We had been discussing a number of British cars in an Indian background. Tintin and Captain Haddock were on a rescue mission to save Tintin’s close friendChang in “Tintin in Tibet”. After the exhausting climb in the Himalayas the Captain was relaxing at Marlinspike hall. Here he met with an accident, thanks to a broken slab in the staircase. The Captain unfortunately broke his leg which was put in cast. And then disaster struck in the form of Bianca Castafiore landing up at Marlinspike Hall not for a short visit but for a stay. The doctor that was attending to Captain Haddock drove a very peculiar looking car. This was a Citroen Ami 6. To me this car was a great example of quirky French design. So lets take up the Citroen Ami 6.
This car was manufactured from 1961 to 1978 in France and Argentina. It was a small four door sedan which despite its quirky looks was a best seller in France at the time. The Ami 6 was also offered as a “Break” or an estate for others. Ami in French means a friend. The Ami was launched in Apr 1961 and was aimed at clients who wanted to buy something larger and less rustic than the Citroen 2CV. The reason was to fill the huge chasm between the Citroen 2CV and the Citroen DS offered by Citroen. The car was actually based on the 2 CV with some mechanical upgrades which included a larger engine to deal with an increased weight. It was offered with independent suspension all round to handle the not so good roads of rural France. The suspension was taken from the 2CV. The car’s seats could be removed easily and one of the USP was that the seats could be used as picnic chairs.
The Ami 6 was the first car along with the Ford Taunus to offer rectangular headlamps. Till then it was a done thing that headlamps had to be round. In fact, in the USA non-round headlamps were illegal and hence the Citroen Ami 6 had illegal headlamps as far as USA was concerned. As a result the export versions were fitted with double rund headlamps. This was considered as a major innovation at the time. The most defining feature of the car was the reverse raked rear windscreen. The interior was spartan but with stylish streaks in the form of a single spoke steering wheel derived from the Citroen DS. The door handles and minor controls were also carried over from the DS.
The Citroen Ami 6 was powered by a 602 cc (36.74 Cu-inch) 2 cylinder flat air cooled naturally aspirated petrol engine which produced 20 BHP at 4,500 rpm while breathing through two over head valves per cylinder. It also generated 40 N-m (29.5 ft-lb) of torque at 3,000 rpm. The power incrementally increased from 1961 to 1968 to 26 BHP at 4,750 rpm, 28 BHP at 5,400 rpm and finally 35 BHP at 5,750 rpm. The power was transmitted from the engine to the front wheels through a four speed gearbox. This engine was sufficient to push the 3,870 mm (154″) long, 1,520 mm (60″) wide and 1,490 mm (57″) tall car weighing just 620 kgs to a maximum speed varying from 102 km/hr (63.38 mph) to 123 km/hr (76.43 mph).
The suspension from the 2CV comprised independent and interconnected front and rear with horizontal longitudinal coils springs and inertia dampers at each wheel and friction dampers. Stopping power was provided by drum brakes provided on all four wheels.