Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Citroen Conservatoire photo dump

I'm working on a piece for Hooniverse, but there are simply too many photos!

First, the secret. Anyone can visit the "private" collection. The warehouse is on the premises of the Citroen Aulnay-sous-Bois plant. It's just outside Paris, two RER train stops from CDG airport. We took the train to Villepinte station and walked 30 minutes through a park, and arrived at the Conservatoire. Just make sure you make a reservation by emailing the staff. They speak enough English to get by. Writing to them in French is preferable.

Here we are, waiting excitedly outside for the door to open. About 20 other car geeks were also waiting. Most were locals. There was a guy from Sardinia visiting. He and I were the only foreigners and we basically communicated by pointing and miming.

In the lobby is this crushed XM on the wall.

I saw this on the wall as I walked out of the men's room.

The moment of truth. The young docent opened the double doors to the collection. The stench aroma of old cars hit us. People cursed in disbelief in at least three languages. This guy's expression is pretty representative. So in this series of shots, I am panning from left to right.

The tour was chronological. I wasn't really into pre-war cars, so I got distracted with random memorabilia.

This is a recreation of Andre Citroen's office.

This is the Evo-Mobil. It's a 2010 piece, "at the border of hypothesis and contemporary art". It is supposed to represent 400 years of mobility.

Five of these 1922 P2 half-tracks trekked from Algeria to Timbuktu in 20 days.

Some very early 2CVs

The entire back wall consisted solely of rally cars.

Notice this is a two-door.

Here is a James Bond For Your Eyes Only-edition 2CV. I was kind of surprised the faux bullet holes were just stickers.

Two-engined, four-wheel drive 2CV Sahara. I was trying to mime to the Sardinian that it's four wheel drive. The Sardinian was trying to mine to me that it has two motors. It was bliss.

Hermes-edition 2CV.

This is a 1974 prototype for a luxury 2CV.

From the same guy who created the Evo-Mobil, this UFO is an homage to the DS.

Check out the exhausts on that SM!

The FAF was assembled all over the world. It's basically a metal-bodied version of the Mehari.

This monstrosity was the 1960 C60. It was supposed to be a mid-sized car between the Ami and the DS. It combines elements from the Ami (like the raked rear window) and the DS (like the sloping hood).

Rotary-engined M35.

Birotor GS.

This 1971 Project L prototype was supposed to replace the DS.

This is for you, Chris. A body-less CX.

1985 Citroen Eole.

2-cylinder Citroen LN.

The presidential Citroens. Hollande rode in this DS5.

I thought the stretched SM convertible was the greatest Citroen ever. But this stretched DS stole the show. It's longer than anything LBJ or Nixon rode in.

Granted, the stretched SM wasn't too shabby.

Stretched XM.

Note the flag holder. This particular XM carried VIPs like Arafat around.

The vans.

This 1939-41 TUB was based on the Traction Avant. It was the first vehicle in the world with a sliding door.

1948 Mini H prototype.

And finally, to be filed under "Miscellaneous".


Anonymous said...

Nice report and pictures!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I enjoyed every picture. I hope to see the collection someday.

Lukas said...

Cool. So much French!

Ripituc said...

Thank you. I love these "photo dumps". So many interesting vehicles in there!

Ed Kim said...

Dude...this is just...pornographic. Oh my God...

Edvin said...

Oh my.. Love it, thanks for sharing! :)