Journal: The Incomparable Style Of A Classic Citroën Interior

The Incomparable Style Of A Classic Citroën Interior

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
July 28, 2015
20 comments

We love a good wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel, wooden dashboard, and sporty instrumentation as much as you do, but there’s something to be appreciated with classic and very fashion-forward interiors produced by Citroën from the ’50s until the mid-to-late ’70s.

So what makes these odd-looking designs appealing even today?

Besides the fact modern automakers still look over Citroën’s shoulder (many modern Audi interiors have an overall layout and design quite similar to that of the SM, for instance) you’ll often notice elements the company introduced decades ago finding their way into new cars.

Design features like having controls clustered around the driver’s fingertips was pretty far-out in its day, but the noteworthy item here is that Citroën introduced dashboards-as-sculpture to its entire range, with even the 2CV getting special interior features and trims thanks to a number of special editions. Want your 2CV with a floor-mounted cooler that features two cupholders on top? Find a Perrier edition…

Now, as our cities become more congested and very sporty classics continue their incredible rise in value, we’ve started considering cars that are a very nice place to spend a lot of time in, and having a classic with an interior that will instantly warp you back in time is a definite plus.

Moreover, Citroën designers often pushed out different trim choices and materials—choices were so extensive that there’s now a fan site for tracking all of the different color options!

Be inspired by these interiors, and while a classic Citroën isn’t likely to keep up with a Porsche 911 on the Stelvio Pass, they’re wonderful places in which to spend time. What’s your favorite Citroën interior feature?

Image Sources: citroenet.org.ukuniquecarsandparts.com.aucarstyling.rucitroenet.org.ukcitroenet.org.ukphotobucket.comtheregister.co.uk

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Percy BuninkNigel KatPaulGary KurzerBart Recent comment authors
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Percy Bunink

Slanted single branch steering wheel on the DS/ID that sits in your left hand like it was one and the same…pure revelry.

Nigel Kat
Nigel Kat

The vertically-mounted radio between the front seats in my old GSpecial 1220.

Gary Kurzer

Having owned/driven: DS, GS, CX, Activa (Xantia) and C5 (let alone R4 and R16TS) ….I clearly have a passion for the marque. In terms of design, the DS, CX and GS had amazing, bold designs (and some were even less bold than the prototypes), but as posed below, unless you drive Citroens, you only understand a percentage of the appeal. The way they look and the way you use them are intimately intertwined. The ergonomics, the light touch, the precision, the braking poise …. are all part of the Citroen character. I very briefly owned and drove a 2CV, but… Read more »

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Bart
Bart

About keeping up with a 911 on the stelvio pass, look for a xantia activa v6. Its the fastest car in the corners (moosetest 85km/h).

My personal favourite is the cx series 1 25 gti dash 🙂

Julian Marsh

As the webmaster of Citroenet, this article delights me. And there is even more here: http://www.citroenet.org.uk/miscellaneous/prn/satellites.html

Pierre Thénot
Pierre Thénot

The design is ‘unique’, although it is purposeful. The fixed steering wheel hub in some citroen offers a bigger, better shaped airbag.

emlino
emlino

For me, all of Citroen’s interiors with satellites are a reference in the futuristic design that has almost always been associated with this automotive brand. The CX, the GSA, the Visa or even the AXEL, like it or not, the are “out of the box” from the other brands, elevating the ergonomics to a level far superior to the one of the time.

Daniel Page
Daniel Page

The pre-airbag steering wheel: the idea was you should hold it in a 10-to-2 position and in case of an accident the wheel was designed to fold forward at a calculated rate as to avoid you face planting it in an accident and also to absorb some of the energy. They may look ugly but they looked futuristic but above all, the bottom connected rim was there for a very serious reason!

Sam Person
Sam Person

The SM’s shiftgate is one of my very favorites. Topped only by Lamborghini/Ferrari’s gated shifters. Impossible to beat a ball on a stick.

Tobias Mentz
Tobias Mentz

Some weeks ago a XM stopped at the garage where I’m working – though it’s not a typical classic citroen I like the interior design with “modern” features like displays and a keypad lock. What do you think about it?

Paul Robinson

The XM is a disappointment. It was designed by a Peugot designer after Citroen was absorbed by PSA. The CX interior is outstanding, I’ve always felt most at home behind the wheel in the CX. The DS is good but not as innovative as the CX.

Rose Gardener
Rose Gardener

One more:

Rose Gardener
Rose Gardener

Some improvement on DS:

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Modern, futuristic, gamechanger, style and technology breaktrough… I can agree with all of that.
But I really hate these dashboards and especially the steering wheels…

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Try putting a little Serge Gainsbourg , Charles Aznevour or if art songs your thing Jacques Brel on the stereo sipping on a good Bordeaux/Burgundy or one of my personal favorites from the Languedoc : Absinthe/Clavados if something stronger is needed while studying the interiors of the SM and ( original ) DS [ everything after those two was a characterization of the DS/SM interiors ] Better yet drive one or both afterwards and see if that doesn’t change your perspective just a bit . And if not ? Eh ! Se la vie and you had a good time… Read more »

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

I’m more a Alentejo/Douro Valley when it comes to wines. As for the ‘stronger’, a good ‘aguardente’ or ‘medronho’ suits me better. C’est la vie!

Andrew Metcalfe
Andrew Metcalfe

I know I may be in the minority here but I find these interiors (and the exteriors to a lesser degree) awful. Not trying to troll here but I have always struggled to see why so many people appreciate it. Their later cars like the C6 I love but these early boats do nothing for me. I would even take Renault 4 over a 2cv…….

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Troll ? Since when is expressing an honest opinion in a civil manner considered being a troll ? As for me .. when it comes to the SM and original DS , 2CV interiors . Oh la la mon ami . Both for the way they feel when you’re behind the wheel as well as the way they fit into the overall design . Try placing them into the overall context of the cars as well as the era they were designed in remembering that charming French eclecticism they were so well known for and have long since abandoned .… Read more »

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

You are not alone. While I would not call them awful — “oddly interesting” is my term, their appeal is lost to me.

Marco
Marco

One of my childhood memory on the classic Citroen interior, remains the dashboard of the GSA of my grandfather, that had a futuristic display and very original comodo :