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Citroen CX

The last pure Citroen design

Back in 1974, Citroen was in the last throws of having been the most incredible ‘start-up’ brand: its founder had gone from making a fortune from pioneering the mass manufacture of herringbone gears (that were sold to car companies all over the world) to playing a major role in manufacturing munitions in the first-world-war, to making Europe’s first mass-produced car. The company continuously realised major innovations that went on to become standard-practice for the industry: it created Europe’s first modern car production line; was the first car company to establish factories in multiple territories; it foretold modern branding with its adorning the Eiffel Tower of it name in lights; it developed the world’s first pressed steel unibody front-wheel drive car. Within less than twenty years half the cars on French roads were Citroens — in its early years Citroen was a conspicuously innovative and successful brand to its core. 

But by 1974 Citroen was flagging after years of poor commercial performance, and the CX debut of that year was the last design that came from the original Citroen maverick spirit. Whilst it pushed less far than Citroen designs that had gone before, it was still exceptionally avant guard. Making gentle reference to its famous forbearer— the DS — in its theme and key side-feature lines, as the GS before had done too — and closely referencing the 1967 Pininfarina BMC 1800 Aerodynamica concept also, the CX asserted new proportions with its new transverse front wheel drive, low package and compact rear aspect, and it had a sublime slender volumes that quietly spoke of the future.  

Taken over by Peugeot in 1974, Citroen’s last car to embody its original spirit was the CX — it was the last pure Citroen Design