The Big Picture

PC marks the end of the hy­drop­neu­matic Citroën in a world first

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Citroën’s great­est hy­drop­neu­matic hits, al­to­gether at last.

More than six decades af­ter Citroën stunned the world with its revo­lu­tion­ary sus­pen­sion sys­tem, the last hy­drop­neu­matic model has rolled off the pro­duc­tion line in France. Par­ent com­pany PSA de­cided to axe the tech­nol­ogy for what they say are rea­sons of high man­u­fac­tur­ing costs and low cus­tomer de­mand.

Fol­low­ing an il­lus­tri­ous pe­riod of chas­sis in­no­va­tion – which be­gan with the Trac­tion Avant 15H in 1954 – the fi­nal car, a C5 Tourer, will be taken to the com­pany’s her­itage col­lec­tion near Paris. Sales of the Mon­deo ri­val have been in freefall for some time, with con­ven­tional sa­loons such as the C5 tak­ing an in­creas­ingly small share of the mar­ket, when com­pared to the new wave of Peu­geot, Citroën and DS badged SUVS and MPVS.

To mark the oc­ca­sion, PC gath­ered ev­ery model sold in the UK in one place for the very first time. That in­cludes the Trac­tion Avant 15H, a test-bed model which fea­tured hy­drop­neu­mat­ics at the rear and paved the way for the iconic DS a year later.

The high pres­sure hy­draulics – used for brakes, steer­ing, sus­pen­sion, clutch and

gearchange – was iden­ti­fied as the ul­ti­mate in chas­sis devel­op­ment with the likes of Mercedes and Rolls-royce us­ing the sys­tem on li­cence. Com­puter tech­nol­ogy was added in 1988 and brought the fully ac­tive sus­pen­sion com­monly used by most high­end man­u­fac­tur­ers to­day.

No­body has ever brought to­gether the full line-up of hy­droc­itroëns. Un­til now…

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