The Citroen museum in Paris doesn't open its doors to the public, but after seeing what's inside, car, design and motorsport fans will wish they did!

Discovering Citroen's incredible history…

Thursday, 5 July 2012 10:00 AM

Citroen museum

Flanked by romantic classics and futuristic prototypes that all helped shape the ultra-modern Citroen cars of today, like the new DS5; this seriously slammed, 1973 Citroen Prototype SM is about as awesome as you can get!


The Citroen museum is tucked away on a quiet business park just outside Paris. In a modern, unassuming building is stored pretty much one of absolutely everything from Citroen’s rich and long history, with at least their fair share of era-defining cars and trucks, a row of dominating World Rally Cars, and one of the coolest cars I've ever seen.

The Conservatoire Citroën is not open to the public, but on a recent trip over I shot the lot for you’re delectation. There’ll be some famous and classic shapes you’ll know and love, a fascinating story of recently-found 2CV prototypes that were cunningly hidden from invading World War II Nazis, and some one-off stunners that’d make you the king of your Citroen car club, if you could ever get the keys.

Here are some of my favourites from the hundreds of vehicles on display, a spotlight on the aforementioned king of auto-cool, and a couple of quick test drives in some seriously suave and turbocharged classics…

Through the doors and into a vast space that’s packed with historic Citroens. Let’s take a drive down memory lane

Every great car starts with a handmade prototype model 

Could be some Citroen logo inspiration here. Citroen also supplied heavy industry back in the day

And the innovations starting coming thick and fast, like mass-market front-wheel drive powertrains

You don’t have to be chic to work here. But it helps

Here are the Citroen 2CV prototypes. Built to show at the Paris Motor Show in the late 30s, but World War II got in the way. They were hidden from the advancing Nazis at the start of the war, behind false walls in a tucked away loft. This is exactly how they looked when rediscovered in the 90s

Let the classics commence

Peppered by spacey prototypes

Extra-long Presidential transport

Plenty of room for the boss

Much less for the driver. Some things never change!

You’re le nicked, mate!

Citroen’s complete dominance of the modern era of the World Rally Championship started with the Xsara

WRC spoiler evolution. From basic, to intricate…

The light and hard magnesium-alloy wheels for the rally cars

Wheel fetish, moi?!

Decades apart, but you can see the design evolution

My personal star of the Citroen show, the ultra-cool, 1973 Citroen Prototype SM. This 340bhp tarmac-skimmer was a power and high-speed stability test-bed for front-wheel drive platform development. I just love the stance, deep-dish steel wheels and warmongering twin tailpipes. There’s a 3-litre Maserati motor making the power up front

Don’t even think about it!

Vive Citroen! From the visitors’ book

Some priceless and powerful test drives coming soon…

Many thanks to the Citroen UK PR team for taking TotallyMotor on the trip, and for the warm welcome from the Conservatoire Citroën team.

Words & pics: Daniel Anslow

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