When the type N350 truck was first presented in October 1964 in the Paris Jardins du Trocadéro, there were many astonished faces. Few expected that Citroën would dare to enter the truck market.
In fact, Citroën released a range of trucks from 3.5 to 8 ton capacity, styled by Flaminio Bertoni, the Italian sculptor also responsible for the Traction Avant, 2CV, DS, and Ami 6.
Although they were named 350 to 850 (N or P models), the trucks’ unusual appearance meant they were known as the “Belphégor”, after the then-popular television series about a mystery in the Louvre Museum. (Belphégor is a 1927 crime novel by French writer Arthur Bernède, about a “phantom” which haunts the Louvre Museum, in reality a masked villain trying to steal a hidden treasure.)
With his latest creation, designer Flaminio Bertoni created a very special vehicle that has received several awards for its innovations. For example, it had a futuristic design (although the Ami influence is unmistakable), power steering and a high-pressure brake based on DS technology. The truck was characterized by its robustness, ease of maintenance and a high level of comfort for the driver and passengers. In this context, the height-adjustable seats, the heating system and the three sun visors deserve special mention.
Its most striking feature: the two “windows” installed above the front headlights and in the lower part of the cab, respectively, with a clear view of the road, which made difficult driving maneuvers much easier, even on rough terrain. These attributes made them extremely popular for a variety of commercial and utility uses.
One such application was as a fire engine as shown here with the Citroën type N350.
To ensure that it quickly reached any location, the fire engine had 82 HP, a top speed of 70 km/h and a siren on the roof. The extendable firefighting ladder, steel pipes and water tanks with a capacity of up to 3,500 liters were used to fight the fire.
The Citroën type N350 was offered with various gasoline and diesel engines including motor pump and total loads from 3,500 to 8,000 kilograms. In total, more than 140 different combinations were possible.
Citroën produced the “Belphégor” between 1965 and 1972, with almost 11,000 vehicles coming onto the market. The model still enjoys great popularity and can still be found in some places as a commercial vehicle or operating as a tow truck.
Technical data type N350 Belphégor
Length: 5,34 m
Width: 2,14 m
Height: 2,28 m
Empty weight: 2.120 kg
Seating capacity: 5
Maximum power: 82 HP
Fiscal Class: 11 CV
Maximum speed: 70 km/h
Drill hole: 90 mm
Stroke: 85 mm
Displacement: 2.176 cm3
Year of construction: 1965-1972
Vehicles produced: 10,685