A dou­ble-decker in Paris

Commercial Vehicle - - WHAT'S INSIDE -

The movie, ‘An Evening in Paris’, found its way to cinema halls in In­dia in 1967. Shot ex­ten­sively in the pic­turesque lo­cales of Paris–the French city of love, the Hindi movie star­ring Shammi Kapoor as Shyam (Sam) and Sharmila Tagore as Deepa Ma­lik alias Roopa Ma­lik (Suzy) de­picted a story of two young souls who come in con­tact with each other quite by ac­ci­dent and fall in love. Trav­el­ling to Paris in search of true love, Deepa, sup­ported by her wealthy father boards a rather fu­tur­is­tic look­ing Paris tour bus in an ef­fort to get rid of the pesky romeo who is no other than Shyam. How Shyam lands there is a mys­tery, and their-in lies the plot of many a Hindi movies. Shyam fol­lows Deepa on­board the bus, op­er­ated by Groupe Ci­tyrama. Shyam’s per­se­ver­ance pays off - He and Deepa fall for each other. The Paris tour bus turns out to be plat­form for a life chang­ing event.

At a time when ‘tail fins’ were in vogue as far as the de­sign of au­to­mo­biles was con­cerned, Groupe Ci­tyrama is known to have en­gaged French coach-builder Cur­rus to cre­ate a fu­tur­is­tic look­ing dou­ble-decker bus. Cur­rus re­sponded by build­ing a dou­bledecker bus on a Citroen U55 truck chas­sis. Called as the Citroen U55 Ci­tyrama Cur­rus, the dou­bledecker bus, painted in a shade of red, white and blue (looks mono­chrome in the movie), was pressed into ser­vice in Paris in the 1950s. Flaunt­ing styling el­e­ments like the faux wire-strike knife po­si­tioned atop the cen­ter of the driver’s wind­shield, and an ex­ten­sive use of glass, the dou­ble-decker bus proved to be quite pop­u­lar with the peo­ple of Paris. If the curved glass win­dows made it easy to catch a good view of the sights in Paris, a sub­stan­tial por­tion of the side walls and roof were made in glass too. The bus also flaunted a trans­par­ent glass roof on the up­per deck, which was quite rare at that time. The trans­par­ent glass roof could be taken off dur­ing sum­mer. Enough to make peo­ple won­der if it came from outer space, each seat of the Paris tour bus was equipped with a Paris voice guide sys­tem in eight dif­fer­ent lan­guages. In ser­vice till 1965, the srangely at­trac­tive Citroen U55 -based city tour bus was pow­ered by ei­ther a petrol or a diesel en­gine. The six-cylin­der, 4.5-litre in­di­rect in­jec­tion diesel en­gine of the bus de­vel­oped 73 hp. It was the first big Citroen (Type 45) en­gine to have not been de­rived from Citroen car en­gines! The rolling chas­sis was made avail­able in ei­ther axle con­fig­u­ra­tions, and in dif­fer­ent wheel­base spec­i­fi­ca­tions. Mak­ing for a mem­o­rable city-tour ex­pe­ri­ence, the Citroen U55-based city tour bus, ply­ing the boule­vards of Paris, made for a larger than life sight in the movie with Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore rid­ing it.

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