What you’re looking at here is, according to some, one of the reasons for the existence of PSA. Citroën went bankrupt in the mid-seventies and was swallowed up by Peugeot. Amid the nightmare of the oil crisis, the M35 really didn’t help things at all. Back then, Citroën had placed all bets on the Wankel rotory engine, teaming up with NSU in 1967 and unleashing the striking M35 two years later.
Although it was never officially sold, 267 were supplied to loyal Citroën customers for trials (each one individually numbered on the front wings) and you can see why it was initially a bit of a hit with them. Despite resembling a coupé mash-up of an Ami 8, it rides on hydropneumatic suspension and the engine is so smooth, the car has an audible alarm that goes off as the car approaches its red line of 7000rpm. It thrums so gently, it’s a reminder of just how brilliant a Wankel is. Current guardian of our M35 is Darren Arthur of The 2CV Shop, who has borrowed it from Mehari Club Cassis in France. He’s clearly smitten. ‘I really don’t want to give it back!’
A dual rotor later appeared in the 1970 GS and Citroën were planning a ‘tri-rotor’ unit for the 1974 CX but by then, given the fuel crisis and their inability to fix the Wankel’s inherent problems, it was clear Citroën had backed the wrong horse. M35s that weren’t kept by owners were given back and crushed, so this one is a real survivor. I want one.
Darren Arthur of The 2CV Shop shows James his M35.
GS suspension and an Opron-styled Ami coupé body.
Comfy interior is a luxurious, vinyl-clad mix of Ami 8 and SM.