October 19, 2011

M35 - Citroën's Experimental Wankel Powered Coupe

It was the late 60's and Citroën was exploring the viability of rotary engines for future models. Enter the M35. Now this one is one that has been peeking my curiosity for some time. This interesting little coupe served as a test bed for a number of systems planned for future models in the range. In a "Beta test" of sorts, Citroën ended up producing 267 cars during the three year period between 1969-71.

At the end of the program most of the prototypes were purchased back by Citroën's to be destroyed. About 1/3 of the owners however decided to keep their cars. As with many other car manufacturers, plans to adopt the use of the Wankel were abandoned as a result of reliability issues and the oil crisis of the 1970's. Today, the few remaining M35s are treasured by the enthusiast community and for good reason as it is a pretty unique little coupe.

More about this jewel elsewhere on the Web:

I think that the very angular "fastback" profile is part of the attraction.
Orthographic projection provides a great way to examine the lines of the M35.

Front has a familiar resemblance to the more common Ami 8. Fenders amongst the few parts shared.

Interior is an exercise in simplicity. Bucket seats clearly inspired the ones later found on the SM.
The body was assembled by French coach builder Heuliez.

Assembly line of the period a very industrial affair.

Suspension is a mixture of DS and 2CV components (see above and below).

Single rotor 995cc Wankel power plant with all of 49hp is the heart of the M35.
Four speed manual with an unusual shift pattern that is kind of up-side-down completed the power train.

It is obviously a show stopper everywhere it goes...

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