The Citroën Club of Buenos Aires just released their latest and very informative 52 page publication called Citroaires that they are pleased to share. We commend their effort. In this 59th edition, there are a number of articles worth reading.
One in particular, is a story that goes into greater detail about the Citroën U55 Cityrama, a sightseeing bus bodied by Currus. To help with you wading through Spanish with this one, we offer an English translation at the end of this article. (We have covered it in the past, but to a lesser extent, in the Fall 2009 issue of Citroënthusiast and Winter 2011 issue of Citroënvie.)
Other interesting topics in this issue of Citroaires include:
- E.popée — An electric-powered RAID across the Sahara in 2022
- The evolution of the GS
- The Citroën T-55 Tuck
- The History of Currus
- The special 50th anniversary exhibition of the GS and SM at Le Conservatoire
- The 40th anniversary of the 2CV Charleston
- the ZX Rally RAID
- SM V8
- An Attempt in Paris at inspiring an “Americanized” SM . (the original English version is included).
- An interview with Amicale Citroën International President Stephan Joest.
- The 20th Anniversary celebration of if the Citroën Club of Buenos Aires.
Read it all here: https://www.yumpu.com/es/document/view/65252856/citrobaires-59
Thanks go to ACI Argentinian Delegate Alejandro Beiroa for sharing this great info.
And now, the English text of the Citroën Y55 Cityrama article:
Citroën U55 Cityrama Currus
In the France of the 50s there was an optimistic spirit, little by little the horrors of the Second World War were being overcome and those years of sadness and deprivation were moving away from the daily scene.
In this context, Paris was recovering its splendor, tourism was growing with an ever-increasing influx of visitors. Taking advantage of this trend, the tour operator Groupe Cityrama, came up with a plan to stand out, surprise visitors and also turn the page on the past. For this reason, he entrusted the French coach company Currus (who already had vast experience in the transformation and creation of special bodies), the design of a new Cityra-ma bus.
For this creation, Currus designed the exterior of the car-shop and also developed all the interiors on both floors. On the other hand, the mechanics are based on the U55 Citroén chassis, using the platform with the longest wheelbase that was available (5.33mts), which equipped a version of the truck and that Citroén also offered commercially to develop buses. The power plant was a 6-cylinder diesel engine, being the propulsion on the rear axle. In 1956 it was put into operation and immediately, this new Cityrama surprises in the Parisian streets with its unmistakable silhouette. In the complex framework of the new European future.
These avant-garde forms had an impact equivalent to that caused in architecture by contemporary works, such as Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut chapel in Ronchamp or the Atomium in Brussels and why not, in the automotive area to that of the presentation of the Citroén DS the previous year.
This two-story mobile monument had a multitude of windows and clear buoys, forming a glazed surface ideal for tourists to see everything without losing any detail. In the upper part of its front a purely decorative element stood out and with a futuristic tint that fully fit with the rest of the design. It was a horn that, with a clear nod to aeronautics, emulated the “short cables” carried by helicopters.
Its interior was super bright and its finely upholstered reclining seats stood out, which included the headphone system for the tour guide. The ground floor had 29 seats, while the upper floor had 18 seats.
The roof of the second floor was removable, so, on days when the weather was good, it would open, resembling what was offered by conventional tourist buses.
Several copies of this Cityrama bus were manufactured from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s, but it is not known exactly how many. Even today there is a survivor waiting to be restored.
It should be noted that this bus also had appearances in some period films, for example in Le Corniaud or Zazie dans Le Métro, not very popular French productions.
The collectibles industry did not miss an opportunity to pay tribute to him and today a 1:43 scale copy is available on the market (usually European). For practically a decade, Parisians were able to enjoy an urban landscape adorned by these “spaceships” that, while transporting and entertaining tourists, also gave their artistic touch to the City of Light.
The aerodynamic details strongly marked the silhouette of this fu-tourist bus (1). Detail of the open roof (2). View of the rear (3). The interior was as impressive as the exterior, here is a view of the second floor (4). Part of the fleet waiting to leave, while in the back are the restoration work of a historic building (5). Night tour of the city (6).
In Normandy there is still a survivor waiting to be restored (7). The U55 had some appearances in period films, such as in Le Corniaud or Zazie dans Le Métro (8).