Citroën M35

Practical Classics (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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