No one designs cars like the French — though many would say that’s a good thing.
Uniquely styled, mechanically complex, and (sometimes) rewarding to drive, French cars are an experience like no other. Buying a French classic is a bit like being married to a supermodel: They can be very high maintenance, but the rewards are well worth it.
Here are five of the most fantastically French cars you can buy in America.
After showing off the beautiful Peugeot Exalt at a previous auto salon, embattled PSA is showing that the spectre of death breathing down their neck has really focused the company’s attention.At the 2014 Paris Salon, Citroën’s sub-brand DS has prepared an arguably even more stunning concept, the very aptly named Divine.
The rest of the world is becoming just as crossover obsessed as North America, and in the premium segment, a crossover is an absolute must for any car maker. PSA’s most recent round of efforts have been pretty poor, using the Mitsubishi Outlander as a starting point, but for their upscale DS brand, PSA is starting from scratch.
China’s love affair with crossovers and PSA’s desire to expand in the country has led to a logical conclusion; why not a crossover for the Citroen DS line, one that PSA is trying to push hard as a premium alternative to the usual upscale offerings?
Save for some French cabinet ministers, you aren’t likely to find any of the global elite tooling around in French luxury sedans. Citroen is hoping to reverse this trend with a made-for-China luxury limo, seen above. Dubbed the “DS Numero 9”. We suppose that’s French for “Panamera lookalike”.
While Citroen showed some thinly veiled teasers (above) of their DS9 flagship before the car’s debut at the Beijing auto show, spy photographers in France caught the car being photographed at the bustling Place de la Concorde in Paris (click to see the spy shots). The DS9 looks like it will take the C6’s fastback profile even further, with a shape more like a Porsche Panamera – or the original Citroen DS.
Yesterday morning, it seemed that Spank’s LeMons-veteran ’71 Citroën DS would be stranded in El Paso due to a bad water pump shaft seal. When your car is made out of pure unobtanium, Miami seems much farther than a mere 2,800 miles from San Diego. (Read More…)
Readers of On The Road gush about the incredible asphalt journeys taken by the book’s protagonists, but they did most of their driving in a brand-new Hudson and a brand-new Cadillac limousine. Here is a truly heroic road trip: a solo San Diego-to-Miami drive in a basket-case Citroën ID19 that ran for the first time in 25 years when it clanked a single lap around the Sears Point paddock and then headed onto the track. (Read More…)
When it comes to cars, I much prefer discussing the deeply flawed and/or obscure to, say, getting into a debate over the relative merits of the E36 versus the E46. Give me a Sofia B or ZIL 112 any day! 24 Hours of LeMons racers who wish to bribe the judges and ensure fair treatment know that diecast replicas of weird/obscure vehicles make me very, very happy. Here’s one of the best yet— can you identify it?
[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article can be found here]
That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood intuitively, if not scientifically since the dawn of the automobile. Putting it into practice was quite another story. Engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. But getting there was not without turbulence. (Read More…)