In 1958 following the runaway sales success of it’s 2CV and DS models Citroën chose to build a new 240 hectare greenfield site in Rennes France.
The site was officially opened in 1961 by the founding President of the Fifth French Republic Charles de Gaulle and the first model to produced there was the Citroën Ami 6.
The Ami 6 with it’s Breezeway Rear Window styling first seen in production on the 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was essentially a rebodied 2CV with a larger 602 cc / 36 cui twin aircooled engine replacing the 425cc / 26 cui engine of the older model.
The original 22hp motor gave the Ami 6 a top speed of 65 mph, the final upgrade of the engine, shared with the Ami 8, produced a ground shaking 32 hp in 1969 which increased the top speed to a hair raising 76 mph.
Known as the Trois Chevaux to differentiate it from the original 2CV Deux Chevaux today’s featured model seen at the Classic Motor Show, NEC, Birmingham was built in 1968 and according to the official records of the DVLA was first registered for the road in the UK in 1968.
Thanks for joining me on this “Breezeway Window Trois Chevaux” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be visiting Brean Leisure Park. Don’t forget to come back now !
Today’s Continental Curiosity is yet another 2 cylinder from France. Based on the chassis and upgraded mechanical running gear of the utilitarian Citroén 2CV the slightly less utilitarian and rustic Ami was launched in the Spring of 1961 with the more powerful 22 hp flat 2 motor that was an option only on the 2CV which it was eventually intended to replace.
Despite poor initial sales due to it’s lack of refinements after a series of upgrades which included rear sliding windows and an increase to 32 hp for the two cylinder models sales eventually overtook those of the 2CV and the Ami topped the sales charts in France for several years.
There was a more powerful 4 cylinder Ami Super which was described as a ‘Q car par excellence’ by one British Magazine, however French Tax regulations combined with it’s utilitarian underpinnings did not result in significant additional sales of the Ami Super. A further prototype Ami M35 Coupé series was also built in limited numbers for preferential customers powered by a single rotary Comotor Wankel engine.
This particular 1976 Ami seen at Goodwood Festival of Speed nick named “The Love Boat” was acquired by present owner and Top Gear presenter James May, who allegedly ‘competed’ in a Majorcan Classic Rally with glamour model Madison Welch in the co drivers seat.
Production of the Ami spread from France to Spain and Argentina, with Complete Knock Down kits also assembled in Africa and Chile with world wide sales topping 1.8 million when production came to an end in 1978. The Citroén 2CV, on which the Ami was based and which the Ami was intended to replace, continued in production until 1990.
Thanks for joining me on this “The Love Boat” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres”, I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !