Love them or loathe them, few cars can lay claim to having as much character as a Citroën
Quirky, innovative or just plain bonkers, a dull car has rarely emerged from the French company’s production lines. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the brand and to celebrate, owners and enthusiasts around the globe got together to display their classic and modern cars and drive them through Europe’s capital cities. What Diesel took part in the British festivities at the UK’s own motoring Mecca, the Ace Café in north London. Appropriately, as well as being a regular hangout for bikers and petrolheads, the Ace actually served as a Citroën dealership shortly after the Second World War. Whether the forecourt was ever as packed as it was during the anniversary is up for debate, as the café grounds and adjacent streets were lined with all manner of weird and wonderful Gallic machinery.
The oldest car of the day was a 1921 Type A, built only two years after the company was founded in 1919. Finished in a creamy yellow, it attracted more interest than anything else, not least from BBC newsreader and C4 Picasso owner Fiona Bruce, who made a welcome appearance and described the Type A as “A gorgeous car!”
Regular readers may remember from our Celebrity Drives feature that Alexei Sayle owns a C6, so it will come as no surprise that the Scouse comic also turned up at the gathering: “I love looking Bond 007 special in canary yellow, complete with fake bullet holes to replicate the chase car from For Your Eyes Only, a lovely 1979 GS X3 that won best in class for 1969 to 1979 models and a recently restored 1948 Traction Light 15, the owner of which was dressed in full 1940s period clothing. To round off the event, the Citroën Car Club organised an evening cruise through central London, which was staged simultaneously with similar runs in Paris and other European cities.
Referred to as the Croisiere Blanche [White Cruise] because it takes place at night, with headlights on, the drive was a homage to the early cross organised an evening cruise through central London, which was staged simultaneously with similar runs in Paris and other European cities. Referred to as the Croisiere Blanche [White Cruise] because it takes place at night, with headlights on, the drive was a homage to the early crosscontinental endurance runs that Citroën put its cars through in the 1920s and 30s to prove their durability. It was less gruelling, but it still took in some significant locations, including Earl’s Court – the former motor show site – and Citroën’s early HQ at Wood Green. Roll on votre centenaire!