Citroën are famous as builders of family cars which satisfy the enthusiast. Rumours float around of an entirely new model, which are discounted by the steady flow of the familiar four and six-cylinder models from the Slough and Paris factories. But they have not been idle in the Citroën design Office, for a revolutionary new system of pneumatic suspension at the back of the Citroën Six has been introduced, to give exceptional riding comfort.
Each rear wheel is mounted on a pivoting trailing-arm, the two arms being connected by an anti-roll torsion-bar. The “springs” of each wheel are in the form of spherical gas containers. The weight of the car acts on a piston which compresses the gas through the medium of the liquid, by means of a flexible diaphragm separating the gas from the liquid. Damping is effected by causing the liquid to flow through calibrated holes. A seven-piston pump driven by the engine pressurises the system, an accumulator balancing and storing the pressure. A regulator automatically ensures constant pressure. An automatic correcting system maintains the vehicle at a constant height from the ground by varying the quantity of liquid between the compression piston and the gas in the spherical container.
The system can be locked from the instrument panel when the car is not in use, and a hand control inside the boot makes it possible to use the hydraulic energy stored in the accumulator to raise the car without using a jack when it is necessary to change a rear wheel.
The seats, which contribute to comfort to a great extent, have been improved. In particular it has been possible to make them softer so as to obtain areas of contact which do not cause fatigue. It has not been thought necessary to fit a hydro-pneumatic suspension system at the front; only the flexibility of the torsion-bars has been increased.
This new suspension, clearly suitable for a car often used for long-distance travel at high average speeds, will not be fitted on the four-cylinder 15-h.p. models, because of production difficulties and higher cost. Furthermore, the six-cylinder model with a larger body (7/8-seater) will continue to be delivered with torsion-bar suspension only. The six-cylinder saloon alone will he delivered with either torsion-bar or pneumatic suspension as requested, and for the time being six-cylinder Citroën saloons with hydro-pneumatic suspension will be available from the Paris factory only. They will not be exported nor will they be produced in Slough for several months. Production of the British six-cylinder saloon with torsion-bar suspension is continuing.
While on the subject of Citroën development, it is of interest to review briefly the history of this famous Anglo-French company.
1919: The Société Anonyme André Citroën in Paris, which had been making shells during the 1914-1918 war, and which was engaged in the manufacture of the well-known Citroën double-helical (Chevron) gears, commenced manufacture of Citroën cars.
1920: Citroën cars manufactured in Paris were imported and sold in Great Britain by the concessionaires, Messrs. Gaston, Williams and Wigmore, Ltd.
1923: The British company, Citroën Cars Ltd., was formed with Mr. Benjamin King as managing director. The Citroën building in Brook Green, Hammersmith, was acquired and opened with full facilities for the sale and servicing of the imported vehicles. In this year Citroën cars fitted with Kegresse tracks completed the first crossing of the Sahara by a motor car.
1925: Citroën introduced into Europe the “all steel” car.
1926: Works at Slough were opened for the assembly of “all-steel” cars, of which a large number of tourer, saloon and coupé models with rear-wheel drive were produced iii this and following years.
1933: Société Anonyme André Citroën introduced the present range of front-wheel-drive cars with the all-steel chassisless construction and many advanced features.
1934: The assembly of front-wheel-drive models was commenced at Slough and continued with saloon, coupé and two-seater types until the outbreak of the war in 1939. Certain of the rear-wheel-drive models, including a diesel-engined saloon, were also in production during this period.
1940: During this year the Slough factory changed from car production to work in connection with the war. In the war years the factory was engaged on the assembly of S.K.D. military vehicles for the Canadian Government and supplied the requirements of Canadian Forces in Europe. In addition the manufacture of many types of bodies for military vehicles was carried through, together with the manufacture of six-pounder gun recoil mechanisms, the assembly of Churchill tank components and many other Government contracts, for which the company’s flexible organisation was well suited.
1945: The front-wheel-drive models, the reputation of which had been considerably enhanced by their performance during the war years, were put into production once again at the Slough factory.
1948: Société Anonyme André Citroën introduced the 2 c.v car at the Paris Salon.
1953: Assembly of the 2 c.v. saloon and van commenced at the Slough factory alongside the front-wheel-drive models, substantially the same as when introduced in 1933 and for which there continued a steady demand at home and overseas.
1954: Société Anonyme André Citroën in Paris introduced the hydro-pneumatic rear suspension on the six-cylinder front-wheel-drive car.
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