Category Archives: Citroën

Magic location for motion pictured cars

Movin' Malibu

Chevelle: so swell

Our aim is always to capture and dissect, in a manner of speaking, vehicles seen in the wild but we never shoot or accept photos taken at car shows, auctions or used/classic car lots.  As a result, we do tend to ferret out featured feral finds when they’re parked. It’s one thing to nail ’em when they’re at a standstill as opposed to documenting them in motion.

There she goes

Movin’ Malibu

We’ve found that two corners right near Feral Car’s international HQ in Los Angeles have yielded a disproportionate number of very interesting, very notable cars in full flight.  We’re talking about the intersection of Rosewood Avenue and Rossmore Boulevard and, just three blocks to the east, the intersection of Rosewood and Larchmont Boulevard.

Do we have to spell it out? Cadillac means l-u-x-u-r-y.

Do we have to spell it out? Cadillac means l-u-x-u-r-y.

These are the crossroads where we’ve seen lots of vintage VWs, Valiants and the like as well as some more esoteric conveyances.  We’ve gone back into our image bank and sorted out a few shots of cars in motion captured at these locations that really underscore just what a phenomenal breeding ground this area happens to be.

Fender skirts standard, of course

Fender skirts standard, of course

We were most impressed with the bone stock ’71 Chevelle Malibu encountered at Rossmore and Rosewood just the other day.  You just don’t see these as untampered with as this one.  Our guess is that this unrestored California car wears its original 45-year old factory Antique White paint job.  Kudos to the owner who resisted pressure to change out the original wheel covers.

Actin' chill: big ol' Coupe DeVille

When it absolutely, positively has to get there in style.

Over at Larchmont and Rosewood we found a similarly unmessed-with Cadillac DeVillle, also a ’71.  We find the juxtaposition of the sky blue padded top over the Brittany blue body calming and reassuring on this,  a pristine enthralling example of traditional American luxury in motion.

Junk or punk in the trunk?

Junk or punk in the trunk?

At the same intersection we came upon a ’76 Cadillac Coupe DeVille that seemed raked, the front end higher than the back, perhaps due to a heavy load in the trunk.  We’ll refrain from theorizing on just what might have been weighing this magnificent Caddy down except to suggest that Good Fellas is available on Netflix.

Pretty Poncho

Pretty Poncho

Now it’s back to Rossmore and Rosewood for a gander at a super clean ’66 Pontiac LeMans.  It has the same bearing as the higher performance GTO but this one is equipped with a 326 cubic inch V8 rather than the 389 found under the hood of “The Goat.”  Yes, those wheels  and everything else appear to be totally stock and that’s the way we like it. You really can’t improve on perfection, so why try?

Near perfect "Pon-ton"

Near perfect “Pon-ton”

At the other end of the spectrum is this ’79 Buick Skyhawk that is completely intact but appears to be suffering from an advance case of benign neglect.  That brushed chrome band running up the b-pillars and over the roof may be perceived as a “lipstick on a pig” concept but we find it charming in a gauche sort of way.  The spoiler is a nice, touch, too.

Not entirely sure we'd rather have it but will certainly consider

Not entirely sure we’d rather have it but will certainly consider

Banded baby Buick

Banded baby Buick

These fecund intersections yield more than just GM-built transients.  Take, for example this stunning ’61 Rambler Classic.  While it’s true that Rambler ran third to Chevy’s #1 and Ford’s #2 on the sales charts back then, there are very few survivors built during the time of the (George) Romney administration of American Motors.   It’s paradoxical that upright Rambler sedans like this often doubled as eastern European cars in limited budget spy shows like Mission Impossible, Get Smart and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  while Romney and AMC were on the front lines defending American capitalism from godless (and unprofitable) socialism.

Ramblin' man

Ramblin’ man

Remnant from the first (and last) Romney administration

Remnant from the first (and last) Romney administration

Lastly, we offer our pièce de résistance. We, too, thought we might be hallucinating but we shot this fantastic Citroën SM around 9 AM and hadn’t had any mushrooms for dinner the night before. 

