The Carchive: The 1973 Citroen Ami range

It’s Friday afternoon, and coming pretty close to time for downing tools. Let’s take the scenic route home, maybe try the overgrown lane of curiosity, perhaps pausing at the lake of history. Then have a rummage amongst the driftwood on the shoreline of discovery, see you find. Welcome to The Carchive.
The last trip we took into obscurity wasn’t actually in the least bit obscure – we took a fond gawp at the now 21-year old Dodge Avenger. Well, now for something completely different. We’re moving a long way away both geographically and temporally, to France in 1973. It’s the Citroen Ami.

All images clickable for greater bigness.

“Ami Super, Ami 8: top value motoring with performance and comfort”
Who could possibly argue? The Ami first appeared in ’61 with its mechanical basis in the humble 2CV. The Ami was a development on the same theme, adding a little extra power, a little extra comfort and a little more status.
And another batch of absolutely unmistakable styling.
“At 70mph you’re cruising gently, using only a fraction of the engine’s potential”
This is a UK market brochure, and the 70mph national motorway speed limit had only been relatively recently introduced. However, these claims of unstressed performance applied mostly to the 1015cc four-cylinder engine choice with its rorty 61bhp. This was exclusive to the Ami Special, which was a later addition for the more bourgeoisie of Citroen enthusiasts.
High speed cruising would be rather less effortless with the 602cc flat-twin boasted by the Ami 8, with its less thrusting 32bhp.
“As a driver, you’ll feel confident and secure at the wheel of the Ami super.”
It’s not as if you’ll be distracted by a surplus of information, nor incessant bickering from the radio. It don’t get much more simple than this, and the umbrella-shaped pull ‘n twist parking brake handle took a while for the novelty to wear off.
It was comfortable, though. And spacious, with a flat floor and precious little technology to rob any of the space.
“The Ami Super gives you sophisticated Citroen motoring at a budget price”
And this is where the magic happens. You can see the suspension which is interconnected mechanically front and rear, which lent the Ami (and the 2CV and Dyane) its legendarily soft ride and resistance to brake dive.
Though points should be deducted for the fact that production vehicles didn’t actually have major components finished in bright primary colours.
(All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, copyright for which remains property of Citroen, who are at seriously little risk of ever producing something like the Ami ever again)

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  1. Lokki Avatar

    It’s the Goddess’ homely little six-year-old sister….

  2. desmo Avatar

    Few people know that Volkswagen only barely survived the technological attack of french cars. It was only some quality issues and a strike happy french workforce
    that kept VWs stonetime vehicles alive and selling. Yet there were VWs
    that had to be discontinued, because they could not compete with their
    french rivals. Most notably VW 411 and of course Fridolin delivery van. The Beetle survived until 1974 because of (american) marketing campaigns.

    1. Alff Avatar

      One man kept the Beetle alive. JC Whitney.

    2. duurtlang Avatar

      I wonder how the automotive landscape would’ve looked had VW gone bankrupt. Not very different in the US I imagine, but wildly different in Europe.

      1. hubba Avatar

        BMW or M-B would have expanded their lines or created a new brand to serve at least the domestic market. Ford and GM would have increased their market in Germany, because they already had domestic manufacturing.

        1. AlexG55 Avatar

          Daimler-Benz might have already had a brand, or several- they had bought Auto Union in 1958 before selling it to VW in 1965. So the hole might have been filled by Audi or DKW. And then there’s NSU, which survived as an independent until 1969 before VW acquired it.

    3. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      What was the Fridolin in competition with? I thought they were built primarily for the German & Swiss postal services.

    4. vega60 Avatar

      The Fridolin was never widely marketed or competed with other transporters. It was almost exclusively built as a made-to-order vehicle for the German and Swiss postal services.
      And in case of the type 4, you’re right it was never a success. But judging by sales in most markets its main rivals were Ford Taunus and Opel Rekord, not the R16.

  3. Alff Avatar

    I enjoy a good foreign colloquialism but “downing tools” isn’t my bag, baby.

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