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 !