L'avenir est arrivé dans le passé

L’avenir est arrivé dans le passé

The car was the product of Citroën’s acquisition of perpetually floundering Maserati in the early ’70s.  The hydropneumatic suspension was all French, derived from the system that kept the groundbreaking Citroën DS (literally) afloat since 1955. Power was provided by a Maserati V6 that was mounted backwards (!)  aft of the front axle; the transmission out in front of the motor.  The design is breathtaking, the interior exquisite and but the Franco-Italo alliance advanced Citroën’s march into insolvency and ultimate acquisition by rival Peugeot.

Allons enfants avec grâce à puissance italienne

Allons enfants avec grâce à puissance italienne

If you find yourself in Southern California you really should make it a point to amble down Rosewood Avenue between Larchmont and Rossmore Boulevards.  We’d love to know if you encounter any of these inspiring full motion relics.

We found this well-priced (under $80K) ’72 CitroënSM for sale in nearby St. Louis and urge you to consider its purchase.  We predict you’ll double your money if you sell it ten years hence, if you don’t factor in the cost of maintenance — some contend that “SM” stands for exactly what you’re thinking it does. Ouch!

Less, exotic, perhaps is this TV commercial for the ’71 Chevelle.  Dinah Shore-approved!

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

 

Billy G’s French post-cars from Spain

Aronde, Aronde, he gets Aronde..

Aronde, Aronde, he gets Aronde..

We were delighted to receive an incoming message from Spain where ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons was spending a few weeks on break from touring, recording and being ultra-famous.  Well, he’s still ultra-famous but he did get some time off from the other stuff.  A dyed-in-the wool fan of FeralCars.com — he hosted our “DRIVEN” art ‘n’ cars event in Palm Springs last year — BFG sent us a snap shot of a SIMCA Aronde found parked at a curb in mid-Madrid.  We’ve determined it’s a ’61 or ’62.  The marque’s emblem is a swallow as can be seen in the steering wheel center.  “Aronde” is a corruption of hirondelle which means swallow — the bird, not the gulping kind.

Swallow. Hard.

Swallow. Hard.

Billy’s field notes:

“On any usual day while cruising the streets in Madrid, the sidewalk spotting may be a bit on the skimpy side when anticipating an encounter with anything classic or custom.  However, sometimes luck may be on one’s side when an unexpected runner of the road is seen sitting quietly curbside awaiting an admiring glance from any pedestrian or passerby. He continued, “In this case, this tantalizing visual treat tiptoed around a bustling and busy avenue to seek solace from an unusually oppressive Spanish summer heatwave to sit out the sangria-like sanguine sizzle with a sigh of relief. And so it sat, awaiting a smile as we strolled by.  See ya’ again soon, SIMCA…!  Now back to Cali to call out for a custom…!”

Back on the streets again

Back on the streets again

SIMCA was, for a time, marketed in the United States as the firm had been acquired by Chrysler which paired its “captive import” with select Chrysler,Plymouth, Dodge and DeSoto (!) dealers.  While some have suggested that the brand derived its name from a relatively obscure Jewish holiday, we’re here to tell you that SIMCA is actually an acronym for Société Industrielle de Mécanique et Carrosserie Automobile. So that’s your French lesson for the day.

Horsing around España

Horsing around España

Well, not really as Billy also sent a shot of  a Citroën 2CV (deux chevaux = two horses) careening down a Spanish street. Our best guess is that this is a mid-1980s Dolly model, meaning it had special paint and a cushier interior than the base car. ¡Ay, caramba! meets Ooh La La!

The Pope's is white, of course.

The Pope’s is white, of course.

While we’re on the subject of French cars in Spain we thought we’d share this shot of a Renault 4L, called quatrelle in the land of its manufacturer, that we found in a picturesque alley in the Catalan town of Girona.  It’s the same type of low-end Renault that Pope Francis was given a few years back as, one supposes, a commentary on meek inheritance.  We think it’s pretty cool that the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion people drives a 30 year old car with almost 190,000 miles on the odometer.  How’s that for humble?

Goddess-like

Goddess-like

We close with two more Citroëns found on this continent.  That otherworldly DS 21 wasn’t photographed in East L.A., it rides low thanks to its self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension.  DS is, of course, a play on words, it’s pronounced déesse which is French for goddess.  Please don’t tell the Pope.

The other is a 2CV we came upon in real world service, picking up a traveler at Sacramento International Airport. Apparently Its equine propulsion rating has been augmented with canine enthusiasm.

Not one, but deux cheveaux

Not one, but deux cheveux

Here’s our intrepid Madrid correspondent with his very own California Custom, a ’58 Thunderbird he calls Mexican Blackbird.  Feral it ain’t but funky it is!

¡Qué Rico Es!

¡Qué Rico Es!

We actually found this ’63 SIMCA Aronde for sale in nearby Long Beach CA but there’s no indication of the price.  We wouldn’t pay a penny over $25K for it but, then again, it’s a low mileage (48,000) cream puff. Have a look at this video an owner shot of his ’61 SIMCA Aronde at a French supermarket parking lot, real nouvelle vague masterpiece.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

 

Peugeot (qu’est-ce que c’est ?)

La vrai chose

La vraie chose

There was a time when France was a significant exporter of cars to these shores.  Consumers could choose among Renault, Citroën and even Panhard, if only for un petit moment.  Perhaps the most straightforward Gallic contender here was Peugeot which was described as “a French Mercedes.”  This was cipher for ‘vehicle suitable for the haute bourgeoisie’. Renaults were usually small, insubstantial rolling coffins and Citroëns — both the farm implement-cum-chariots des paysans 2CV (deux chevaux = “two horses”) and the futuristic DS — pronounced déesse = “goddess” — too advanced for a nation of shade tree mechanics met with shoulder shrugs at best.

Gallic oil burner

Gallic oil burner

FeralCars Field Scout Andrew Keeler captured this Peugeot 504, the no-nonsense workhorse of Africa, on the funky streets of San Francisco.  This particular Cinq cent quatre, as you’d expect, is diesel powered. Diesel durability, perhaps, accounts for its extraordinary longevity.  We’re fairly certain it’s a ’76; the 504  was in production for 14 years with three million copies produced.

Nice kitty

Nice kitty

Until just last year the company was controlled by the Peugeot family. The operation dates  back to the early-19th century and really got going when coffee mill and bicycle production kicked in sometime thereafter. Manufacture of motorized vehicles started in 1889, only three years after Karl Benz got his mellifluously named Benz Patent-Motorwagen rolling under its own power on whatever they used for autobahns back then. The Peugeot lion symbol, seen in bas-relief and rendered in rugged plastic on the grill of a 604 , was first applied to Peugeot brand saw blades indicating strong teeth, sharp tongue and swift cut claws. Ouch!

Super-sized "force de frappe"

Super-sized “force de frappe”

Bumpered car

Bumpered car

Peugeot was never a threat to the rise of Mercedes Benz in the luxury car field but fielded Pininfarina-designed contender just the same.  Here’s a E-Class size Peugeot 604, a Turbo Diesel according the the badge on the big square sedan’s derriere, the font of which could only have been applied to a car conceived in the land of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.   It’s a quite a mirthful appliqué for an executive class car like this.  We took a look inside and noted the 5-speed manual transmission that could make driving this a truly Francodelic delight.

Font-astique!

Font-astique!

We think the Peugeot 505 is very reasonable proposition, a “just right” size sedan that was popular in college towns and places where fall foliage tours are undertaken.  This one, a gasoline powered (!)  STI,  is probably a 1980 model and appears to be headed to an entertainment locale called “Fully Exposed” although we recognize that the car wash just down the street could well be an alternate objective. Or, perhaps, tous les deux?  Clean and dirty in one handy location!

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.27.46 PM

We found a stunning 1980 Peugeot 504 online priced at a whopping $195000 but we’re starting to think it could actually be bon marché insofar as it has fewer than 8000 KM — kilometers, not miles!  Peugeot never sold cars in any significant volume in this country but they did roll the dice with this commercial that played on French sexual stereotype for the 505 Turbo that was shot on location — in the bedroom.  Here’s an earlier spot that emphasizes the brand’s heritage and legacy that’s actually quite informative.  Yes, there will be a midterm!

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

Allons enfants de la Patrie le jour de Citroën est arrivé!

The future arrived.. in 1955

The future arrived.. in 1955

We just had to celebrate Bastille Day with a look at some Citroën models that have escaped the guillotine.  Both the luxury DS (pronounced “déesse” = goddess) and the blue collar 2CV (deux chevaux = two horses) were revolutionary in their time and continue to be marvels of out-of-the-box (so far out of the box, there’s no box) automotive thinking. Thanks to Feral Cars Field Scout Peter Litwack for finding this Gallic beauty en bleu in far away Marin County.

