following to ensure the French manufacturer holds a solid place in the heart of motoring enthusiasts.
To mark 60 years of the wonderful DS, as well as the subsequently eclectic and delightful models that followed, here are our top five stylish Citroens.
As the predecessor to the revolutionary DS, the Traction Avant was in itself very much a style icon; however, the Traction Avant was rather more conservative compared to what was to come in 1955. The Traction Avant - French for front-wheel drive - successfully pioneered the front-driving powertrain platform in the European mass market.
Although many examples were built in less than desirable locales as Slough, the Traction Avant was a gorgeous machine, with its massive grille at the front donning Citroen’s then sizeable but very recognisable logo. There were several variations of the Traction Avant, with the most stunning of these being the Coupe model, but the range also brought about the nine-seater Familiale version that brought a dash of style to the family vehicle segment.
Now to the birthday boy/girl/car etc. The DS followed the Traction Avant after being revealed at the 1955 Paris motor show; within 15 minutes of the car being unveiled, 743 orders were made and a total of 12,000 were taken by the end of the first day. There was good reason for this.
The Citroen DS was like nothing else ever seen in the automotive market; the DS represented a new hope for France, with the country still recovering from World War II and being distributed around the globe meant that other nations could see that France weren’t done with innovation.
As a car once described as if it has “fallen from the sky”, the DS was totally unique in its looks and offered incredible chic curves and that highly distinguishable rear end with the bodywork hanging over the wheels for aerodynamic purposes, but also giving the DS unquestionable identity.
It was also a car that brought about several pioneering innovations; not only was it the first mass production model with front power disc brakes, but the DS also featured hydropneumatic suspension that included an automatic levelling system and variable ground clearance. Such a feature, as well as power steering and a low centre of gravity, enabled the DS to find success in rallying and won the Monte Carlo Rally of 1959, thanks mainly to its ability to hold great speed over loose surfaces.
This could be the car in this list to spit opinion, but the Citroen C6 just has to feature, even if only for pushing a few stylistic boundaries. Like the DS, the C6 had a Hydroactive suspension set-up that allowed for maximum ‘waftability’; a feature Top Gear tested rather successfully at the racecourse, if you remember.
The Citroen C6 offered a prominent body style, not least due to that swooping long bonnet that carries so much car ahead of the front wheels; however, it was that fairly unique rear end that made you love or hate the C6 with its concave rear window and resulting half moon boot lid, as well as those lights which looked as though they were inspired by American models from the 50s. Even the luxurious interior could have fooled you into thinking you’d spent thousands more on the car.
GT by Citroen
As one of the biggest - if not the biggest - driving games in the world, Gran Turismo has forged many relationships with many car manufacturers over the years, but the first major partnership was with Citroen through the GT project.
The GT by Citroen started as a side project for a designer working on the Gran Turismo franchise, who then sold the idea onto Citroen and Polyphony Digital, the game’s developer. The GT by Citroen was first shown in physical form at the 2008 Paris motor show and immediately caught the eye of many thanks to its futuristic styling and dominant dimensions.
Despite its 23rd Century looks, the GT by Citroen still carries the identity of the brand; although if produced, the car would be a massive departure from anything the manufacturer had ever created, not least because of its dynamic design, but also as a result of its mid-engined layout that in theory would serve up nearly 800bhp form its four fuel cells.
From the future to the present, Citroen is still trying to push the envelope when it comes to styling a car - and the new C4 Cactus is no different. The crossover represents a car that Citroen became synonymous for creating: a quirky, affordable and unique package that inspires innovation.
Concept cars usually offer us a glimpse of what might come a few years down the line, but with the C4 Cactus, Citroen practically gave us the real deal when the covers came off the Cactus’ original design in 2013. Those shallow but highly efficient headlights give the car immediate definition, while those AirBumps on the side (as well as the front and rear bumpers) offer something never seen before, much like its ancestors.
Although compact from the outside, the C4 Cactus offers plenty of practical elements to give motorists an easy car to drive about town but also all the room required for a family outing. A cutting-edge interior also gives the Cactus a distinguishable advantage over its rivals, as well as a truly stylish environment to enjoy your driving.
What do you think of our list of most stylish Citroens? Would you like to have seen any other model from the French manufacturer in this list? Let us know below in the comments.