Les voyages dans l'espace sur terre

Les voyages dans l’espace sur terre

If the DS looks futuristic now, cast yourself back 59 years to 1955 when it was introduced at the Paris Motor Show.  During the first day it was on display a reported 12,000 orders were taken.  Production of the same epochal car — front wheel drive, hydropneumatic suspension and an interior as futuristic as its exterior — continued for 20 years. The future had, indeed, arrived but American buyers were, for the most part, put off by the car.  Its flying-saucer-on-the ground look was a far cry from the rococo juke box styling of American luxury cars of the time. Its unfettered flanks were disconcerting during an era when gobs of chrome seemed to have been indiscriminately applied to everything on four wheels.  The factory that built these was, by the way, well within the city limits of Paris and it shows.

Rolling palette

Rolling palette, photo by Feral Cars Scout extraordinaire  Amy Treco

The DS was too counterintuitive for Americans.  Our Cadillacs and Lincolns had huge V8 motors displacing upwards of 8 liters while the DS cut through the wind with only a 1.9 liter four banger.  Simply stated: the whole concept was un-American but very French and we’re thrilled whenever we see one, especially these days. Vive la différence!

C'est si simple!

C’est si simple!

We love the unrestored Deux Chevaux, above, that Feral Cars Field Scout George “Grenouille”  Merlis captured on a Paris street recently. With just two cylinders, front wheel drive and seats that are, essentially, hammocks, its simplicity is overwhelming.  Like Volkswagen, the car’s roots were pre-war; it was officially introduced in 1939.  The “unpleasantness” with Germany stopped production almost as it began and the car was not built in quantity until 1948 though it  continued for the next 52 years.  Pas mal du tout!

Très chic

Le hot car de Paris

Over the years, many specialty models were produced such as this two tone late production “Charleston,” meant to conjure up the jazz age.  This would have been a perfect car for Django Reinhardt, n’est-ce pas?

Fourgonnette avec fenêtres

Fourgonnette avec fenêtres

This very original 2 CV Fourgonette (van) was found on the streets of Sonoma by Feral Cars Field Scout Peter Litwack who found the DS at the top of this post. Those flip up front windows render window cranks and, heaven forbid, electric window lifts completely unnecessary — the simpler the better.  The headlights do adjust so a heavy load in the back needn’t make them cast up.  Clever, non?

You can’t buy a Citroën nor, for that matter, any French-built new car in the United States as this is written.  Renault, Peugeot, Panhard and Citroen are gone but the revolutionary Citroën story is one worth telling despite our unfortunate Francophobic tendencies.

For a while, especially in Canada, Citroen was a contender as this ’70s TV spot attests and do note the Quebec tags on this DS as it threads through Montreal.  We’re especially enamored of this music video set to the tune of “Ne Me Laisse Pas L’Aimer” by none other than Brigitte Bardot. It stars a DS cabriolet with special body by Henri Chapron.

That 2CV Charleston you see above is actually now for sale on Ebay Motors.  It’s under $10,000 so jump in and buy it toute de suite!  If something more upscale is what you have in mind, check out this ID 19, also on Ebay.  ID is pronounced “idée” which means idea and we think this is a good one.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com.  Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted

Horsing around à la Citroën

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 6.47.04 PM

Loyal Feral Cars reader Peter Litwack posed Louis, his dog, in front of a Citroën 2CV (deux chevaux = two horses) on the mean streets of San Rafael, CA.   He calls this portrait “Dog and Two Horses.”  Get it?  These things are an amazing cross between farm implement  and Quonset hut, ribbed for rigidity, and with only two cylinders pushing the front wheels they are très économique as you’d expect.  These were in production from 1948 – 1990 with all kinds of special versions released over those years, including  this spiffy Charleston model.  Hey!  That’s a Tesla Model S parked behind it.  Innovation follows innovation, n’est-ce pas?

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 9.19.58 PM

This vintage commercial would have you believe it doubles as an inhibition-busting dune buggy.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com                                                                                                                            Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted.